Saturday, December 27, 2014

An American blogger in Paris, part one

I bet I'm the millionth person to use that title, but whatever. Sooo.. SIX MONTHS AGO, Tyler and I went to France together. We went because he had never been, and because our friend Aaron was studying in Grenoble and we wanted to visit him while he lived there. For the first few days, we stayed in Paris. The previous time I'd been in Paris was my first visit ever, and it was just a brief, two-day taste of it with my sister. We went in April, and it was magical.

This time was not so magical. It wasn't Tyler's fault; it was June's. I don't know why, but I just couldn't handle the heat... despite it being on average only about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It was humid and miserable and I always seemed to be wearing the wrong outfit. (One day I had to make an emergency run to Banana Republic for shorts, which was a weirdly awful experience.) We also tried to do way too much, and our feet suffered as a result.

But looking back on the pictures now, I still feel a kind of wistfulness and a desire to be back there.

We stayed in a tiny AirBnB apartment in Montmartre. We could see La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre from the living room window. It was picture-perfect.

During the days, we walked until we couldn't stand the screaming of our feet, and then we ate, and then we walked some more.

Waiting for brunch... sexily.

We accidentally chose a British cafe for brunch. SO DISAPPOINTING. WHY WOULD YOU GO TO A GOOD FOOD COUNTRY AND THEN EAT BRITISH FOOD. But this kedgeree was pretty okay.

Most of the time we were reduced to begging our servers for carafes of water. I don't understand how little water the French apparently prefer to drink. Wine is all well and good, but when you've been walking for five hours straight in the stupid June heat, you need more than a thimbleful of hydration.

Some months before we visited Paris, I registered us for a Jim Haynes Sunday dinner. Jim Haynes is a well-known American ex-pat who has lived in Paris for decades and has offered delicious, homemade dinners almost every Sunday for those years. Anyone can join, they just need to claim a spot. The dinner was festive, and people from all different countries enjoyed supper side by side. When Tyler and I signed in, Jim looked at me with confusion, thick white brows knitted.

"I thought you were a man," he said, sounding a little disappointed. "I had you down as a man."

"Oh," I laughed nervously, "how funny! Nope, not a man." Happily, it didn't seem to be a real issue and I still got to eat.

The courtyard swarmed with people from multiple nations.
Later, while enjoying our dinners, Tyler and I got the chance to look around the living room. Displayed proudly were books Jim and his many friends had written, and some other literature, and a lot of them seemed to be about free love and adventurous sexcapades. Suddenly, we both got the idea that we had somehow been lured to an orgy and that me not being a man had somehow unbalanced the orgiastic guest list. We became so convinced of our theory that we were almost disappointed when dessert wound down and everyone's clothes were still on. Maybe they waited until we left.

As we hurried back to our apartment that night, clouds rolled in and lightning crackled across the sky. It was pretty cool to watch, even though at some point we were surprised by a sudden torrential rain and stained a bathmat trying to clean up a small puddle in the living room.

It's really hard to get photos of lightning. It doesn't like to hold still.
The next day, we wandered around attempting to be touristy. Tyler wanted to visit the Louvre, but when we arrived he took one look at the line and changed his mind. I was only disappointed because he really wanted to go, but I preferred to avoid the crowds as much as possible.

Instead, we wandered through the Jardin des Tuileries, down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and toward La Tour Eiffel.

Shortly after we crossed this bridge, we heard that this wall had collapsed because of all the weight of the love locks. We had not put a lock on the wall, so we felt a little smug.

The statue on the left is embarrassed because he is naked. The statue on the right is delighted because she is naked.

For a while we sat in the grass near the tower and ate colorful Ladurée macarons, as one does.

Stay tuned for part two!

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