As often happens when I’m travelling, I didn’t get a great night’s sleep. More often than not, hotels have a strange energy about them and it’s rarely relaxing for me. I tend to have in the back of my mind the feeling that I am in someone else’s space. Or someone is going to walk into my room.
I think I was also a bit stressed about my meetings today; the reason I was in Paris in the first place. I knew I was going to be spending four hours sitting between conflicting parties trying to get them to collaborate to solve a major problem. This problem is a big obstacle for the company I work for and there is a lot of pressure on myself and my team to solve it quickly.
Anyway, I was awake at 6am and had several hours to kill before I needed to be in the office. So I got up and went out for a walk. I’m trying to make sure I see more of the cities I visit on business trips, because it’s a way to make them feel more worthwhile. I aim to find something exciting or new to do in each place and make time for it.
I hadn’t made such a plan for Paris, so I just walked. I had no expectations. But the morning was cool and beautiful, and I saw a side to the city that felt very special. I saw the time before the streets are crowded and coaches cram alongside every pavement. It was peaceful and I could take my time to meander down to the River Seine via the Grand Palais, around the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, back and forth across numerous ornate bridges and back via the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées. All before my morning coffee. I was so happily surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Here are a few photos from my stroll (only from my phone so apologies for the quality).
I’m now waiting in the airport to fly home. It’s been a long and testing week, but I have got through it and I am grateful that I managed to still enjoy something of my latest trip. That feels like a small but important victory given everything I’ve been up against.