Hot chocolate, Road signs, The Bay of Biscay, bread, butter, stairs, cheese, rivers, confusing door locks and the Mediterranean Sea. When I think of my trip to France, these are the things I think of. 11 days was too long for my mother but not long enough for me. I wanted to climb more stairs, eat more fruit tarts, walk through more neighborhoods, and swim in the sea longer. But vacation is just that, a vacation, a temporary moment of new adventures in an unknown location.
The moment we got into Paris, there was no resistance. Everything felt natural even though I didn’t speak the language very well and I had never been to the country. I took 2 years of basic college French when I was at University and that’s all my mom and I had to rely on for 11 days. It was enough for me. We met up with my good friend friend Kim whom I coincidentally met at ASU at an American Indian Student Services workshop, we probably were the only two Navajo girls taking French on campus at that time. We also have a bond for our love for The Replacements, Indie Movies, Art, books and comics.I hadn’t seen homegirl in 2 years or so, so it was good to see a familiar soul.
The first night Kim took us to a cute Parisian restaurant then my mom and I proceeded to face plant into our beds. Saturday night, we were suppose to watch Full Metal Jacket but due to our prolonged dinner eating the biggest bowl of mussels at Leon’s, a Belgium restaurant down the street from our hotel we realized we weren’t going to make it. Instead, we all decided to sit in front of the Eiffel Tower for the light show. August, is quite hot in Paris, so we sat on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower talked for a bit and enjoyed some chocolate and rosé. The light show soon started and it was so exciting to finally see what I had been dreaming about. Paris is really a damn Romantic City. Due to this my mom missed my dad,ALOT, like so much she didn’t enjoy some of the moments because I think she wanted him to be there to see it as well. Selfishly, I kept thinking how hard I worked all summer for these moments (I worked in 107 degree weather and danced to Prince dressed as a strawberry in a beret at one point during the summer) and was going to enjoy them, damnit. This was just the beginning of our conflicting views and ways of travel in France…
However, I did feel bad when were sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower. There were men that were trying to sell us little Eiffel tower key chains, 5 little towers for 1 euro. Then there was the sneaky one, the one that I was teasing so we could get one of those little light up Eiffel towers for half price. He then sat near us and bargained. We eventually got our Eiffel tower for half price but Kim noticed something out of the ordinary and told me to watch my bag. By the time he left, we made sure all our belongings were still in tact. But poor mom, her little Samsung phone was stolen. I already knew she was going through culture shock but for this to happen to her, thoughts of my first day in India were coming back. Kim and I tried to comfort her as much as we could. She was okay but it’s always that weird sense of violation when someone steals from you even when it’s not an item that important to you, betrayal from a stranger is so surreal and confusing.
The next couple days we tried to fit in as much (Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, The Avenue des Champs-Élysées and endless fruit tart tastings) as we could but dammit there’s just so much to do in Paris, we couldn’t fit everything in, even during our 12 hrs days. Versailles, was a must, well because of Sofia Coppola. All I kept thinking was a plump short little Jason Schwartzman walking through the Hall of Mirrors as Louis XVI and Anxiety Ridden Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette “running” through the halls of the palace. Despite the 2 and a half hour wait outside the palace and swarms of people zig zagging through the halls of the palace, I think next time I will enjoy the palace during low season.
The best part of the palace? Um, Angelina. Angelina is this decadent tea house founded in Paris that is famous for their hot chocolate. You know that movie, Chocolat? The scene where Judi Dench’s character drinks this crazy good looking cup of hot chocolate served to her by Juliette Binoche’s character. The look on Judi’s face where she pauses and looks up, I finally understood. I had that hot chocolate and I understood how that lady felt. Think of the most rich and luxurious chocolate bar you’ve ever had but melted down in a teacup topped off with a tasty dollop of unsweetened whip cream. Just like I will never have Chai tea like I did in India, I don’t think I will ever hot a cup of hot chocolate as magical as the ones in France.
The next couple days in Paris were nice, exploring, taking the boats rides and walking down the River Seine, experiencing sunsets at 9 pm and eating all the “frites” my heart desired. My madre and I also wanted to explore more of France, so we decided to plan for our trip to the South…
There is a reason I am not a travel agent, I forgot we had to buy our Eurorail tickets before leaving America, so the train was out of the question. Well, we could’ve still took the train but we looked at the prices to rent a car and opted for that.
A couple days later we proceeded to make our way west of Paris in a little black Fiat and so began our road trip around France…
♥Beach House- The Traveller♥