Since I have grown past infancy, I have never been able to sleep on whatever conveyance I am in, and even this nearly eight hour flight was no exception. I did begin and almost finish reading David McCullough's 1776. The plane safely disgorged all of its passengers at about 9:15 a.m. Paris time, and by the time we collected our baggage it was nearly noon. We exited the terminal here:
Across the drive from this door was the pick-up for the navette, or shuttle, to the hotel at which I was hoping to crash VERY soon. Hopes were dashed when we learned that check-in time was not until 14 h, or 2:00. Zombies had to stay awake whether they wanted to or not.
So we stowed our luggage at the hotel and took a very pleasant walk around the little village that surrounded the environs of the airport. The streets are about as wide as a Lincoln town car, and the folks literally park on the sidewalk or inside their walled gardens/garages/yards. Much of the town was actually walled against the streets. About a foot or so in from the walkway, embedded in the walls, doors were slabs of wood set into the undressed stone and coarse cement abutments, with little round handles sticking out of the very middle of them. No hinges were visible. No porches, no sidewalks to speak of, since the cars took up the three feet of free space on either side of the open street, the place looks very different from anything we are used to in the U. S.!
That is, except for the village church. As one approaches from the business district, such as it is, one is greeted by this bilingual sign explaining the circa 7th century origins of the Church of St. Eligius of Roissy en France:
From the church we trundled back down the considerable hill to the enclave where there were a couple of shops and a bank, from which we could withdraw Euros without having to pay an exorbitant exchange rate.
We dined at a very nice traditional French cuisine restaurant, the Maréchal-Ferrant. The 30-ish lady who greeted us at the door wore a muted pumpkin-colored knit golf shirt whose shade matched the wall paint and napkins, which, upon reflection, I am convinced was on purpose. The menu consisted of a choice between two or three courses: l'entree, le plat, and le dessert, or le plat and either l'entree or le dessert. Not having eaten anything of consequence any more than having slept, the temptation was beyond my power to resist. I ordered "fish bread" which is actually nothing of the kind but a sort of loaf, with chunks of white fish in a lobster/shrimp mousse, accompanied by a light cognac sauce, chicken roasted with green olives with a huge side of green beans which covered half the plate, and a hazelnut nougat on a cookie crust. It was an appropriate introduction to French cuisine on its home turf. The hulking serving of half a chicken and overflowing whole buttered green beans was far too much even for me, toothsome as it was, and the waitress (the same good lady who greeted us at the door) asked me if I were sure I wanted dessert. She did not know who she was asking!
Having successfully negotiated the first two of the triumvirate of pressing needs: cash and food, the third, sleep, remained. Happily, we returned to the hotel after two o'clock, and having towed our baggage to the room and sufficiently unpacked to find pajamas and toothpaste, I fell unconscious for the next seventeen hours or so. Thankfully, no pictures exist of this period, despite what James threatened.
This page was last edited on November 08, 2010