Sitting outside a café on the corner of the Boulevard de Grenelle at a tiny table with drinks in front of us, as the endless streams of Parisians eddied and swirled past, it made me smile to see how many people in Paris actually DO walk home from work with a baguette clutched tight in one hand as they pull pieces from it to nibble on with the other. It made me smile to see the flower shops open until 9 at night, their wares overflowing from inside the shop to cover the sidewalk like a flood of flowers, lit by lamplight. It made me smile to turn the corner into Place Joffre and see the Eiffel Tower all lit up, with sparkling lights flickering like mad all over it.
We had dinner at a lovely French restaurant on Rue du Laos called Pierre Claude. I got tsked at by my 2 French colleagues for firmly refusing wine and ordering a Coke. The Crème Brûlée I ordered for dessert was out of this world. Then Alain, who works in our French office and lives in the neighborhood of our hotel took us on a driving tour of Paris by night which was superb since 1) I would basically have seen NOTHING of Paris otherwise and 2) Paris SHINES in the evening. We zipped around the city in his fancy new Peugeot van with the rest of the criminally-insane drivers and he took us to Trocadéro, the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, the mayor's house, the Obelisk at Place Concorde, the Arc d'Triumph, the Louvre, the "little Arc," along the Seine, down Champs-Elysées. It was after 10 so nothing was open, but I found some awesomely kitschy Eiffel Tower souvenirs for my kids: clear glass tower figurines with multi-colored revolving light-up bases! Très gauche! XD
Newsflash! Charles de Gaulle Airport's Terminal 1 voted WORST HELLHOLE ON EARTH!
Our French office is way out in Cachan, far south of the city center. It takes 2 Metro trains and 45 minutes to get there from the Eiffel Tower. And when you work until 6 each evening (since, when you are in France, you don't start working until 9) that doesn't leave much time for sightseeing or anything else. Wednesday we spent some interminable hours lost in the dank, revolting, and confusingly-signaged depths of Charles de Gaulle (which is suspiciously modeled on a hamster habitrail), and our plane was delayed, so I didn't get home to my sleeping house until after 12:30 a.m.
Newsflash! Book group totally rocks my world!
How to make up for jetlag, crazybusyness and work-stress: On the very next day, host a book group at your home and provide delicious soup with two kinds of rolls (panini and pumpkin seed). Have someone else bring chocolate marble cake. Keep the conversation flowing with lots of laughter. At the very least, make sure you have the following people in the room: Geena, Debbie, Amy, Janet, Carol. Add some interesting and fun newcomers. And don't forget to discuss the book!
- Shoes are CUTE in Paris! I must return and be less restrained.
- The Ark, who turned out to be the surprise entertainment at our big work party last night, is fairly good live but I have to admit I was disappointed it wasn't Wilmer X.
- Staying up until 2 a.m. to catch up on LJ/blogs is maybe not the best idea when you're already running on fumes.