It is 1am. I’ve been here before. I don’t mean Paris…I mean sleepless. I’m a night dweller. This city of 2.2 million residents and several million visitors is at rest. Even the young neighbor girl whose smoking habit causes her to virtually live in the frame of her kitchen window is sleeping. The Paris sky has turned its peculiar shade of pink. Only a sliver of a moon is present. From time to time I hear the rumble of the metro which runs under our street. A mosquito is buzzing but I swear it is buzzing in French. It really doesn’t sound the same as its American cousin.
We were the beneficiaries of two days of exceptionally warm weather and in effort to enjoy the many parks and gardens, the locals are co-mingling with the tourists. Every patch of grass is covered with sunbathers and blankets with baguettes and bottles of wine. Shorts have been rummaged from bottom drawers, wrinkled and crisp from lack of wear. Color is present. This time in shirts and shorts and purses. The usually ubiquitous scarf has all but disappeared.
In tandem with the wonderful warm days, we suffer a bit from the warm nights. All of these households. Hardly any air conditioners. All the warm winter garb I packed is tucked away. The two short sleeved shirts I brought and the one shirt I bought on consignment are going to have to pull an extra shift or two. At night I shift and twist, uncomfortable under the bedcovers that feel more like a mattress pad, thick and heavy. I squirm in the pajamas that I wear here but not at home, a necessary modesty when sharing a home with two other couples.
Rebekah and Larry are in Paris for the first time. Tom is here, too, and content to tag along while we all attempt to submerge Rebekah and Larry into our Paris. It is a delight for us to watch them soak up the sights and sounds. Night one we walked…guessing…seven miles. They were troopers staying up till 8:30pm, fighting the jet lag. We ate well on day one but with an Italian lunch and a Mexican dinner, they must’ve thought they had gotten the wrong tour guides. We corrected that a little today–first with a metro pass for greater ease of travel, then with a fabulous brunch at a small brasserie near Sacre Coeur and with a hamburger for dinner near our apartment that was none but French. A last desperate reach for summer fun happened when we made it to the Trocadero metro stop this evening just before the Grand Lady (I call her that, you call her the Eiffel Tower) began to twinkle. I hope the twinkly light inventor got a raise and promotion.
Tomorrow’s weather should turn. It is predicted to be cool and rainy and the sour faces and gloomy wardrobes (Special Note: spell check changed “wardrobes” to “war dwarfs” which seems insightful) will return. But this is a French lesson, too. A fascinating comparison between Good Weather French People and Bad Weather French People. They are not one and the same. As such, we have plans to avoid outdoor activities due to the weather and will take our guests to the Louvre in the morning then maybe shopping in the afternoon. “C’est la vie” they say when they mean, “Oh well, that’s just life”. I think it should be said in a positive context! C’est la vie translated strictly does mean [Paris], this is the life!”