There are so many quotes out there about Paris, and you'll see a few more in this post, but the one below is the most accurate for my time spent there. From the moment I landed in to the early morning commute from Paris it was cold, damp and rainy. I spent all day Saturday inside a building, but still in my winter coat, gloves and mask (and the pandemic and flu were only part of the reason it was on my face-the heat it helped generate was the main reason). I spent all Sunday in bed; a little jet lag finally catching up with me mixed with Saturday's cold knocked me out.
“It’s Paris. You don’t come here for the weather.”― Adrian Leeds
Before I even left Nashville I met a French woman by the name of Rose. She walked with me to get the correct train itinerary for my destination, she translated for me, she even paid for the ticket. Rose walked me to my train, gave me hand written directions for where I was going in case I forgot or got lost, she exchanged cell phone numbers with me and has been in communication even since. Rose commutes from France to Nashville frequently, as she has family in America and she has a non-profit for children in the Congo. She spoke of God's love and then showed me God's love in everything she did to help me. You have to understand, she doesn't live in Paris. In order to help me get where I needed to go, she wasn't able to make her own train from the airport; she missed her first train to help me. And she continued to check on me while I was in Paris.
The next morning I woke and scheduled an Uber to my Cheese-making class! This experience was so much fun. We made a Tomme style of cheese; this cheese is normally pressed for weeks or months to release the water and then aged for months before eating. However, we only had a two hour class, so while the milk (the good French milk!) was coming to the temperature we had a mini lesson on what makes a cheese and the different types of cheese. Then we strained/pressed out as much water as we could and formed a Tomme. We then took full fat cream and whipped it by hand until we made delicious butter, forming it in a butter mold. The best part of cooking classes to many is the end when you get to eat the spoils and eat them we did. My group-mates didn't want to take the butter with them, so I took the whole block. I had the store to wrap and vacuum seal it up for me, in case I didn't get around to eating it while I was in France. (You better believe I used that butter in as many meals I could when I got home!)
If you want to learn about what you can and can't (and how) bring back to America from another country, there are so many resources out there, but asking those in the country you are in will also be beneficial. For instance, an airline attendant was the one who told me that they always freeze the butter and bring back some when they are in France.
Friday night I journeyed to the Eiffel Tower. Another night of cold winds and rain made the walk up the tower an even harder journey, but the view did make it worth it. Afterwards I walked around the base of the tower until I found a little cafe and took up a seat for a glass of wine and some food. In true fashion, I made friends with the girls at the table next to me and we talked until they had to leave.
And let me tell you, while my whole trip was fabulous, I had the most movie picture perfect moment while walking from the Tower to the cafe. The walk was quiet, bathed in the lights from the Tower and the street lights along the way and it was beautiful, a couple, a little ways in front of me held hands as "Le Vie En Rose" played from an unseen performer.
If you know me personally you know that I love classic movies, Breakfast at Tiffany's & Casablanca being near the top of the list. I'm so happy to say that this is not made up, I stopped and just allowed the song to wash over me in the cold and beauty of the night. That couple, and many others will definitely have a "We'll always have Paris"(-Bogart, Casablanca) moment.
You have to understand, I've wanted to go to France for a long time, but it was my friends on Twitter going nuts one day in September that got the ball rolling. If you remember this post or have ventured over to my shop and noticed the fandom items there you'll know that when Richard Dean Anderson (RDA. AKA-MacGyver) had agreed to attended a fan convention with his wonderful co-star Amanda Tapping, it was a chance I couldn't pass up. RDA hadn't committed to conventions in a long time, while Amanda had still been doing them. Now I won't go into the ridiculousness of this convention, but it was and as a first time con goer, I am happy to have every veteran con goer I know tell me that what we experienced was not normal.