Sometimes you just have to jump in. I’ve been saving all of these photos from France, saving the memories of the wine, the food, the people… The photos are too yellow, my photo editing software needs to be moved onto my new laptop. There are always excuses. It’s not always about making everything look just so, though. It’s about the memories, the sensory experience that’s never really captured in the photos anyway.
This isn’t my wine. I wasn’t really up to it. I’ve never been to Europe completely healthy. My first two trips, I got on the plane perfectly fine, but was sick by the time I arrived. In Dublin, it took a few days, but eventually the germs caught up with me. This time, I was sick four days before we arrived. I called the doctor for prescriptions in case it got worse (it did).
10.5 hour flight and I slept about 10 minutes… maybe 15. By the time I got off the plane, I was truly miserable. I could barely see out of my right eye and that whole half of my face was numb with pain… Not exactly the start I was hoping for. The taxi ride was torture, I couldn’t even remember basic French words, our room wasn’t ready, I wanted a shower. No place to go but up, right? We stored our bags in B’s colleague’s room and went off in search of lunch.
We weren’t very discriminating with our choice. We looked at a couple of menus and chose La Terrasse Café (whose website I wish I could find). It was near our hotel. A friendly man invited us in (in English). Considering I couldn’t even string together Je m’appelle Noël” with the searing pain in my head, we went for it.
I felt like a jerk for speaking English just off the bat, but like I said, my French wasn’t going to happen in my current state. A little food and some Excedrin later, though, things started to look up. B opted for the chicken while his colleague and I went for the steak. Best €15 steak you can possibly imagine. It was a random lunch in a super touristy spot on the Champs-Elysées. It could have gone all wrong, but it didn’t. The servers were cordial, the food was delicious, and I have it on good authority that the wine was outstanding.
I wouldn’t normally have dessert with lunch, but a tarte tatin was just what I needed once I started to feel somewhat like a normal person. It definitely wasn’t the best pastry in Paris, but it was worth every bite.
B and his colleague chose the crème brûlée and crêpe with Grand Marnier lit on fire (yes, I know that isn’t the technical term). Sure it didn’t look like much, but it held onto the Grand Marnier flavor incredibly.
This was just the beginning. There were still eleven days to go and this meal, while wonderful, was hardly the best of the trip. Of course, it wasn’t ideal to arrive feeling terrible, but I knew we’d manage. Thankfully, we did better than that. I’m letting go of my photographic attempts at perfectionism for this post. Here’s hoping I can manage the same for a few more or you may be reading about France 2013 two years from now.