On our first trip to Paris, in 1995, I had terrible jet lag and hardly slept at all the first few nights. We were staying in a hotel just off Saint Germain, in a room on the sixth floor with a big dormer window that overlooked the rooftops of Paris and, off to the east, Notre Dame.
It was August, but not hot, perfect weather to leave that window wide open all night to all the sounds and smells of a summer night. Early in the night there would be dinner smells from La Procope next door and other nearby restaurants, later there would be tantalizing smells of baking bread and pastries. It was surprisingly quiet after midnight, with church bells, distant traffic and the ooga-ooga of an occasional ambulance.
At first light, I'd find myself standing at the window watching the sky turn pink and light up Notre Dame. The softest pink, which hasn't survived in any of the non-digital photos I took that year (mostly over-exposed).
I'd stand there, watching and listening, until finally I'd smell strong coffee and hear the elevator start on the ground floor, meaning that Madame was bringing our breakfast.
The only sad part of this memory is that after a breakfast of cafe au lait, baguettes, butter and apricot preserves, I was finally exhausted and ready to sleep.
Paris plan #1: Take sunrise photos of Notre Dame
Four weeks from today, I'll stand at my window to watch the sunrise over Notre Dame again, but from much closer, with a better camera, and with a much clearer and more rested eye (thanks to Ambien) .