Many visitors think of Paris as a city of major monuments—the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe. But we walkers know that it’s the small moments discovered by chance that are the most beautiful. The incentive to lose yourself in Paris is huge because you never know what you will find when you turn a corner—a neighborhood arch?
A twelfth century tower around the corner from your favorite bistro?
Or a statue, like La Flamme de la Liberté, that you discover when emerging from a metro stop
It is not just the buildings that tempt one to range through the city, but the architectural details like antique door knobs.
Spying a grinning face or animal peering from a doorknob, I imagine the hands that have touched them over hundreds of years. And the doors themselves, from all different eras, which have opened and closed on generations of Parisians.
Is it any wonder that Paris is so tempting to walk through? The narrow alleys, flanked with antique buildings on all sides, enclose you in an intimate atmosphere:
And the light, ever changing, beckons. Imagine opening a door into a cathedral to find light rays piercing an arched hallway:
Or illuminating a stained glass window during a quiet afternoon...
And, finally, glittering through rain-drenched streets at night:
Then there are the Parisians crowded everywhere, smoking, bicycling, laughing, talking with dramatic hand gestures--the men outfitted in tight brightly colored pants, the women discreet and trendy, and the children prancing through the streets as if they owned the town.
It is the fault of Paris' siren call that I have become a sock knitter. The hours of walking through narrow cobblestone streets, up and down flights and flights of stairs take their toll. Halfway through my Paris visits, I have to ice my feet and by the end, I can barely hobble onto the plane. So this year, I arrived with a strategy. Courtesy of the Bakery Bears Podcast, I learned that well-fitted hand knitted socks can reduce walking and running fatigue so I was determined to make some of my own.
As a beginning sock knitter suffering from a concussion, I decided to start as simply as possible. I purchased Very Pink’s Learn to Knit Socks pattern which uses worsted weight yarn and is illustrated by a step-by-step video. I found it quite easy to follow and I just added in a little Peerie flooer from Kate Davies hat pattern which I had knitted recently. However, I did not like the shaping instructions which led to a really pointy-looking toe. It's also pretty obvious I was kitchnering to join my toe stitches for the first time. The toes of those socks look rough!
My next time using the pattern, I was able to adapt the toe shaping somewhat. I did find the socks extremely comfortable to wear, and they truly did reduce my walking fatigue during the Paris visit. So I knitted myself a third pair:
My only issue with this pattern is that it calls for Cascade 220 yarn, which is 100% wool, and I am already finding my green toe in the pair above showing signs of wear. Then again, I have been rotating these three pairs of socks continuously since the Paris trip and so clearly the only solution is for me to take my courage in both hands and knit fingering-weight socks. That will allow me to use an appropriate nylon blend sock yarn so that they will last. I will definitely be knitting one of Kay Jones's sock patterns like the Prairie Socks once I get up my courage! In the meantime, I've started with Joji Locatelli's Indigo Leaves pattern which uses work sock, a plump sportweight yarn, which feels like DK in the hands. That has allowed me to change down from a size 5 to 2.5 needle rather than a size 1 or 0 I know I will need to knit a bakery bears sock. Eek!
Next time I visit Paris, I will be fully armed with a wardrobe of socks that will cushion my feet against the concrete. As I slide my toes into their warm, cushy protective shields, I’ll sigh in anticipation of the next walking adventure!