Saturday, June 19, 2010

What the Bastille and the Galeries Lafayettes Have in Common

Scott & Christina's European Vacation: Chapter 1

(The first thing I have to tell you is that this hotel keyboard isn't QWERTY, so I can't touch type. The second thing is that--for all you naggers who told me to unplug--Scott is upstairs asleep. The third thing I have to say isthat there will be no pics because this is a hotel computer and I don't have time to figure out its internet intricacies.)

We arrived in Paris yesterday morning after a smooth trip, if you don't count the fact that my oldest reports a policeman came to our door right after we left and 15 minutes before the sitter came over, asking if Scott was there. We have no idea what this was about, but we hope he'll be able to re-enter the country later, or that, if they're going to extradite him, that they'll wait till he's had a little vacation. My girl just shook her head through the closed door and waited till he went away.

In any case, our first jaunt after the hotel and breakfast at a yummy cafe was down from the Madeleine to the Place de la Concorde, where I thought the French missed a grand business opportunity by not having tumbrils and a guillotine cardboard cut-out for tourists to pose by. Then along the Seine over to the Ile de la Cité (sorry--sporadic accent marks) to Sainte Chapelle. Now that lovely church has glorious stained glass windows depicting biblical stories, but darned if we could identify even 10 percent of them, and we are Bible-literate people! It was all medieval guys getting on and off horses, as far as I could tell.

Then on to Notre Dame where they were having a special celebratory Mass to ordain some new priests. The cathedral wanted 2 Euro for each tea light offering, but I wanted to suggest they can get them cheaper at Ikea out by the airport. Scott loves Notre Dame and took a second circuit while I napped--I mean listened to the choir sing. He also took a run through the Tuileries and past the Louvre while I napped--I mean watched a Natl Geographic show on Egypt in French to acclimate.

We had dinner in the Cafe Bonaparte in St-Germain-des-Près while a wedding took place and the automatic awning went in and out, in and out, depending on the rain(!) or not, and wind gusts. When we tried to ask the waiter if we should pay inside, he responded in English--I think-- something that sounded like, "I'm coming with the washing machine."

But the day's crowning adventure took place in the Galeries Lafayette department store shortly before it closed at 8(!). I was buying guilt offerings--I mean gifts-- for the children, but then they announced it was time to close, and you would have thought there was a fire, from the way those employees started charging for the exit. I was caught up in a herd of them myself and it took me three tries not to get swept out the employees' private doors, and all the while I was texting Scott on my almost dead cell phone. In between dire warnings from my phone that it was going to shut off, I got a brief message from Scott: "Locked in a bathroom and they're trying to find a key." !!!!! With my phone's last electronic gasp I replied that I was going back to the hotel. I figured I could plug in there and start calling emergency services, and in my head I tried to start phrasing can-you-help-us-my-husband-is-imprisoned-in-a-bathroom-at-the-Galeries-Lafayette-and-I-don't-think-there's-a-single-employee-left-to-spring-him, except I never had a chapter on that in high school French.

To wrap up, someone eventually got him out, and he even made it home before me because I was wandering the streets of Paris with no map or phone to guide me, and I had to keep looking at Metro maps to figure out where I was. Ay ay ay! After all that, can you blame a guy for being too wired to fall asleep until 5 a.m. European time and me for passing out immediately, only to wake up at 2:30?


  1. Wow! Great adventure. I think the waiter might have been talking about "l'addition", which is French for "the bill"! Following your blog with a smile!

  2. Love it! My dad got locked in one of the public street toilets on one recent visit with me to France. They spray the while thing down and flood the floors. Just watch out for that. :)

  3. Laughing out loud...please keep these modern "wish you were here" posts coming!
    Our favorite Paris restaurant is on the Left Bank, up the street from Le Pearl Hotel...has a green door, and EVERYTHING is en Francais; no English, no Visa, and no tourists...Tres Magnifique [and afffordable too!] Bon Appetite!
    Missing you already!