à Paris /ah, Paris
After just two days in Hungary, we left for Paris par avion. The avion in this case was Jet Blue, and it was, as they say in the vernacular, a trip quick.
Since we traveled intra-Europe, we carried somewhat small luggage, something we were thankful for when we arrived at the apartment on Ile Saint Louis and had to carry them up the 60 winding, wooden stairs. (Yes, we counted. Many times.)
The apartment itself had three levels and an additional 20 steps. On the first floor of the flat, we had rooms for living, dining, and kitchening; on the second, we had two bedrooms and a bath; and on le tippy-top, another bedroom and bath. After we unpacked, we opened the windows, brazenly stared into the neighbor’s apartments across from us, wished we had cigarettes to casually flick as we pouted and looked insouciant, watched the people on the street below, and planned our first excursion: grocery shopping.
After a fabulous lunch at Les Fous de L’Ile restaurant, we went to the nearest shop for ice cream. Not just any ice cream, but Berthillon ice cream, the crème de la crème of ice. Every day, crowds of people line up at the Berthillon shop on the Ile Saint Louis for its ice cream and sorbet. Each scoop is made of only natural ingredients; the flavors vary with the season. Thankfully other shops sell it, too; otherwise, we would still be waiting to get to the counter. In order to please the locals and try to fit in, we ate some every day. (Word to the wise: fitting in with the locals and fitting into your clothes may at some point cause conflicts.)
In penance for eating not one but two scoops of Berthillon, we walked to the Louvre, a little over two miles away. At a decent clip, that would take about 40 minutes, but we were indecent, stopped every few minutes to take pictures, AND had a five-year-old with us who noticed every cat, dog, (Look grandma! A French poodle! Oh! A pet shop!), bug, and bird (Grandma! Pigeons! Pigeons! PIGEONS!)
At one point on the walk, my daughter grasped my arm and yelled, “Mom!” I couldn’t distinguish the main emotion in her voice – pain, astonishment, fear, indigestion– and panicked, thinking she had hurt herself, twisted her ankle, contracted rabies, or maybe had a root canal without anesthetic while I was taking pictures or admiring my five hundredth pigeon with the grandchild. “There,” my daughter pointed, trying to catch her breath, “there is the Eiffel Tower!” And sure enough, like a small keychain ornament, there it stood. (As you can see, both my daughter and grandchild use a lot of admiration marks. For the sake of my more delicate readers, I have omitted some of them. (You’re welcome. (However, I am now bracketed in by all of these parenthesis and need to break out. (They make me claustrophobic.) (Help!))))
We couldn’t stay long at the Louvre; it was late, so we headed back to the apartment to eat and put the little one to bed. We ate a light dinner of Caprese salad, croissants, various French breads smeared with real butter, some fruit, some chocolate, and French wine until there was nothing light about the dinner or ourselves.
As is my wont on vacations, I collapsed into bed, this time in my purple velvet head-boarded bed to dream of the next day’s adventures.
Next installment: Paris grows on me (Curses on you, Berthillon!)