Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Memoir of Two Innocents Abroad : Part Four

on September 7, 2014

France here we come! We took the hovercraft from Dover to Calais and picked up the rental car we would be driving in France – a little white Simca. We hadn’t gone far on our journey to Paris when a workman on the side of the road gestured to us. We stopped but didn’t know what he was saying (in French, of course). We got the idea that it had to do with our front license plate. We continued on and soon the license plate began to scrape against the pavement. We pulled over and found it was held in place by only one screw. I had packed three rust-proof coat hangers to use for drying laundry. I got one out and my husband wired the license plate back in place. The plate was to cause more trouble later.

Finally we arrived in Paris at 10 P. M. just as it was getting dark. We knew that one of the three hotels our travel agent had suggested was across the street from the Louvre. We got out a map, located the Louvre and headed toward it. There was a problem. Paris has street signs painted flush on the corners of buildings and not all the corners have street lights. After getting lost a couple of times we found the hotel we were looking for only to discover it was full. We drove down the street and found a hotel close by that suited us and was less expensive than the one recommended. We were happy that the people at the desk spoke English and that we had a room with a private bath room and lots of room to dry clothes. My husband was all set to go right out and walk around the streets of Paris. I elected to stay home to do laundry. I discovered that the bidet was perfect for washing clothes
and hoped that things might dry before we checked out after our scheduled two night stay.

Next day we decided to take bus tours to the places we wanted to see. Paris is big and sprawling so walking as we had in London was out of the question. In the morning we saw the Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triumph, the Eifel Tower, Montmartre and other places. My favorite experience was sitting on the marble steps on Montmartre looking out over the city. In the afternoon we took a trip to Versailles to see the Palace of Louis XIV, including the Hall of Mirrors. It is a magnificent palace. The French used the best artisans they could find in every field to construct the perfect palace. That night we walked to Notre Dame which was close to our hotel and walked around the Latin Quarter.

I feel we didn’t stay in Paris long enough to get a real good impression or to do Paris justice. I’d like to return and try again. I’d take Berlitz courses in French, too. My three years college French didn’t teach me how to have a conversation about a license plate. From the bit of Paris I saw I observed that the French women are petite and more chic than English women They had stylish, short hair cuts. The men didn’t have lots of hair like the men in England. I like the way the English men looked. I think the French are more formal than the English – in their architecture, gardens, palaces and food. Dining in French restaurants was expensive and we had no gourmet French food. We loved eating outside at the sidewalk cafes. At our hotel we especially enjoyed he Continental breakfasts that were included in the price of our room. The croissants were a real treat.

We wished we could stay in Paris longer but we were expected to visit friends at Cannes. It was time to be on our way.

13 responses to “Memoir of Two Innocents Abroad : Part Four

  1. Silver Threading says:

    I loved your Paris story. The laundry in the bide is hysterical! ♡

  2. Vintage 1956 says:

    I love reading this – looking forward to the next installment

  3. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks for reading. It is so much fun to write.

  4. Ah Paris! You take me back, vivachange! Thanks for the travels of late, I’m enjoying them very much! 🙂

  5. vivachange77 says:

    Well 🙂 Paris is a fascinating place. My time there would have been even better if I spoke French – but not as funny. I’m so glad you enjoy reading my travel tales. It makes me happy to tell them.

  6. Interesting-I’m also waiting for the next installment. I think you have found your voice. 🙂

    • vivachange77 says:

      Thanks for reading my travel stories. I think this is my voice, too. When I ran across my old travel letters it was an OMG moment. I could write the way I’m writing now forty years ago.

  7. I hope u fulfill your dream of another trip to Paris.

  8. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks. I did go back the summer of 1999. It was fun to go inside the places we passed up the first time. And I ate glorious food.

  9. Meredith says:

    LOL, bidet as a laundry tub. I’ve been to Paris twice. My favorite landmark was Marie Antoinette’s cottage outside Versailles.

  10. vivachange77 says:

    Lovely. I haven’t been to Marie Antoinette’s cottage. I went to Paris again in 1999. I didn’t go inside the Louvre the first trip so I made it a point to go see the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

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