My fellow blogger, Heather, and I seem to be on a common wavelength at times and her most recent Blog post, Marcia’s Paris Top 10 (Part 1) is no exception.
Today, our son flies back to America to start his sophomore year in college and last evening he, his mother and I went out to dinner together. Without booking ahead or even deciding beforehand what kind of food we wanted to eat we walked to our own little quartier which comprises a wonderful art deco cinema and too many restaurants and cafes to count. For some reason, my wife suggested we try a recently opened bistro simply called Montparnasse and with no alternative suggestions to offer, my son and I simply agreed.
Now, in Australia, it’s not uncommon to find that French Restaurants are in fact faux French with the wait staff being students from Malaysia and the cooks being Chinese; but Montparnasse, we soon found, was French to the core. The waitress who greeted us at the door was French, all the other wait staff were French, the menu was in French, the cooks were all French and there was a cabaret singer setting up in the corner who also turned out to be…French. Mon Dieu. Que’est-ce qui se passe?
When the singer had finished assembling all of his accoutrements and plugged his iPod, furnished with his backing tracks, into the amplifier, he launched into his first offering of the evening: L’Amérique, by Joe Dassin. It could have been our son singing:
Mes amis, je vous dis adieu
Je devrais vous pleurer un peu
Pardonnez-moi si je n’ai dans mes yeux
Je reviendrai je ne sais pas quand
Cousu d’or et brodé d’argent
Ou sans un sou, mais plus riche qu’avant
And this is where the connection with Heather’s Blog comes in. Next to our table was a large picture of the Eiffel Tower. My wife, who has never been to Paris, pointed to the first level of the tower and asked me: “What do they have there?”
I replied that I didn’t know, that I had never been there, and she looked at me disbelievingly. “How long did you stay in Paris?” she asked.
“Altogether, about 5 months,” I replied.
“And you never went up the Eiffel Tower?”
But to tell the truth, the Eiffel Tower still wouldn’t make it onto my top 10 list of things yet to do in Paris. I’ve done most of the things on Marcia’s top ten list, with the exception of the Moulin Rouge, which I’ve passed many times and photographed on occasion but never visited; and the sunset cruise on a Bateau Mouche; although I have my own fond memory involving a Bateau Mouche, a crazy girl from Denver Colorado, and an impromptu recreation of the life and times of Henry Miller and Anais Nin. But that’s another story.
One day, I hope I can go back to Paris. My wife has broader ambitions for Europe, never having been there before; but there is only one place that I must insist on visiting. To paraphrase Joe Dassin: Pardonnez-moi si je n’ai dans mes yeux que Paris. And will I then acquiesce and climb that infernal tower? Maybe…maybe not. Franchement, I always preferred my Paris at street level.