Oh, Gossip Girl, if only I had the wealth and prestige that you do, I too would be perusing the streets of Paris…
Wait a second! I am in Paris! No, I don’t have the wealth and prestige that your TV personae’s imply you do, but I do have gusto, interest, and a true excitement about being back in Paris; this time for much longer. I am currently in the comfort of my bed, listening to the rain pitter-patter against my window, and may I say that there is a huge difference between “Paris rain” and “Dublin rain.” Am I biased? Maybe. But my first day back in Paris far surpassed any expectations I set for the beginning of my trip.
My flight this morning was especially early, but thanks to a low number of passengers, I had an entire row to myself. After take-off, I popped up the armrests, leaned my head against the window, stretched my legs across the row, and fell asleep. I didn’t hear the cart roll by, the whining of babies, or even the announcements until it was time to land. I easily found a taxi, and literally after spelling the street address, we agreed on directions and 20 minutes later I found myself standing at the bottom of my apartment for the next few days. Robert and Nancy (Matt’s parents) warmly welcomed me and we immediately made our way out to enjoy lunch. After, they went about their plans for the day, and I left to conquer Paris in my own way.
Experience number one: the train. I decided I wanted to go to The Musée d’Orsay, so I loaded up my handy “ZUTI” application on my IPhone. This thing is amazing. I locate where I am boarding and then indicate where I want to end up on the application’s grid system. It then maps out how to use the Metro, bus, or train stations in the most efficient way. There was zero confusion on my part when I entered the station and boarded the train…I was actually quite proud of myself! However, ten minutes later I was still sitting on the train thinking “no big deal” because everyone else is just sitting, too. Then, a French announcement sounded over the speakers, which I of course could not understand, and 3/4 of the passengers got off to rush over to the train on the next platform. I was completely confused, hoping that some maniac didn’t just announce that he’s going to bomb the train. Luckily, a young man next to me was holding a French dictionary, so when I asked him if he spoke English, he informed me that the train is experiencing some mechanical issues and will be off shortly. Whew!
Unfortunately, the line to the museum was ridiculous, so I decided to go back early in the morning when it opens. No point waiting an hour or more when I can avoid the lines and crowds the next day. This turned out to be the best decision EVER. I went home and took a quick nap, grabbed my journal and boots an hour later, and headed to Les Deux Magots. I had to go there! It is the sight of the most famous literary geniuses of past (Ernest Hemingway, duh), and I wanted to sit right where they did as I wrote in my journal.
Though it was raining, I grabbed the last seat outside, under the awning and space heaters, next to the most outgoing Frenchman I have had the chance to meet. I was enjoying a glass of wine when I noticed they were cat-calling the women who passed. Not in a derogatory way at all, but amusing none the less. So, I turned to them and said, “I see you are perusing for women this evening,” with a devilish grin on my face. They died in a fit of laughter and immediately decided I was their mon amie. Thus ensued 3 hours of conversation between the 3 of us on topics like love, literature, divorce, art, age, America, food, Paris nightlife, etc. I found that one of the men didn’t know a lick of English, but the other knew it well, and translated between us. The only thing the non-English speaker said to me the entire time was, “you have the most beautiful green eyes,” in his French accent. The other told me about his life, his loves, the places he’s been, but all the while they were still calling out to the beautiful women who passed. I couldn’t help but giggle with them, as the women returned a sly smile, but passed on. They were much older than me, but their youth and spirit caused me to enjoy not one, but 4 glasses of wine with them! Of course, they treated me to 2 of those glasses. 🙂
It was still raining when I said au revoir to my new friends. I have been invited to a private gallery premier on Thursday night, both of them encouraging not only me to attend, but to bring Matt and his parents. I smiled as they each jotted down their numbers in my notebook, and I thanked them both for such an entertaining evening. As I walked away, they obnoxiously yelled and whistled at me, exaggerating their behavior from the evening. I laughed, grinned over my shoulder, and shook my finger at them, which of course sent them into another fit of laughter!