Yes, we are Paris-bound on Thursday! I can't believe it, I've been literally crossing off the days on my calendar. This was just a gleam in my eye a few months ago, when I took a gamble and bought cheap-o tickets to the French Open on the day they were released, with neither a plane ticket or hotel booked, just a dream of Roland Garros clay. Joe and I talked about going on vacation during Memorial Day weekend and France was batted around, so I impulsively clicked buy when I was able to get the tickets I wanted in my cart.
The next steps: convincing Joe that we should indeed go to Paris (bloody hell, were the plane tickets expensive). He wanted to see Mont Blanc, so we are headed to Geneva too, then getting out of Switzerland before we have to sell a kidney to pay for our $$ sandwiches, and staying in Chamonix for some mountain hiking and ambling.
This is one epic vacation. My friend Serena is worried about the fact that neither Joe nor I speak a lick of French. "Maybe you should keep your expectations low," she said. Au contraire, my expectations are as high as they could possibly be.
I spent some time on this BBC website called "Quick Fix French" trying to learn some key phrases. I tried to speak all the French I learned to Serena, which took about 30 seconds. All she said was, "Oh no!"
What, no good? Of course I also have Rosetta Stone French but I was lazy about it and all I know how to say is "Le garcon boit." The boy drinks. That will be extremely useful.
I even have the headphones. Joe came over and worked on a Rosetta Stone lesson where it grades your pronunciation. He got through the whole thing and then the program cheerfully said "Au revoir!" "Au revoir," Joe said. But it wouldn't acknowledge that he had said it correctly. He kept saying it over and over again, at least 30 times, in a monotone. "Au revoir, au revoir, au revoir." Finally he got it right, but I couldn't stop laughing. "That was the one thing I thought I knew," he said. Later my roommate Christine asked, "Was Joe saying something in French many times in a row?"
I think the lack of French will be OK, people speak English and we'll muddle through.
- Re-read David Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day" essay.
- I want to do a bike tour or a boat tour on the Seine, thanks to Linda's great advice.
- The usual: Saint Chapelle, The Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Latin Quarter, the Musee d'Orsay, the Tuileries Gardens, Le Pompidou, the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees. That might be ambitious. Maybe Versaille or Giverney. Again, ambitious. We will be in Paris for about 5 days.
- Check out a few of the cool restaurants mentioned in that Bon Appetit magazine, or restaurants/patisseries recommended by David Lebovitz. His book, "The Sweet Life in Paris," is laugh-out-loud funny. The blurb on the back says, "People are always saying to me, 'It must be so fun to live in Paris! What do you do all day?' I don't think 'I avoid Parisians' is quite the answer they're expecting." Ha, I think we will try to avoid talking to Parisians as well to avoid embarrassment on our part.
- I want to stop in at Princesse Tam Tam as inspired by this fun article in Conde Naste Traveler, "Lingerie Shopping in Paris."
- Hike in the Alps and maybe swim in a mountain lake? Is that crazy?