When I was a kid, a popular way to entertain other families was to invite them over to watch slides of your most recent trip. I realize I’ve just lost everyone under the age of thirty five. But for those of you still reading, do you remember being invited to Aunt Betty’s house to see 600 slides from her trip to Florida? Me too.
I promise my travel posts won’t be like that. A couple of photographs, a short description, and on to the next photo. With the added benefit that you can switch to another blog at any point without hurting my feelings.
With no further delay, I present: “What we did this summer in Paris”. Cue up the slide projector.
The Eiffel tower probably gives Paris the most recognizable skyline in the world. Whether you have a view from the top or the bottom, it’s spectacular, and you’ll soon understand why Paris is called “The City of Lights”. A word of warning: I am the queen of avoiding line-ups, and I couldn’t figure out how to spend less than two hours (and four separate lines) getting up and down the tower. It’s worth it anyhow.
Who started the rumour that Parisiens are rude? I met some of the most wonderful people while we were in Paris. And they had every excuse to be rude to me because I was speaking French extremely poorly. My accent is what you would expect from someone who grew up in southwestern Ontario, with a tin ear. My vocabulary is acceptable, but my grammar is atrocious. And I can only speak in the present tense.
If Parisiens really were rude, they would have laughed me out of town. But most of them, like our desk clerk Akeem at the wonderful Hotel Le Sainte-Beuve, actually encouraged me to keep using my French. This, despite the eloquent English I heard him speak to the customer ahead of me. Akeem spent over ten minutes patiently listening to my hesitant questions (all posed in the present tense) and answering them in a way that even I could understand.
Our hotel was just a block and a half from Jardin du Luxembourg. But it wasn’t until day four that we had the chance to spend some time in the gardens. We stopped at Amorino en route, for what is possibly the best ice cream in the world, and spent the next two hours walking, relaxing and reading in the gardens. Surrounded by French-speaking families and couples, for a short time we were on the path less traveled.
After spending a week in the countryside, we returned to Paris for one last night. This allowed us to visit the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe in the pouring rain. It also permitted us to sample Laduree’s famous macaroons. We stood in line for twenty minutes to buy them, and it was raining so hard on the way back to the hotel that I had to protect the box under my windbreaker. And the macaroons were totally worth it.
Next Thursday: the best shopping in Paris!