much better at learning French than I was.
As a result, I depended on her to navigate the language during our stay
in Paris last June. Our first and only
Air France flights were highlighted by rude French flight attendants talking
down to us, like this little exchange: “You must return to your seat” (English with heavy French accent). “But I have
to use the restroom” (Laurel’s perfect English with pure American inflection). “That is your
problem” (English with heavy French accent and attitude added).
It was my
first trip to Paris. Two days spent in
the Louvre and two trips to the Musee D’Orsay gave me an opportunity to finally
see paintings that I’d only seen as small reproductions in art books and
magazines. We ate breakfast at the same
place, Mille et Un Pains, every morning and were served by a very friendly
staff. Pastries were made in the back and
served with café au lait in the front. Had escargot for the first time at Allard; who would have thought that
snails would taste so damn good.
We learned to
navigate the Metro subway system--took
it to visit Alberto Giacometti’s studio location at 46 rue Hippolyte
Maindron. Strolled through the Montparnase
Cemetery and underneath the Eiffel Tower. Made stop-action videos at the Jardin des Tuileries. And discovered that the young Parisians don’t
walk around their city with cell phones attached to their ears like Americans
do…“Oh, it’s like totally awesome…I love to talk about nothing in
particular…but really loud blah blah blah.” God, what a pleasant change.
Of course we now want to live there. I suppose I’ll need to learn the language. Laurel and I look forward to returning, but we won’t be taking Air France to get there.