I took the overnight coach from London to Paris. It arrived at Paris Bercy gare routiere early in the morning, severely early, the driver was ahead of schedule, probably wanted to get home.
The station is vast, several coaches are parked there but few people apart from us who have just arrived. Some of the benches are occupied by people lying stretched out on them. Outside it's still dark, a few people clustered together, talking quietly. I wait till it's light then walk outside into the empty park, along a walkway, looking for an exit.
There is that special early morning feeling, an overcast day just beginning to wake up. And I am in Paris. There is always something dream-like for me to be in Paris. I test the dream as I walk over an enormous passerelle, not flat but undulating, giving the feeling of being on water, a gradual wave-like feeling increasing the sense of unreality.
The bridge is made of thin wooden slats, some of them loose underfoot, and there are gaps too where you can see the water far below. I don't look down. This is an enchanting bridge suspended between sky and water, you could imagine angels using this crossing as they mediate between the worlds.
I walk to gare d'Austerlitz and take the metro. I'm heading for boulevard Saint Michel and the bookshops. But first, croissants from a boulangerie near the metro Maubert Mutualite. They won an award so I read for being the best croissants in Paris. And they are. Then to the cafe Village Ronsard, with market stalls all around, for coffee.
My search in the bookshops on Boulevard Saint Michel was hugely successful. I found the books I wanted, and others. By this time the clouds had dispersed and the sun was out. I have plenty of time before catching the next bus so I walk along by the Seine, back to the Parc de Bercy and the coach station.
Just next to the park there is a delightful garden with brick walkways, lots of flowers and an insect hotel.
Then I take the coach to Rouen.