My time living in Paris is drawing to a close, I am about to set off on a new adventure in Brittany. I guess the end will be a mixture of sadness but relief. I moved in 1999, with a few possessions, a job to go to, no friends apart from who lived outside Paris, who I had not seen for a while. My time living in Paris has been a rewarding experience. It has so much to offer in terms of culture, big events such as the Fete de la Musique, Nuit Blanche, but also lesser documented events put on by associations and organizations. The last event I was involved with was an event organized by an organization called Paris Lit, in which poets, songwriters and writers have the possibility to do short renditions of their work in front of a hyped up audience. The event took place just after the terrible events in Paris, last November and these events impacted some of the works being performed.
The two terrorist attacks also impacted my decision to leave Paris. These days in the back of your mind, when you are traveling on the metro for example you think the worst could happen . Paris is a great city with so much to offer but also a stressful city.
I have many memories of my time living in the fifth district. I got married in the Marie (town hall) a magnificent building. I used to live in a well-known tourist haunt, Rue de la Huchette. When we walked out the door on a Saturday night, we used to stumble over a multitude of tourists. We would go to sleep to the sound of jazz, as the music from the next door jazz club used to seep through. I never actually went into the club, but I felt its presence every night. We used to go for walks by the Seine, in summer, watching the Bateau Mouches pass by, their lights lighting up the surrounding area, as darkness drew in. There would be picnickers eating lavish meals and musicians busking. In one particular area there would be dancers doing Breton dances. It was such an endearing lively area. Not far from where we lived was place St Michel, where street performers vied to get tourist’s attention.
When you walk around Paris you sometimes forget you are constantly passing through places steeped in history. Walk around La place de la Concorde and you are walking around a place used executing aristocrats as well as royalty King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793.
There will be things I won’t miss for example… transport strikes. Sometimes arguments on the metro in Paris can grow out nothing. Somebody nudges/bothers somebody, next thing a shouting match develops, with all manner of accusations and slurs.
So now I am leaving all this behind, moving to a place equally filled with history. A place with a wonderful coastline. Brittany also has its own strong culture. One chapter closed, another about to begin.