We left Toronto on Thursday evening and after an overnight flight we arrived in Paris
at around 7 a.m. The weather was cool at about 20 degrees Celsius. We found a
taxi with style a Mercedes sedan and plunged into the morning traffic that was not unlike travel in any number of large urban
centres throughout the world. What was different was the motorcycles and scooters that whooshed by between lines of traffic
while we were stationary or moving. Daredevils all with inches to spar between them and a spectacular exit from their mortal
coil. The journey took one hour and a cost of $100. It was about the same time but pricier then from our home to the airport.
Elizabeth was excited wanting to find the first landmark she would recognize. The cab
driver joined in the search and shouted out there on the left. Cresting a hill was this wedding cake church Montmarte glistening
in white. Next the driver warned us the Eiffel Tower would be seen in one more block and with moving forward we saw it looming
dominating the landscape. By now my arm had pins and needles since Elizabeth in her excitement had grabbed my arm and squeezed
we arrived at Hotel Muguet and three star hotel within four blocks of the Eiffel Tower, two from Napoleon’s tomb in
the Hospital des Invalids. Even so it is a quite neighbourhood. We drop off our bags and were told to return at lunchtime
to be allowed into our room. We wandered over to the Eiffel Tower and I was delighted to have one of the iconic landmarks
to photograph. Elizabeth was excited and delighted at finally being in Paris. The Eiffel Tour looks the same but with a photographer's
eye I now notice detail and saw names around the first level. The names are of 72 prominent French scientists and famous personalities
18 names per side on all four side. On the Champ de Mars we came across a sculptural landmark made of a stylo and bronze statues.
There was no signage telling you of what it was but I admired it.
we walked over to a side street and sought a Parisian lunch. It was then amidst this classic, romantic, culinary, haute fashion,
haute cuisine, haute everything that the cultural Jackal and Hyde character of the French showed up. We found a Bistro and
wanted to sit inside and since we had back packs and bags wanted a large table. The place was empty save for us. No Monsieur
that table with two chairs and the small table is yours but not the large table with four seats. I am the Manager and my word
is the law. So we left.
the street we found another Bistro and wanted to sit outside side by side and
view the world and enjoy life. No Monsieur one of you must look into the restaurant with your back to the street and not enjoy
yourself. Apparently they don’t know the Italian thought of you go to a restaurant to see and be seen. We left.
stores down another attempt. We questioned the waiter again can we sit side by side outside and enjoy our lunch. Of course
Mousier and so we had our lunch. As we were finishing lunch a group of 10 people came along. They were in their 60’s
and as I listened it was apparent they were Italian since that was what they were speaking. I of course chimed in and within
minutes the banter was that of finding relatives in another part of the world. Of course the topic of the insanity and dictatorial
decorum of seating according to the dictum of the Bistro Code of Seating came up and I was found not guilty by a group of
now 3 a.m. in the morning and our circadian rhythm told us we must sleep. We returned to the Hotel Muguet and slept for a
few hours. That evening we had little enthusiasm for traveling any distance for supper and ate around the corner at the Bistro
Central. We had Onion Soup, Snails, Cobb Salad and Chicken Pillard washed down the French wine. Standard fare for Paris. Yes
we sat in the manner we wanted right on the corner outside to see and be seen.