Sunday, December 18, 2016

slowly heading home

My last evening in Paris. In Europe. So in Warsaw/Paris. But tonight -- in Paris.

It's Saturday evening. It's reasonably warm. Why stay home? Sometimes it seems to me that in Paris, no one ever stays home on a weekend night. Restaurants and cafes swell.

One last Parisian stroll for me...


Well, me and a million others.


I try a new eatery tonight -- the Restaurant l'AG (named for the chef Alan Geeam -- he has another brand new place in the reconstructed Les Halles). It's just across from the St Germain market and  there is a 40 Euro fixed price menu, all inclusive (but for wine), down to the fizzy water. It's creative, it's lovely, it's indescribably delicious.

(The soup is poured around a small bed of stuff. The culinary genius is in pulling together the right "stuff.")


Yes, it's a fine meal. Must return, must return. Oh, but returning means leaving. Am I at that quandary all over again?!

Morning. You'll have seen everything from this iPhone photo set in previous Parisian posts. Les Editeurs, the coffee shop that I return to ,because for one thing, it has reliably grand pain au chocolat and croissants


Too, on a fairly early Sunday morning, it's quiet. Almost staid. It's the kind of place that you're expected to read and people do read.


(My croissant and pain.)


(As I said, people read.)


And after, I have the benefit of time. I'm booked on an unusually late flight out of Paris (3:20 to Detroit). That means I can walk the streets once more. To the park, for one thing.

It's misty gray outside and yet the Luxembourg Gardens feel fresh and inviting. The green color hasn't quite disappeared. So much so that the green chair is lost in a field of other greens.


I come out at the south western tip and turn toward the Boulevard Raspail, a street that will take me back to the department sore (where I'm itching to pick up a toy for Snowdrop's birthday --- coming up!)

Once more, I fawn over the flower choices.


Too, it is the day of the Raspail market. They say Catherine Deneuve always shops here then, but I didn't see her. Perhaps I am too distracted (enchanted?) by the sight of wicker baskets at the veggie stall. Now where have I seen these before on this trip?!


I make a loop, pick up the small toy and head back. Such familiar blocks. To you by now as well. And the scooters! How many times have we seen moms or dads guiding daughters and sons on their scooters? (Or arguing about who should push the scooter...)


And now it's almost noon and I have many bags to haul up to the Luxembourg train stop where on this very foggy day I will catch my flight to Detroit.

I've taken this "Week before Christmas" flight from Paris to Detroit for more than a dozen years now and it is always the same: full of little children. Most often they're with families where one parent is American and the other French. This time, I help a young man carry his infant girl and luggage -- I marvel at how young she is. He laughs and tells me that she has been on many flights already. He works for the State Department and is stationed... elsewhere.

Almost always these young kids are coming to see their extended families for the holidays and it is at once a happy and an anxious group of travelers. My heart swells for them. How hard it is to be separated by an ocean from people you love!


During the flight, I should write. I should sleep. I should exhale. Instead I watch one of the most tear jerking films of all time ("Light Between Oceans"). Thank God I do not have a seat mate. I go through many tissues.

Perhaps it's just the emotion of going home. Snowy, cold, freezing cold but oh so very warm. Home.

I'd say that 90% of my travels this time were flawless. But the last few hours are tense. One flight comes in late and so there is a trickle effect. Suitcases, connections -- suddenly they're all threatened. And in fact I have to run madly (and shoeless... don't ask!)  to catch my last flight to Madison. And I'm glad I did. The doors closed just as I got on. There was no other flight home tonight. (The suitcase, unfortunately, is sleeping in Detroit.)

On the way to the farmhouse, Ed and I pull up to Snowdrop's home. It's on the way! I'll leave you with a photo of the girl running in circles of happy laughter. That's the way she described it: I'm running in circles!


And now goodnight, from a snow covered farmette!