A Respite, of Sorts, in Paris

Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro, Paris

It seemed like a good idea to come to Paris over Valentine’s Day.

The City of Light shines this time of year (see Nine Big Reasons to Love Paris in Winter), and a February visit appealed more than ever because Clive and I had a difficult January.

Bonne année – Happy New Year

In the second week of January, Clive came down with a severe infection which, accompanied by a high fever, sent him via ambulance to Accident & Emergency. There he underwent a series of tests and was given IV antibiotics and IV paracetamol. We have nothing but praise and gratitude for everyone we encountered in the NHS, from the first ambulance crew (there were three in total, on two separate occasions – long story) to the hospital nurses and doctors and all the support staff.

During the days Clive recovered at home, I came down with the dreaded lurgy. The two of us made quite a pair. It took ages for both of us to start feeling human again.

Paris Calling (as it does)

On the Eurostar to Paris

I know I’m far from being the only person in the world who hears Paris calling, wherever she or he may be. As readers of this blog know, as far as I’m concerned Paris is always a wonderful idea.

Once Clive and I were both back on our feet – still not 100% but at least functioning again — I couldn’t help noticing Valentine’s Day miraculously fell during a week in between our various appointments in Felixstowe. After so much lurgy and recovery time at home, we agreed a change of scene and a ‘convalescent visit’ to Paris was in order.

Eurostar booked, Valentine’s Day lunch reservation made at a favourite restaurant and otherwise no plans (except sleep and walking) and we were off.

Over-ambitious at Parc de Bercy

Arrival evening and flowers in winter, Paris

Following are some selected photos to share our week’s activities, such as they were. On our first full day, we didn’t leave the apartment until the crack of 1:30pm, and then only to have lunch at our local café and do a few errands in the quartier.

Café in snow flurries, Paris

On a sunny Saturday we rode the metro to Parc de Bercy. As it turned out, our hope for a leisurely walk there was overly-ambitious due to lingering snow and ice on the footpaths and the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir footbridge. We viewed Les Enfants du Monde, 21 ‘urban statues’ by artist Rashid Khimoune, ate baguette sandwiches on a snow-cleared bench then promptly made our way to a café back out on the street for coffee.

la Seine still high after recent flooding and snow

Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir footbridge and Bibliothèque National at Bercy, Paris

Les Enfants du Monde, statues by Rashid Khimoune at Parc de Bercy

Great place for a picnic: we found a snow-cleared bench in this part of Parc de Bercy

We were so happy to be out in the fresh air and sunshine and our legs hadn’t started screaming yet – though they had begun to whisper — from all the effort climbing steps and trying to keep our balance on the icy paths. Later that afternoon, we stopped by Trocadéro, though we took a bus most of the way since our legs and feet were now getting more insistent with their complaints.

After the snow, sunshine on Madame Eiffel

Snow at his feet and Ben watches faithfully over Paris

That evening our bodies told us in no uncertain terms that despite our attempted optimism and, ‘This is really good for our health!’ encouragements back and forth to each other, we’d just overdone the walking. Sunday morning we made it to a lovely church service but came straight home and read or napped for the rest of the day.

Sunshine and papeteries

Another day of blessed sunshine took us to Ile St-Louis, for lunch and a browse at a favourite papeterie. I’m afraid that’s about all we managed on this day, still feeling the effects of January and the weekend walking at Bercy.

la Seine, still high – one bench has only its seat visible

Back of Notre-Dame from Pont de la Tournelle

Papeterie Marie-Tournelle, Ile St-Louis, Paris

Papeterie Marie-Tournelle, Ile St-Louis, Paris

Our remaining days have also been quiet and slow-paced. We made a trip to BHV department store, where I finally replaced an ancient, inexpensive and now-dull bread knife with a beautiful one made by Opinel, a trusted French brand.

On our way to BHV, we diverted to another favourite papeterie and café.

Papier + (Papier Plus), near BHV, Paris

Superb coffee at le Peleton cafe, run by two friendly gents from Down Under, near BHV, Paris

Paris sanctuary

I wouldn’t say our time in Paris has been quite the respite we envisioned, not only because we set ourselves back by tromping around Parc de Bercy in the snow, but also because we’re both still not quite recovered after January. Unusually for us, we didn’t make it to any art exhibits, despite several on my current list.

But for me Paris is a personal sanctuary, at once invigorating and calming, inspiring and healing. It’s always a blessing to be here, and I’m thankful to have had this time with Clive, in the City of Light and love.

Kirs at the café, Paris


Tomorrow morning we head back to the Eurostar. We’ll travel together to London, then Clive will return to Felixstowe for a few important appointments next week while I head to Heathrow and fly out Saturday to see my mom. She’s had some recent difficulties as her condition deteriorates; this has weighed on my mind this week and I’m eager to see and spend time with her.

Au revoir, until next time, little café.


Cheers and merci for reading. À bientôt, until next time.

4 Responses

  1. Glad to hear you are both on the mend. Elizabeth and I have had weeks of debilitating virus too. Just when you think it is over – it returns to bite again. Also glad that Clive’s response from the NHS was good. There is so much negativity about ! Elizabeth got a doctor’s appointment within just over an hour after a single phone call. Enjoy Spring !

    • John, thank you and so true about the debilitating virus/infections! Hope you and Elizabeth keep on the mend too. Happy spring when it gets here 🙂

  2. Hello Carolyn , sorry I am late in commenting. I am happy to hear that you were both able to recuperate in ♥ Paris and also happy to hear that Clive was treated well by the NHS .. My mum and stepfather are well looked after too , and they are 80’s and 90’s .. Thinking of you as you are in the USA, Take care. ( I also had the lurgy , 5 days in bed , couldn’t move, now recovered but tired still , but then that is work for you) .. I must return to Paris soon , miss my friends and Paris xx

    • Bonsoir Annie and merci for your comment! So sorry you also had the lurgy – urrrrgh! Everyone seems to have battled it this year with slow recoveries all around. Yes a return trip to Paris is always a *great* idea as we always agree 🙂

      Cheers and take care in the UK cold this week! xx

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