Saturday, January 11, 2014

A bit late, Paris Day 3.

I had held strong to my DayQuil and NyQuil regiment, but today was caught out in the cold with no meds, and quite a dismal body ache.  But if you have to be sick, Paris is the place to be. 

Today started rather late - 12:00 we finally made it out the door and down the five flights of twisting stairs.  We stumbled onto the Metro in hopes of finding the apparently elusive vintage flea market.  Mitchee and my sweet mother read about this unmarked flea market on a blog and were determined to find it. 

And my oh my did we find a flea market.  To anyone who knows the estate sale junkies my family is - you know the giddy amusement this allotted us. 

We spent a good five hours searching for treasures, pursing the curious oddities and gazing at the gilded glimpses of a world passed.  I value old things - old trinkets, old furniture, old clothes, - old friends - I cherish the imperfections, fragility and stories they innately possess.  Each of us found a little treasure.  My treasure - a 1940’s noir necklace - heavy, chunky, dazzling - just the perfect juxtaposition of feminine and masculine.  I wasn’t going to buy it, but my mom is the queen of dealin’ and worked her magic.  I wondered back to see what she had found and without a word my dad placed a colorfully wrapped package in my hand.  My necklace.  What a special surprise,  treasured memory, and perfect start of a story.

After a long traipse back to our flat - we were all exhausted.  A hot bath and a long nap was a perfect solution for this fading lady.

We spent the rest of the evening in comfy clothes, around the big table - playing games.

We have almost gone through a whole bottle of olive oil - I have eaten a whole baguette by myself and discovered “boggle” - a new favorite game.  Mom is the queen of Uno, Dunkin reigns in most everything else - although the girls are currently winning in Taboo.

As cranky as I sometimes am with my sniffiling nose and pounding head - I sure love Paris, and more then that I sure love just sitting around the table playing games with my lovely family.  I think I could go anywhere with them and be happy -

Monday, January 6, 2014

Paris Day 2

11:13AM.  My room is still dark.  The flat is eerily quiet.  Did everyone leave?  There is no way everyone is still asleep. 

An array of circular mirrors line the long hallway leading from my bedroom to the kitchen.  If I run my fingers over them, ever so slowly, it is like a myriad of notes, tinging together to make a cacophony of discord - the notes ever so faint, ever so satisfying. 

Empty kitchen. To my amusement, I am the first one up.

Off to find some breakfast - Nutella Crêpe number two today, and as an afterthought Mitchee ordered some french fries, man I love that girl.

Nifty museum passes let us skip the long line, dad you are always two steps and a skip ahead.  Through the throngs of people, past the iconic glass pyramid, down the marble stairs - welcome to the Louvre.

The stairs are well traveled, the marble treads worn into a distinctive depressed “U” shape by the familiar patter of patron feet.

Putting the Louvre into words is pure languish.  Never in my life have I experienced a day more grand.  The sweeping photos can never do it justice and distinguishing between reality and fantasy is purely a matter of opinion.  You must look up, you must look down, you must look close and you must step back - you will miss something you never even knew existed.  The paintings - brushed masterpieces, the sculptures - chiseled perfection, ceilings - cupid adorned, floors - a matrix of magic.

From the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe is a much longer walk then it looks.  We didn't quite make it - but the walk was everything one would imagine - pools, manicured gardens - even dead they look majestic.  Friendly pigeons, larger then life sculptures, a quaint ferris wheel, handsomely clad lads and dapper ladies doting the picturesque promenade - so chic. 

We meandered through a leftover christmas market.  Duncan got a sausage, dad some dried mangos and pears, and Mitchee and I some hot cider.  The cider was a bit too mulled and could have used a few lumps of sugar for my liking.  But it warmed my hands quite nicely, dad liked it and as Mitchee pointed out - I like everything just a tad too sweet.

Soon we tired of the crowds,  it sprinkled a bit, but thankfully the metro was conveniently just across the street.  A few quick looks at the map, one lucky guess and dad and I managed to get us within a block of our flat.  Successfully navigating a new city brings its own kind of joy - a kind that starches your collar, polishes your shoes and makes you stand just a little taller. 

Today as we walked I had a smile plastered on my face.  A smile that was not tried, fake or chosen.  A smile that required no mustering or prodding - but just a genuine upturn of a recently heavy mouth.  It felt good, really good. 

Stripped down, bare.  I just slipped into the must delectable, piping hot bath.  Familiar red webs wind across my heat sensitive skin, I can feel my cheeks flush. The smooth water encompasses my tired limbs, wrapping its heavy arms around me, like only a familiar lover would know how.  The water laps at my chin, wetting my lips and filling my ears.  It is quiet.  The kind of quite that only comes when the water is running the world away. 

A perfect end, to a perfect day.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Paris Day 1

I wrapped my scarf around my neck, just high enough to cover my mouth, but just low enough to let my nose peek out.  I do not like things covering my nose, but I hope covering my mouth will inhibit the plague I currently possess from spreading. Last thing I want is to pass my heavy cough and pounding headache to the rest of the flight.  

Twelve hours on that Air France plane cramps my 5’10’’ frame and plugs my sensitive ears, but the kind company of my seat companion made for good conversation.  Fazal speaks fourteen different languages and is well-versed in all subjects from foreign policy to clean energy alternatives.  His brain works quick - he is unchangingly smart, yet unapologetically in love with all of humanity.  His ethical core is evident.  Impeccably humble and wisely discerning, he is quite impressive, quite inspiring.

Finally off the plane.

The biting air catches in my already tight chest.  My gait is long and brisk as my muscles enjoy the new found space to stretch.  As I make my way from the terminal, onto the tram the halls are lined with artist memoirs - Monet, Degas, Van Gogh.  My heart flickers - pieces I forgot even knew how to shine.

One stamp - a shy “merci” and I have made it through customs.

Our flat is quintessential Paris.  Complete with herringbone wood floors, decadent crown molding and narrow dreamy balconies.  I plan to watch each sunrise and sunset from a balcony - coffee in one hand, pen in the other - wrapped in a heavy down comforter, cuddling with the cool breeze.  From my balcony I see the backside of the Louvre - a dreamlike scape of perfectly sculpted courtyards and iron work so impeccable, it looks to have been drawn on by a calligraphist.

The cobble stone streets, intricate architecture and melodic mystery that stumbles past my ears has already carried me away.  As we wandered through the narrow streets a familiar, yet forgotten sense of awe settles over me.  Nutella crêpe in hand and my family by my side, it seems 2014 is already full of new wonders and unimaginable beauty.