That sounds so pretentious to my Texas self: We spent the weekend in Paris.
Loving Husband pieced together flights so we could meet in Paris for the weekend. I left Madrid about the time College Roommate headed back to Texas; Todd left Alicante earlier and had a layover in Barcelona. We arrived in Paris within 2 hours of each other – just long enough for me to grab something to eat and get to where I could meet his flight.
A 40-minute cab ride from Orly into the center of town took over an hour. Someone was demonstrating – I never understood who, exactly.
Our hotel, the Hotel du Louvre, was being renovated. Half of it was closed off. But our room was right across from the Louvre, and we actually had a view from our room of some of the antiquity statues:
We left the hotel and roamed away from the Louvre to find dinner. We stopped at a café that seemed popular, and a lovely gentleman with an American accent who was having an espresso asked us if we wanted to sit at the table next to him. We told him we were just perusing the menu and asked him if he would recommend the place. He put his finger to his lips for a moment, then pointed up the street. “If you go up about 3 blocks…” Apparently, he didn’t recommend the place. We moved on.
After roaming a bit, we found a little Italian place. The food was good – not as good as our favorite place back home, but we’re spoiled. We got to chatting with the French couple at the table next to us and introduced them to Jimmy Buffett. As we were talking, the owner of the place piped in with “My girlfriend is from Austin.” More conversation with him after the couple left. An additional round of lemoncello – because his girlfriend is from Austin.
Our culture goal: the Louvre. We’ve gotten the hang of getting tickets in advance and downloading guide apps to get a preview, so we were set. Of course, there’s too much to the Louvre to get in one visit, but we did a pretty good overview. I will say that it’s much better laid out than the Prado. And with the first admission time of the morning, it wasn’t too crowded for most of our visit.
We then walked through the park and the statue garden, up the Champs Elysee. No time to stop anywhere, but the looking was enough for a first visit:
The next morning, a visit to Notre Dame. After all of our visits to Spanish cathedrals, which are constantly in a state of being cleaned and restored, we were saddened. We would have willingly paid admission if the money were used for restoration, as it is in Spain. But the exterior was dirty and the windows – beautiful though the were – were sooty, and much of the interior was in shabby shape.
And then: the reason we were in Paris: the Jimmy Buffett concert! At home, his concerts are in huge outdoor concert spaces, with 20-25 thousand spectators. La Cigale in Paris holds 1400. We were THAT close! We had seats on the first row of the balcony – perfect, considering all of the floor was standing space. 2 ½ hours of music we’ve known for 40 years – he seemed to be having even more fun that he usually has at his concerts. And 1400 people singing along all the way through…
Our return tickets were out of Beauvais – an hour bus ride from Paris to a terminal with only five gates and seats for 100 or so – by the time our plane boarded, we were packed into the waiting area like sardines. Some savings aren’t worth it.
Observations about Paris:
- Paris is a city for couples, home to the People of the Tiny Table
- As long as you’re wearing a black skirt, it doesn’t matter what else you have on—you’re stylish!
- The 6-euro cokes were a shocker, but the iced carafes of cold water were awesome.