Gyorgyi, my fearless Hungarian friend, has invited me to join her for her birthday in Paris: The City of Love, or is it The City of Light? I never know, then again who really cares?? I’m heading to Paris, lavishing my time with a dear friend – does life get any better?
Travel between European countries is both straight forward, AND complicated. If you know the rules it’s a snap…. however, after you purchase a ticket, pay to reserve a seat, print your own boarding pass, and weigh your carry-on luggage — keep your wallet open.
Using a visa is an upgrade, paying with cash, over the phone, or in person – All upgrades! Understand they call it “no-frills flying” for a reason. The 10-kg luggage allowance includes EVERYTHING, your purse, your computer, even the sandwich you packed for lunch is weighed and measured. Don’t forget, the whole kit and caboodle must fit in one (55 x 40 x 20cm) bag, NOT a (55.2 x 40 x 20cm) bag. No charge for emotional baggage though, as a matter of fact, it’s encouraged, as you’ll discover listening to the nut sitting beside you drone on!! Silence? That’s an upgrade….NO-FRILLS-FLYING Convenient? – “YES” Economical? – “ABSOLUTELY” First Class? – “NOT EVEN CLOSE”
Today however, I’m fortunate to have a row to myself as this silver bird whisks me from Florence, the birthplace of Renaissance Art, to Paris the most romantic city in the world. I’m confident between the mystique of Paris, the hi-jinx my friend and I inevitably find ourselves in, this trip will prove to be an unforgettable sojourn in France.
Gyorgyi has recently made the big move from Florence, Italy to Paris, France, she pulled up stakes and rented an apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a few short blocks from the University la Sorbonne. I’ve seized this opportunity to acquaint myself with the enticing world of higher education in Europe, albeit vicariously through my partner in crime, Gyorgyi. After several years in Italy, she has embarked on a pristine beginning far from the serene, and tranquil shores of the River-Arno in Florence, to the turbulent, and often intoxicating embankments of Paris’s River-Seine. Besides working full-time, writing her PhD, she’s also studying French. Good grief I’m exhausted just writing about it!!
My plane arrives just in time for her birthday dinner at the AZ restaurant in Saint Germain. Gyorgyi, my well-traveled alter ego, insists I order foie-gras as my appetizer. She is confidant in her ability to immerse this Canadian Country-Bumpkin in the dietary nirvana that is French cuisine. It is her belief that when in Paris one is OBLIGED, REQUIRED, and or COMPELLED to consume foie gras. How can I argue with my friend on her birthday? I have to admit smothering a freshly baked baguette with one of Frances principal delicacies leaves me convinced there IS a heaven on earth. The rich and buttery foie is served on delicate porcelain plates. Adding to the experience, we generously spread the thick pate using weighty and impressively carved silver knifes. Our extremely French, and conspicuously handsome waiter, unknowingly adds a contribution to my “newly-single” friends birthday celebration, by flirting openly with her throughout dinner. He also suggests the perfect paring of a succulent french wine. It swirls seductively within the gleaming crystal stemware, as the waiter pours the wine he entertains us with witty banter. The evening is a fitting introduction to culinary Paris, not only is this city known for LIGHT, LOVE, & ROMANCE. Treating yourself to an elegant meal in Paris, is likened to physically absorbing art…. food here is luxurious, vivid, structured, and brimming with character…not unlike the luminescent city itself.
Have you ever jumped at an opportunity, stretched your wings, or dared to dream? If you have please share your experience with me below….