|..||I Love Paris in the Springtime
By late winter, 2000, the fois gras supply was running low. What's more, Andrew's friends Anita and Michael's sabbatical in Paris would end in June. The lure of lodging in the city of lights, in spring, overcame us.
Saturday May 27
Back at the flat I take some anti-cat allergy medicine and a jet-lag-induced nap, then whip up a big batch of guacamole that is a major success. Anita and Paul have made couscous and chicken for dinner. Anita's niece Amy, stationed in Germany with the Air Force, arrives for a visit in time for dinner. She can't reach her sister-in-law, where she was planning to stay, so she bunks in Anita and Mike's flat too.
Sunday May 28
Andrew and I take Paul to rent bikes for the afternoon. We, and his father, insist that he wear a helmet like us even though "nobody in Paris wears them." We cycle along the Seine to the giant Ferris wheel at the Twelleries. We ride the wheel and see the view, and also see a storm rolling toward us from the west. It's coming so fast that by the time we get back to the bottom of the wheel it's upon us. We shelter with the bikes under an overpass on the Seine road. Not the tunnel where Princess Di's Mercedes crashed.
We get back to the rental shop relatively dry and pause to watch a pro-marijuana parade at the Bastille. Then we plunge into the Metro station and Paul shows us his shortcut. The Paris Metro is notorious for long, complicated connection tunnels between platforms. Paul's sneaky trick, which other people seem to know too, cuts the trip by about 1/8 of a mile of walking. Back at the flat, most of the family has gone up the street to the neighborhood brocante (a communal yard sale). We find them there and wander up and down the aisles of worn clothing, souvenir plates from Baden-Baden, and scratched LPs. Leaving there, Andrew and I wander on to a nearby park with a hill that affords a pleasant view. We pick up guacamole makings and wine, and head back. We all go out for Chinese food at a local restaurant that Mike and Anita have been wanting to try. The food is quite good, although Paul, a vegetarian, is alarmed to realize that the sauce in his tofu dish is pork-based. It makes him feel a little ill.
Paul has been a vegetarian since he was five. He says, "one day I asked mom if the meat she had served me was a dead animal. She said it was, and I said I didn't think I wanted to eat it." He's stuck to that decision. But he's interested in the culinary arts, and bright enough to realize that he'll never make it as a chef if he can't handle meat. Andrew and I found him a very informed resource for selecting pates, hams, and other prepared meats at the markets. Not to be outdone in the French food department, Henry, 5, is something of a gourmand without even knowing it. At the ecole maternal he's served a four-course lunch every day. He especially likes the double dessert days, when the cheese course is yogurt, which he regards as a dessert.