July 6, 2014

The Oregonians Have Arrived in Paris!

Although we hadn't yet encountered any rain in Paris, it was partly cloudy for the first two days we were there and apparently it took the impending arrival of the Oregonians for the sun to finally show up! Hello, Sun! Welcome to Paris!

My continued descent into the abyss of insomnia was enabling me to get almost a full-day of work in before we started our daily tourist activities, so with a day of work behind me and the sun out and shining, I waited in anticipation for the arrival of my Dad and Lea. They also were arriving from San Francisco on that big Airbus A380 jet.

Knowing they would take almost the same route as we did just two days before, for a first-time visitor to Paris, the trek into the city from CDG isn't really that glamorous. There's no views of the Eiffel Tower, nor much in the way of the beautiful architecture, but instead views provided by the graffiti artists that have so generously littered the city with their musings and other inner-city sights. As I had foreshadowed, my Dad's almost first words were "Paris sure isn't what I expected." Clearly, I had some work cut out for me, but to be honest, I've never been under any illusion that my Dad was a "Paris kind of guy." He's just not a city person, and I get that completely, which is why our stop in Paris would be brief.

We spent a few minutes chatting about their trip "over the pond" and after they both washed their faces and settled their belongings into their bedroom, we headed out to a nearby neighborhood bistro for a bite to eat.

After a meal, paired with a cold, frothy beer, it's amazing how much better you feel! I am not normally that much of a beer person, but I had a really delicious beer; it was a "Grimbergen", a light beer with just a hint of citrus and spice. I'm going to have to see if I can find this beer when I get home at Total Wine or Whole Foods.

We walked around the neighborhood for a bit before going back to the apartment. Dad and Lea took a short nap while April and I got some work done. It was a low-key night, which was perfect for everyone, particularly the weary travelers.

One of the things we love about the Bastille neighborhood is their twice-weekly market. It's one of the largest in Paris and we were really excited that we would still be in town for the market. The day was promising to be a warm and sunny one, so our plan was to hit the market first and do some shopping, then board a "hop on and hop off" bus for a quick tour of Paris' sights.

I could spend hours at this market, but I had to be mindful of perhaps our "less enthusiastic" market shoppers, so I tried to hurry my way through the crowds to procure some fruit, vegetables, herbs, cured meat, cheese, fresh pasta, and some olives. A feast we shall have!

Sean apparently was busy snapping photos while we shopped and he said to me later, "Bun, you always look so happy when you're buying food."

It's amazing how cheap things are at this market. I bought a very large bunch of fresh basil for 1 Euro. It was enough basil to fill probably 5 of the little boxes we buy for $2.99 each in our produce section. I love the selection of fruits and vegetables - it's always interesting to see the unfamiliar ones and wonder what they taste like or are used for (such as in types of cuisine). I was truly in my happy place!

We finished at the market and Sean and I ran the goods back to the apartment while April escorted Dad and Lea to the bus pickup location. Sitting on the open-air bus in 85 degree weather might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but as the afternoon dragged on and the traffic got more congested, the bus didn't travel very fast and the breezes the speed of its travel afforded were getting scarce.

Thankfully, we had the forethought to bring lots of water with us, so we all tried to stay hydrated. Despite the hot, humid weather, it was still nicer than viewing Paris in the rain. But, as Cole Porter wrote in his famous "I Love Paris" song, "I love Paris in the spring time,  I love Paris in the fall,  I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles,  I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles."

After completing just two of the four total "loops" around Paris, it was time to depart the bus. It was just too hot. It was after 2:00 PM by this time and all of us were getting hungry and in need of a cold beverage. You could call us the "hangry" gang and I was afraid that Dad was going to drop dead from heatstroke. So off the bus we went and after wandering around the area for about 20 minutes (we were near St. Germain des Pres), we couldn't find a place for lunch that wasn't going to cost us an arm and a leg. That's what we get for getting off the bus in one of the more "glamorous" neighborhoods of Paris.

We decided the best solution was to head back to our neck of the woods where we knew of several great lunch places at reasonable prices. Unsure if it was a good idea for Dad and Lea to exert themselves walking through long Metro tunnels, we decided the best option was to hail a cab. So we found a cab, however, it could only seat 4 of us, so April was gracious enough to hop onto the Metro and planned to meet us in Bastille at our designated lunch spot. An air conditioned cab ride was just the ticket we needed. Unfortunately, our lunch spot didn't have such luxuries as A/C, but the cold beers helped!

Lunch accomplished, we wandered back to the apartment, where a couple of naps ensued and April and I did a little work. As we had a rather late lunch, dinner was a few snacks from the market enjoyed outside in our lovely garden.

À bientot!


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