So I am sure this will be my lengthiest post yet as I attempt to encapsulate in one blog entry all that I adored about my Parisian Experience. Sadly, I am not a Lost Generation American Writer who is able to spend hours in Cafe Des Deux Maggots and synthesize my four and a half days in Paris into something like “A Moveable Feast.” But I can wax a little Hemingway-like and agree with his statement (I am paraphrasing here), “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then it will stay with you your whole life, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Or something like that.
On a general note, I must say that I have finally made my peace with Paris. For so many years, the thought of Paris intimidated me, in part because I feared the French and I feared my ability to speak French no matter how many French classes I took. Then, in college I bore a resentment toward Paris for capturing the person who claimed my affections in a way that I could not. I hated Paris for taking away the person that I thought I loved at the time. But now, after visiting there myself, it all makes so much more sense and I couldn’t possibly bear any ill will towards the city on the Seine. It is precisely the place where people are meant to fall in love and I nor any other person could possibly compete with Paris.
That being said – here is how my trip began.
David and I flew from Seattle to Chicago on Friday morning. Aside from the Minute Maid Orange Juice spilling all over my carry-on bag and nearly destroying my history books on Marie Antoinette and the Plague, the airport experience went fairly well. In Chicago, we transferred to our flight to Paris. David, who I adore even more for this reason, bought me a ticket to accompany him in business class which meant I was afforded the opportunity to have the business class treatment and a seat in which I could actually sleep on the overnight flight across the Atlantic.
We arrived in Paris on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. On the taxi ride into Paris from the airport, I caught my first glimpse of Sacre Coeur, and I was instantly hooked. We checked into our hotel, Le Meridian Etoile, located across at Porte Maillot. Our room was not ready yet, so we dropped off our luggage and made our way to the L’Arc de Triumphe. My freshman year of high school, the first French conversation which I memorized included the following bit of dialogue, “”Les Champs Elysees et L’Arch de Triumphe sont vraiment beaux avec leurs drapeaux.” It was amazing, the image that I had of the L’Arch de Triumphe was exactly like my French I class:
Do the French really love their flag that much? The answer probably is yes, but it was also because Monday was the VE day celebration, so there were extra French flags out and about wherever we went. After we huffed and puffed our way up of several flights of stairs, we made it to the top. The view was somewhat marred by haze, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from taking David’s picture with a noteworthy Parisian landmark:
After we made our way down the stairs (much easier than going up), we made our way back to the hotel to drop our bags in our room and freshen up a bit. That turned into an hour long nap, but we finally made our way back out into the Parisian afternoon. Our next stop was the Ile de la Cite, and Notre Dame. Of course, we first had to pass by the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette spent her last days before her execution. My latest obsession is Marie Antoinette. That obsession started because of the trailer for Sofia Coppola’s latest film and because I particularly enjoyed the pairing of New Order with the scenes from 18th Century France. I decided to read the Antonia Fraser book upon which Coppola based most of her history, and since then I have been hooked.
We made it to Notre Dame and took a look around. David liked the stained glass which was quite lovely. My favorite features of Notre Dame were whichever Saint it is that is depicted as stepping on someone’s head and the gargoyles.
Behind the cathedral there was a beautiful little garden where David and I took this picture:
We then walked over to Ile St. Louis and partook of some delicious Berthillon ice cream, a suggestion which came courtesy of Neil Bly. As witn most things, Neil was right about the ice cream. It started to rain, so we needed an indoor activity, and with most of the museums closing late in the afternoon, the only one that stayed open through the evening was the Pompidou Centre, which had an exhibit regarding my favorite place ever – Los Angeles. Needless to say, the Pompidou Centre was not my favorite place. I loved it so much I didn’t take any pictures.
After the Pompidou it was still raining so we grabbed some dinner and headed back to the hotel so we could rest up and enjoy a big day on Sunday.
Alright, I have decided I am going to write about Paris in installments because it is just too long to do all in one blog and include pictures. Therefore, the end of day one is the end of my first blog.