Saturday, September 24, 2011

From Paradise to Paris

I don't know how I've failed to mention this, but yesterday, September 24th 2011, my mother landed for the very first time in Europe; in the city of Paris; at the Charles de Gaulle airport. It took me six months of harassing her over Skype to convince her to do it, insisting that there would never be a better time to see France than while her daughter is living there. So, at long last, she took the plunge and traveled the 8,000 miles from paradise to Paris.

I had to hop on an early train to meet her at the gate as she came out of customs. She's a tiny little woman, basically a miniature of me, and leading her through the airport, the bustling RER, and then today, THE FLOODED streets of tourist infested Paris, has been.. stressful, mostly. I've never seen Paris so crowded as it was today. We fought our way from the pyramid at the Louvre down the Champs-Elysees to L'arc de Triomphe, and then veered off towards the Seine were we found the Eiffel Tower. It was so flooded with tourists we fled the whole scene, preferring to miss the view from the tower then face the mob. I insisted we follow the river so that she see the Notre Dame, but the unthinkable crowds were anguish unprecedented, so I pulled her off into the side streets and took respite in a cafe.

At last we're back in our tiny hotel. I'm starting to be very happy I don't live here. Dijon is so much more of an accessible size. And I'm in France predominantly for the language after all; and here in Paris, I actually have to ask people if they speak French before asking for directions or the time.

It's a shame Paris is becoming such a theme park. The place seemed utterly leeched of its romance. It was sad to see the beautiful face of Notre Dame, which I have always adored, swimming in an impenetrable sea of bodies.

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