Paris was lovely, apart from the food (more on that later.) With alternately gloriously late-summer sunny and heartlessly mid-July rainy—like the most Parisian of love affairs—and with beautiful parks and fantastic architecture, it was a city to melt the heart. The métro was a smooth and cheap experience, with trains running till well after midnight. Nightlife, dictated by the soi-disant party animals at the conference, was as bad as you’d expect that to be. Irish bar, English bar, American bar. I wouldn’t mind but the attendees were mostly European. Maybe in that context an American bar seemed somehow daring, but it was worth going two doors down for beer that didn’t break the bank.
Once again I didn’t get to see the Eiffel Tower, or the Louvre, or the Notre Dame. I did get as far as the Jardin de Luxembourg and Marshall Fey (or at any rate a statue of him.) Most of our time, though, was spent between our hotel and the conference venue, both in the 14e arrondissement. Suburban and quiet, it’s not particularly exciting. There are barely any shops off the rue d’Alesia. But its greenness and homely peacefulness, with colonnade upon colonnade of Parisian trees—whatever their equivalent of London’s plane trees are—was relaxing and welcoming in a way that closer to the city centre could never be.
I’d like to say I feel rested, but my high-octane attendance of the conference has rather put paid to that. I feel happy and like I accomplished a lot, but very much like I could do with a second week off, this time on holiday. And after that… well, you know how you get to the end of a holiday and think: goh, I could do with another week just to recover? Well, I’d work on it.