Letter from Paris: In and On the Outskirts of Town

written on Friday morning at 2: 23 am

Dear Friends,

As I’d mentioned before, my aunt is visiting from New York, which is wonderful because I get to see and enjoy Paris like someone who just disembarked Air France and not someone who’s leaving in three days (plus, since my wallet has been lifted I get to eat real meals—let me be honest, my meals now are better than when I had a wallet in my possession). It also thrills me that my aunt has a serious sweet tooth, so we’ve been indulging a two scoops of gelato a day regimen.

Much ground has been covered walking: Montmartre (Sacré Cœur), the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (l’Arc de Triomphe), Chatelet, The Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedrale, and Versailles. I should’ve been looking for a job in Paris as a tour guide to English-speaking tourists, and not a job as an English teacher. We have walked miles on cobbled stones and paved streets, and I keep thinking that we have “miles to go before [we] sleep.” What she still hasn’t seen up close is the Eiffel Tower, but my aunt has assured me that she will hurt me physically if we don’t… (or maybe that’s what I heard in her tone). So, the Eiffel Tower it is on Sunday… after we return from a quick getaway to Madrid.

* I wouldn’t call myself a religious person, though I do do things religiously, like I religiously eat gelato, and I religiously spread Nutella on baguettes before consumption; however, when I saw the Sacre Coeur at the top of the hill I was in awe of this religious monument: it’s grandiosity, architecture, significannce. Just so you know, the Eiffel Tower beckons in the distance. I tried to take a picture of the lit tower, but my camera doesn’t have those capabilities.

* We walked up the Seine… like human salmon.

* The Notre Dame Cathedral has incredible carvings and details in the arches and along the columns. The elaborate stories on the outside held more interest for me that the inside. Go there, and let me know what you think.

* This gargoyle looks very familiar… like a baby I’ve seen.

* The Louvre museum is open late on Wednesday nights, so for ten euro you can enter and head stratight to its biggest attraction.

* More interesting to me than the Mona Lisa was the sign on her right.

* Yes, beware of those damn pickpockets.

* This is how someone looks after being pickpocketed…. desperate, desolate and on their knees, looking to the heavens asking, “Why?” Note: I did this with my pants on.

* The train to Versailles is the RER C Versailles- Rive Gauche, which is thirty minutes from Invalides in Paris. Easy, fast ride filled with
nothing but English speaking passengers. “What did Marie Antoinette say?” “Let them eat cake.” “What’s wrong with that, I love cake.” Sorry, I pretended that was a real conversation with my use of quotation marks, but that conversation only happened in my head.

* Louis XIV greets you on your way in… and beckons you view his wife’s wonderful gardens (acres and acres– 39 fountains).

Friends, there’s so much to see at Versailles, and so much ground to cover, that I can’t possibly post all the photos. I’d be “that”  friend who kills you with her photo album… and then I saw this rose/tree/statue/urn/marble bust/tourist in whale shorts/swan/etc/etc/.”

See you soon,