Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oh, that's what that conversation was.

Days in Paris: 3
Baguettes eaten: 540
Wine bottles finished: 6...teen....thousand

In my last post I praised my little temporary Paris apartment. I would like to wholeheartedly stand by that praise but reiterate the bummer that is the morning, hourly bells. I equate it to inserting my head under a Manhattan bus badly in need of a tune up, clanging and rudely jolting me from a deep sleep/my life. The 5 euros my earplugs cost were well spent but not that well spent because as it turns out, the bells are not just a one day occurrence and neither are the little French children who are really, really, really excited about going to school on a Monday. 
But again, me + being in Paris at all= not complaining too much.

We got ready and went to find something eggy and substantial to eat and failed at our first stop but entered a promising cafe. We sat down and asked for the menu, exchanged a few broken, hesitating words wherein Rowan and Lorraine ordered omelettes with jambon and when I ordered a plain omelette was told it wasn't available. As weird as that sounded, and after some back and forth in broken French, I just ordered the same thing as they did. The waiter returned about 15 minutes later with three huge baguettes filled with ham and cheese and butter. Rowan instantly said aloud "Oh, that's what that conversation was." We asked for omelette we received ham sandwiches. Language barriers! Funny AND fattening.

This afternoon it was my absolute pleasure to explore Montmarte, the same area we are staying. We got the local and very wee Montmarte bus and took it straight up the "mountain" to the Sacre Coeur. The bus looks like it should be saying "I think I can, I think I can" as it drives up the steepness towards the Sacre Coeur. We made it to the top and inside the church where Lorraine took this:


and this:

But all on the DL because you aren't actually allowed to take photos of things inside the church (which, incidentally did not stop several brash tourists from setting off their obnoxious flash photography devices, a practice which tears the heart out of Lorraine--her words). 
The church overlooks the entire city of Paris as in this photo which not taken in 1911 but rather with an iPhone and Lorraine's artsy tinkerings:

I looked for Amelie Poulain but to no avail. What I found instead was a breathtaking view of what may be the most beautiful city that ever existed. Sorry NY, I love you but for reals? LOOK. 

After we left the church we wandered around aimlessly and came upon the touristy little section of souvenir shops and cobblestone streets and ended up in front of the Espace Dali but decided to just head for the gift shop where I bought some perfume, completing my 1950s housewife's dream of getting real FRONCH perfume. 

We then headed in the direction of down the mountain and went in search of Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge because that's what tourists do. Along the way we got tired and bought some sodas and sat in this little park which was mad shady with a bunch of single men sitting around sandwiched by porn shops and strip clubs and sex toy warehouses. At one point a man who had been sitting quietly by himself got up angrily, started talking French smack and stomped off in a random direction, only to return and stare us down a few minutes later. I was uneasy and unimpressed by Pigalle, and later by the Moulin Rouge. I have to say I did not feel the ghost of Edith Piaf, as I had hoped. I did feel the ghost of Times Square, circa 1985, however.

After returning home to stock up on a few groceries (EGGS!) we had a brief respite during which we may or may not have eaten three different types of cheese in front of the open window. I mused about how open Paris is and how I feel its embrace down every street corner, passing every cafe in front of which the seats face outward and couples sit next to each other and look outward and include you in their daily scenes of living and conversing. Seeing the layout of the city from Sacre Coeur was an opening of sorts as well. Paris is so spread out and open and infinite underneath the sky. And picturing all the branches of  alleyways and cobblestone streets within that openness is humbling and comforting and awe inspiring all at once. 

Then I climbed out of my navel, again and we headed down to the Latin Quarter for some dinner and to enjoy the perfect September evening. This time I got the close up view of those seemingly infinite branches of streets as when you turned a corner there were two more streets branching off in different directions and it was only a matter of which had more sparkly lights than the other. I think every choice in life should be just like that: which option is sparklier?

Sadly, despite the infinite amount of dining choices we ended up in a place I did not at all enjoy (while Pigalle seemed like the Times Square of the 80s, that section of the Latin Quarter seemed like the Times Square of today in that it was tourist trap of thousands of competing restaurants all concentrated into one area) but the company was good (and the wine, cough cough) and we got to wander through the Latin Quarter and near the Sorbonne under a clear sky, a full moon and the big bright open city. It would have all been very romantic had I been one half of a couple, but strolling around with my sister and my sister from anotha motha? I'll take it.

I'm positive I'm missing something here but it is now 1:30am and Imma tired. More to come...

Edited to add: Blogger was being rather spiteful last night and did not let me post this so after a nice long sleep in I'm up and waiting to see what Tuesday has to offer. I hope you who are reading this are having a good day. For my NY peeps, go the fuck back to sleep because it is 4am.

1 comment:

  1. What about the croissants dammit!!?!?!? You haven't mentioned the croissants!!!