There is a minor drawback to the sense of having Paris in one’s possession: one must wake up and leave the house early on a Sunday morning. The city’s eyes are closed, its street muscles relaxed, the stillness complete. I love my walk at daybreak just after the night lamps are switched off and the first lights appear. The mind is fresh, the city unoccupied. There is room for everything. But first a stop just around from the house for my morning coffee and buttered slice of fresh baguette at Le Petit Fer à Cheval in the rue Vieille du Temple, a landmark of charm and atmosphere beloved of tourists and locals, a nugget of Parisian allure, adored by the connoisseurs.
Then it is to the river and to the Quai de Bourbon on l’île St. Louis before I cross to the Rive Gauche and head straight on the Rue Soufflot to the Jardin de Luxembourg. The garden has barely any joggers by the time I get there. The winter nudity of the trees makes the place more magnificent. It seems to revel in its solitude. Soon the place will be populated even in the winter months. Time to head back home.
The afternoon stroll before sunset is the second best part of Sunday. I head to Montmartre, the highest point in the city to witness the winter sun wash down the domes of the Basilica of the Sacré Coeur and the surrounding buildings providing inspiration for yet another generation of Utrillos and Valladons to render the glory of this unique spot under the colors of the twilight. At this moment Paris may no longer be just mine, but I still love it.