Slowing Things Down
There came a time in our tour when the old grumpsters with aching joints (of whom my mom is chief) made it clear that they could not, would not, keep up the pace of the group any more. So we took a leisurely early dinner in a small plaza not a block away from our hotel. I am so in love with the Morais district. Everything is so quaint but ten million times more sophisticated than any city I’ve ever lived in.
Did you know they don’t have plastic here? As in, no plastic shopping bags or styrofoam drink cups or to-go boxes? Everything comes in glass. I am in heaven. I am always on my mom’s case to get rid of plastic. If I had my way I’d never use tupperware again. But alas I am American and not French so I think it’s a losing battle. Anyway that is just a little part of why the Morais district is so lovely. We eat outside at round tables. The wooden (not plastic!) chairs are squeezed together as close as they can fit. Sometimes the tables go right off the side walk and onto the street. Nobody minds. There aren’t any signs warning you that there is an uneven step or that there isn’t enough room to fit a wheel chair by. Everything is just where is and no questions are asked. It’s your Parisian right to just pay attention and not step out in front of a car. If you get hit, well I don’t know what happens. Maybe the government pays for your hospital stay. After all, you do pay 20% tax on everything! TWENTY PERCENT! Can you imagine?
But I digress…
The square near our hotel was called something Catherine. Maybe “Place de Catherine”. It is just a small square, the size of a regular intersection. In the middle is a brick court yard, shaded by leafy trees. Around it are four or five restaurants that set up chairs outside. Children play in the center and once a funny Asian man started doing these weird wacky cheers as part of some kind of performance art. He was so funny because he was really really bad. Kind of like that one singer on American Idol who got so famous because he can’t sing. (Maybe it was him, I don’t know.) But that’s what I love about Paris. You can do whatever you want. If you feel moved by the music or the way the sun is filtering through the trees, it’s totally okay to just get up and act like a maniac. Or not. You can sit at your table and drink beer for four hours too and nobody will ever tell you to get lost so they can set your table for another party either.
After our leisurely dinner we took a sunset walk to the Bastile, up the canal and then over to the Seine and right through the middle of the two islands. We stopped to get ice cream or “glaces” from the famous Bertillion (sp?) ice cream shop but there was a long line so we went to the shop next door and I got a scoop of Passion fruit gelato. Guess what, if you want to know exactly what it tastes like, you can buy some at Trader Joe’s. It’s exactly the same and not a disappointment at all because Trader Joe’s passion fruit gelato is the bomb. Just like being in Paris!