We’re 23 minutes ahead of schedule, there is light outside the airplane windows and before long we will be landing in Paris. We decided to fly to the City of Lights before we knew Sam would need surgery.
I pushed through the final stretches of work, fitting in a hair appointment and a few other important things, like the signing of our wills. You just never know, you know? It was time. I packed my suitcase, watered the plants, went through Sam’s med instructions with our sitter and organized my devices and cords.
Then I ended up a sobbing mess 30 minutes before we needed to hit the road when Sam wouldn’t eat his breakfast. He knew what was up when he saw the suitcases. Even Mary knew and went into hiding out of fear her traveling pen would appear and we’d stuff her in. So the glow of excitement was replaced with my long sad face and the residual cry baby headache.
Maybe it’s because we never had children together that our pets are like children to Todd and me. After 14 years together, I’ve learned to speak Sam’s language. (I’m still working on Mary’s.) I can carry on conversations with Sam–I do both voices, his and mine–as he prompts me. He’s Sam, the talking dog. He writes too, and he wanted to write me a Paris send off. I agreed…
Can you blame me for sulking this morning? You know how much I love to go places. Paris sounds sweet. I could go for a croissant instead of that hamburger bun and butter you hide my meds in. Seriously, don’t worry that I didn’t take them this morning. I’m feeling much better–just a little lazy. I’m 98 by any human measure and I ate too much dinner last night so I was still digesting.
I’m sorry I got you so upset right before you left. You know how kids make a big fuss before they say goodbye to their mom and dads, and then as soon as they walk out the door they’re playing? We are always freer to express our emotions with those we feel safe. I’m looking forward to spending a little time with the sitters. We had a lot of fun last time. So I’m sorry for all the drama. I’ll keep an eye on sassy cat.
One question: why did you have to pack TWO big floppy hats? And THREE pairs of sunglasses? I would think one of each would have been enough. I lost count on the shoes. I think you want to refrain from buying any over there. It will be tempting but you might want to resist.
Now listen carefully, you’ve spent a lot of time taking good care of me and things. Thank you. Mom’s never get thanked enough. Now it’s time for vacation and the Todd man needs your special attention. Let your brow relax and stop worrying about things. I don’t plan on going anywhere while you’re gone. We never know when it’s going to be our time and when it’s our time it’s just our time. C’est la vie.
So here’s why I wanted to write this post. Surprise! I’ve been studying up on your trip since you didn’t have time. I know you’re not big on planning things–prefer that free as the wind thing–but here are a couple things you can think about seeing in Paris. Get your map out! Don’t repeat the Rome fiasco.
Notre Dame is definitely worth a visit. It’s free but there may be a wait. So chill and enjoy the surrounding beauty. After that there is a beautiful cathedral close by. It’s called St. Chapelle. You want to go upstairs. You’re going to be blown away by it. Maybe blinded if the sun’s out. Don’t worry, it will only be temporary.
You like modern art so you might like to see Center Pompidou after that. It’s just a little over a 10 minute walk away. Or you can go the other direction to the Left Bank. You’ll love all the shops. Maybe get some French Bread and cheese, a bottle of wine and head to Le Jardin du Luxembourg for a picnic. Then take a nap.
Time for a cappuccino and chocolate pastry. I know your feet will be hurting so I guess you might want to shop for some comfortable shoes. I have no confidence in any of those you packed. I know you get tense about looking like a tourist but you might enjoy an evening boat ride along the Seine. It’s a good alternative to seeing the city on foot if the shoe thingy doesn’t work out.
The next day you’ll be in for a treat! Todd rented bikes! You’re going to meet up at the Statue of Charlemagne. You’ll get a back street visit of the Marais, Rive Gauche Sculpture Park, the heart of the Latin Quarter, the Louvre. (Ha! That will have to be at lightening speed. Run in for the Mona Lisa and Venus, and duck the selfie sticks.) Then to Les Halle for some window shopping and to Pompidou Center. There’s a beautiful collection of Impressionist paintings at the Musee d’Orsay. Don’t lolllygag around or you won’t like the crowd. Just sayin’. You can take a nice walk along the Seine afterwards and check out Napoleon’s tomb. Then on to Musee Rodin which is close to your hotel (and a glass of chilled white). You will love Rue Cler–it’s cozy and so French–foot traffic only. As the sun sets on your last night, sit in front of the Eiffel Tower together and watch it light up.
Settle in for breakfast at a cafe the following morning and people watch. After you’ve had your fill, you can walk to the Jardin des Tuileries. At the end of the park is Musee de l’Orangerie then lunch at Les Chouettes. Afterwards, keep walking to Place de la Concordie to see a few obelisks. This is the start of Champs Elysee. Finish the day at the arc de Triomphe!
D’accord. Those are my notes. Maybe others can chime in with their suggestions. You’ll get the hang of it. Paris has so many great chefs! Don’t be intimidated. Let it remind you that we are all part of the same mold–a person grows the food, a person prepares the food, a person eats it there just like here.
Be careful…it might just feel like home as soon as you get there and you won’t want to come back. Everywhere has a community feel. Smile as you walk down the rues and spread the joy.
Now relax. Salut! Send pictures.