Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm?

After they’ve seen Paree.  So asks the question in the post World War I song and while I wasn’t around at the turn of the last century (though jetlag leaves me feeling as though I might have been) I understand the sentiment.  Paris is pretty darn incredible and the French Roast at my local Starbucks will pale in comparison once I return home.

Asked to describe my experience in Paris in one word, I chose the word surreal, as it all feels a bit dreamlike.  Everything about the last few days has been delightful.  Well, except for the whole Eiffel Tower thing.  People’s eyes glaze over in the oddest way when they talk about it.  They babble on about the romance associated with the looming black structure smack dab in the center of the Parisien landscape.  Great feat of engineering and all that and it certainly is a mighty thing to behold when you stand underneath it, but romantic?  Nope.  Not getting it, people.  It’s a big hunk of metal teeming with people elbow-to-backside standing around for hours trying to get to the top of it.  Gorgeous, yes.  But, romantic?  I suppose this is a case of eye of the ticket holder and all that.  Of course, I’m not a complete cynic.  I could see where dining in the Jules Verne restaurant after sunset with a nice magnum of bubbly miiiight change my mind.  Note for future visit).

As for the REST of Paris and the notion of romance?  Well, my advice is to consider bringing someone you don’t mind sharing your toothpaste with, as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation just might be in order.  I’m just sayin’.  The Louvre and the Musee de’ Orsay alone will leave you clutching your heart, with a weak-in-the knees, breathless state of being from the sheer beauty and passion you encounter with each step you take (oh, and you and your friend should pack good walking shoes, too).  I found myself crying on at least two occasions while in Paris, one while standing in the courtyard in the shadow of the spectacular buildings of the Louvre and while viewing Eugene Carriere’s painting titled “Intimite” – the emotions were that overwhelming (so bring good toothpaste, walking shoes and handkerchiefs).

Paris is a densely populated city with beauty everywhere you look: Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Concorde, Arc du Carrousel, even the cafes and boulangeries along the Seine are a treat for sore eyes (okay, I do have to mention the pollution – it is the only bad thing I did see, especially from the top of the Eiffel Tower).  We barely made a dent in our sightseeing, but I know now that I want to return as I want to see the Pantheon, Versailles, Moulin Rouge, Catacombes and so much more.

Watching Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliette” (as choreographed by Rudolf Nuryev in 1984) from the balcony of the Opera Bastille Theatre last night was a magical moment.  Even if you don’t care for ballet or classical music, I would encourage you to look up the Dance of the Knights from Act I, Scene II on YouTube.  Close your eyes.  It is hard to not be moved by its haunting beauty.

To tell you more about Paris would be to tell you about the mouth-watering, delicious food consumed (like the heavenly experience at the restaurant in the Musee de Orsay surrounded by elaborate frescoes and carvings) and the company I kept while wandering the streets of Paris in springtime, but I believe I shall leave some of it to your imagination.  It has been said that “Romance is the glamour which turns to the dust of everyday life into a golden haze” and as I return to sunny Southern California tomorrow, I intend to bring a bit of Paris home in my heart.  And having learned to make a proper cup of British tea during this journey to Europe, I’m more than happy to share a pot of tea and relegate you with more stories – you need only ask.

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