Oh, how people adore Paris. The city of love, the city of light! What could be more romantic than meandering through the quaint little streets and hovering over cups of espresso at cafes along the Seine? Pretty much damn near nothing. That is the rub. Except, before planning your little love holiday, take into account that everyone else on the planet has come here for THIS weekend to do all of the above mentioned things. So, don’t plan on walking leisurely up to the Eiffel and jumping on an elevator to the top. You will have to stand in line with about seven-hundred other love birds for at least several hours, dodging peddlers waving bouquets of flowers and tiny metal towers. Then, when you finally reach the top ( probably with said mini metal tower in tow), you will trip over people on bended-knee asking their darlings to spend their life with them. Side Thought: Maybe they should make a section for that special reason during Valentine’s, like a velvet rope thing? I don’t know, just an idea. Same goes for the cafes. If it is anywhere near the river, the Louvre, or any other main Paris attraction, it will be packed. Not just normal French packed (they seem to believe eating with your shoulders touching your neighbors is good for digestion here), but people-pouring-out-of every-orifice-of-the-building kind of packed. So with this influx of people, what did we do for V-day, you ask? We did something thoroughly romantic, or tried to, and then gave up and took advantage of the lack of crowds elsewhere.
I have been dying to go to the Paris catacombs since we arrived here. That pun was not entirely intended, by the way. How is this romantic? Pfft, it just is. Anyone who knows me ( I, being the Purrito) knows that I love human anatomy. After all, I enjoyed the hell that was A&P I and II during college, even when that meant spending twelve or more hours at the library. Bones are awesome, period. So, this is my kind of romance. Plus, who would go to the catacombs on V-day when you are in Paris only for the weekend? Well, apparently everyone on God’s green earth, that’s who. The line wrapped around several blocks. It was almost comical trying to find the end of it and calculating the wait time. Needless to say, given the rain and the line, we did not enter the world of the dead. Instead, we went to Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in the 5th to acquire some nifty books with stamps. They stamp them with their logo when you buy from them, which in turn makes the book a minimum of ten times more awesome than it is without a stamp. The stamp also trumps the fact that we have to eventually get these books home. The conversation usually goes:
“Another book to pack and ship home?”
“BUT IT WILL HAVE A STAMP!”
“Oh lord, that means I MUST HAVE IT!”
We love books anyways, it’s a personal fault we both share. There was only a small hoard of people in the store, which was a nice change from the last attempt we made to go. On several occasions, there was literally a line with ropes outside to get in. This time, Geep only threatened to kill one person under his breath for ramming into him without apology. That, my friend, is progress! We ended up with a booklet with articles written about Paris by Ernest Hemingway for the Toronto Star, a book about Paris during the times of Napoleon and Josephine, and a book about the Paris commune. And yes, all were stamped to our satisfaction.
Post Shakespeare and book purchasing, we headed over to BHV-Marais to buy cat food for the angry, fuzzy, hoard at home. Since everyone was Oh-la-la-la-la-ing at Notre-Dame and Champs-Elysee, it was wonderfully quiet for a Saturday. We capitalized on this moment to look through their papeterie section for nice pens. We may have gotten a little side-tracked and purchased two more books instead of a nice pen. Of course, they were less awesome since they were stampless, but they were really good books! We then realised it was the last few days of SOLDES and very briefly considered going to L’ HOMME building to look for Geep stuff, but were no longer that interested in shopping. We picked up the fuzz’s food, spoiled bastards, and headed back to our side of the city. After all, a suedois sandwich from Nelly’s and some pastries sounded good at that point. It was almost perfect, except they didn’t have anymore poulet, only fromage. The cheese was a little much, but at least the tartes were tasty.
Okay,so before you get judgemental on our Valentine’s day activities, we did do some romantic stuff regardless of the above random errand running. There were cards with goats on them, chocolate hearts with ‘Je T’aime’ scratched into them, and a lovely dinner of homemade Teriyaki Duck prepared. There were also cuddles, lots and lots of cuddles. We were happy to spend the day together, even if it was not exactly as planned. Plus, any day that ends in the consumption of champagne is a good day. We love our little Paris, don’t get me wrong, but in the wise words of my mother ” I love you, but I just don’t like you right now.” I want the tourists to leave a little while longer until they take over the city in May, is that too much to ask? No, no it is not.