Monday, March 20, 2006

Springtime in Paris

the real deal
Originally uploaded by vivienfrance.
OK, Spring officially started today, but I think it's fair to say that it showed up a few days early in the City of Light.

Friday morning, I took a bus and a train and a couple of metro lines and ended up at kyliemac's humble abode. This would be my home base for the following three days. After a tasty lunch and a lot of girly talk with kylie and Aimee, I headed out with Aimee to play "tourist". First we went to the Louvre and waited in a long line and listened to the incoherent ramblings of American Teenagers on Vacation (like, totally!). At the end of the line, we put on our Audiophones and listened to commentary about the paintings of Ingres in French. Then we went to Angelina's, a famous salon du thé on the Rue de Rivoli. There, I experienced for the first time the glory that is real chocolat chaud. This ain't no chocolate-flavored powder-water, people. This is chocolate so thick, it doesn't pour out of the pitcher, it oozes. Air pockets bubble up to the surface, reminiscent of lava. The taste is so smooth, it coats your insides like a soft, supple leather coat on a cool morning. I nearly cried. I am not joking.

After that experience, there was nothing to do but go back to kyliemac's and watch a video and sigh.

The next day, kylie and I met up with an Aussie Lass and her lovely husband at the Paris Expo to check out Mer & Vigne et Gastronomie (Sea & Vine and Gastronomy), where we sampled lots of different foodstuff and wine (some tippled more than others!) and I bought some clams (not fresh, as that would have been slightly inconvenient, but some shelled clams in a jar with clam juice with which I will make a tasty clam sauce for pasta!) and some nougat for Steph and some jam for me. We had a great deal of fun chatting between bites of food.

Saturday evening, I caught up with Dr. andMrs. B. We had a delicious meal of Mexican origin near their home and had hoped to see Walk the Line (in VO, even!) but we didn't make it to the theatre quite in time and I don't like to walk into a theatre after the movie has started, so we went to Starbuck's instead, where I learned a lot about North Dakota and how they met - both facsinating tales. I'm hoping to lure the two of them out to the country to tell me more, even if I have to bake a pecan pie to do it.

Sunday morning, Steph came to Paris, so I bid farewell to my charming host and went back to the train station. Just as his train was pulling into the station, I met up with his friend L, who we know through online gaming. After a happy reunion, we headed back into the city to meet up with more online gamer/friends, B and A, and we had a lovely lunch of pizza before walking across the street to check out the Salon du Livre where it was a bit too crowded for my liking but we managed anyway and the guys were able to stock up on some new fantasy novels and bandes dessinées. Since this year's theme was francophone countries, I didn't even bother to look for books in English and was happy to follow the group and, if nothing else, I was so excited to see a 25th anniversary edition of The Princess Bride in a beautiful volume that I inspired A to buy it, and I hope that the wonderful dry humor translates well into French and she enjoys it.

Finally, the weekend drew to a close and Steph and I wearily made our way back to the Gare de l'Est to make our way home.

It was an exhausting weekend, but I really enjoyed every moment of it. Thanks again to our gracious hosts who made time to visit with us country bumpkins!

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