Being a visitor in a place is very different from living there. It’s not so much that we forget where we are, or that we necessarily even take it for granted, but that the business of day-to-day living takes so much of our attention.
I was reflecting on this as I ambled out from our hotel, early on a recent Monday morning, in the Septième in Paris. All around me, people were walking swiftly through the streets, heading to work or other appointments, with their heads down and their minds seemingly on the business at hand. For me, however, it was all wonderfully ‘foreign’. It could only be Paris! Large dogs dragged their owners for walks along the wide, tree-lined boulevards; long lines of people queued into the local bread shops; and if I looked up, the Eiffel Tour was visible, not so far away.
I couldn’t help but wonder how often the local Parisians look up at that wonderfully quirky structure that can be seen from much of the inner city. I’m sure they do – I myself know exactly which spots, on all the roads east into Sydney from the lowly Western Suburbs, where I will first catch a glimpse of the harbour and its wonderful bridge. And, as I sit in the back of taxis, crawling through the sludge that is Bangkok traffic, my breath is still taken regularly by the sun glinting off one of the many jewelled temple roofs.
This is one of the beauties of living in a great city: those moments are always there, even when we are distracted by other things. And so it must be in Paris: people rushing to work on a Monday morning are occasionally reminded where they are, no matter how busy they get.
As a tourist, however, I had the whole day free to revel in it! I hope you enjoy the photo collection.
(Pictures taken Monday, July 19th, 2010)