Friday, 17 May 2013

Paris 10e

Aristide Cavaillé-Coll - not a name with which I was familiar - was reputed to be the finest organ-builder of the 19th Century. He is commemorated by a garden near the Gare du Nord. I have been strolling around this part of Paris since arriving by Eurostar this afternoon, with time to spare before I catch the night train to Munich.

Sitting outside a café in the sunshine with a beer, I watched children being collected from school, mostly by grandparents. The atmosphere of this area resembles not at all that with which I am familiar, and even in daylight feels quite threatening to an old codger from Cheltenham. I took refuge in the large church of St Vincent de Paul and found Mass in progress - peaceful and dignified, as befitted an elderly congregation, but with a young, rather traditionalist priest.

Emerging, and before walking the short distance to the magnificent Gare de l'Est, I bought apricots, bread and peppermints at a supermarket ahead of the rest of my long journey. Now I'm enjoying dinner in the station restaurant.

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