Travel has normally been something that I do at a relaxed pace or at least try to. This trip has been a bit of a whirlwind. It feels like we had just moments in London before we were on our way, and Paris we had even less time. Basically arrive late afternoon on one day, one full day in the city, and an early morning train out the next day. Not what one would generally consider an ideal amount of time to see a city with so many pieces of history, so much food, and so many things to wander around and take in.
However, a single day with the right people keeping you company can still lead to an ideal day.
Wake up perhaps just a little later than you intended, so you get to enjoy knowing you are on vacation. Walk through a lovely park with that has enough other people that you know it is a well-enjoyed park but it doesn’t feel crowded. If possible, have cross-fitters at the far side of the park jumping relentlessly up and down stairs, so you can mock them because (a) you are on vacation and (b) you are walking to a boulangerie to eat bread and pastries that contain more calories than they can hope to burn off.
When you arrive at said patisserie (we found Boulangerie Poilâne exceeded expectations) order just a bit more than you should. Share with everyone at the table.
Upon finishing breakfast, start walking to a patisserie. Because, why not have more pastry?
Stop at a bookstore. If possible, a bookstore with a large children’s book section. A bookstore with a large children’s section has hope as well as books. (A side note, if this bookstore is someplace where you are not fluent in the language, you will very likely feel some regret and try to convince yourself that buying books in a foreign language is okay. Or that may just be me.)
Realize that if you just go out of your way by a block there is a giant sculpture garden you can meander through, so that you build up a bit of an appetite for the next round of pastry. Do this.
Meander. Meander with friends, on your own, and with your spouse. That is, take enough time to meander in many different ways,
Go to the next pastry shop. Be briefly disappointed that they did not have “what they are known for” because you are not there on the right day. Order two different things to compensate for this disappointment. Eat those pastries as soon as a bench or some other location makes it available to sit down.
I also recommend preparing ahead, have tickets to something that sound fun. Something that isn’t listed in every “top ten” list. We chose the Ateliere des Lumieres.
We realized this meant that we should take our pastry filled selves and head towards the exhibit. We then spent an hour, surrounded by lights, people sharing the same experience we were having, and just a general sense of wonderment.
Conclude with more pastry and a big dinner filled with conversation.
You may not see everything in Paris, but what you saw will have been worth it.