Monday, November 29, 2010

bon voyage!

The planets in the universe aligned *just so* last week, and as luck would have it, I'll be heading to Paris, France on Wednesday to meet up with my husband (who's there on business) for a whirlwind trip to the 'City of Light'. My husband found out he was going on Wednesday of last week, and two days later, we took a chance and booked a flight for me without having childcare lined up for the four days that I'll be gone (it was a leap of faith, to say the least). Thanks to the generosity of my mother and brother, the kids will be well-taken care of while the husband and I take in the sights of one of the most culturally-rich cities in the world.

Full disclosure, I will admit that when I first found out my husband was going to Paris, as happy as I was for him, I was not thrilled at the prospect of spending seven days as a single parent. As much as I love our kids, parenting four children in a two-parent household is challenging enough, the thought of parenting solo for a week while trying to run a business (which takes up more time than you could ever imagine!) was downright daunting. I tried to put on a brave front, but I have a terrible pokerface.

When I first found out that I'd be able to join my husband in Paris, my immediate thought was that I should really get myself a new wardrobe for the few days that I'll be there, considering how chic the people of Montreal seem to be, I can only imagine how chic the people of Paris must be! Of course, I won't actually buy a new wardrobe, I did, however, buy a new pair of gloves and a hat and scarf to match. Given the current cold snap Europe is experiencing, it seems highly unlikely anyone will know what's under my parka anyhow (hopefully they will all assume I am just as chic as they are!). To ensure I look the part from the neck up, I got my haircut on Friday afternoon, I will flat iron my hair while I'm in Paris if it kills me, though when I get back, I will likely resort back to throwing my hair up in an elastic every day (old habits die hard).

I really should have paid a little more attention to my high school French teachers. I grew up in a small town in Southwestern Ontario, I took the minimum number of French classes required of me, back then, I had never heard anyone speak a lick of French outside the classrooom, little did I know that people in Canada actually *do* speak French. It would certainly come in handy right now to be able to say something other than "Fermez la bouche" (the only thing I took away from my French teachers!). If I run around Paris telling everyone to 'shut your mouth', I won't make any friends, will I?

I'm a little (OK, a lot!) nervous about travelling alone, I will have to make my way from Charles de Gaulle airport all the way to downtown Paris. I imagine it will feel like I'm living the Go-See episode of America's Next Top Model, I only hope I don't end up crying on the street somewhere, hopefully I'm capable of making it from point A to point B without any major setbacks. If I have to rely on my limited French vocabulary, I am doomed, doomed I tell you!

After he's done working, my husband and I will have about 48 hours together to tour the city. Aside from the obvious (the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame cathedral), I'm not sure what else we should see. As it turns out, we'll be there on December 2nd, the anniversay of Napolean's French Coronation. On that particular date, the sun sets in line with the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, creating a spectacular halo around the Arc de Triomphe. As nice as it might have been to visit Paris in the Spring or Summer, I think it's pretty cool that we're in the city on such a historically significant date!

For those of you who have been, do you have any suggestions in terms of restaurants we should visit, things we should see that might not be listed in the latest tour guides, or any tips or tricks to getting around Paris? We won't have access to a car, which is just as well, as it seems that people in Paris drive like people in Montreal (I had to drive in downtown Montreal once, I almost had a coronary, never again!).

Assuming I make it from the airport to the hotel OK (did I mention I don't have a cell phone?), I am *so stoked* to visit Paris!


  1. Oh such a super opportunity!!!! I would love to see romantic! Can't wait to hear the stories and see the pics. I will live vicariously through you.

  2. How awesome! Paris is great without a car, I think you can get day-passes for public transport. Other than that; just walk around in the Montmartre area, that's very nice. Have fun!

  3. I am French and I am sure you will find your hotel (taxis exist in France too ;))
    I visited Paris a couple of time and you don't need a car : the subway and your feet will be enough. Don't forget to go to Montmartre !
    Enjoy !

  4. With what you have scheduled in 48 hours, you won't have much time for anything else. The louvre takes 7 days alone to visit... it's massive. Buy the day pass that lets you visit the medival castle buried underneath the louvre. Do the stairs at the Effifel tower as there are no lineups...otherwise be prepared to wait for the elevator. Enjoy!1

  5. The best thing about Paris in the winter is walking the streets, visiting the Louvre when the tourist traffic is minimal and then enjoying a warm crepe with nutella from a street vendor...

  6. OH Susie!!!! Have a wonderful time. You really deserve this. Bon Voyage!