Ahhh, the city of
champagne. Err, I mean love. Though for me it was a bit more of the former.
My trip was lovely. The flights were on time and I thoroughly enjoyed flying solo. Both ways there was a toddler across the aisle from me (both of whom, thankfully, slept very soundly for almost the entire flight) which made me miss Owen a tiny bit, but mostly served as a reminder that traveling alone is waaaaaaaay easier than traveling with a wee one.
Once in Paris I walked. I walked and walked and walked and took in the sights and sounds and smells and tastes (nutella crepes, anyone?). I opened my map, circled a spot and just… walked. Although traveling alone is a little anticlimactic (no one to share the loveliness with), it can be incredibly liberating and surprisingly calm. On the first day I arrived at 8:45am after getting about 1.5 hours of sleep on the plane (not taking a sleeping pill was a bad idea!) and I walked straight until my first work meeting at 4pm. Good thing I brought comfy shoes.
And when I got hungry? I ate. Boy, did I eat. Everything tastes better in Paris. The bread, the cheese, the chocolate, the wine, the champagne. Oh yeah, and some of the vegetables too. But mostly the cheese.
I figured out the Metro, despite an embarrassing lack of knowledge of the French language. This accomplishment made me ridiculously more excited than I should have been. But hey, pretending to be a local is fun!
I did my best to avoid the leering men. Seriously, some European men seem to have quite the radar for a young woman traveling alone. Some of my encounters were innocent enough (a young Frenchman who told me, while kissing my hand, “You must be from America — your smile is more beautiful than anyone in Paris!”), but some were downright creepy (the guy on the Metro who stood pressed up against me muttering in French and breathing down my neck).
I skyped with Benjamin and Owen every night before bed. I would be in my hotel room, warm and sleepy from the wine I had with dinner, or still enjoying my chocolate crepe from the walk home; they would be just getting home from daycare. The first time we chatted, Owen cried and reached for the screen like he was trying to hug me, whimpering, “Hold you, Mommy”. It just about broke my heart. But after that he realized that I was in the computer and by the last day he couldn’t have cared less that he was chatting with me. It was awesome, because it meant he was totally fine at home without me. Which he was.
All in all a successful trip. J’adore Paris! Now to dig through the mountains of emails that amassed while I was away…