The Paris Files

It’s that most lovely time of year, when schools close their doors, and children spend 24 hours a day with their parents and other people take trips to exotic locales. Hawaii. Mexico. Jamaica. Hawaii.

I’ll admit there’s a [small] part of me who believes that a trip to Hawaii* will change my life. Maybe it started with those Magnum P.I. episodes from my youth: the lush foliage, Higgins and his Dobermans, Magnum in his red Ferrari, wearing his embarrassingly short shorts, the ocean…..

So I’ve resolved that next Spring Break, I will go to Hawaii. Even if the professor can’t go because he’s wrapping up the term or whatever Canadians call it. I’ve even started a vacation fund – I just deposited 50 cents in an empty yogurt container. Sure, unless gas prices take a nosedive and airlines start flying people free of charge, it’s entirely possible I will not have enough money saved to see the lava flows and pineapple trees by March 2013.

But I keep getting these emails from Nigerian princes wanting to wire money to my bank account, so perhaps between their windfall and my pittance, I shall gaze upon the setting sun with an umbrella drink next year.

Until then, I can amuse myself by remembering trips past. After all, I have seen a sight or two. Even if it was nine years ago.

My sister and I took the Eurostar from London to Paris, back when she was a chic singleton and I was….well-rested.

For the two of us, ‘travel’ is shorthand for ‘eating constantly’. Sure, we’ll look at some sites and pretend we’re interested, but really we’re just killing time until we find something else we want to eat.

March 28 2003

2.45pm Out the door – off to see Paris (and find an ATM). We walk towards the Eiffel Tower. I buy a salami sandwich to share. We buy a ham sandwich at another cafe, ‘to go’, and get chased away when we sit outside at said restaurant’s tables. Which are all unoccupied. Who said the French were rude?

Finally we arrive at the Eiffel Tower. Look, there it is, and we’re on our way to the next destination of our whirlwind tour of Paris.

We soldier on to the Arc and start walking down the ‘Champs d’Elysees’. Sister very dismayed by all the auto dealers and lack of shops. I assure her that it isn’t as glamorous as it used to be – even her guide book said so. We decide to head over to rue St Honore du Faubourg instead, but I’m having trouble finding our location on the map. I finally determine we’re heading the wrong way – north of the Arc instead of southwest.

We had never even been on the Champs d’Elysees.

I contemplate not saying anything and simply steering us in the right direction. But as Sister is already convinced we’re going the wrong way, regardless, I ‘fess up. She handles it well and we walk back to the real Champs d’Elysees. Remarkably void of car dealers and featuring all sorts of shops. And my beloved Laduree.

We end up at Galeries Lafayette. It’s clear we have opposing priorities. She wants to look at accessories and I at the Food Hall. We sit down for the first time in about four hours. We drink juice and contemplate dinner. (Definitely should have made reservations or firm plans ahead of time!)

So we walk to Vaudeville – supposedly recommended by Epicurious. It doesn’t look ‘cute’ and we don’t fancy rabbit so we decide to try a cute Italian place – Trends. (Stupid name!) It’s between 7.30 and 8pm. We are the only customers. We have great spinach ravioli. A bummer dessert and drink espresso without milk for the first (and last) time. We hobble back to the hotel to nurse our wounded feet.

29 March 2003

We drag ourselves to Notre Dame and walk around inside. It’s definitely less ostentatious than most cathedrals. Okay, of the other two I’ve seen. On our way to Ile St Louis we have the misfortune of walking behind ‘the clappers’. Two very normal-looking men who find great delight in engaging in some rhythmic clapping a deux. And they weren’t content to do it just once. No, all the way past the cathedral with just enough time in between sets to let you think they’re done. We were very tempted to do some clapping ourselves.

There are some really cute shops but mostly we’re just looking for ice cream. We find a tasty place that serves gelato and share a small cup. We share, not because we are small eaters, but because we’ve already had a scoop – each – less than five minutes ago.

We take the metro to Rue d’Alesia where Sister is certain she will find her dream designer purchase. She also manages to get us on the wrong metro line. Ah, the satisfaction. I try to say nothing, but in my mind….I gloat! I cause her severe embarrassment when I eat my chocolate pastry with my finger.

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty – but it was so good.

Sister decides she would like to have her hair washed because it’s advertised as costing 3 euros. She insists I inquire at the salon (en francais) promising she’ll ‘treat’ me. OH the embarrassment. They, of course, don’t just wash your hair. They wash and cut. Or wash and blowdry.

[To be continued]

*And Bora Bora

4 thoughts on “The Paris Files

    1. I had totally forgotten about this little gem until I read through my journal last night. I spat out the orange I was eating laughing about that. You know what’s coming next, though: Golden Arches, baby!

  1. I think we would be good travel companions – lol. I also plan my travels around the next meal, snack, whatever 🙂 Maybe we’ll be those people in our 70s who take exotic travels… b/c I don’t see having money if/until then…

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