On the train to Paris we sat across from a little guy who reminded me of Toph. I could not resist taking a picture.
Dumped off at Gare de Montparnasse, from which we embarked, the trick was to find our way to 201 Rue de Paris. The question was which piece of the Rue de Paris? There was one in the southeast and another in the northwest. So I walk up to the only stationary taxi I see and I inquire in my best (well, all right, only) French whether he can take us to our destination. He grumbles something at me, which I suspect I am better off not knowing its exact meaning, and indicates he will drive us there. Not quite sure I want him to, but unwilling to appear ungracious, we haul our luggage over and get it into the trunk, and away we speed through the Paris traffic. It's worse than the L.I.E. the rush hour before a long weekend.
Incredibly, when we arrive at our destination, the driver slides right past it, going another few blocks until I correct him, saying I was sure we had passed the hotel. "Oh, no, madame!" he says to me in French. "This place here, where I am stopping, this is the place you want. There is no such address as the one you gave me. This is the only hotel in these parts. Your directions are mistaken." Well, I knew darned well he was spouting hogwash-- I'd seen the bloody sign for our hotel the moment we got off the bypass loop, and he couldn't fool me thinking that I didn't understand what he was saying. Once the bags were out of the car, (three out of six of them unloaded upside-down) I paid him, took the change and carped about the sad experience of someone trying to take advantage of a stranger.
James, giving the driver the benefit of the doubt, suggested we approach the desk inside the complex he'd indicated would be "the only hotel in these parts". A very mild woman attended us, and kindly asked if we had a reservation. "Would you spell that name again?" "No, we have nothing like that. The place you want is down the street a few blocks." It was all I could do to keep a civil tongue in my head. So we yanked our luggage out of that building, and trundled down the street about four blocks to the entrance of the hotel where our reservation actually awaited us. By this time I am aching, tired, hungry, and very much out of sorts; even a dragon would not have wanted to mess with me.
We took the elevator to the third floor (actually the fourth, the way the French count their floors), and found a delightful room with an airy window, a folding platform dining table, a desk, kitchen cupboards, refrigerator, sink, and sundry cooking utensils, and even a towel warmer in the lavatory! Having settled in a bit, we left for a reconnoitering walk and a bite to eat. We ended up at a neighborhood eatery, what you might find on a corner in Queens, New York. We chose seats near the door, and the server/cook/owner attended us through the meal. These scallops were the first I'd had with their orange thingies attached! They were also among the best-tasting ones I'd ever eaten. James ordered and enjoyed his lasagna.
This page was last edited on November 08, 2010