All four years of high school, two years of college, and my only viewing of the movie Back to the Future in it, and my French didn’t tumble as fluently all weekend as it did at the airport coming home.
My suitcase was securitized, thanks to a 1.5 litre bottle of Perrier I had put inside because I like to make my life challenging, and all of a sudden I had paragraphs. “I forgot, I’m so sorry, that’s the only liquid I promise.”
I speak the French of apologies.
I remember my last trip, finding the Tower, buying tulips for 45 francs, going inside the Notre Dame — but I missed a lot. I know a whole song about the Champs-Élysées, but I’d never walked down it until last weekend.
The song is fairly accurate. Especially the parts that go, “hmm, hmm, de hm-huh uh, LE CHAMPS ELYSEES.”
I only ended up with one souvenir.
A footie-sleeper onesie deal with tiny baby birds on it. It’s a cute story someday I suppose. “Yes, you’ve been to Paris sort of, and you used to fit into this Petit Bateau jammie romper from the fancy street.”
We both shopped. But Ryan shopped for crepes.
I did not climb nearly as many stairs in 1995, either. To the second level of the Tower, and up to the Sacre Coeur from the 18th arrondissement.
And not doing Paris by tour bus, you get to see all the neighborhoods. We had breakfast one morning in the 7th, and I managed to order off guard and sans menu. Apologies and bread, covered.
There’s a deliberateness, an intentionality, and an appreciation for presentation that makes everything seem special.
Flowers for sale, arranged as if the sidewalk were the finest parlor.
And fruit displayed like a still life in the Louvre.
That is Paris to me. Making the every day, an event.
(And yes, he ate them. When in Rome that isn’t Rome. He had to listen to my retelling of the escargot scene from Pretty Woman though.)