Arrived in Paris on Monday, with two huge pieces of overpacked luggage and zero sense of direction. There’s nothing like arriving in a foreign city, by yourself, and not knowing which way to go. So, after circling around the longest possible way from the Luxembourg Metro station, I found my way to the hotel. It was 8 a.m. or so and check-in wasn’t until 3pm, so I dropped off my stuff at the hotel and went walking around the city.
First stop was La Boulangerie, the bakery across the street from the hotel. I quickly discovered that my limited French vocabulary expanded exponentially whenever I was in a food establishment. Baguette, croissant or quiche sil vou plais. If they asked a question, I said “oui.” Then I would say “merci” and “au revoir” which made it seem like I spoke French.
With some food in the system, nowhere to go, and no sense of direction, I decided to take a walk and see where I’d end up. There’s no better place to get lost than Paris. There is not an ugly street in city and there’s a boulangerie/patisserie on every block.
So I crossed the Luxembourg garden and kept walking and looking like a complete tourist with a map in my hand until a nice French man asked if I needed helped. At least I think that’s what he asked because I don’t speak French and all I wanted to do was to get towards the Seine River so he pointed me in the right direction.
I crossed the Seine, still not knowing where I am and found myself standing in front of the Louvre entrance. Not a bad place to end up when you’re lost.
So after getting lost all over the city, from the Louvre to St. Germain — figuring out I was lost when I circled around the block 3 times except the first two times I thought maybe there were 2 Max Mara stores in the neighborhood until it dawned on me that I was circling around the same block in St. Germain — I finally found my way to Rue Gay Lussac, after a string of many Rues (from de Bac to Bonaparte).
And at that point, after hours of walking lost in Paris, I needed some wine. I decided to make my way to a neighborhood bistro, where I ended up hanging out and talking with – Isabel, Pascal and Dominic – without speaking any French. But hey, when a guy says to me “tres jolie” I know to respond “oui” and “merci.”
More to follow…