Chapter Sixty-Seven      March, 2012


Question:   When does an American crew in Paris decide –7° C is unbearable ?

Answer:   Never!

Oh, there’s no question we were cold.  We had three heaters going around the clock for the first two weeks of February.  It snowed twice; the pontoons were like skating rinks.  The water supply at the marina was turned off because of frozen pipes.  We wore a minimum of six layers when venturing out. But we never once complained.  We’re in Paris!

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So while battling the cold we did what every other Parisian would do.  We ignored it.

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But we did something else, too.  We became Parisian!  Mais, oui!  We went to the markets, we hit every brocante (flea market) we could find, we saw Cirque de Soleil, we celebrated a birthday, anniversary and Valentine’s at the finest Paris has to offer, we’ve even decided on our favorite pieces at the Louvre.  Well, almost.  There are many favorites.

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We’ve studied architecture from one end of the city to the other.  We have a favorite there, too.  Styled after Michaelangelo’s “Dying Slave”.

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We hit a few of the famous food streets, Rue Montorgueil and Rue Moufftard, where the foods are dazzling.  From Maine lobsters to Iranian caviar.  Here lives one of the oldest and most prestigious Parisian pastry shops that has been there since 1730.  They are famous for their réligieuse à l'ancienne: a mountainous series of cream puffs fashioned to look like a nun!  We have enjoyed many strolls down Rue Mouffetard where the cheese selection is drop dead.  This is a stone’s throw from the marina so we like to meander over there in the afternoon after lunch.  Best to go when not hungry!

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We’ve studied bridges.

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Taken no less than a hundred photos of Bastille.

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And more of the Eiffel Tower.

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We’ve been to all the major museums and can’t decide which is our favorite.  But on one thing we can agree.  There doesn’t seem to be a bad one in Paris.  The Rodin is way up there.

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Sharon has fallen in love with stairwells.

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And street entertainers.

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And fountains.

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Gardens are good.

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And bicycles are always worth a shot or two.

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Oh, and about those brocantes.  They come in huge variety!  They run from the neighborhood garage sale to the very sophisticated Antiquities Brocherie.  So you must choose carefully.  You can be utterly consumed by this pastime.  There are endless ways to research your next brocante but filtering the information is key.  What one really wants is a sophisticated garage sale.  The higher end programs are no fun because there is nothing to buy, it is simply unaffordable.  The neighborhood events are close to dumpster diving.  There’s an art to smelling the right ones.  Last weekend Sharon and a friend went to one at a stadium outside the city proper.  It was perfect, so she says.  She had been wanting to buy a horn to commemorate our music atelier evenings.  And it has been found.  French women, however, say "Warning: Men are very impatient with these events.  Leave them home."!  We concur!

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The flower shops are divine.  Place des Vosges is our absolute favorite place to hang out.  A certain music atelier is top on our list.  The American Church in Paris is where we hang out on Sunday mornings and have learned to love the place.  The afternoon light, the exquisitely dressed children scampering around the Tuilleries, the fashion, the gargoyles, the mere elegance of everything Parisian thrills us.  Even the graffiti in Paris is good!  So, you get the picture.  We are madly in love with Paris and we are not even thinking about the day we have to leave.

But that day does require some planning because we have a big adventure in front of us.  We head east for Strasbourg, along the River Marne.  There we will get on the River Rhine and travel north to the River Main where we turn east.  We will stop in Frankfurt and then continue on to the Danube River.  On the Danube we will stop in Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, through the rest of Hungry to Serbia.  Then to Bulgaria and Romania, collecting our sails there.  This will be in mid-August.  We will travel through Istanbul through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, stopping in ancient Troy.  We will spill out into the Aegean Sea and head south for the west coast of Turkey!  Here's where we will spend next winter.  That's the plan.  We leave here the first of April and hope to arrive in Turkey by end October.

With all the excitement of this trip, it should make saying goodbye to Paris a little less painful.

A Bientôt.

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