Last week I donned my finest Italian leather and journeyed to le gai Paris. I traveled in a pack of eight amici, lodging in a ten-bed bunk-bed hostel room by the Louvre. The city shimmered in the French wintry sun all weekend long. Beau! On Friday, a number of us scurried over to the cavernous, old railway Musée d’Orsay. For hours, we dawdled and drooled about the museum. The real highlight was the special exhibition “Fashion in Impressionism”—each painting was accompanied by the clothing depicted on the canvas. Rather perturbed by the cinched 19thCentury figures, we ravenous modern folk hurried to a bistro near the Bastille. We spent the afternoon moseying around the Marais, walking off our heavy French déjeuner.
Amidst the frites, fallafel and pan au chocolat, we journeyed to Versailles, ogled le Arc di Triomphe, meandered down promenades, and paid homage to le Notre Dame and San Chappelle. Although quite unversed in French, I mastered the following critical phrases: Je voudrais un billet, je voudrais un magret, le vin chaud, le mousse de chocolat and, of course, j’aime Paris—with conviction s’il vous plait.Upon homecoming, I was linguistically muddled and rather gauche about shaking the “oui.” Whoopsies.
While we were à Paris, Siena decked its storefronts and adorned its streets with twinkle lights, Christmas garland and “tanti Auguri” marquees. An ornamented, twenty-foot tree glistens in Piazza Monte dei Paschi. The Christmas stalls and ice-skating rink have opened, crowding the charming and bustling streets. My friend Ellyn articulated it quite eloquently: leaving Siena now is like breaking up with a boyfriend who just joined a gym and got a haircut. We can’t leave now–it’s just too pretty!