Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Au Revoir, Paris...Hello, Canada.

Greetings from Toronto. That's right--I've already made my way back across the pond after three delightful days in Paris. And now I have an eight-hour layover--not so delightful. I can't even pop into the city because I had to go through U.S. Customs pre-clearance. I guess I'll talk to the internet instead.

Paris was about as fabulous as you'd expect it to be. Once again Catherine and Arnaud came to the rescue and put me up in their apartment. The first night they kept asking me if I wanted to see Vice-Versa at the movie theater, insisting I'd know what that was. Turns out Vice-Versa is the French title for Pixar's Inside Out. We saw it in English, though. It was good--I haven't seen a Pixar movie in many years. And we got to go to the fancy theater at La Défense.

The next day was a lovely lazy one. Our big activity was simply a leisurely walk in Bois de Boulogne, a huge park just outside Paris. Catherine and Arnaud pointed out this yellow and red tape on some of the trees and light posts; apparently France has these walking trails that stretch for hundreds of miles connecting all the forests in the country, marked only by this tape. That sounds like it would make for a fun trip, honestly: walk the entirety of France. The park had ponies and lakes and the avant-garde architecture of the Louis-Vuitton Foundation. The park also has many prostitutes, apparently, but we were too early to spot any of them.

Sunday was the best, for my baby sister Molly and our dear friend Ashley arrived in Paris! I met them at their hotel and we had lunch, but then they were quite jet-lagged, so I decided to go see the end of the Tour de France. Just your average Sunday. I tried to meet Catherine and Arnaud at the finish line, but I got trapped at the Louvre, as the route went through there, too. However, this worked out in my favor--there was almost nobody there, so I had a front row spot. I think the sparse crowds had less to do with waning French enthusiasm for bicycling and more to do with the chilly rain that was falling all afternoon. My umbrella did what it could, but it was not nearly enough. I waited there for two hours, and it was over in just a few seconds. Still, I think it was worth it. I got some killer footage.

That evening I met Cathy for dinner. We had crêpes on Rue d'Odessa and talked translation for a few hours. I could not be working on my project with a more charming or intelligent person. Excited!

I know I said Sunday was the best, but Monday could certainly vie for its position. My final day in Paris was packed with the essentials. First, Molly, Ashley, and I went to a certain tall tower.

Did you know that it is 15 euros to take the elevators of the Eiffel Tower, but only 5 euros if you want to climb the over-600 stairs to the second floor? Guess which we chose.

To be fair, we got the chance to take a nice long break on the first floor before we hiked up to the second. The fact that you cannot take the stairs all the way to the tippy-top is a travesty. We didn't go to the tippy-top at all, as the line for that final elevator was outrageous. It doesn't matter--the views were great from the first and second floor. See?

My favorite part of the Eiffel Tower was that when we got to the first floor, they were playing Kanye West. You can't make this stuff up.

We then had some crêpes for lunch! That's right--I had crêpes two days in a row. France is the best.

After lunch, we headed to a certain literary cathedral.

The line for Notre Dame was long, but it moved quickly, and I'm glad we went inside. It's as imposing as I expected, and very beautiful. Also creepy.

We followed that up with some meandering through the Latin Quarter, and then I had to part ways with the girls so I could go back to Catherine's and pack up my things! Luckily Paris said goodbye with a stunning sunset over the Seine.

A warning to all those traveling back to the States from Paris: Charles de Gaulle airport is a nightmare in the mornings. I got there 2.5 hours before my flight, and it was barely enough. But I made it, and...now I'm in Toronto. I will arrive in Vegas at about 11 p.m. this evening local time, at which point I will fall into my bed and sleep sleep sleep.

I'm as surprised as you are that my summer travels are already over. Looking back over my blog posts from the last few months, I feel nostalgic--and also like a privileged asshole. Seriously, if I ever complain about anything ever again, just hit me over the head with a baguette until I shut up. You have my permission.

I miss you already, France. At the same time, I'm looking forward to flying over those neon lights...

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