Want to find out how much you love someone? Move to a foreign country together, one of you leave for a week, and then stop and think about just how excited you get when that person returns. What seemed small and manageable together all of a sudden feels unwieldy and fear-inducing.
Erin is in Boston for a wedding, and I’m a gigantic baby. Most who know us know that we don’t really spend a lot of time apart. That happens when you worked together and then quit those jobs together. We’re also homebodies. But after, like, one night, it’s not fun to be a homebody alone.
So, to avoid going down a black hole of Star Trek, cheese and pâté eaten straight from the jar with a spoon, I’m forcing myself to get out. While it can feel just as/maybe more isolating to be out in a city of millions where you know nearly no one, I got to see some cool stuff.
Also known as Coulée verte René-Dumont, this is Paris’ version of NYC’s High Line. Built in the 1990’s on old elevated railway infrastructure, the Promenade Plantée connects the Bastille neighborhood in the 12th to Bois to Vincennes just east of the city.
The trail runs nearly 3 miles and is flat the entire way. The walk features a variety of plant life, artwork and architecture, and it also benefits from avoiding roving hordes of tourists (ahem). It was a great way to spend some alone time out in the city.
When I reached the end, it was only a 20-minute walk home to Montreuil. Feeling satisfied, I THEN drank some wine, ate some carbonara and watched — wait for it — Star Trek.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Most everyone knows about PLC (what the locals (only me) call it). Erin and I went there two years ago on a trip to Paris. That time, we stuck to the map, seeking out the big name graves: Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Frédéric Chopin, etc.
This time, I just went to wander. Like Promenade Plantée, PLC is quite tranquil. There are a lot of tourists there, but the cemetery is expansive. It is easy to avoid the big crowds if you are not seeking out celebrity graves.
HOT TAKE ALERT: As I was walking through the cemetery, I found myself filling with sorrow. Many of the mausoleums were once quite beautiful, I’m sure. Time has not been kind to many of them, however, and I’m sure they will continue to fall into a more advanced state of disrepair. Cremate me or buy one of those things that will turn me into a tree (don’t worry, Erin knows this). Spend your money on the living.
Mercifully, Carrie and Hadi were around this weekend to take pity on my sorry ass. Before watching a their choir performance on Sunday at the American Church in Paris, I took advantage of the nice weather and explored the 7th arrondissement.
So back to the lede. Erin comes back tomorrow night, and right now I would say I’m at about first-date/marriage/we cure cancer/the world rids itself of nuclear weapons-level excitement. So I think I have my answer.