We are midway into our Paris vacation and around this time, we start missing food from home -- the surfeit of european food -- crepes, saucisses, pastries, baguettes, fromages -- how about some stick to the ribs rice?
Dinner was take away -- there was a small chinese take out store a block away so we bought yang chow fried rice, prawns with chili and braised duck to take back to the apartment.
In my imagination, I see just one central gigantic asian kitchen that supplies all these oriental traiteurs or delis which you find almost everywhere in the city.
The food looks and tastes uniformly the same, no matter which store in which district you buy it from.
But I'm not complaining -- it makes it easy to get a taste of home from wherever you stay.
How about some 1664 with that yang chow fried rice? French beer in the house!
It was a heavy and filling meal and after stuffing myself, I felt I needed to get out and walk the chili prawns off. It was just after 9 pm as I set off to see where my boots would take me.
I slip out of the front door of 30 rue St. Andre des Arts and head towards Rue de Buci. The streets are well lit and Christmas lights line the way. Lots of people are out and about, enjoying the mild evening, it had been drizzling the whole day but tonight was perfectly dry.
I walk past the Le Buci bistro and head down quiet Rue Mazarine.
It's dark save for a few street lights and the lit dome of the Institut de France to guide me to my destination. But I feel perfectly safe walking down this alley late at night. I'm in Paris, I'm alone but I'm not afraid.
Rue Mazarine merges with Rue Seine and I come out at Quai Malaquais -- my footsteps quicken because I know the Seine is just across the street.
I cross in front of the Institut de France, all lit up and golden in the night.
The Seine is gorgeous on this late winter night. There are restaurant boats below me that are full of people eating, drinking -- toasting their happiness that they are in Paris.
I wish I had a flute of champagne to toast my happiness too.
It's a marvelous night to be out and I enjoy the unmistakably french atmosphere -- the river Seine, the old buildings, the boats -- this is why Paris is my favorite city in the world.
The pedestrian only wooden bridge Pont des Arts links the Institut de France with the Louvre. Just a while ago, I was at home and now I am at the back entrance of the Louvre!
Paris is a city you can walk everywhere to -- here, I am a le flaneur -- a stroller, enjoying the charms of the city as only a walker can.
I pause on the bridge to take a photo of the thousands of "love locks" that people have clamped on to the bridge.
Tourists and locals alike put locks with their names on it -- hoping that their love will be immortalized in Paris.
For a time, the Paris bureaucracy wanted to remove all the locks from the bridges but the ensuing hue and cry prevailed and for now -- you can still find these locks on most of the bridges that span the Seine. Such a romantic idea.
It's way past 10 pm and I have been out for more than an hour. Time flies when you are in the most beautiful city in the world.
But I cannot sleep by the Seine (although a lot of homeless people do) so for now, I trace my footsteps back to 30 rue St. Andre des Arts.
One last photo as I cross the road -- for now, bonne nuit Paris!
Le flaneur has to sleep.