A few days ago, a friend of mine tweeted joyfully about having risen early on a Saturday morning to begin the day’s activities. She didn’t have anything extraordinary planned: she was going to drop off her laundry at the laundromat, buy a baguette at the bakery and probably pick up a few things at the organic store. However, I understood why she was pleased because I’ve often felt the same thing myself: waking up early and going outside when you could have stayed in the warmth of your bed means taking possession of your neighbourhood and your day.
Paris is not quite the same as usual at 7am on Saturday mornings. When I’m lucky enough to be fully rested and “up to” going out into the cold morning air just because, I make the most of it and admire how calm the icy roads are in the winter months, as well as the silence that blankets the streets that then take on a fairy tale quality. For a few moments, I feel like I’m the only person in the world that is witnessing the dazzling sight of Paris awakening to a new day.
I really enjoy walking in the middle of the street while there are no cars in sight. Virtually the only sound I can hear is that of my feet softly clopping along on the flagstones. The cold air fills my lungs and somehow tastes less polluted than at 9am when I walk to the subway station through the car fumes. Although it might just be my imagination glorifying these quiet instants snatched away from my busy day and filtering the air I breathe!
Of course, you’re not really alone at 7am on a Saturday morning in the streets of Paris. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of the rare creatures of the Land Before Sunrise: deliverymen, bakers smoking cigarettes before opening up their shops and best of all, the quiet dog owners walking their dogs. I love watching the dogs rediscovering their “territory” and sniffing everything they can get their nose on, and it makes me smile to see the owners spending a privileged moment with their dear pets before beginning their day, even though I am sure they are often thinking wistfully of the warm beds that are awaiting them inside.
To be honest, I could have written an article on the art of sleeping in on Saturdays, which is something that I like to do too. But at the end of the day, I prefer going outside by myself and feeling the cool wind on my red cheeks peeking out of my thick woollen scarf to staying in bed all morning, even though I’ve more than earned a lie-in after working hard at the office all week.
It just goes to show that there’s something for everyone on this planet!