As with most travel days, not much to say. The travel was nice, the company was nice. It is such a difference traveling via train vs traveling via airplane. It just feels smoother and more relaxed, which is odd since there are probably more jolts and “turbulence” on the train but it doesn’t feel unexpected because there is a connection with what is being moved over. In an airplane, any change comes unexpectedly. That might need some more thought, but at least top of the mind musings lean in that direction.
We arrived in Paris and everything seems palatial and old. All the buildings feel as if they were built for a different era and no amount of modern merchandise inside a shop window will pull the building forward in time. We drove past a modern building (it looked like a new opera house) and it was striking how much it stood out from everything else, which all felt as if there were centuries behind them.
Suzie had found a very lovely Air BnB for us to stay in. Five flights of stairs with full luggage are a lot of stairs. Note: counting stairs, and whether platforms or landings factor into the total stair count has been a running joke. Although after five flights, it was more a gasping-for-air joke. Product endorsement: Scott and I picked up some new luggage for the trip, Away, and it has been great. I was willing to say I still liked it after hauling it up the stairs. Although a big thanks to David, who came and assisted for the last two flights. :)
After that, everyone rested briefly and then everyone except me went out to wander the area. I wanted to catch up on some writing, since as may be apparent all of these blog/journal postings are several days behind when they actually happened. Plus, at least for how my brain works, it was very nice to just get to sit in a comfortable space with room and quiet and no crowds or bustling about.
David and Suzie were very generous (Scott was as well, but he married into my craziness of liking to plan food places to try) and had let me make reservations for our first night. We went to Breizh Creperie. It was excellent, a chef/restaurantuer who is very focused on the produce and heritage of his home area, as well as how those same ingredients are used elsewhere in the world. Which for us meant buckwheat crepes, Cancale cheeses and cider, and an occasional Japanese influence integrating the use of buckwheat flour in both Cancale and Japanese food traditions. The crepes were earthy with a strong buckwheat forward flavor, the cheeses ranged from creamy to aged and sharp. The cider was something that I could drink every night. Both Scott and I got a simple country crepe, buckwheat crepe with comte cheese, topped with sliced ham and a fried egg. It was really satisfying.
Of course there were also desert crepes, wheat crepes with all sorts of selections of toppings. Scott went on a riff of what I considered bananas foster, Suzie with a salted caramel and ice cream, David started his whirlwind of rhubarb experiences, and I went super simple, drizzled honey and lemon. A very comfortable way to leap into Paris.
While I probably would have been willing to consider that sufficient for me and crawled into bed, the Eiffel Tower and a internet sash/purse subculture called us out into the night. I know that sounds strange, but it is a true account of the evening. Text messages, a type of bag, and jumping into the air in front of the tower was about to happen...but I would only be a witness. :)
What I did get to participate in, was seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up, walking along the Sienne with my husband and being serenaded by an awful, awful troupe of French Horn players. I’d say 20 to 30 amateur horn players, gathered under a bridge. I think they were trying to play one song, but good heavens it sounded as if they were playing four songs simultaneously and off-key. It was beautiful in just how awful it was.