Arriving in the City of Light


There wasn’t quite the sense of awe this time as we cruised down the Seine and arrived in Paris.  Instead the feeling of pleasant relief and comfort knowing we were coming back again to the familiar.  It was a bright blue sky day, the journey from Lagny was short and we knew the slip would be empty and waiting. So there was no stress to hurry.  Approaching the lock into the Arsenal we were asked by radio to wait – there was a small pleasure boat, Sirius, already in the lock chamber and a couple gendarmes beside it in a zodiac were checking the captain’s papers. Odd. We made wide circles on the Seine in front of the “door” into the Arsenal, awaiting permission to lock through.  After about 15 minutes, the gendarmes got what they wanted, peeled out of the lock and we entered in behind Sirius, still curious about the delay.

Juillet Column - 5

Locking up to the port and looking forward, the July column on the Place de la Bastille lay straight ahead…We weren’t quite sure who our neighbors would be this winter but that didn’t matter.  It was a happy arrival.  With no wind kicking up in the port and no tour boat hogging the fairway, Bill moored perfectly – with the help our new neighbor Beatrice, our crew Jay and Yvette, Guy and Marleen and moi,  With that many helping hands mooring can be a disaster!  But it was perfect.

Political Rally at Bastille - 08

The quiet country moorings of the last months are far behind us!  The cacophony of Paris eventually will disappear as white noise, but now the rumble of the metro, burble of boat engines waiting for the lock to open, cackling birds on the water and murmuring pigeons on the wall, little tooting horns and the more demanding ones blaring around the Place de la Bastille, squealing breaks and the blaring relentless police chases, zooming vroom-vrooming motorcycles, the endless clanking of construction scaffolding being raised to new heights, the noisy jibberish of merry makers lunching on the Arsenal’s wall . . .  our neighbor’s gentle chimes tinkling in the breeze and the rare pockets of silence occurring between these sounds make up this cacophony of Paris…but now we know we are here and are wrapped up in these sounds.

Friends and neighbors gather to help each other in, at the lock and to moor, as if it was just yesterday we said goodbye.  Treasures in the neighborhood are many . . .

Anna arriving

Anna arriving

Yves on Isabelle

Yves on Isabelle

Yves, handsome in his Panama hat, Anna, her southern charm always welcoming, Annick the official photographer, the white and ginger cat, Papagaeno, moving silently, exploring, missing nothing but the tips of his ears, are but a few. And my constant beacon, the genie at the top of the verdigris July column, changing with the light as the gauzy sky of morning brightens to reveal his golden self perched upon a golden orb. That is the object in my long view from the back deck.  And for as long as the days are fair, this is where my days begin and end.

September is beautiful . . . old friends and new ones visit our Paris neighborhood on the Seine, adding to our pleasure at being here.  Chat Lune still our treasured companion for 2 months, Jay and Yvette,  Penelope’s Arc, Moon Shadow,  and Cary stopping on his way to his walk on the pilgrim’s road to Compostelle. . . and why not?  Afterall, Paris is the center of the western world, right?