I had a different photo planned for today, a lovely Parisian sunset that was going to perfectly capture the longest day of the year. But when I went to get it out of my digital filing cabinet I found this one, and decided to run it instead.
These are the Bateau Mouches (I am totally murdering this spelling), the big, flat-bottomed boats that you can pick up at various places on the Seine and take a water-borne tour in. They pass the Louvre, the Musee de Orsay, and usually make a U-turn at the Eiffel Tower. Completely, utterly touristy, so of course I can’t get enough of it. The night version of the tour is infinitely better than the day version, since the city is all lit up around you, glowing and romantic. The romantic part is wasted on me, since I always go to Paris alone, but the lighting – c’est magnifique.
This photo is taken just as we slip under one of the many bridges of Paris. You can see on this ride there aren’t many people up top – it was March, I think, and totally freezing – but I once took the very latest ride of the night (yes, I’ve gone more than once) and was grateful that I was virtually the only person on board, since I was feeling a bit of alone-in-Paris melancholy – when at the last instant a herd of schoolkids got on board, at least 25 kids. They all poured noisily onto the upper deck and my first thought was, “AAAAARGH”.
But you know what? they totally made the trip. They were French kids – so much for the theory that no French people ride the boats – and they were so innocently excited, scampering and laughing and going “whooooooo” every time we passed under a bridge, to test the acoustics – that it was like being on a field trip with the Harry Potter kids, a sensation amplified by the pre-teen Hermione look-alike sitting in front of me, whispering urgently in another kid’s ear. I spent the whole ride giggling at (with) them, enjoying their antics, and when the boat nosed up to the dock I was actually sorry to see them go.
But I wasn’t even concious of being alone anymore. And for that, tiny french children, I say merci.