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September 9, 2018

Waylon à Paris!

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad / Roughing It.

Je suis à Paris!

My Francais isn’t great, mais I’m trying. For photos and more details, check stories and posts in @waylonlewis.

I booked a $450 roundtrip direct flight ticket some months ago. I’m staying in a hostel. I’ve got friends visiting with me, but I’m staying on my own maintenant et having my own adventures.

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Went for a few hours walk after another hour’s walk to Sacre Couer and back, getting lost thoroughly without wifi/sim card/etc but asked directions a few times and folks so helpful. Excuse moi je searche pour…Stalingrad? You’re never really lost in a City as long as you’re willing to ask. One gent in front of the grand Gare du Nord gave the wrong directions, I didn’t really think he was right but did it ‘cause what do I know, but I stopped a block on to ask directions again and the first gent, realizing he’d given me wrong directions, ran after me a block plus to make sure I was heading the right way. He seemed proud of me that I’d already stopped to ask directions again. Kept my wits about me as pickpockets are everywhere, but still staring up at the architecture and countless cafes and everyone’s so loud and social and stylish and it’s dirty here so far and everyone smokes but somehow they make smoking cool again and when I went in the Sacre Couer so great you can go in they were praying and giving speeches and singing and the echoes…I think I may have converted, though I was also half-asleep, jet lag style. Sad to see some cheap Target style MDF furniture in the Sacre Couer, the corruption of cheap made in China crap with formaldehyde is everywhere, even in such an elegant sacred old church! Walked through Indian neighborhood, the food smelled amazing, walked through Japanese neighborhood, walked through African neighborhood with many hair salons open late. Because no sim card missed friends going out to hip hotels but I’ll have 3 weeks. Will see Alex in morning at Wild & something, a vegan cafe. Bon nuit! #waylonaparis #sacrecouer

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Je suis ici! Flight delayed a few hours, but met a good pal sitting by me (well one seat away, we had no one in between = heaven) and spoke lots of pauvre Francais mais c’est fun. Slept all night arrived in the afternoon, no jet lag, journeyed with writer friends Sean and Tania who I met up at #chateaulakelouise, they’d seen the airfare ticket deal I’d shared up and are here on a romantic jazz-hunting journey. Cabbed with them and spoke French with the cab drive, who was very sweet and enthusiastic about my French. Got off at #ShakespeareandCompany, where everyone seems to be American/Tourists and coffee was only to-go (for shame, so Americain). But amazing seeing the place, so much #beatgeneration history la. Then walked by Notre Dame and across Seine and up up up to #GeneratorHostel. Thomas in line was very nice, everyone’s super social including mais bien sur ton ami Waylon, the human labrador retriever. I’m here too late to get #simcard or converter so I can plug in, but McAfee is here so we’ll meet up for drinks with friends and/or I’ll run around in Paris tonight. Mwuah! Ma premiere fois dan Paris! The artchitecture! The beautiful stylish women and men! The histoire! The present! #waylonaparis

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I’ve walked 8 hours today, and at least 3 last night, my first night—and my legs feel it. But it’s been worth it. Paris is everything I thought it would be, and so much more, and so much different. Vive la difference. It seems to have protected its historic buildings, unlike most cities and towns in the US and around the world that have allowed their craftsmanship to be largely lost or degraded. We only have one chance to save the best of our past for our future immemorial. Craftsmanship is mindfulness, whether old or new.

Tourism is everywhere, here, of course, but it doesn’t seem to have succeeded in drowning the culture here, which is proud and powerful and vibrant.

This morning I woke, tired, did my meditation and calisthenic/yoga stuff, and walked off to meet my LA buddy Alex. We got breakfast (including my first Parisian coffee) at Seasons. Vegan boy here stuck to acai/muesli and bread avec jam in its own container (haven’t seen much plastic use, god bless, here).

We walked about Le Marais, and then I walked all over Paris until I was exhausted. Got home, changed out of sweaty clothes, and walked back to meet a new friend, Sara, at Shakespeare & Co. They don’t allow photos inside, and it’s a beautiful maze of cozy books and learning and history in there, including tea time with a charming elderly hostess and a sweet old cat they ask you to not disturb, since otherwise it’d get pet all day. I’d love to do a book reading there–if you’re inspired to help me read there, please email [email protected] (they gave me this email to use) and request that Waylon Lewis read Things I would like to do with You while he’s in Paris (I’m here through the end of Septembre).

I bought a book about Sylvia Beach, the founder lady, and got it stamped. It’s literally the center of Paris, that famous bookshop. The café next door is charming but does a lot of plastic-lined to-go cups, so Americain.

Then we walked the parks and cafe-ed it up and I walked back, another three hours total je pense. Given my sleepy jet lag and endless energy for this exciting City, I’m taking the night off—reading Sun Also Rises and the Sylvia livre—but I’ll continue to report back.

If you want more details and photos, see @waylonlewis.

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