Friday, April 04, 2008

Montmatre, Love, O'Vinea, Love.

Yesterday was so perfect I feel I have to break it up into bits just to write about it appropriately, without losing everyone in one long post that goes on forever. I think it marks the day I fell in love with Paris.

I walked around Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur, guided of course by the wonderful Gilles Desmons who I highly recommend (beware though, it seems near the end of his walks he becomes slightly lazy with directions, meaning that you should have a map handy and be prepared to lose yourself a bit...which is not entirely a bad thing). I spent a lot of time staring leisurely onto all of Paris, walking up and down the winding streets and stairways that populate the area, through beautiful cottages and gardens all built as early as the 17th century. Gazing at homes and the playgrounds of some of the world's greatest artists and writers and general seekers of fun and pleasure.

It was a walk to put everything into perspective. It was, I think, my second favorite day in all the world.

I also conquered my fear of the French at O'Vinea, a wonderful little café on the Rue Lepic. I walked by. I stopped to look at the menu. I walked a few more yards down. I thought okay, its now or never. I either speak the language or continue on being hungry and waiting to find a market, there was still another hour or so left on my walk. Plus I'm beginning to think of croissants as the axis of evil. I think its time that i switch to baguettes as my food of choice.

What I learned at O'vinea was that I don't think the French are rude at all. I have in my short time in France found everyone more than willing to help. Its true that everyone speaks a little english, and therein lies the problem, american knowing this walk into the situation expecting to be helped in English, usually from what I've seen not even trying to speak a little french. And its true what people say...if you want good service or directions its best to at least try. It is, of course, a french speaking county and the fact that Americans, the most idiotically patriotic of all don't give the language a go, while we constantly harass other nationalities in America to speak the language, seems the most ridiculous of all. I've consistently been helped and received more than great service in all but one place. I try, they try, we reach a nice little middle ground. I also noticed that most people aren't so confident in their English that they feel comfortable having a conversation.

At O'Vinea I ordered en Salade Poulet (thank god the romantic languages all resemble one another) and my first espresso. The food was great and I enjoyed the feeling of sitting at a café without feeling rushed. Eating my meal I felt triumphant, elated and full. The salad was beautifully presented, my server was absolutely handsome, the sun was setting over the buildings. I met two frenchmen with whom I had the most hilarious conversation. Gabriel and Uni. ('re from New York...I love New know Brooklyn?...50 cent?...Canal Street?... I love canal street). They told me I looked like Kelly Rowland (?), which sounded at first like Kelly Holland. Then they offered me a little of their salad, a little of their beer, a little of their bread, a ride on their scooter, a place to stay at their apartment (we have big big house, in a very pop-u-lar area), their phone number, a night out on the town, taught me a little french.

I continued my walk, I was propositioned by an artist who said he wasn't sure whether he should paint my picture or pick me up. Maybe both? When I said I had no money. He said 'okay, then I'll just pick you up. ' It's Paris, let me walk with you, we can fall in love.

Parisian men are great, really. I mean they're alot more fun to say no to. They're attractive. They've got swagger and style. They're charming, they don't cat call or whistle. They're also relentless. They can't figure out why, if you're an american woman alone in Paris, you'd say no to a glass of wine or why you wouldn't let them walk with you for just a while.

I suppose being alone gives you a much bigger opportunity to talk to people that you might not have otherwise, to carry on the conversation just a bit longer than usual....



At 12:29 PM, Blogger meg wachter said...

le sigh...
marcia, it sounds like you're having a fantastic time. i envy your brazenness to travel by yourself.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger mh said...

Sometimes I'm still shocked I'm doing it.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is sooo fun to read. MORe more more


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