Oh Paris, I love you and I hate you. You are beautiful and busy, exciting and excessive, rich and creamy, full of things to do and friends to see. You are also stinky, filthy, rough, tacky, rude and full of shit. Dog shit, pigeon shit, rat shit and quite a lot of people pee. In the space of two and a half days here, piss has been a very strong and frequently recurring odour. As soon as I walk anywhere vaguely gloomy, underground or concrete (staircases, metro corridors, the bus exits by stations etc.) it smells of pee. And is littered with cigarette ends, coffee cups and beer cans.
This morning I loved you as I came out of the metro at Denfert-Rochereau, walked along that leafy avenue to the recording studio and bought a really good pain-aux-raisins at the boulangerie. I hated you five hours later when one of the Fat Controllers at the Gare de Lyon (which is in Paris, just to confuse matters) had refused to let me on an earlier train than my ticket said and I found myself walking along the pissy-smelling side of the station, dragging my suitcase behind me, wondering how to kill 4 hours of waiting time. I didn’t want to be with you, in you, anywhere near you. I wanted to be home in the Ardèche with my family, breathing countryside air and listening to birdsong instead of parping horns and wailing sirens.
But I loved you again when I found a tiny toy shop and bought a little guitar for Tommy and a daisy-painted recorder for Léonie. I kept loving you as I strolled along ‘La Coulée Verte’, a disused rail track above the streets, now transformed into a luscious, green, rose-abundant walkway (although all the staircases accessing it absolutely stank of piss). And I loved you even more so when I sat in a little outdoors red sofa at Café Viaduc, surrounded by olive trees, drinking coffee and a cheeky glass of Chardonnay with my best mate from university, @Rosbif, who started this blog up for me when I was Lost In Early Motherhood.
However, I didn’t feel any pangs of sadness when I got in my train and it pulled away from the station. I know you will always be there for me and that I can come back whenever I need to see you. But I doubt I will ever stay with you for very long. Unless I have a fantastic show to rehearse/perform (like the one I saw last night which was bloody brilliant – ‘Cercles & Fictions’ by Joel Pommerat), and unless you clean up your act, have a proper wash every morning and stop peeing in your pants.
See you soon, Paris. I love you.