While a weekend in Paris may be perfectly normal if you already live in Europe, for a girl in central New Hampshire, USA, it seems exotic. It’s a movie, or a book, or the poster in my office, but not something you just up and do over Memorial Day weekend. However, last week I did just that.
I should mention that when someone invites you to spend the weekend in Paris it’s tough to turn it down. Life is short. Opportunity knocks. Go for it. I ran the cliches through my head and then got my suitcase … after all, it says right here on my blog that I can be packed and ready to go by tomorrow morning. I didn’t want to appear insincere, as someone evidently has been reading the fine print.
So, Saturday and Tuesday were both travel days, but Sunday and Monday were pure Paris. We walked for miles under sunny skies, stopping only for coffee or lunch at a cafe – sitting outdoors, of course. We visited the Champ de Mars and my favorite landmark, the Eiffel Tower, and on to Pont Alexander and les Invalides. There was a stage set up there and a large number of security people, and we wondered what it was for. Soon after that we found out – there was a protest march against France’s new gay marriage law, winding through the streets of Paris and filling the Invalides esplanade late in the afternoon. Finding ourselves right in the middle of it, and a very large police presence, we observed for a while and then moved on. We learned later that it was estimated to be 150,000 people there.
Dinner was within view of the Eiffel Tower. We wondered what it must be like to live with a view like that – and what it must cost. The surrounding buildings were beautiful, with the ornate windows and iron railings that you see all over the city. Does one ever get tired of the view? “Jacques, close the drapes … that
$%&# tower is twinkling again and keeping me awake!”
We rode the Batobus, a flat-bottomed boat that you can hop on or off at any one of the eight stops it makes, and walked through Luxembourg Garden. At 10 pm on Monday night, when we figured the lines would be shorter, we took the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower and watched Paris sparkle in the darkness. At 11:00 the Tower itself lit up with 20,000 little lights and twinkled out over the city for ten minutes.
Weekends don’t get much better than this.
As Wednesday, and reality, set back in, I was tired. My feet hurt from walking. The cats were chiding me for only getting fed once a day instead of two. Would I ever travel 7500 miles round trip again for just two days in a beautiful city?
Just try me. I can be packed and ready to go by morning.