June 15, 2016
The Steps of Sacre-Coeur
I just walked from the Arc de Triomphe to Sacre Coeur and it’s sunny (hot!) but with a chance of rain. I visited the church and am now sitting on the steps, overlooking the magnificent view of Paris. As soon as I arrived in Montmartre and saw the art displayed in the windows, smelt the sweet, sweet smell wafting out of every Boulangerie, and heard the waiters inviting me in for a drink, my love for Paris was rekindled. I did a full circle around all the artists set up and admired all the different depictions of Paris and wished that I was wealthy enough to buy all of them. Then I saw a white building with this beautiful rainbow of pink flowers, and I walked down to the view of the Eiffel Tower, and I remembered how when I was here last September, I heard a woman singing “La Vie en Rose” and decided that I would live in Paris one day.
There is no other city in the world like Paris – none. Every day I look about me and feel so lucky that these are the streets I’ve gotten to know – really know – not just pass through. I can come sit by the Sacre Coeur at my leisure and see the Eiffel Tower every day, and watch the roses bloom. I can drink wine and eat cheese and I’m 24, and I have hazel eyes, and I love my mom, and I wrote a book, and I’m writing another one, and the sun is shining. If there ever comes a day when I feel that life is being unfair to me, I will think about this period in my life and remember how good life has been to me.
Later – 17:13
A man named Mario has started singing and everyone is singing along. There are a group of very popular Swedish boys sitting to my left – everyone is talking to them. One lady even took a picture with them. It’s actually highly entertaining – and with the sun beating down on my neck, I’m feeling very happy. Now the Swedes keep requesting “No Woman, No Cry.” OMG – a drunk guy just went up to the mic and started singing”Money, Money, Money” for the Swedes – they laughed! (I did too). The drunk guy has now proceeded to provide harmony for “Hotel California” and he’s not even half bad. I’m dying!!
The singing is now over. Mario finished with “Imagine” and “Hey Jude” and everyone was singing along to the “Na na na na” part. “This is pretty cool,” said Mario. “We have young people, old people – really old people – and we’re from all over the world and we don’t speak the same language, but we’re sitting in front of Paris singing together. Enjoy it, people.” Then one of the Swedes started clapping and everybody joined in. It was so special – I’m so glad I stayed!
Much Later –
I went to an Irish pub called O’Sullivans to watch the France vs Albania football game. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full soccer game in my life but now I am officially a fan – it was so exciting! Though apart from the two goals scored at the end, my favourite part was during the National Anthem because everyone in the bar was singing his little heart out (except for me because I didn’t know any of the words so I tried to blend into the corner and be invisible. I was also alone, so it was pretty easy to go unnoticed). Even though I’m not French, I felt a strange sense of nationalistic pride. Throughout the game, there were cries of “Allez! Allez! Allez!” echoing throughout the room. With all the noise and commotion, I thought they were yelling “Allah” at first, but “Allez” makes more sense. When France finally scored, it was such a happy moment. Everyone was yelling and hugging and these guys stood in front of the big screen and started dancing. The celebration was even bigger for the second goal.
Initially I was unsure if I wanted to go watch the game at a pub since I had no one to go with but I really wanted to soak up the atmosphere and I’m glad I decided to go anyway. Thankfully the bar tender spoke English (I admit, I chose an Irish pub for this reason) and I embarrassed myself by pouring my beer into my glass so that it was 3/4 full of white foam. “Nice pouring job,” he said to me as I waited for the foam to die down. Then I took my beer and found a corner (actually a perfect spot with a backrest and a ledge so I could see the screen perfectly without all these bodies blocking my view) and basically didn’t talk to anybody the rest of the night because all I could hear around me was french and my brain was tired.
Then I walked to the bus station and everybody was still out celebrating and the Eiffel Tower was lit up in the blue, white, and red – Vive La France!