Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Moveable Feast and Time to go home

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. - Ernest Hemingway

I can't read those words without getting choked up.  It's so true.  I am very lucky that some people moved to Paris and I was able to visit them and I don't know how much it changed their lives but it changed mine.  Paris is one of my favorite places.  Yes, it can get tiring.  I don't know the language, the doors open opposite every time, I don't know if people like me or if they are tired of tourists but for all that it is a great place to visit.  You can do it high or low, much like Chicago.

Day 5 (Sunday)
Don't save your souvenir shopping for Sunday.  Unlike the United States, Paris is closed up on Sunday.  Except for the flea market.  This is the perfect day to visit.  Get there early before the crowds and imagine how cool your house would look if you could ship everything back that you love.  The flea market looks like life doll house.  The stalls are homes with the front side glassed off to be a very small store.  Each vendor appears to have a specialty - chandeliers, furniture from the 60s, etc.  Thank you so much to A. for sending this blog post from Oh Happy Day to us - I don't think we would have found the flea market otherwise.  I don't think she posted about the bathrooms.  The first one you encounter is primitive - wait until you get into the furniture section.  Better wares for sale and better bathrooms.

After browsing and outfitting my dream beach house in the city we headed back to our area which was still hopping on Sunday.  It was time for Game 3.  Again, the French really do not like card playing.  You can sit and smoke at a table for hours on end but the cards come out and you get odd looks.  If anyone can explain I would be interested to hear why.

Poor P.  I now rule Belgium and France.  I brought the hurt.  Cribbage World News had to publish a special edition from Paris.  After his major defeat we went back to our apartment, drank our Bush beer and then went out for dinner on our street.  I had pizza and it was good.  Then we headed out for one last drink at a Scottish pub.  We saw people that had run the Paris Marathon earlier that day and complimented them on their medals and a job well done.  They were not French.  Then it was time to go to bed to get up early.  So sad to be leaving but also a little ready to go home.

Day 6 (Monday)
Our van picked us up at 4:30 a.m.  A much better trip through the city with no traffic.  We got in the van and people were already in it which was kind of creepy and everyone sat in silence to CDG.  We had to fly Brussels Air to Brussels to get the less expensive United ticket.  Now we realize that was kind of silly because it added time to our flight.  Also, if you ever have to connect through the Brussels airport and have an hour and a half don't think that is a lot of time.  The airport is HUGE!!!  Two terminals with 100 gates each.  We watched "Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One" on the way back and saw the flea market we had been at on Sunday.  Then some naps, snacks and reading and we were back in Chicago.  What a great trip - I can't wait to go back.

If you go to Paris I highly recommend Vacation in Paris.  They were very easy to work with and the apartment was perfect for us.  There are plenty of blogs and websites about Paris and check them out for good tips.  I relied on  David Lebovitz, Patricia Wells and John Talbott for restaurant suggestions.  Another good source was the New York Times and I did not find that their suggestions were overrun with tourists.  Even though I made fun of Rick Steeves for being a little tight he was right to just buy the 10-pack of train tickets.  We were so centrally located we only need to buy 2 extra during the whole trip.  So go to Paris!  Have fun!  

And when we arrived home we waited a few days and then we were able to say "Bonjour Pistache!"  It's good to be home.

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