May 25th, 2011

travel

Random Parisian Notes

1)  It's lovely to make an omelette with eggs that taste like eggs.  The butter doesn't hurt, either.

2)  Sometimes, you just have to stay in and take a deep breath.  Even in Paris.  Even when the sun is shining.

3)  A burning interest in the same subject can eliminate a lot of language barriers.  Yesterday, my knitting-related vocabulary was significantly widened.  Pelote, for example, is a ball of yarn.  Yarn itself is fil.  I can't remember what the yarn lady called the mottled, variagated violet-purple-blue-pink linen I bought (other than pas terrible, which apparently means "wicked good"), but there's a word for that, too.  She apologized for speaking no English and praised my accent, and by the time I'd gotten my change, I'd pretty much lost the stutter.  Un peu de confiance indeed.

4)  Le Bouillion Chartier may be full of tourists, but it's no more touristy than it was in the 1870's, so that's no change.  The waiters are cheerful and cheeky, the space is gloriously gilded and mirrored, the tableclothes are checked, and perfect strangers are seated next to one another.  The protocol is to pretend they are't there, and after a moment of intense self-consciousness, I managed very well, with Italians to our left, and a series of single, somber French businessmen eating sausages to my right.

5)  Walking across the Ile de la Cite in front of Notre Dame is like walking through a movie set.  There are crowds of people, a backdrop of jaw-dropping beauty that doesn't look quite real, and a great, if diffuse, sense of purpose in the air.  One of these days, when I've got more time, I shall have to brave the incredible lines and go inside again.

6)  Ditto the Conciergerie.  I've walked by it hundreds of times, and read a lot about it--there's a trunk story about it I'd like to go back to at some point--but somehow, I've never actually made it inside.  And there's a tour and everything.  Next time for sure.

In other news, we're leaving tonight for Epinal.  Ellen's got an eye on the volcano situation, and is making back-up plans for if we get stuck here.  I'm caught between hoping we will be (who wouldn't?) and panic that we will and I won't have time to get ready for Hollins.  The syllabus I can mostly do here.  But I can't very well pack and organize for a 6 week absence when I'm already absent, can I?  No. 

Ah, well.  As Ellen says, it's in the hands of Providence.