Monday, May 07, 2007

France - Moulin Rouge

Our last full day in Paris started with a train ride to the outskirts of Paris to an auto museum that Zac had found on the internet. It didn't show up on the map but being that far out only the major streets were shown and we just assumed it was on a small street not shown.

I have always thought that the anecdotal adventures differentiates great vacations from ordinary ones.

When we got off the train to read the map of the local area, we still couldn't find the street. Zac spotted a tourist office and we headed over. When he asked the lady about the auto museum, the look on her face and the laughing had me a little confused because they were speaking French.

After we walked out, Zac explains the museum had been closed for a few years and several times a week someone will ask about it. They just didn't take down their website.

After returning to Paris, we found a nice little cafe to have a traditional French meal. I started with a onion soup with cheese, followed by beef bourguignon, and an apple tart for dessert. We always asked for a picture of water. The tap water is excellent in France. Per most meals in France, we were there about an hour and a half. They make sure everyone is finished with their appetizers before they bring your main course and then bring the dessert menu again after everyone is finished just in case you have changed your mind after ordering the three course before the meal.

After the meal we were off to the house of the French writer "Balzac". Zac had studied his books in his masters program. I knew nothing about him but found the museum interesting. It gave us the chance to walk the real streets of Paris for a change.

After this I asked Zac if we could go back to the "red light district". We had walked by past it on our return from "the church on the hill" but that night I said to myself, "not tonight dear, I am to tired".

The Moulin Rouge ( French for "red mill" ) is the most famous night club in the world. With a cover charge of 100 Euros for a meal and a show, it was a little out of our price range. Plus elegant evening attire is required.

The rain was off and on, so we headed in a cafe for coffee. Nice little cafe and we spent about two hours just sitting and talking. It was our first chance to really just talk and not worry about being tourists.

We headed back to retrieve our bags and picked up a couple of paninis to eat on the train ride to Zac's apartment in Le Mans.

I was a little disappointed that it was dark but I knew I would see the countryside on our return trip to Paris to catch the plane home.

As we left the train station in Le Mans ( everyone exits the same way ), we walked thru an alley to the street. Every mom that visits Le Mans makes this same trip.

Some words are spelled the same in French as in English. It's dark and all you can see at the other end of the alley and on the street to take to town or stand at the bus stop is the sign with large red letters SEX SHOP. We had a good laugh at every mothers expense.

Zac's apartment is about a quarter mile from the train station. We had just gotten inside when his phone rang with a text message (everyone uses text messages as they are a lot cheaper than actual phone calls) from his friends and they wanted us to join them for a beer. How could I say no.

I met the Frenchies; Valentin, Julie and Coline and the two Emilys and Matt. At first I thought Julie and Valentin just wanted to practice their english on another anglophone but it soon became apparent that all his friends were taking turns in the chair that best made conversation with me possible. All his friends were making sure that I felt weclome. I was indeed impressed with them.

A good time was had by all and it was a night that I will never forget. Zac and I had our first beer together and I truly enjoyed being a part of this group of young people that feel education is the way to a fulfilling life.

I would not see Valentin or Julie again and only saw Coline briefly at the University where she gave me my only bisous ( the traditional kiss on each cheek).


Annie said...

That sounds like a perfect day, a wonderful memory, a reason to plan a return trip next year, right?

Anonymous said...

Although I haven't commented recently (very busy), I have really enjoyed reading of your wonderful trip to France to visit your son. Thanks for sharing the trip with us.


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