We’ll Always Have Falafel–I Mean, Paris.
And just like that, on 8 January our time in Paris was over.
On Monday the 4th, Yana, the lady whose apartment we’d been staying in (a Flamenco dancer! How cool is that?) returned from Switzerland, where she had been performing in an opera. Andy and I moved our “traveling circus,” as we like to call ourselves because we have far too much luggage, to the Libertel Montmartre Duperré. Located in Pigalle, Paris’s red-light district, our hotel was temptingly close to the Moulin Rouge and the myriad sex shops and gentleman’s clubs that light up the Boulevard de Clichy.
Tensions quickly skyrocketed between Andrew and me, as we–among other things–came to the realization that we would soon be leaving Paris and hadn’t seen a whole lot of it despite having been there a month. Of course, we blamed each other for this. The next day, after visiting the Eiffel Tower, our bickering began.
We kept our cool that evening during dinner and drinks with Yana and her daughter, but things got ugly the next morning. Was that really me who melodramatically stormed out of that cafe during breakfast, eyes filling with tears? Hmm…
But the anger and drama, and the fact that I had two dinners on Wednesday–a decent falafel platter that was technically a late lunch, and very spicy Indian food too close to bedtime–resulted in very little sleep for Bang-Bang.
At 5:30 AM on Thursday, I hopped out of bed and proceeded to fumble around like a bull in a china shop in our dark hotel room to find the clothes I’d worn the day before.
“What are you doing?” Andrew, shifting under the blankets, asked. Unfortunately, when I don’t sleep well, neither does he–I toss and turn like a sock in a clothes dryer.
“I decided to start my day,” I said a little too brightly, pulling on my coat. “Would you like to join me?”
Did I mention that it was 5:30 AM?
“No,” he replied. I could almost hear him fuming.
It was our last full day in Paris; our flight home was supposed to be at noon on Friday. And I was determined to enjoy every last second if it killed me.
From the Place de Clichy (I love that name) Métro station, I arrived at the Champs-Élysées (that name’s fabulous, too) well before dawn.
Having never bothered to get a Paris guidebook (Lonely Planet has burned me too many times), I felt a bit ashamed to be surrounded by so many historical buildings and monuments without knowing their significance.
But I took pictures and absorbed as much as I could. The twinkling lights, the light snowfall, the faces of statues that seemed to peer out at me…
I passed the Place de la Concorde, hopped from cafe to cafe to keep warm (two dinners, then two breakfasts? Damn, lady!) and did lots of window-shopping but could only commit to books and lip gloss.
I was warm and toasty inside a cafe on Rue de Rivoli, my face buried in the UK version of Cosmo…and when I looked up, the sun had risen.
I posed in front of, and then went underneath the Arc de Triomphe… and by the time I made it to the other side I was OVER IT! Ready to go back to my Andy.
After bumbling around the Seine and eating more falafel at Maoz, I took the Métro back to Pigalle, sulked in the Café des Deux Moulins again (drinking a Perrier water to settle my tummy), and finally went back to the hotel to punch Andy on the shoulder. And that was that, pretty much.
And then what did we do? Ate more fucking falafel. This time, at L’as du Fallafel, which is the place to be for a good vegan sammich in Paris, although Maoz is certainly a close second.
Are you sick of me mentioning falafel yet? Let’s face it, kids: if you’re an herbivore such as myself and you want hot, cheap, good food in the City of Lights without cooking it yourself, you’d better learn to like falafel.
My Parisian diet mostly consisted of bread, wine, salad, french fries and falafel. But eating this Middle-Eastern treat three times in 24 hours is a lot even for me. Shhh…
While I longed for my favorite Cincinnati foods, I felt a little sad knowing–I promised myself I wouldn’t cry!–that this would be my last time enjoying the “€5 falafel special” (for a while). At least it tasted especially fan-friggin-tastic this time because I was eating it with my favorite person in the world.
Anyway. Did I mention that our hotel was in the red-light district? And that my boyfriend and I, two consenting adults, had just reconciled after an intense argument? Hmm… Only one phrase can do justice to our final night in the City of Love: Whatever happens in Paris, stays in Paris. And no, I don’t have pictures. All I can say is I will never forget it as long as I live.
The next day, after an excruciating ordeal at the airport (thanks, terrorists!), we flew home.
Now that we’re back home, I miss…rolling out of bed to go to an open-air market. (Yeah yeah yeah, we have Findlay Market. It’s a fun weekend outing, but not the same vibe.)
I miss…the multitude of bikes with wicker baskets and Vespa scooters everywhere, and wondering what color mine would be.
I miss…the Métro. You never know who you might meet, or when someone will whip out an accordion and start playing.
I miss…wine that’s cheaper and more abundant than pop. (These people have their priorities straight!)
I miss…enjoying simple pleasures–going for a long walk and appreciating architecture; digging into a salad that’s made just right; holding hands.
I miss…French men. Er, French people! The people. Yeah. Charming, hospitable, diverse, pretty.
Mostly I miss basking in the notion that Paris might be home.
But look out, Parisians! We’re going to apply for an extended-stay visa and finally start using Rosetta Stone! You haven’t seen the last of us! We have a return ticket for 1 June…