Six-word Sunday: June 12, 2011

Relived PARIS! FRANCE! in Seattle, Washington.

Just when I thought I wouldn't post about PARIS! FRANCE! again, I went and had an oh-so-French day today.

After I returned from France I was waxing nostalgic about the macaroons to Monster and she came across a French bakery and found them. I had to go try them today and then I treated myself to Woody Allen's new film, Midnight in Paris. Internets, if you see this movie you need to know that everything Owen Wilson's character says and thinks about Paris is exactly what I've been saying, thinking, and feeling--and what I've been rambling about ad nauseum. Oh, and in the movie they go to L'Orangerie (see tip #4) and the sight of the room induced an emotional artburst, again. Surprising but sweet.

And as I close out my surprisingly French day, I'll close out my incessant rambling about how much I love PARIS! FRANCE! For now, anyway...


Check out Part I, Part II, and Part III of PARIS! FRANCE! wherein I play the part of a power tourist, an emotional and righteous observer of high art, and someone who pretends they know what they are talking about.


Internets, I think we've come to the final post about my trip to PARIS! FRANCE! This final installment will be a veritable potpurri of random tips and left over pictures to keep you visually interested.

Tip #1: Go to Paris. Simple enough. Just go. Seriously.

Tip #2: Go to Paris in the springtime. To be fair, I've never been to Paris any other time of year, but I can attest to its general fabulousness in the spring. There's a reason people love Pairis in the springtime.

Tip #3: Buy a scarf from a street market and wear it everywhere. Trust me, everyone else is doing it so you should too! Mais, oui!

Tip #4: Go to L'Orangerie. I know I already implored you to do this here, and if that wasn't reason enough here's a handy dandy little trick. If you go to L'Orangerie and buy the combo pass with Musee D'Orsay, you can get in to both AND skip the long line to get into Musee D'Orsay. Awesome.

Tip #5: Make the effort to speak French. Everyone I encountered was very gracious. Of course I was going out of my way to not come across as an ugly American (I wasn't wearing jeans, sneakers, and concealed any other such articles that send out the tourist beacon), but I never came across anyone that was rude or unwilling to help me.

Tip #6: You must must must get yourself a selection of les macarons (small little cookies that aren't anything like American macaroons, they are times infinity better mostly because they don't have coconut in them) and head to Le jardin de Luxembourg. Plop yourself down alongisde La fontaine de Medici and just revel in the moment. It is one I'll never forget. I really can't do it justice, but sitting there enjoying my rose petal macaroon is the most poignantly beautiful moment I've ever experienced.

Tip #7-infinity: There's so much more I could share with you, but I'll stop with this final tip: when you go to Paris (or heck, when you go on any adventure), open yourself up to being profoundly impacted by the expereince. Everything I experienced, from the larger-than-life to the small and simple, they all left an indellible imprint on my heart, mind, and soul. That general appreciation for just being and living in the moment is quite possibly the most significant thing I learned from PARIS! FRANCE!

And because pictures are worth a thousand words, here's a few more thousand for you.

The view of the Eiffel Tower from a Sunday street market.
Right before I had the most amazing Steak Frites with "secret green sauce" for which people line up into the street. 

The Medici Fountain. Romantic. Breathtaking. Beautiful.

Where I sat and  had my "macaroonasm."

One of the many  beautful sculptures in the Jardin du Luxembourg.



Check out Part I and Part II of PARIS! FRANCE! wherein I play the part of a power tourist, and an emotional and righteous observer of high art.
Now we come to Part III, the part I like to call: dusting off your haven't-been-used-in-fifteen-years French skills and making them sing for their supper, or French 101.

I'd say it was about an hour before I landed when it really settled into my mind that "OH CRAP! I AM GOING TO A COUNTRY WHERE ENGLISH ISN'T THE PRIMARY LANGUAGE." Maybe I should have done something to prepare for that. But I had years of French in high school, that would be enough, right? As it turns out I remember and forgot just enough French to be dangerous.

From that moment on the plane until I landed in Seattle a week later, my brain was on overdrive: constantly on trying to remember as many random words, phrases, and pronunciations as I could. Sadly, I never once found the opportunity to talk about hippopotamuses or how I just love "to do the mountain climbing."

I practiced my recall in the shower, in my head during the work conference, even in my sleep. And it helped, sort of.  All the French people I was with at the work event said I had a very good accent (plus one for LMNT), but a good accent and small vocabulary can leave you stranded in bilingual limbo--and trust me, it's on par with how Dante described it. 

As my confidence built, I used French everywhere I could. And you know me, persistence is my middle name. So, even when the French would recognize me as an American and extend a courtesy to me by responding in English to my garbled attempt at communicating to them in their native tongue, I would continue the conversation in broken French. Because THAT'S WHAT I DO. And there we'd be, speaking each other's languages and somehow making it work. Or not.

The epitome of my foreign language adventure happened when I stopped into a small market for a bite for lunch. When I got there, the place was empty and I took my seat at a table. Within minutes, it had filled up with other lunch and pastry-goers and I knew that I was going to need to share my table with someone.  Enter the cutest older French lady, who spoke absolutely no English. We sat together for about a half an hour talking the whole time. My Facebook status update post this encounter summed it up best:

Just had an absolutely lovely conversation with an adorably lovely, older, French, non-English speaking woman sharing a table with me in a crowded cafe. I have no idea what we talked about.

Except I do know that while I was talking about living in Seattle, Washington, she was talking about how the rhododendrons in Washington, D.C. are beautiful. What? Yes. Just go with it. I did, and so did she... I think.