Last week was my first week in Paris… Ever.
I planned and plotted this trip around research for the next book in the Histories of Idan series. Before I boarded the plane, I meant to have a seamless itinerary but our travel plans unraveled for serendipitous reasons and because of a serious case of jet lag.
In the next few posts, I will add some of my Parisian observations as well as my itinerary for that particular day. Ready, set, jet!
- We arrived in Paris on a Friday morning. Specks of water hit our glasses and cheeks as we made our way from Montmartre´s Lamarck-Caulaincourt station up to the apartment we had rented on AirBnB. Our host, Antoine, greeted us with a bottle of champagne and some local tips about the neighborhood.
Historic note: During the days of Vincent van Gogh, Montmartre was known for being Paris´s artistic neighborhood, but also for St. Denis´s decapitation and the nocturnal scenes of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
- Although eager to return to the streets of Paris we had a power nap. Then I did what any sensible person would do, I ate my first authentic croissant at the pink boulanger (119 rue caulaincourt) around the corner from our apartment.
Observation: Winter rain is different in Paris. It falls in minute drops, that barely spray your face and clothing. It´s almost hard to tell it´s raining but for the slippery stone pathways and shallow puddles. The closest thing to it might be Portland, Oregon´s drizzle but it seems to come fall from all directions instead of from above.
- We then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. The main reason we went to this museum is that Jorge, my partner in crime, is an Exhibition Designer at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Science Museum in Miami. The inspiring woman who conceptualized all the institution´s amazing accessibility initiatives, guided us through the many exhibitions. Herself being blind, she was attentive to every label detail as well as extremely knowledgable about all visual aspects of the museum. Meeting her was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life because of her accomplishments but also her humility. In addition to being naturally kind, she was more humble than anyone I have ever met.
- On our return trip, we zigzagged down towards the center of Montmartre, past La Basilique du Sacré Couer, and got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. Which, to be honest, is much more magical than I had anticipated. We walked down to the rue des trois frères until we reached Lánnex restaurant. There we supped on duck breast, honeyed potato mash, asparagus, artichoke purée, and a variety of cheeses. We washed down the savory dinner with a smooth French red. The service was awesome because there were only three couples in the restaurant. Lánnex is a wonderful secret, if you are ever in the neighborhood.
Fun fact: I took about three years of French in college but I´m sad to say, I speak poorly. My pronunciation isn´t terrible though, so I tried my best. I found that French people really appreciated it when I tried to speak French. Even if we ended up speaking English. I kept trying to answer at least partly in French. Consequently, I always felt well treated everywhere we went. No one was rude to us but instead affable and curious.
To be continued…