Pleasure and Pain

When we drove into Paris for the first time I experienced “un coup de foudre” (love at first sight). Mr B instructed me to focus on helping him to find our way to the apartment but, with stars in my eyes, I was bedazzled! Little did I know that it’s literal meaning: (a stroke of lightning) was closer to the truth…

Carrying six suitcases up a narrow spiral staircase was no mean feat!

Cooking on a tiny two-plate stove and washing up in the small area was a challenge.

Capturing a kiss beneath the Eiffel tower was not as romantic as I had imagined! It took twelves takes to get this shot – definitely not spontaneous!!

I prefer this one – just the two of us in front of the icon. Cozy and relaxed on our delightful boat tour; this impromptu selfie captured the moment perfectly.

We never did go close to the tower at night but we snapped this pic from the street near our apartment.

We waited 45 minutes to use a ‘self-cleaning’ public toilet…

and… there are no words to describe this one in a trendy wine bar!!

We had a picnic – very French! – in the luscious Luxembourg Gardens…

… and meandered through other pretty parks where men played “Pétanque” (Boulles) and ladies in mini-skirts cavorted with their kids in the playgrounds….

until we got tired…

and our feet blistered and bled.

Using the “Métro” and “RER” made our travels easier.

There were two times I had to visit the Pharmacy. Once was to buy plasters for blisters … I had no idea what the word was for “plasters” but managed to make myself understood by saying, “Vous avez des ‘bandaids’?” (You have bandaids?)

The other time was to get “des médicaments” (some medicine) “pour l’orielle de mon fils” (my son’s ear). “Parce que” (because) “il avait mal à orielle” (he had a sore ear). I asked for some “gouttes” (drops) and “un vaporisateur pour le nez” … “Oh, un spray nasal” the pharmacist corrected me. She was concerned that he might need to see a “médicin” (doctor) in case there was “une infection” but I assured her that “j’attendrais deux jours” (I would wait two days) before making “une décision”. It payed off – Mr D is on the mend without “un antibiotique”.

Then there was the time I was attacked by “un séchoir à cheveux” (hairdryer) … it was metal and only touched my chin for a second “de tout façon” (anyway) … moving on…

One of the main events for Mr B was to do the Paris marathon. With a “genou” (knee) injury at the beginning of the year, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to run at all.

After 3 months of rehabilitation with a physiotherapist, he realised his goal!

We had made reservations to go out for dinner on the night of the Notre-Dame disaster. It was quite “bizarre” that it was business as usual for all the restaurants while 1km away their beloved building was burning.

My “canard rôti” (roast duck) was “superbe” but Mr B’s “steak au poivre” (pepper steak) was a little disappointing.

After dinner we followed the crowd for the 1km walk to the Notre-Dame.

The mood was “sombre” as thousands of mourners kept vigil, softly singing a hymn until the fire was extinguished in the early hours of the morning.

The area was still restricted the day we prepared for our departure and this lead to an hour-and-half delay! Our GPS had assured us that it would take 30 minutes to drive the 6.7km from the parking garage to our apartment. We left at 11am, knowing that we had to vacate our apartment an hour later. With three bridges undergoing routine maintenance and two closed due to the fire at the Notre-Dame, it was almost impossible to cross the Seine and it eventually took us an hour and fifty minutes to return!

When we arrived, our little one-way street was blocked off for roadworks so our plan to park ‘Parisian-style’, in the middle of the road while people hoot and holler to no avail, was thwarted. We lugged our luggage up the alley where Mr B loaded it into the van and just like that, we were gone.

“Alhors” (so), Paris, like so many crushes, our love-affair was short-lived. You wooed me but for a moment but left me rather unenamoured. However, you helped me to rediscover a lasting love that stood up to your trials and testing. A love that is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrong…

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