today was one of those days were even the best laid plans don’t work out. the heavens did not shine upon us, but instead opened up and let us have it!
we started at a new cafe almost right next to our apartment with croissants and cafe au lait. the man sitting next to us spoke english and told us he had lived in the states for 20 years working for the UN. i was hoping he still worked there and could get me a job, but malheureusement he is retired. he was very nice and we talked about san fran, country music, and the fact that hemmingway lived right up the street from our apartment! we said our ”au revoirs” and ”bonne dimanches” then made our way towards montmartre… and the rains came down, down, down. we missed out on seeing moulin rouge, but found a wonderful oil painting store. the owner (i guess) was very kind and their cat’s name was minou. i will definitely try to get back to ”montmartre art studio!” he even told me i spoke with a great accent!
after having enough of the rain, kathy suggested that we go to le bon marche for some indoor shopping. unbeknownst to us, the large department store was closed! alors we decided to make our way to the picasso museum, knowing it would be open. we shopped to eat at la tartine in le marais area. it was delicious! i had an eggplant sandwich-like thing and kathy had [french] onion soup. (while she was trying to decide what to order she made the comment that she wasn’t sure about it because she had never had just regular onion soup… i had to remind her that i’m sure they don’t call it french onion considering we’re in france!)
quiz time! quiz time! where was french onion soup first created? in paris! it is actually one of the only foods paris is known for. other than that, the food in paris is a hodgepodge of the other regions and other countries.
the picasso museum was actually pleasing and holds the largest collection of picassos in the world! we made our way back home to rest for a bit, then it was out to les champs-elysees for kathy’s last night. we walked our area for a bit first though and found most stores to be closed. lucky for us, l’arc de triomphe et champs-elysees are touristy enough to warrent staying open even though the french don’t like to work. kathy got her souvenirs including a stop at the choclatier ”maffrait.” i got my first macaroon – coffee flavored – and it was good!
it started pouring again and we jumped into george v cafe. i had bouef bourguignon. kathy had spaghetti. then we shared a crepe nutella-banane and each had a cup of delicious hot chocolate. the waiters were cute, and flirting with me according to kathy, but the best part was the couple next to us. the woman only spoke french, but the man spoke french, dutch, germain, and a little english. he has been studying for 25 years and reads every day but because he never speaks it, he has a hard time. i thought he did very well but in typical french fashion, he was ashamed of his imperfection. they really were wonderful and helped me practice a lot!
we talked about politics and i was taken back to my french classes when we studyed the false impression of the french, stereotypes, and their origin. in comparison our country is very young so the french see us as naive. my new friend told me he thinks that the USA as a country is un enfant and really it’s true. i wish i would have gotten their names, but we’ll call them lucas and sylvie – she gave me my first french faire la bise.