The entire night was too much, in so many ways. You know when you think you have a handle on a new place, and then everything goes sideways? Sometimes several ways? That was me.
We hung out at the Eiffel Tour for a while (you have to, really, don’t you?) and between the sun, sweat, other tourists, and trying for the best shots, we were exhausted. We made our way back to the hotel and got ourselves cleaned up. In our room, Zoe plugged in her hair straighteners and I put on eyeshadow and changed into my Paris Whore Shoes. “Are we ready?” she asked. “This is as good as it gets,” I replied. She laughed. “Let’s take Paris by storm!”
We found enough taxis to take us to the restaurant. This amused me. We could easily have taken the Metro right there. Maybe this is just me being Public Transit Girl, though, because I was happy to get in a cab with Jane, Andrew and Roy.
I had to close my eyes for parts of the cab ride. I think I know where the edges of vehicles are? Not like the cabbie did! Neither have I ever been aware of the flow of traffic like he was. I guess maybe it’s just driving for a living in another city, but wow. I listened as best I could. The driver came from Cuba when he was eight. Paris was the best thing that could have happened to him,and Cuba was a distant dream. Even with my broken French understanding, I saw how lucky this guy was.
The cabbie dropped us off as close as he could to the restaurant, which was still a little walk away: Paris is wide avenues, but also the smallest side streets. The restaurant was in one of these tiny lanes. Cobblestones? Check. Heavy hardwood door frames? Check. The Parisians of Myth? Check.
The Parisians of Myth lingered about in the hardwood door frames, waiting for tables to restaurants so chic that they didn’t even have names advertised. They had glasses of wine dangling negligently in their hands, these Parisians, and they were tall and dark and lean, male and female. They wore beautifully fitted and draped clothes that were worth more than my…well, anything I own. They reeked of ‘Paris’, the myth. Every confidence I thought I had mastered evaporated. It was like looking at Fae.
Edging our way past the Parisians of Myth, Jane, Roy, Andrew and I got ourselves into the restaurant. There were about 20 of us, all lined up at a table along the wall. I was close to the front window of the restaurant, between Rhian and Louise.
The food was also so over-the-top Paris-the Myth. Louise and I sat side by side with our six-inch dish starters of ravioli. The plates looked tiny. The cheese sauce was some kind of mild blue cheese and some pecorino, I think. Whatever it was, it was too delicious to leave and too rich to eat all of. We ate all of it. We were defeated, and picked at our mains (Moroccan chicken and cous cous for me) and chocolate lava cake for dessert. Louise and I, feeling guilty but full-to-bursting couldn’t finish the later courses.
We left the restaurant way too full and ready for bed. And yet, it’s Paris. There’s more to come.