Saturday, December 10, 2005

Permanent Vacation

Today we walked across the Seine to the Island of the City [Ile de la Cité] – the one with Notre Dame. It was 2:30 p.m. and we were starving. We stumbled upon a restaurant called “Les deux Palais” – which I’m sure was French for “The Tourist Trap”. In fact, the menu (appetizer, entrée, and dessert) was called “The Tourist Menu”. But, their onion soup looked good, and I’m not proud, so I sat down and ordered “Le menu Touriste”. I started with the soup, moved on to a ham omelet with french fries (and Heinz ketchup), and finished with a wedge of Camembert. The sandwich board out front had advertised the omelet as ham, cheese, herbs (I thought it came with all three), so when the waiter asked me if I wanted a jambon, fromage, or fines herbes omelet, I said “oui”. I quickly realized my mistake and settled on jambon.

We had plenty of errands to run, so after lunch we headed out into the cold, but clear, air to tackle our shopping list. We didn’t get far; the beauty of this city is a real distraction. Everywhere I turn there is temptation. Chocolatier. Fromagerie. Boulangerie. Boutique (we stopped by one boutique near our house that has the cutest sweaters and jackets. But, once inside, I couldn't tell if it was a maternity shop or the latest Paris fashions. Everything had an Empire waist. I felt silly asking. It seemed like such a foolish question that I didn’t even have the courage to make Fred ask. Instead I zipped up my padded winter coat to hide my stomach and browsed at the cashmere turtlenecks as if I may or may not be pregnant.)

Fred and I managed to buy 1 out of 8 of the items on our list. Hair conditioner. And that was only because The Body Shop was on our way to get a chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). I paid the man behind the counter. As he handed me my bag he wished me a good vacation [bonnes vacances]. I thanked him and walked out. He may be surprised when I'm back in 3 months after I run out of conditioner again. But for now, I'll be the tourist. I can eat a 3 course meal off the tourist menu for 13 euro. Plus, people are much more tolerant of my inability to speak French when they think I'm only here for 2 weeks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the permanent vacation idea. In fact, I think you already realize that in my mind, you and Fred are on an extended vacation. I'm thinking you're just fabulously wealthy and can afford to vacation for months - even years! - at a time in such a romantic destination as Paris!
Paula