PARIS, FRANCE. I set my alarm for 5:07 am. Tomorrow morning was going to be a lot more difficult than my regular 7:00 am mornings.

Sure enough, 5:07 am, I was awoken by the sweet sultry voice of John Mayer. I knew I’d have to leave by 5:30am to get there on time. I brushed my teeth and hair, pulled on my jeans and t-shirt, grabbed my camera and slipped out the door- pouting that I didn’t have time to grab any coffee.

I turned right out of my door down Rue de Turin. The street lights were still on. The sky was a foggy blue, still thick with the night.

I passed by a Starbucks, longing for a large cup of strong, black coffee. It’s my relaxing, calming drink of choice. I feel gathered and ready to take on the day after I’ve sipped on not only my coffee but my thoughts before the day’s events. Realizing that Starbucks wasn’t opened for another few hours, I grumbled on.

I turned down Rue de Clichy towards Moulin Rouge. Clutching my camera a bit closer to my body, I raced by the bars and sex shops that surrounded the heart of this fine area, the Moulin Rouge. The sidewalks held lingerers and stumblers still filled with sweet alcoholic nectar from the night before.

I grew easy as I turned the corner at Moulin Rouge and started my trek up the lengthy cobblestone road- the drunkards would never be able to make their way up this rigorous hike.

Souvenir shops were bundled away, cafe’s chairs were stacked high against their windows- nothing was on the street except for some parked cars, trash bins, and myself.

It was very serene. Quite pleasant. I continued my trek finally reaching my destination- Sacre Coeur, just in time for the sunrise.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t captivated by the sunrise like I thought I would be. The sun was blocked by the thick clotted sky at the horizon, not presenting itself until much later.

While watching the city light up from the sun’s glow, I couldn’t help but get distracted by the many steps that shelved multiple glass bottles and trash from only a few hours before.

A few faces alongside me sat looking out at the city of Paris, taking swigs of beer and drags of cigs. These were the people of the night, both workers and customers of various bars. Sitting there, I grew disinterested, and could only think about how wonderful the Painter’s Square was to walk through on the way to the Sacre Coeur.

On a recent post for my blog, I focused on the floods of tourists coating every inch of Painter’s Square. I wrote that the area had “lost its charm” because of this. Walking through the empty serene streets gave me a new vantage point of the area; one that made me realize the tourists only just masked its charm. It held so many possibilities and imagination for the day ahead. I don’t think many people can say they’ve walked through Montmarte when it’s been completely empty. I felt calm and relaxed here.

Walking towards the Painter's Square

Walking towards the Painter’s Square

I headed back toward the Painter’s Square. The street cleaners were out, sweeping the garbage, cleaning the streets. Cafes began taking down their chairs and opening their windows. The day began. My calming feeling was fleeting. Now, I just needed a coffee to get that feeling back.