Monday, 1 December 2008


snow, sleet, then clearing. temps plus 3

Back from Paris! Early. I know, sounds loopy to me too, but Michael and I decided after a couple of days that really, we just wanted to be home. OK - I was the one who decided. And, it gets worse - if possible. We arrived on a Sunday. It was snowing! Can you believe it? But, it was still Paris so that wasn't too bad. We were staying in a friend's apartment in St Germain des Pres (great area). But by Monday I realized I was just exhausted...and that the vacation I really wanted and needed was to just stare at a black wall for a week, and do nothing...I had no energy left, and Paris demands energy. So, over a cafe cream in a local bistro, I broached the subject with Michael...could we go home early?

This was not the question he was expecting. Can we buy an apartment ourselves in St. Germain? Can we head off to the Louvre after lunch? Can we go to the Michelin starred restaurant for dinner.... all those he might have found natural if not welcome. But my actual question left him speechless.

And then he smiled, took my hand, and said yes. When would you like to leave?

I thought about it and said, Wednesday. Two days from then. Which would have put us at 3 days in Paris.

His eyes widened a bit, but still he smiled. By now he might have been numb. Or just grateful I didn't ask if we could go to a real estate office and see about an apartment of our own. It's quite helpful that I've tenderized him a bit by making passing references to ridiculous things like that. Anything slightly less ridiculous sounds downright rational. Like leaving Paris almost as soon as we arrive.

Once back at the apartment he called Air Canada, re-booked, paid the penalty.

Next day we had breakfast at Les Editeurs (a fab bistro in the place d'odeon), walked to the Musee Rodin (great museum - astonishing to see the Burghurs of Calais which I refer to in book 4 right there - as well as the Gates of Hell, the Kiss, the Cathedral etc - thrilling) then off to Au Bon Marche (a department store like Harrods in London - if in Paris you really must try to drop by) We go there for the food court, of course.

In the food section - in front of the bank of cheeses - I turned to Michael....

I'm thinking...(I could see him stealing himself - here comes the apartment question...) Maybe we shouldn't leave tomorrow. Maybe we should stay a little longer.

Once again, he looked stunned. Paris seems to have that effect on him.

When? he managed to ask.

Well, maybe Saturday?

Bless his soul, he smiled again, albeit slightly thinly, and said yes. So we loaded up on presents from Maxim's of Paris (chocolates) and cheeses, cold cuts, baguettes and pastries and headed back to the apartment. And the phone.

Yes, said nice Air Canada, for a penalty you can re-book. They didn't buy Michael's argument that one of us had been insane during the last re-booking and maybe we shouldn't have to pay twice. And don't they have a 'family pack' a discount for bulk re-booking? no.

So we got seats on the Saturday flight back to Canada. Then Michael had the very good grace to admit he was happy about that...pleased to stay longer and pleased to head home slightly early.

I think had Rodin witnessed what Michael did for me last week he'd have included his imagine in the selfless men of the burghurs of Calais. Or maybe the Gates of Hell.

So for the remainder of our time we had breaskfast every morning at Les Editeurs, went to Notre Dame, twice. Once to just lap it up, the second time for an hour or so of quietude. The choir was singing and we sat at the front away from the crowds...and it was magical.

We went to the Louvre (late November is a great time - almost empty) walked the Jardin des Tuileries - had steak frites on the rue de Rivoli and wonderful seafood at La Mediteranee. Walked through the Jardin de Luxemburg (next to our friends apartment) - bought newspapers and baguette and cheese every afternoon and went home exhausted to feast.

Then climbed on the plane and came home. I was ready. This has been a tiring year and I really, really just want to do nothing. So now we're back in Montreal - with a stack of rented DVD's and books and a big, comfortable, familiar bed. Here until Wednesday, then back to Sutton and 'real' life.

Have an interview this afternoon with the Toronto Star and want to respond to about 250 emails (not kidding), but will take my time.

Because I was away I didn't get a chance to wish those of you in the States a very happy Thanksgiving. Hope it was exactly as you wanted it to be.

It is good to be home. Though, an apartment in Paris would be nice. Oh, Michael...

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