Saturday, June 30, 2012

The enchamntment continues . . .

My 8 years of French (4 years in high school, 4 years in college) have boiled down to the equivalent of 2-3 years of high school French. I know all the articles and the proper conjugation of most verbs and although there have been a few slip ups*, for the most part, I continue to speak only in French to the French speakers.

 Our trip continues to be charmed: getting all the right Metro trains, finding our way easily without backtracking, beautiful sunny skies each and every day (we got majorly sunburned the first day when we weren't wearing sunscreen) and even finding original watercolors by a local Parisienne artist (our tradition in all our travels).

 Yesterday's highlight (which I didn't mention) was a toss-up between ordering a pique-nique at a several different counters at a fancy Parisian grocery store and a very spiritual experience at the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal (the place where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Labourre and described the miraculous medal to her).Today's highlights were a stroll in the Left Bank/St. Germain (with a visit to the Museum of Eugene Delacroix) and finding the original watercolors I mentioned above. For every major trip that Mr. Quimby and I have taken over the past 15 years, we have always managed to find scenes of the city we were visiting as painted by a local artist. In almost all these instances, we have had the local artist sign the paintings (on the mat) with the date we purchased them. We had almost given up hope on this trip and were regretting our decision not to take a trip to Montmartre (too crowded, too many pickpockets, and too touristy we heard from others at the hotel) when we decided to take one last stroll on the Rive Gauche par les bouquinistas (river side sellers of old books, postcards, posters, etc.) when we stumbled upon a bookseller who is also a painter. We had a lovely chat with him, verified his signature with the signature on the paintings, and continued our tradition.

 The constant presence of cigarette smoke has really irritated Mr. Q's allergies, so while he returned to the hotel, I spent an hour or so this afternoon at a cafe by myself nursing a glass of wine and a separate glass of mineral water and making conversation (IN FRENCH !!!) with an elderly Suburban couple next to me who told me they come to Paris once every month or so to make the promenade along the Seine.

 It's been lovely keeping up with the goings on back home via the neighborhood listserv and Facebook, and Mr. Q and I have a plan in place if we don't have power back when he and the girls return from Alabama on Monday afternoon. We spent a week in the house wihtout power in June of 2008 and I will never do that again.

 A bientot, mes amis !

*Today's slip-ups were:I ordered "eclair framboises et frais" which translated to an eclair rasberry and an eclair strawberry. I meant to order "eclair framboises fraiche" which would have meant an eclair with rasberries and whipped cream. Oh well, Mr. Q easily ate one by himself, and so I was happy to eat the other.The other slip up was that I asked a waiter for "une carte" which is a menu, but he brought me a Coke. The nice Suburban lady next to me (see above) told me I wasn't pronouncing "carte" correctly.

Mr. Quimby eating his eclair by the Seine.
Me waiting at the Metro.


Maud said...

You are so great to get out there and use your French. I'd be too shy, and then I wouldn't get half as much out of the trip as you're doing. Bravo!

priest's wife said...

looks so wonderful! years ago, I spent two weeks in an apartment within walking distance of Sacre Coeur- that was the life!

Laurie said...

I love the tradition of the artist's signatures. Great memories.

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