Thursday, May 17, 2007

from France: Paris notes

It always surprises me how far away the rest of France feels from Paris (and conversely, how far away Paris seems from the rest of France).

This morning, we picked up a small commuter train in the Provence town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue…


…this afternoon we got off a TGV (bullet) train at the Gare de Lyon and stepped into Paris…


…just as the about to be President of France was stepping into his new post.

The political events completely passed me by as I reveled in the great pastry & people-watching opportunities of this city.



Ed isn’t much of a city boy anymore and I have given up on selling him on Paris. He speaks with enthusiasm about the place when we are here…

You don’t like Paris!
I like it, I like it!

… but on the next round, looks for every conceivable way to avoid it.

…what if we stay in the south and catch a morning train straight to the airport the day of our flight?

We hike from the train station to our hotel (have backpack, will hike). In the past I have tried to keep Ed away from tourist hotspots…

so many people here!

…but this time our path crosses this way:


..and so there you have it. We are surrounded. Half the people around me are speaking Polish. I am not surprised.

In the afternoon I go searching for a bottle of wine to bring home. I cannot explain why I think this is a good idea, given that there are millions of bottles of French wine available in the States at comparable prices. I never open any of the stuff I buy here anyway. The bottles are made precious by the fact that they are purchased, fussed over, lugged and finally, lovingly uncovered back home. And so they wait. For something.

Ed tells me we should send the bottles through in a box, wrapped in dirty t-shirts. The entire idea sounds so awful and unworkable to me that I have distanced myself from the effort, handing over the challenge to a person who hasn’t sent a single piece of luggage through on a flight in his entire life.

Meaning, I am writing off these particular bottles with such beautiful labels (for how else do you select here, when so much is so good?) and concentrating on protecting my jars of seaweed tapenade from Brittany.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow, it is true, I return to Madison. But this day (I’m still on Wednesday here) still has the fragrance of Provence around it. Must be the country inn shampoo I’ve been using.