Paris to London

Tuesday, May 30th 2000

The next day dawned grim and rainy. I decided it would be a good day to check out the Pompidou centre, but when I arrived at 10.30am, I found out it wouldn't open until 11am. So I wandered around in the drizzle for half an hour, returning to read the sign more carefully and realise it wasn't actually going to open at all. So I wandered around the left bank and the Ile St. Louis.

I had lunch of French bread and cheese near Boulevard Jules Ferry, then went to Gare du Nord to buy a ticket back to Calais. The rain built up to monsoon proportions while I was at the station, but by the time I was done it had eased back to a heavy drizzle, so I thought I'd go to Montmartre. I climbed to the top and spent a while gazing out over Paris.

This was the moment I felt my student days were really over. I was absolutely broke and would need to get a job as soon as I got back. I felt melancholy as I thought about the last four years, standing up there in the rain. But I pulled myself together as it was getting dark, and the rain began to fall heavily again.

The sky was still leaden in the morning, but it was dry as I made my way to the station. I got a TGV to Calais, where the sun had broken out, and by the time I was across the channel, it was a warm, sunny day. France was clearly visible across the water, which is always startling. I got on the train back to London, and prepared myself for the real world.

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