Peace and quiet. There is, of course, still background noise: the sound of a hoover from one of the street-side bars, the murmur of conversation between people on the terrace having breakfast, cars on the street… But there is definitely more peace and quiet in Paris during August. Practically, this can be a little inconvenient – pharmacies, bars and bakeries just shut down suddenly in August, but I know that it is impossible to "have it all"!
I work in the 16th arrondissement, where the residents are generally well off and dressed very sharply, the shops are a mix of Zara and Mango with Zadig&Voltaire and Repetto, the streets are lined with beautiful, shady trees and the apartments are simply sublime. "Who lives in a house like this?" as Lloyd Grossman used to ask on Through the Keyole. Well Lloyd, Lenny Kravitz has a house on the street opposite my work office, just to give you a clue about the calibre of this neighbourhood!
For me, a bit of peace and quiet is something to be cherished in a big city. Park Buttes Chaumont is one of my favourites green spaces in Paris, because I forget the city – there is no sign of it! It's definitely the kind of place I would be happy to go to by myself. In Bristol, when I was a student, I used to study or hang out in little random cafés a lot, and I remember being out and about in London frequently by myself when I lived there. Here, I tend to spend a lot of my down time in my apartment. I think I have yet to find my café here, a solace where I can go when I want to be by myself for a couple of hours, to read or write thoughts down in my journal.
I've recently started running outside with a work colleague during lunch. We run around a lake, the lake at the top of this post (and may i also point out that first, we have to run to the lake itself!) One lap is 2.5k, and I really enjoy these moments. I don't have a lot on my mind when I'm running – I just put my headphones on and get on with it, but I relish the break from work and the freeness of the experience.
I feel that I have been in need of some peace and quiet of late: I have had such a confusing experience for the past month or two, with someone I thought was a friend, and it has definitely affected me. Now I've managed to figure everything out in my head, whilst dealing with said person in a mature and respectful way and making sure that I came out of this with my self-respect and confidence intact. I'm definitely seeing it as one of those valuable life learning episodes, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about? Life is beautiful and life is for living - I'm definitely into the "Carpe Diem" philosophy!
Where do you find your peace and quiet? What do you cherish about it?