These past weeks of summer have been hot, so hot. In America it gets hot yes, but we strongly believe in air conditioning that chills you to the bone the second you step inside. During this, my first Parisian summer, I am becoming convinced that the French have a quiet strength which enables them to endure impossible discomfort. That is the only real explanation for the fact that there is rarely AC. Even when I visited someone in the hospital last week I found it AC free. Thus, I have given up the chic Parisian appearance I was hoping to adapt and simply try not to melt.
“It was one of those breathless summer days that God reserves for poets and Paris.” – Larry Collins, Dominique Lapierre, Is Paris Burning?
But then there are days like today, “breathless summer days” that seem a gift, that remind you why you spend all winter dreaming of summer, longing for long days of warm sun. Today the heat abeited, and the sky that has hung hazy and hot for days cleared into a perfect blue canvas with bold fluffy clouds that veiled a glowing sun. I walked from Place de la Concorde through the Tuileries, the Louvre, along the Seine, then up past Notre Dame to home. And along the way I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty that surrounded me. As I crossed the Pont d’Arcole, I stopped to listen to one of my favorite street musicians. He is on that bridge frequently, playing the type of acoustic, sweetly melancholic songs that enhance evenings in Paris. I sat and listened for at least 45 minutes, enjoying the breeze, the music, the evening. He only has about 10 songs, and I have heard them all before, but I never tire of them. They invite me to sit and enjoy the evening, to push aside all I ought to do and instead do what I want most. His music is the poetry of twilight and warm breezes, of sunsets and breathless summer days in Paris.