I decided to book a straight ticket from St. Louis to Paris to start my trip off, and found a route giving me all day in Philadelphia so that I got to spend the day with Jeff G and meet his wife. Felicitous start to this year’s travels!

And then my stop in Paris. Total indulgence as it hardly relates to finding where to live. On the other hand, the three days did give some weight to my musing about whether I’d prefer a location within easy reach of Paris to a location close to the Mediterranean. Tough question. There’s no denying that being in Paris pleases my soul.

I stayed in the Marais: MIJE “Auberge de Jeunesse” – LOL, in my case, “deuxième jeunesse” – at about $50/night, quite a deal, and my first experience of a hostel in France. Would definitely return – and would be sure to specify the Fourcy building (of their three lovely old buildings, and where I did stay), which has elevators.

I was surprised by how different Paris was from December 2019 when the crowds made sidewalks nearly impassible. The city was quiet, traffic was light, strolls were relaxing. All delightful, especially with an exquisite “concert by candlelight” at Saint Ephrem – listen to the short clips in the sidebar. Frédéric Moreau on violon and Pascal Mantin on piano were perfect together, beautiful expression and tone… I sat next to a woman from the outskirts of Paris who was also at St Ephrem for the first time, and enjoyed conversing before and after the concert; we were equally delighted and impressed with the performance. The choice of concerts in Paris is nearly overwhelming, especially with all the reasonably-prices events in churches. I strongly recommend checking BilletReduc.com before purchasing tickets: my ticket to St Ephrem was 19.50. I was tempted by theatre performances as well, but just hadn’t time.

Notre Dame still under repair
Notre Dame still under repair

One thing that hadn’t changed: the work on Notre Dame is ongoing. Now there’s tall scaffolding and cranes in place, especially noticeable when lit at night.

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