4am is a peculiar quiet. Even the subtle sounds cease. No rumble from a passing municipal bus. No rattle of pipes from water running two floors above. No hum from a passing Metro train.
I am awake to hear the sound of silence. I lie in bed for an hour, then a half hour more. I rise, work for a bit, but Ali-Sun sleeps uneasily in the tiny, tiny space. So off I walk, north toward the Seine.
Cafés are starting to rouse – chairs are unstacked, sidewalks are washed, cigarettes are smoked. I walk past closed art galleries down Rue du Seine. A young adult stumbles drunkenly in a direction he assumes is home.
I cross the river, enter the embrace of the Louvre. I am alone. In two hours, thousands of tourists will occupy this empty expanse of stone and glass. Alone with the architecture, the pools, the glass pyramids, the views of the Eiffel Tower and Ferris wheel, it is intimate.
The sun peeks through clouds as it tops the museum’s northeastern facade. The light at sunrise is ethereal and elusive. I capture it in one of the smaller pyramids.
A custodian, then a lone jogger, then a man reading a paper betray the impending humanity. I walk south, cafés now open. I buy a croissant at the boulangerie and set it on the table as I crawl back into bed.