Thursday, 9 February 2012


I am in France! It is 7am and it's still dark - I can see the moon still resting above the chimney's of the buildings opposite our 'Hostellerie'. But the smell of fresh bread and pastry woke me up. Yep, Paris are the things you hear people say, and then it's something else altogether. Everything is utterly charming. Every street is lined with old, three story buildings of white and many with little, ornate, iron balconies. Even when we went through what seemed to be a ghetto area on our way from the airport on the train. There were apartment blocks that looked centuries old with quaint window boxes, shackled rooftops, curly balconies and white painted bricks.

But It is the thick of Winter here and the air is so cold in a matter of seconds the wind stings any part of any bare skin that is not covered. It is fresh and I like it! But my face got so red and numb i couldn't tell if my nose was dripping or not, and after 10 minutes I couldn't pronounce 'w' or 'r' so I couldn't speak properly in English, let alone the sparse French I learnt. If my already mittened hands weren't in the pockets of my overcoat, they started to get icy and disappeared from feeling. And my toes, omigosh I am so afraid of getting some mild form of frostbite on my feet because they get cold numb and sore so quickly! After an hour of walking around I was sure I had done my feet some frozen damage (but they are in fact miraculously fine). I'll just have to buy some new boots with shearling on the inside.

I have found I can get away with wearing opaque stockings and a dress in this -15'c. Which is a relief since i couldn't bring myself to pack any jeans or pants as I was determined to pack light. As long as I have two tops and two jackets on, and a good pair of boots, stocking or tights are fine in the snow!

And yes, the people in general are unanimously gorgeous here. What's with that?

Maybe it's because I look out with a sketching eye, and people in particular who dress with more individual style like particular hats, and scarves, and shoes (which is everyone here!) stand out as a beautiful character to draw in my sketch book. Everyone dresses with panache, but so simply and understated. Everything about their attire from shoes to hair looks impeccably maintained, yet casually put together or left naturally.

Or maybe it's because from the airport to now we've already seen at least five times complete strangers striking up jovial conversations with each other.

An old lady began chatting to a man and his toddler sitting two tables away in a small patisserie and they carried on happily til one of them went on their way. An old man leaning on his walking stick exchanged chatter with a 20-something girl knitting on the train, and they laughed and said this and that. An old man even turned around and started laughing and talking to Tim as they both went through a row of some strange looking doors that we were not sure was the exit or not at a metro stop. He spoke rapidly in French, laughing and Tim just nodded and smiled.

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