Friday, April 15, 2011

Flashback Friday: C'est Si Bon

I don’t fancy myself a Francophile. I just had a quiet obsession with all things French, like French toast and shower curtains that said things like “amor” in fancy cursive writing. I started daydreaming about a trip to Paris so I could climb the steps of the Eiffel Tower and wear a beret. Perhaps I would even ride a bicycle with a baguette in the basket.

My dad always wanted to make my dreams come true, so he offered to buy Rocky and I plane tickets to Paris for our honeymoon. I was elated. My new husband and I could take sunset strolls along the Seine, find little cafes to canoodle over café au lait and pain au chocolat. But the bar exam burst my bubble. Rocky had about a month to study and there was no way he could enjoy France with torts, evidence and civil procedure looming on the horizon. Poor me would have to settle for a five star resort in the Caribbean. Paris would have to wait for another day.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long. Less than two years later, all of my pestering and guilt tripping finally wore Rocky down. To ease Rocky into his first trip abroad, we bought plane tickets direct to Charles De Gaulle and stayed at an American chain hotel. Dining at the Dulles Airport waiting for our flight was one of my favorite memories of the trip. We enjoyed a bottle of wine to help us sleep. We were giddy with anticipation. Knowing you are about to embark on a dream trip is some powerful stuff. But it was really only the beginning of a dream week.

We landed in Paris around lunchtime. We rushed to our hotel to check-in and shower. I wasn’t wasting a minute. We spent the afternoon walking the Champs Elysees, filling up on Parisian lifestyle at Nike,Sephora and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
We fit a lot of culture into the week and hit all of the Paris highlights, including Notre Dame, the Louvre, Montmarte, Musee d’Orsay, Arc de Triumph.
To experience la vie de France outside of Paris, we took a day trip to Reims for an afternoon of champagne, champagne caves and champagne tasting. It was educational and decadent and sublime. But one of the best parts was getting out to a bit of the countryside and experience a slower, less congested-with-tourists pace. We stumbled through our only encounter where our lack of French was a problem. We recouperated with more wine, more baguettes and a quick nap in a quiet park.
But those fabulous French and their fabulous food! Every morning, we stopped at Angelina’s for croissants. For lunch we dined on ham and cheese baguettes. At some point in the afternoon we either stopped for some canoodling at a café for a carafe of wine, or opened our hotel room windows for a little wine and cheese. Every dinner was special. One night there were omelets in homage to Julia Child and the next the most amazing haricot verts at a restaurant we tried at the recommendation of the Lewises. One evening we ate at the restaurant featured in Something’s Gotta Give (Truly catering to the stupid Americans, they played the movie in the restroom.) Rocky fell in love with escargot.
We filled ourselves with delicious buttery gluttonous pastries.  We walked romantic stone streets at sunset.  We saw the art and architecture I had studied in school.  We sipped wine in those little cafes and dreamed about coming back.  It filled all of my shower curtain fantasies and then some.

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