1/16/2010

it's great when you have no expectations

It’s 10 am and I wake up just a few seconds before the text message arrive. Our friend confirms she will be waiting for us in Auxerre. We had been waiting for her confirmation by e-mail but as the night before she hadn’t still replied we were about to leave Paris and get back home. It would be a bigger journey but we couldn’t miss her for only an extra 3 hours drive.

We left Paris outskirts by noon and hit the highroad southeast. The weekend in Paris was very strange. I did felt the city glamour and that “je ne sais quoi” that everyone says about Paris. It does is a place for lovers and felt I would love to come back and spend a more time there to be able to live the city like a local. However, strolling the streets with a baby chair, carrying the baby bag, holding the camera, avoiding the rain and challenging all the other tourists turned those days in Paris very unpleasant. I ended up taking less than 20 relevant photos. A disaster!

Even though my expectations were now in Auxerre, I personally had no expectation from the place as I haven’t done any previous research. All I had was a place in the map. First surprise: Auxerre has a river! This can seem very ignorant but as I mentioned before, my research was limited to a digital map... Cities with rivers have more personality, I think, as it opens the city to a lot more.

The weather wasn’t magnificent but we were lucky enough to walk around with barely any rain, now with our friend kindly guiding us through the city. I can’t say we did an extensive tour. After all we went there to visit our friend and not the city but it was definitely enough to feel that is a place which carries a lot of history.

I don’t mean history like battles and revolutions but the history of all of those who century after century, preserve the city, the houses, its personality. Like you and me, also the houses get fat in Auxerre. Remarkably well preserved, the traditional architecture brought to our days photogenic patterns and traditional buildings that became larger in their top floors.

It’s amazing when you see such buildings alive, being rented, restored, hosting businesses and becoming the set for all the generations that still profit from that romantic farm looking architecture.

The visit to Auxerre lasted only a few hours, reason why this post doesn’t aim to, by any means, describe the city and its culture. It would certainly be unfair to do so. However, it does list something that caught my eyes and is certainly an example to many other cities that simply forget to protect the most obvious, the buildings that we can’t miss.

Auxerre (Yonne, Bourgogne, France)













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