The city is made of white buildings: squares and rectangles that ratchet up and down the angled slopes in creamy side step. Inside the Pantheon we walk around the sculptures, hushed and with slow tread. The bodies are white: frozen figures of the revolution in pale marble and beneath are inscribed the words Vivre Libre ou Mourir.

I am in Paris to visit my gorgeous friend, Laura, who is almost finished her time in France working as an au pair.

The paper bag wrapped around our breadstick is yellow and patterned with illustrations of baking. Far off, the lights of the Eiffel Tower are golden and sparkling over the city. Later, a street jazz band on Montmatre is surrounded by a yellow circle of light and dancing bodies.

In the Galerie Lafayette we climb the flights of stairs to look up at the famous ceiling, patterned with colour. The gas lamps above the métro stations are smoked with the same red as the shiny cherries that we eat kicking our legs above the Seine. From across the water comes the tumbling sound of a trumpet.

That night we drink Kir Cassis at the front of a cafe, talking and watching the Sunday streets. The waiter is initially grumpy with us but by the time we leave he is smiling, flicking ash onto the pavement from his cigarette.


There is blue in the sky between the rooftops, in the blue tiled tables of the Mosque, mint tea and the smoke of a sheesha. We take Alex, Celia and François to the swimming pool where Laura and I sit high up in the stands over shimmering water and hot chlorine smell. The reflected light makes dancing lines on the ceiling.

In the summer breeze, helicopters of seed pods spin to the ground, catching on our clothes and in our hair. Green for pistachio macaroons and grassy knees and cycling along boulevards of trees.

At the Pont de l’Archevêché, the bridge is a rainbow of padlocks, bike chains, ribbons and strips of cloth. Lovers have scratched names, drawn shaky hearts, and perhaps inscribed their country into the metal locks. Then they throw the keys down into the drifting water.


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