A dark, early morning cab ride to St. Pancras. Heavy bags, heavy eyelids, heavy steps. Slumping into our seats, we barrel under the English Channel towards France. Riding backwards, the zooming landscape alternates with dark tunnels, only my reflection for a view. Our friends have scattered to more destinations, or have arrived safely back home. Now I, with my husband and his aunt and uncle, journey on.
Farewell London, Bonjour Paris.
June 27, 2014
“France began with a little chaos. We popped out of the metro by the Arc de Triomphe, with its constant swirl of speeding, honking cars, surprisingly without a clue how to find our hotel. When in doubt and lost, hail a cab. So we did.”
We unloaded our baggage burdens at last and made our way into the city, aiming at a “do-over” of the Arc de Triomphe. A lunch of croque madames at an outdoor cafe (where, it must be noted, a bird pooped on my head…what a nice welcome), we strolled down the Champs Elysees to the Tuileries Garden.
The gardens were full of color, children with ice cream, people in green metal chairs around the circular ponds, pigeons pecking for crumbs. The sun was warm and smiles bright. We headed to the Louvre and split up to see the city.
Returning from the Musee de Orsay to our rendezvous by the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, a wind whipped up and enveloped everyone in huge, swirling dust clouds. With my scarf on my face, we laughed in surprise until the dust returned to the ground. We watched the men selling cheap souvenirs, the pigeons trying to impress their mates, the people enjoying a Paris summer, until it came time for dinner.
The next morning, rain fell lightly on Paris, adding umbrellas to the beauty of the romantic streets. With a croissant and cafe creme at a cafe near majestic Notre Dame, life felt still. The close sounds of french conversation, busy pigeons and clinking mugs on plates was interrupted by the pealing of bells. People and umbrellas moved quickly towards the cathedral, where an unknown church service spilled far into the courtyard in front, projected with speakers and screens.
La Tour Eiffel
From Notre Dame, we moved on towards the gorgeous Saint Chapelle, then finally “La Tour Eiffel”…the inspiring Eiffel Tower. For our 12th wedding anniversary, Stephen long ago made reservations for us to eat lunch high on the Eiffel Tower. Nervous and excited, we were taken up in a small elevator to the second platform and to our window seat, a view towards the Arc de Triomphe.
June 28, 2014
“So began our 5 course meal that took 3 hours. 3 hours in the clouds above Paris. The food was incredible, the view breathtaking, the company the best. We watched the rain over Paris, people under shiny umbrellas reflecting off the wet pavement below. No rush, no hurry, no stress.
When we came down from the clouds and walked out from under the tower, we wound our way down a path by a pond full of ducks. We came upon a rainy street lined with pointed white tents selling piles of food, bowls of candy, clothes, scarves, hats, bags and the coveted umbrella.”