Paris 1

The City of Lights. I however refer to it as the city of being walked into the ground by my husband.

Curtis is nearly 6’2″. I’m just over 5’3″. Can you picture the difference in stride?

I tried to keep up, but really, who can? In fact one day I thought I should run to catch up since he was already across the street and the light was about to change. And that was when I tripped and fell in the street right in front of a car that came to an abrupt stop. All I could think was, well, if I’m going to get run over while traveling, Paris is probably the place to do it since I can go to the hospital for free. And also, if I rip my pants I am so up a creek, since I have a limited wardrobe. And there’s no way I will fit into a French pair of pants. Which reminds me…

It’s true. I don’t know how the women do it — shoes that are so trendy and have SUCH high heels. I would be dead in shoes like that, from another fall into the street, presumably. I wouldn’t even need to be running.

Really, I wanted to look cool in Paris. I had visions of effortless fashion sense suddenly coming upon me, and gliding through the streets of Paris with others unaware of my American roots.

Because I would not be wearing a money belt around my neck. Or using a backpack for the day. Or wearing Nikes while in Paris. I thought these things because my mind was clouded by jetlag. And impressionism, similar to all those impressionist art museums I visited. While wearing all the above mentioned articles.

Which reminds me of something my children said on Day 4 in Paris….

This was my children’s plea. They had seen The Louvre (twice for the Egyptian wing, once for Mona Lisa), L’Orangerie (Monet), Museum d’ Orsay (Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Rodin, Monet, Manet, etc), The Decorative Arts (twice), Versailles (all day) and they were done. Completely.

What we weren’t done with was bread. And cheese. And salami.

We ate it every morning and every afternoon. Religiously. We actually kind of perfected it as an art form, similar to the art museums we visited.

I wonder if it’s actually possible to become tired of French bread. We bought a minimum of 2 or 3 baguettes per day. And inevitably someone would start eating it before we even got it back home. Those baguettes are addictive. So now you’ll understand why I look like a loaf of french bread the next time you see me.

Which reminds me of French eating…..

Truly there is nothing better in life than a French cafe in the afternoon. The French really have it down, leisurely passing the time at a little, round table cuddled around several other small, round tables filled with Parisians drinking coffee, drinking wine, eating the most beautiful pastries, and smoking. Apparently my former employer The American Lung Association has not made its footprint here.

Our friend Deb gave us a tip about Cafe du Marche on Rue Cler, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. We tracked it down, and used it as an excuse to celebrate Gracie’s 13th birthday (which was July 25th, but who needs to celebrate in a timely manner anyhow?)

It’s safe to say it’s a birthday meal Gracie will never forget. She ordered the Truffle Cream Sauce with Rigatoni pasta. It was u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-e. So mouth-watering good that there are no words this side of heaven to describe it.

I had the duck confit (fried duck). Delectable! It tastes like a juicy, baked chicken with more full flavor. And it came with these oven baked/fried potato jojos that were out of this world. I know they were good because Zack kept trying to steal them off my plate, even though he had a whole plate of french fries.

And a cheeseburger. That boy, he was so happy to get his cheeseburger. Much to his surprise, the cheese was a humongous dallop of nacho cheese sauce. Not as spicy, but definitely the same bright orange, gelatinous texture. It didn’t stop him from wolfing it down. And using almost an entire bottle of ketchup to do it. You can take the boy out of America, but you can’t take America out of the boy.

Of course I had a glass of white wine at the cafe, it seems so risque to be drinking wine for lunch! And we polished off the meal with creme brulee for dessert. If there is such a thing as using more than 100% cream to make something, this was it. Gracie sang the creme brulee song from High School Musical just to cement the experience for us all.

There’s also amazingly good eats at a falafel joint in The Marais area of Paris. If you are not traveling with Curtis, you should take the bus or underground there. Otherwise, you will walk for 45 minutes for something that is just “5 or 6 blocks away” according to Curtis. (Remember the “walking you into the ground” thing?)

It’s worth the walk for what is reportedly the BEST falafel sandwich in Europe. True dat. Falafel is a traditional middle eastern food, ground chick pea balls deep fried and so delicious, then stuffed into a pita with all sorts of yummy veggies and a special sauce (more special than Burger King’s, mind you).

Gracie and I had the falafel, Zack and Curtis had the gyros. So big and messy we could barely finish. Served with a little pitcher of water, a lifeline for us American tourists.

What to do after a big meal like that? Walk forever to find a bus whose route has been changed and since you don’t speak or read French, you can’t figure out where the re-route is.

Then finally get home and have, what else? Bread and cheese and salami.


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