Yesterday was nearly perfect. After French class, we had an amazing brunch (this deserves a separate post altogether so I won’t get into it here) and then walked to Sacré-Cœur in the 18th, which sits atop Montmartre, the highest point in Paris. The sun was out but it was still reasonably cool – making it a quintessential fall day. Sacré-Cœur is beautiful, in that looks-almost-fake kind of way and provides a great view of the city. The Montmartre area around it is also beautiful, but a little two-faced. You can get lost in the winding cobblestone streets, cafés, and shops that represent the old artsy, bohemian, charming Paris…right up until you’re accosted by a guy or gal aggressively wanting to sell you a selfie-stick, hand you a flyer, or make you sign something.
Sometimes, the most interesting part of our walks to various sights or museums are all the random, unexpected things we see along the way. So, in addition to a few photos of Sacré-Cœur and the surrounding area, we’ve included some of the more entertaining gems we encountered.
But lest I get too carried away basking in my carefree lifestyle, the universe provided a reality check.
On the way back home, the metro turnstile didn’t take my ticket. So I backed out to let others pass. The lady behind me noticed I had an issue and started to advance through, but then stops mid-way through the turnstile, turns back to me and asks if i want to “come with her.” Huh? I’m totally confused at what that means or how that would work but I know she’s offering me a kind gesture and I don’t want to say no. So, I do the next best thing and say…nothing, and return her offer with a blank stare. She was not dismayed. She asks me again more slowly in a you-must-be-American cadence “Do you want to come with me?” and added some gestures. Umm, I think I do, but I still don’t follow Madame. I sidle up near her and finally realize she wants me to get right up behind her so we can pass through one set of the turnstile bars together. This is a touch more intimate than I’m comfortable getting with the French right this moment. But alas, I snuggle in and we shuffle through together without issue, other than the fact that I’m suddenly and acutely aware that maybe I should lay off the chocolate and wine a bit.
I manage to ride the train without incident, but when I attempt to get off, there is a lady blocking my path and taking forever to get out of my way despite my desperate and repeated “Pardons”. By the time I get to the train door, I’m at the point where the doors aren’t supposed to open, but I don’t quite connect the warning buzzer sound with that fact. I try the latch (not all train doors open automatically here) and the doors luckily open, so I start to descend out of the train and then — WHAM! — they slam right back together as I’m mid-way through. I was that person. Fortunately, they aren’t DC metro doors so they don’t just continue to shut when they slam into an immovable object. I try to muster a ‘oh-that-didn’t-hurt-much’ look as I shove myself ungracefully through, but S tells me later that he heard a small chorus of “Ooh-la-la’s” from the passengers as I exited.
I came home and rummaged around looking for something to nurse my metro bruises. All we had was chocolate and wine.