Zumily in Paris
I was gutted when I received an email telling me my train trip to Paris had been cancelled due to train strikes in France. The sad feeling didn’t last long though when the trip had been rescheduled for an earlier time and I was delighted when boarding the train to see I’d been bumped up to first class. I felt extremely fancy. The five-hour ride to Paris was quite uneventful. My human tip tapped on her laptop keyboard in the hope to finish off some last-minute work and by the time she’d finished and grabbed a cup of tea, the morning had ended, and we were pulling up in Gare de Lyon, Paris.
It's been almost 20 years since my human last visited Paris. She used to go regularly for work, for trade shows and fashion week and she wanted to show me some of the sights and places she visited in her youth. We stepped out onto the station platform, The air was cool, and crisp with huff. Snuggled in my hoody, I shook off the cold and strode along the platform leading the way taking in the beautiful blue sky as we walked.
“Hold on Zuma!” I heard from behind me. But I wasn’t about to slow down. There’s lots of walking to do in the next 36 hours, so I continued to pull my human along the platform as she fumbled with her bag to pull out her phone and dashed through the barriers into the station and out through the main exit onto the street.
“Mmmmm, now where do we go?” I sniffed, raring to steam off to the next location.
“Wait Zuma! I must check our location so we can get our bearings.” My human commanded. “It’s been ages since I was here last. Please hold on a minute and stop pulling on your lead.”
I sat for a moment and had a scratch. My hoody was feeling a bit itchy around my middle, so I made the most of the moment, scratched all over and behind me ears as my human stared at her phone to figure out which way to go. “That way!” She pointed after a second or so. One of my humans’ superpowers is finding her way around places. It’s like she has Google Maps installed in her brain. She often tells me “It’s always good to get lost. That’s the only way to find new places and once you’ve found them, you’re never lost in that place again.” Think that kind of makes sense, but she’s always had this weird ability to look at the sky and know where she is. I guess she needs to check her phone to make double sure she knows where we’re going.
“We’re heading to the Louvre Museum, Zuma. It’s not far away. We must follow the river with it to our left and after three kilometres we’ll be there. Do not cross the river. It’s a beautiful old palace style building with glass pyramids in the centre courtyard. It’s easy to recognise.”
I heard her of course, but didn’t take much notice as the new smells, interesting people passing me in various directions and the drone of the traffic beeping by drowned out her voice. My brain was puppy like as I was distracted by everything going on. I pushed forward, quickening my pace hoping to find our destination soon, I pushed and pushed and gathered speed to a run and then a gallop, which continued for some time, crossing roads and bridges always making sure the river was to my left, until my tongued lolled from my mouth as a thirst set in and exhaustion ground me to a halt. I didn’t consider my human at all trying to keep up behind. Then it hit me. I realised my lead was slack and my human was not at the end of it anymore. Where was she? Am I lost………in PARIS?
“Ohhh.” I pined. “What am I to do?”
I sat for a while hoping she would catch me up. Curled up in a ball I felt vulnerable and alone. In a city I didn’t know. The cold air starting to freeze as clouds grew overhead and the afternoon rolled on.
“Think Zuma, Think! What did Mummy say about where we were heading?”
I tried to think back to a few moments before I got too excited and pulled on my lead. My human asked me not to pull and to slow down and I ignored her, too full of excitement to listen. I vaguely remembered her saying something, but I remember the sounds of beeping cars and bicycle bells and the warm smell of fresh croissants more. I remembered her shouting for me to slow down and, what did she say? Stay with the River to the left and do not cross it.
“Oh no! I crossed the river and continued to follow it to my left. I’ve been going in the opposite direction!”
There was only one thing to do. I grabbed my lead, wrapped it around my middle and tied it up, so I didn’t trip over it or get it caught on anything. I was sure my human would be worried about me, so the sooner I find her the better. I shook off my doubt and told myself. “I’m lost in Paris, and I know I can do this. I can find my way back to my human. I’ve passed this way once before and I recognise my surroundings, so technically I am not lost.” I took a deep breath and with valour I strode forward. I needed to retrace my paw steps and that meant I needed to follow the river with it to my right, cross over the bridge and then continue with the river to my left until I find my human.
Soon enough, I was back on track. Back on the correct side of the river padding along with it to my left, nose high sniffing for anything familiar. With no sign of my human though, doubt crept back in, and the air got even cooler, I struggled to think more about what she tried to tell me. “Where were we heading?” I thought hard to myself. “The Loo? A Muse? Something about pyramids? Was she talking in riddles? Did she want to go to the loo?” It was certainly time for me to pay more attention to my surroundings. I continued along the riverbank edge, thinking to myself how insane this whole experience was and not actually realizing the river in Paris was actually called the Seine. Can you imagine If I’d fallen in. I would actually be in Seine.
Boats full of tourists whizzed up and down the river. I couldn’t help but shiver, wondering how cold they must be out there in the water. I passed street performers and vendors, people handing out flyers and tourists discarding the flyers on the floor without care. One fell in front of me, and as I dodged it I got too close to the river’s edge for my liking. I darted back towards the river bank and tried to ignore it, but then it caught my eye. I stopped and took a closer look. The flyer had a photo of two glass pyramids and the heading at the top in big letters “The Louvre Museum”. I knew this was the place my human was talking about. There was no doubting it and with new lustre to find my way there, I grabbed the flyer in my mouth and ran back up onto the road and tried to gain the attention of anyone who would look down at me. Bouncing and barking through my paper filled mouth, I tried to find anyone who would talk to me. Some people presumed me for a rabid animal and took a wide birth, some thought I was performing and pulled out their phone to film me. No doubt I ended up on social media. Just hope I went viral. It took some time and I needed to change tactics to get the correct response, but eventually, I calmly placed the flyer on the floor in front of one of the street vendors. I pushed it towards them with my nose, which was pretty wet at this point making the flyer quite soggy. I took a couple of steps back and made a noise that was a cross between and pine and a growl to get their attention. After a few attempts it worked. A sweet lady in charge of one of the green box things that precariously leant on top of the riverbank wall selling art and postcards finally got my incessant noise and poking of the flyer and after picking it up she pointed me down the road with a signal that could only have meant “take a right at the big fancy building.” I paid very close attention to what she meant and galloped off in hast to find my human.
The big elaborate building really was insight within seconds. I could see it on the opposite side of the road, across from the riverbank. It certainly was very fancy pantsy, with ornate sculptures adorning the sides of the building like they’re clinging on for dear life. Contorting themselves around enormous windows that stand to attention in uniformed rows. I really have never seen anything quite like it. I took a moment to admire the enormity of this historical palace and gazed around the courtyard as I entered through the archway. The sun had seen off the clouds and while still cold and huffy I could feel it’s warmth kissing my fur as I padded slowly through the courtyard mesmerised by the spectacle before me. Finding my human had gone from my mind as I raised a paw to protect my eyes from the glare of the sunlight pouring into the glass pyramids that dominated the square. A glow of warmth radiated through the glass creating an illusion of gold and jewels and I was blinded for a moment by the view. Not able to see, trying to adjust my vision, I could only hear and what I could only understand was a faint, familiar sound.
As my vision returned, I could see her. Distraught with fear which softened in an instant at the sight of me.
“There you are. I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” she screamed with relief. “Why did you run off like that?” She opened her arms, and I ran in as she scooped me up. “You scared me half to death.” I nuzzled in to say sorry as she rubbed my ears and popped me back on the ground.
The rest of the trip to Paris was mostly uneventful. I didn’t leave her side for the whole time. We visited the Eiffel Tower and walked a lot through beautiful parks. Listened to buskers play and ate some truly wonderful food, all doggy friendly, of course. It wasn’t the Paris my human remembered, though she certainly fell in love with it while I was with her.
What a relief I found my human. Note to self: I must listen and pay attention to what my family tell me.