Once in Paris, I braved the unkind elements and never stopped for a minute. I took tons of pictures, walked perhaps 6 hours a day, only stopping at every other boulangerie for chouquettes, and to do research at various museums and libraries for the historical parts of my novel.
Beside being wet and cold, my main peeve with my time in Paris was to continuously look for bathrooms. It's an OCD thing. If I begin to think I might need to go it turns obsessional.
The only places to go to the bathroom in Paris are the cafes. But when you go the bathroom in a cafe you end up drinking something, and an hour later you have to repeat the process: obsess. pee. drink. repeat.
That first day I stopped to pee at Parisian cafes so many times I believe in hindsight that I was doing the human equivalent of marking my territory.
The following days I bypassed the problem entirely by avoiding tea and only drinking espresso (less liquids.) So I pretty much spent a week running on espresso and chouquettes. I had tons on manic energy, it was great!
I believe I decoded the whole French Women Don't Get Fat thing. It's really a simple alchemy: walk 6 hours a day+ freeze your butt off + drink espresso + eat chouquettes + pee = look fit and skinny and show fangs like a true Parisienne.
* about those pictures: The rain does have its advantages. No harsh lights and contrasts, and no tourists.
These pictures were taken around my beloved Eiffel Tower. This was Day Two. I started at Métro Passy. Bought chouquettes (twice) in my old neighborhood. Then I walked toward Trocadéro and down to the gardens that surrounds the Eiffel Tower. The marroniers were in full bloom, it felt like such a gift to be in Paris at the peak of blooming season for wisteria, clematis AND Horse Chestunut trees. When I got to the tower, it was grey and pouring rain, and then, suddenly, as though she was recognizing me and brightening at the sight of me, her old friend, the clouds parted, blue sky peaked through and the sun shone brightly (though not for long).
I was so thankful and happy to be there. So happy to be taking my time. I walked all around the Eiffel tower at my pace. No husband eager to run to the next thing. No kid tired of walking. I was in heaven.