First, let’s begin with a little tune that sums up my general feeling, shall we?
Now, I can continue…
Last Saturday marked the first full weekend day that Pierre and I had together that didn’t involve either a trip to Ikea (phonetically pronounced “Ee kay ah” here in France), apartment redecoration, or a family gathering. Ecstatic to get out of the house, we decided to do what one does best in Paris….stroll. And since the weather was absolutely perfect for a day hike through the city, we put on our best walking shoes (I’m still learning what are my best walking shoes as the ones I chose to use were not them) and hit the town.
As soon as we stepped out of our building, we quickly realized we weren’t the only ones with this brilliant idea. The streets were packed! People of all shapes, colors, genders, ages, and socio-economic status were enjoying the, what I came to find out later, unusually warm and sunny Spring. In my mind, this is exactly what I pictured springtime being like in Paris…sunny, warm, and romantic. After all, if Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole sang so lovingly about it, there had to be something to this whole Spring thing here. However, according to all the Frenchies with which I have spoken, May normally brings showers while June offers up the flowers. Hmmm…perhaps that would explain the exorbitant amount of people outdoors? Regardless of all that, Paris in the springtime will remain in my mind just like this…until further notice.
Our jaunt took us down the quais than run along the Right Bank of the Seine. One of my favorite things about promenading the river is that both banks are dotted with cute, worn bookstalls that sell everything from used books to cds to posters to souvenir trinkets. You can get a book on Charles De Gaule’s early years and a pocket Eiffel Tower for the price of a crepe. Trust me. In France, that’s a bargain. And as a lover of books (and trinkets and all things old), I always make it a point to stop at least at one or two of the stalls and peruse their goods. One of these days, I’ll actually know what the books say. Til then, I’ll just keep checking out the cover art.
We kept on strolling all the way to the Louvre where we stopped in to meet up with a group of people I appropriately met on MeetUp.com. In case you have never heard of it, MeetUp.com is a website that offers the world’s largest network of local groups. Very cool if you want to meet people of similar interests in a new town as they have meet ups for any topic of interest possible. The group I joined is called Married to Frog. Being that I am married to a frog, I figured it would be a perfect fit.
And there we sat…a group of international expats and their “frogs” enjoying wine and conversation passing the time exchanging survival tips, sharing stories of assimilation or lack thereof, and laughing at all the awkward moments that occur when cultures clash. It was really nice to know that I’m not the only one out here having problems communicating with the in laws. Comfort in numbers, I suppose.
Now, I’ll tangent a moment here to explain that I had brought back from the States a handful of bags of Reece’s Pieces and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups to offer as souvenirs. Peanut butter is not a staple of the French diet (with the exception of these peanut butter flavored Cheetos-thingies, which if I may add, are really gross,) so anything with peanut butter is quite a novelty here. Pierre had the brilliant idea of bringing a pack with us to eat as a snack along our journey. Well, I pulled them out at during our cocktails with the expats, and needless to say, they were devoured in minutes. Ah…comfort food.
After the gathering wound down, Pierre and I hit the streets again, ready for one more adventure before day’s end. Still buzzing from our earlier glasses of wine, we figured more wine was in order. When in France, you know. And since I had not had the pleasure of experiencing a French picnic yet (definition of French picnic: take a bottle of wine, some bread and cheese and sit anywhere you damn well like as all ground is fair game when it comes to a picnic in the city), we made one happen.
We took our bottle of rose, our herb-spice goat cheese, and our organic gluten free breadcrisps (hey, a girl’s gotta watch her diet out here), found an empty spot along the river after giving all the other loving couples sitting in the prime spots the evil “get up and leave” eye for about 20 minutes, and laid out our feast.
Right there along the Rive Gauche behind Notre Dame and in front of the hundreds of picnic-ers around us, we watched the sunset and celebrated our first picnic as husband and wife…and the completion of our first full Spring day together in Paris. You have hand it to the French, they sure know how to enjoy life.
If only Cole Porter (and Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole) could see us now…
(This is a little something I wrote about 3 weeks ago that I had originally posted on a different blog site. I figured, might as well spread the love and put on this one. ;))