Today, I got lost in a chateau.
I was running down lovely, narrow, rain-drenched trails in the Bois de Vincennes when suddenly, the forest melted away and there was a drawbridge at my feet. A castle rose of of the mist, walls crumbling slightly in parts and grand turrets reaching towards the sky. The door was open, so I ran right it and wove through a maze of tunnels.
Finally, I broke out into an enormous courtyard. Rain was making little rings of ripples in a fountain near the center and a lone, elderly couple shuffled past, clutching each other tightly under a red checkered umbrella. After circling the courtyard a few times I realized I was a bit disoriented and had to somehow get back to St. Michel in time to meet some friends. A pair of runners suddenly whooshed past, and I immidiately attached to them like a leech. They turned out to be a very friendly father and son who had moved to Paris from Marseille a few months ago. We made our way out of the maze and ran together back through the forest, talking all the while about good spots to run in Paris. When we parted, they invited me to run with them again tomorrow, which could be wonderful if I can only find the meeting spot they described in very rapid French.
I am now back at my apartment, drinking a steaming cup of coffee and watching the rain fall on the city. Yesterday was the last day of my intensive language program and I can hardly believe I have been here a month. I can't, however, decide if I feel like I just got here or if I feel like I have been here my entire life. All I know is that time is passing in a very different way.
During our last class, we all left the school and walked with our professor though the beautiful Luxembourg gardens to the mosque in the Latin quarter. If anyone has seen the film "Paris Je t'aime", it is the same mosque that appears in one of the 10 minute shorts. We had tea in a beautiful, ornate tearoom with an enormous chandelier that was laden with real, tiny sparrows and talked about the best things in all the quartiers of Paris.
At this point, I decided that I must commence a pointed, ordered exploration of each of the 20 arrondissements. This will result in 1) discovery of new and exciting things 2) interesting photo journalism and 3) an outlet for my slighly OCD tendencies by starting with 1 and working all the way through to 20. Hooray!
Installment 1 (Louvre) will be released early next week. Stayyy tuned!