Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The First Time I Saw Paris





I taught for a year after I graduated from college and saved as much as I could to afford the Grand Tour of Europe. My friend Susan and I bought a Europass and off we went. We spent a week in Paris, staying at the University dorm for $2 a night. Even so, we could not stay within the $5-a-Day budget like we did in the other cities. Paris was expensive even in 1965!!

But I saw all the sites I had read and dreamed about: the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Place de Vosges, among others. I walked the streets filled with history, beauty and charm. I practiced my fractured French while the natives cringed and answered in English. I used francs and ate onion soup at 3 AM in Les Halles where the fresh fruits, flowers and vegetables came in from the country. I had cafe au lait in cafes where I sat and people-watched for hours. I saw the "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre and absorbed all the culture the city had to offer. No one was going to keep me down on the farm; after all, I'd seen Paree!!

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