5:45AM and I haven’t left the Charles de Gaulles airport in Paris. Shops are barely opening and people linger waiting for rides, a train, or a next day flight. By dawn I’m on the train watching a beautiful sunrise into the city. I take comfort in the morning glow and the feel of a new day.
At exit Alexandre Dumas I find a cafe open at Rue de la Reunion. Monday mornings are quiet while mostly blue collar men and the homeless walking the street. I cram my three bags through the door and find a seat in a tight corner. The bar is nearly full of Monday morning locals. On the agenda for today is to sit in a French cafe, just to sit and listen to the sounds, for hours. I order a “cafe au lait” and the barista responds with words I don’t understand. I smile and try to agree with a question I don’t understand. With a glance of the pile of luggage, the barista gets my lack of response and serves me with a sympathetic smile. He must know this is my first stop.
Hours after sitting and drawing, I sip the last of my water and coffee and pack my things. A gentleman grabs the door for me and the barista gives me a smile and a wave as I walk through the doorway. The day still crisp, but now the streets are awake with people.