Paris glows at night. In its small back streets the yellow street lights warm old stone, but the stone itself always seems luminous to me. Tiny bars and restaurants fill to the seams. Patrons place orders for long, lazy evenings of food and wine and conversation.
The city, so bustling during the day, feels like it contracts. It becomes intimate. The change is enchanting.
So when my boyfriend and I were in Paris for a week last September, it didn't take long for us to make after-dinner walks to the Louvre a routine. It was a nice distance from our apartment on Place des Victoires. We had nowhere to be, no schedule, and contented bellies full of food and wine. That is the basic recipe for a stroll. Yes, we strolled.
Sometimes there would be a handful of other people milling about the courtyard. Men sold trinkets and helicopter toys that whizzed into the air with madly blinking lights. Tourists stopped for a few quick pictures before moving on to their next destination. Rats scavenged for food on the lawn of Tuileries and nearly scared me into the trees (I'd never seen a rat that big before, ok? It wouldn't be the last, either).
It always felt like the Louvre was ours for a few small, simple moments.
Our slice of Paris at night. It felt so big, so magnificent and yet so close, so welcoming. Is it cliche? Sure. But that never made it any less wonderful.