Monday, August 13, 2007

dépaysé

Now, there are lots and lots of things, well, wrong with Paris. The grocery store doesn't sell fish on Monday, most museums are closed on Tuesday, the bakery doesn't sell bread on Thursday, and pretty much everything is closed on Sunday. Nonetheless, I'd love to live here for a while longer, just to give me more time to eavesdrop on the people speaking French at the next table over.

Last night, though, we went out to a Morrocan restaurant, and, while I was sipping my mojito, I tried to catch bits of the conversation of the very tall, very blond man and woman sitting nearby. They were clearly on a second or third date. The man kept smiling and gesturing. The woman kept pushing her hair back. I had trouble making out what they were saying, until I decided that they were both speaking English, the woman with a French accent, the man with an intonation and choice of words that sounded Dutch, or perhaps German. They must not have any other language in common, I thought, and that seemed utterly, wildly romantic. They were still there, still talking when we left. Her elbows were on the table, and, when I looked back, I thought I saw his fingers graze her arm, just above the wrist.

And what city would you most like to spend a reasonably extended amount of time in?

29 comments:

meg said...

New York is what comes to mind first, but if we are thinking about overseas...I think I would go for Florence or Siena. I studied in Siena one summer in college (lived in a cool converted nunnery) and I loved being there. Yes, the history and the art are amazing, but the way of life is truly inspiring too. You know, slowing down to actually enjoy life. Also, Siena or Florence are quite central for getting to other places for art viewing/exploring. I have spent time in a few other European cities, but there's something about Italy that is magic to me (and it's more than the gelato!)
Enjoy the rest of your trip and I look forward to checking back here and seeing what cities people have chosen--it'll give me an idea of where to go next!

Beruriah said...

Stockholm. Josh and I spent a week there on our honeymoon and not only is it a stunningly beautiful city, but it is also one of the most easily navigable cities for a foreigner I've experienced. It's quite large and has so many distinct sections that you can feel like you've experienced many cities in just one day. I'm a fanatic for well designed furniture and home organization, and so going into a store was like entering a museum for me. In the summer there were wonderful kiosks in parks with tables and chairs and people would actually speak to us. Street barricades, rather than being dull cement blocks, were shaped and painted like Fia game pieces - Fia being a board game I played with my Swedish grandmother. Oh and the entire city was almost to clean to be believed.

If you'd given us a larger option than city, I'd have gone with the Netherlands. I was in love with these bike rail bridges placed in the middle of fields when we took a bike trip there.

DD said...

Rome first, then Tokyo. Rome for the architecture and Tokyo for the traditions.

bubandpie said...

London, England. I spent two weeks there a few years ago, and I've been homesick for it ever since.

Kathy McC said...

London. I lived there for three years and I miss it terribly.

Bronwyn said...

Paris is great, I love Amsterdam and New York (big fave!), but London's where I'm headed next. We're going to be packing up for the Big Smoke in a year's time. For how long is anybody's guess.

Sounds like you're having a fabulous time in Paris. It's a great city to people watch. Love your pics!

thirtysomething said...

Venice. Definitely.
Sounds like you are having a great time in 'wildly romantic' Paris!

Adrienne said...

The city you're in right now would do just fine. NYC would be a close, close second. And, frankly, I'd love to spend a reasonably extended amount of time AWAY from the city I currently live in, and spend that time anywhere else.

painted maypole said...

I loved London, but I am rather partial to NYC. I would like to visit Rome and Venice, but as I've never been there and there would be a language barrier, I'm not sure how long I'd like to stay. I just love cities in general, their energy and their history. I wouldn't mind returning to Paris, either.

Ms. Planner said...

Sounds like you are having a tres gentile temps au Paris avec L. I would love to live in Queenstown, NZ for a winter (our summer) or Chamonix. Some year, we'll have the endless winter.

Julia said...

The Old City (ha-ha); Netherlands (I'd take Amsterdam-- everything else is close enough by train that it doesn't really matter)-- I breathe easier there, I really do. Although it is a hard place to be if you have PCOS with all the amazing beer on every freaking corner. There are a few other cities in Europe I would still like to check out. As in I haven't been, but feel like I might want to stick around when I do go.

About that couple in the restaurant-- JD has a childhood friend who wound up marrying a Dutch guy and moving to the Netherlands (which is how we went there the first time-- to visit them, and how I found out I breathe easier there). When they first started dating, and even for a few years after they married, they spoke English, which was the first language of neither of them, because that's what they had in common. After a while she picked up very good Dutch (she is a musician, so she has an ear for languages too), and that's what they speak in the house now.

slouching mom said...

Where you are. No question.

My Reality said...

Bakeries really don't sell bread on Thursday's? Isn't that what bakeries do - you know, bread? I find that odd.

I would most love to spend time in Tuscany or Paris in a cooking program.

susan said...

Adelaide, Australia. I spent 3 and a half weeks there a few years ago and just fell in love with it. Although Politica loves Paris.

S. said...

Chicago or Glasgow. I have a crush on both of them.

Eva said...

Oh, I don't know about cities. I'm not much for them. Maybe I have no imagination, but the two places besides my house that I go regularly for vacation are the two places I think sound the nicest to visit: the Swedish countryside, and an island off the coast of South Carolina. Especially since now I can't imagine going anywhere without the baby, so the old places I'd mention, like San Francisco, or Paris, sound kind of like a hassle at this point in time.

Monica said...

Berlin. I can get by with my German and the city is just grungy enough to be exciting. Lots of cafes and an art scene. It's a city both with history, but a truly modern city as well. I like its pulse.

BasilBean said...

While I do love Paris I would have to choose London. But, shhhh, don't tell my French in-laws.

Caro said...

Oo so many - Sydney, London, Amsterdam.

I've tried Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bergen and Copenhagen so far and love them all.

Hannah said...

Paris. Always Paris. I'm breaking tradition this summer and not going for a week. And it's going to break my heart. I'm looking forward to New York, but I adore those weeks I spend in Paris. I don't do anything but browse bookshops, drink coffee and go to Mass in stunning churches. I love it.

Sarah said...

oooh, i feel like i have been to paris just reading that! how very romantic!

buenos aires is my favorite city i've visited, but i'd always rather go somewhere new--anywhere new!

Lori said...

This has just made me realize what a homebody I am. I have thought and thought and thought.... but I am just not that big on traveling, for extended amounts of time, anywhere. I have done a lot of traveling, and I enjoy it, but I am most happy to come home.

It would probably further reveal my shallow nature if I said I would most like to spend a "reasonably extended amount of time" on the island of Maui, huh?

Furrow said...

Alas, I haven't been enough places -- and certainly not to enough international spots -- to say with any assurance. NYC sounds like a safe answer, I'd love to spend more time at the beach where my family often vacations.

Libby said...

Amsterdam
New York
San Francisco
London

Betty M said...

This Londoner would choose New York, Sydney or San Francisco. No fish on Mondays from any decent fishmonger here either as the boats dont go out on Sundays. I lived in Switzerland a long time -there each baker had a different day off but given that there was one on each corner justabout we managed.

niobe said...

Betty M: So, maybe that's the explanation for the lack of fish on Monday. I, of course, was mystified, being used to a culture where everything is available 24/7.

My Reality: I'm sure there are bakeries that are open on Thursday. It's just that the one nearest us isn't and it seems like most of the others that I've found take a month-long vacation in August.

Lori: Obviously, I must be shallow too, because Maui sounds to me like an absolutely wonderful place to spend some time.

Jitters said...

I have been fortunate to have traveled to many large West European (when the dollar was a bit stronger than now) cities in German, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium. Although I group them here they all have their own distinct charm and I would gladly visit them all again.

I have not been to Spain or Portugal so that would be an obvious answer, as would London.

But, I would truly love to see some other place, something more exotic. Say in the Middle East or South America. Right now with our dabbling in adoption land I am looking at heading to Addis Ababa. I never thought of visiting that part of Africa, but the more I researched it the more desire I have to bring that culture into our family.

Isn't travel fabulous?

kate said...

Depends on definition of 'reasonably extended'. 1-2 weeks -- Barcelona, or Toyko. But really or any major city that i haven't been to before, as long as i am alone (no family in tow) I have been to Barcelona, but with family so i saw almost NOTHING. Traveling (to any city) with hubby is no fun for me at ALL.

For a stay of 6 months-1 year, Rome. I have always wanted to know what it is like to *live* in Rome.

Sara's Sad Alter Ego said...

Istanbul. It must have so many hidden corners. Read the Black Book. I want to go back.