Monday, August 25, 2008

right bank/left bank

oh, paris...

confession: i think it had taken me so long to get myself to the city of love, the city renown for joie de vivre because i was partly afraid that it would overwhelm me or that the parisians would eat me during a 7 course gourmet meal because i can barely stumble through pleasantries en francaise (bad canadian, i know).

but i am not afraid to admit when i am wrong. and apart from the occassional surly server and the woman who snubbed her nose at me for whipping out my guidebook on the metro, parisians did not even want to take a nibble. they were lovely.

actually, i wanted to package up the loveliest amelie-esque woman who worked at our local bakery and bring her home with me, she was just that sweet. and yes, because i was in paris for 5 days i get to say that i had a 'local' bakery.

i am going to miss that city. all of the regular culprits included - that food, that wine, that architecture. but for all that we saw and did, i am mostly going to miss wandering the streets of paris, looking in the shop windows, finding my way around the streets, and stopping whenever i damn well felt like it to have a croissant, a meal, a glass of wine, or a rest in a park.

highlights include, in no particular order:

- the best creme brulee i have ever had. and i didn't even think i liked creme brule. i was wrong. very, very wrong.

- croissants and espresso in plastic cups from the local bakery in the mornings
- staying at the ideal hotel design. if you are going to paris, stay there. (and book it on so that it is only 60 euro a night). it is artsy and funktastic and just my style. the night guy was surly and did nothing to dispell the parisian myth (ok, that makes 3 sour parisians), but the other staff were very nice and they actually had a pink reception area, purple hallways, and olympics in french on fancy tvs!

- the centre pomidou. i loved this place. it was like a croissant, a cafe creme, and creme brule all rolled into one museum of deliciousness.
- going up the eiffel tower. now i thought, yeah, sure we are in paris and we MUST go up the tower but i cannot be arsed to stand in a line to go up an elevator and i am too cheap to pay more when i can just walk up, but my legs are protesting when i even lift one to put it in front of the other because touring around europe for 3 weeks is tiring, whine, whine, whine... so we went back first thing the next morning and walked up. mild panic attack and begging the soldier to let us turn around and walk back to the 1st level aside, it was pretty damn cool. sort of like a delicious bottle of bordeax sipped on the bank of the seine.

- sipping a delicious bottle of bordeaux on the banks of the seine. as per a great suggestion, we bought some wine, a baguette, some cheese that made me want to cry it was so good, and some vine ripened tomatoes and had a little riverside spread. at first we felt a little sheepish drinking straight from the bottles (one of which was purchased at printemps and was actually not the least expensive one there, proving that i am not cheap and have lots of class, and the other for 2.50 at a grocery store - i think they were equally delicious), but soon got over that and just enjoyed the sunset with other picnickers/drinkers and watched the world go by.

- checking out armour at the musee de l'armee and then nosing through the pinkness of fauchon and smelling the teas, drooling over their pastries, and picking up a few little treats (because that is what you call COMPROMISE)

- eating crepes on the street in all their goozy cheesey, eggy (who knew?) goodness

- meandering through the pere lachaise cemetary and finding the gravestones of jim morrison, oscar wilde, heloise & abelard and some french dude whose package is apparently full of such vigor, if you rub it, you will become pregnant (i just pretended)

- eclaires! in the morning!

- the gargoyles at notre dame, but not the line to stand in and the entry fee to pay to get up there to see them. but it was much more enjoyable for me than the soldier when i was all hyped up on caffeine and sugar from coffee and eclaires in the morning and bounced up and down the entire way.

- having a nap in jardin de tullieres

- all the people who take photos of art in galleries like the musee d'orsay. there were some people that i am pretty sure were not even looking at the paintings themselves (matisse, picasso, van gogh, seurat...) and just fitting them irregularly in their digital frame and snapping away to bore their neighbours back home during the slide show

- speaking of cameras, fearing that someone was going to run away with our camera at the louvre. i think i'd been in nairobi too long. but it gave us a laugh.

i miss paris already. and i must find a way to get back there. and ideally, find a way to get paid while i go back there because that city makes quite the dent in the pocketbook. i also made a little commitment to my life's To Do List to go back to paris when i speak french. i better get on that.


lu said...

i have fought and fought with blogger to put spaces between those two paragraphs that do not have spaces and i am giving up.

i also want to punch blogger (or the dudes who make blogger run) in the weiner!


La Cabeza Grande said...

Isn't (pretend) rubbing one package enough?! Just kidding ya!

I so love your retrospective. You make me remember the best parts of breathing in life in the City of Lights - from the wine, cheese and creme brulee to the cheap and delicious street eats that are Nutella crepes.

You've been infected. You will return.