Lucy Ferriss


I've called this blog "Travelin' Thoughts" in the past, because I kept it mostly as a journal to record impressions of new places and cultures. But in a way, it's still a place for traveling thoughts--ideas that move through and past me, and out into the world. Some of these are literary, some just about life. It's a good place to open up the conversation, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Spring and Pickpockets

March 31, 2018

On a glorious Sunday afternoon -- there really is nothing like Paris when the sun finally emerges -- we métro'd to Concorde and walked through the Tuileries, flowers popping color at us from every little path, down to the Petit Palais, which had an exhibit of Dutch painters who'd spent time in Paris, along with a flurry of pastels. The Petit Palais itself is a fantastic space. I'd always thought it was, well, a palace, like the Louvre, transformed into something for the public. But no. It was built for the world's fair in 1900, and now it fills these light, airy galleries with an eclectic collection. It was such a beautiful day that we went for lunch in the Tuileries, despite feeling a bit poorer every since Don's wallet was pinched on the métro Friday night, after my choral concert at the American Cathedral. So to balance out the joy of Paris in the springtime, here's the sobering story, a caution to you all.

We'd eaten across the street from the concert hall and headed home around 10:30. We missed my usual route, the #80 bus, by 30 seconds. Deciding, fatefully, to take the métro instead (involving a slog through Gare St.-Lazare, which is why I hate the route), we waited on the platform while the local theatre let out and dozens of wealthy evening people descended underground. When the train came, we all pressed in. I first saw, then felt, the hand of the man whose back was turned to me, scrabbling fitfully at my purse. I pulled the purse tightly toward me and was grateful that the wallet was tucked into an inside pouch. I should have shouted something very loud. Instead, when we got off at the gare, I mentioned to Don that I thought someone was trying to pick my purse. He put his hands on the front pockets of his jeans and said, "Oh my god, my wallet's gone." About 400 Euros, plus credit cards, license, etc. A half-hour later, we started making calls to credit card companies and the bank; sure enough, the thieves had already started trying to withdraw money and make purchases. Next day, we spent two hours at the police station making the report. My friend Bonnie Krueger, who's spent many years here, tells me Don is now a true Parisian.

Anyway, that experience prompted a bit of caution, and so as we boarded the métro home from Concorde, we were surprised and pleased to find this odd neighbor across the aisle from us. Since then, I've been out and about in the sun, snapping shots of the heads carved into the Pont Neuf (do they make you think of decapitation?), the gardens on the houseboats. I tried to get a photo of the huge bird on the balcony across the street who was ripping into the homeowner's tree, pickpocketing the tasty buds, but he was a blur of beak and feathers, writhing with spring appetite.

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