Monday, 17 May 2010

Catch Up Blog #1: Paris: City of Lights, City of Love…City where you leave your wife at dinner with total strangers…


And a GREAT EVENING to you from (still less than sunny) CHARLOTTE. As promised, tonight's entry will cover the Paris weekend. And so, without further ado, I present to you another round of Taylor adventures (and mis-adventures) in Paris.

Saturday: Guided Tour, Total Relaxation, and Death by Liquid Bread

The alarm clock went off early (4:20 AM) on Saturday morning, but we were actually okay given that we’d hit the sack around 10 PM on Friday (this was, of course, after Lord and Brother Morgan had “bullied” Muffin and I into having drinks at C & C (the shame of it!). But we were good – just 3 pints and then a glass of wine at dinner. Anymore, that’s practically an AFD…

We walked to King’s Cross – St. Pancras, where we caught the 6:22 Eurostar to Paris. I just can’t believe HOW EASY that trip is. JT and I dozed a bit, and 2 hours and 15 minutes later, we we arrived into Gare du Nord and stepped outside to a BEAUTIFUL day. IT WAS WARM!!!!!

So this day was just simply PERFECT (with one sliiiiiiiight hiccup at the end, but we’ll get to that soon enough). Tracing the route JT toured with her family back in December, Perfect Pumpkin was my tour guide through the city, and MAN did we have fun.

First stop on the tour was Sacre Coeur. Coming into this, my only memory of Sacre Coeur was that it was a beautiful building on a hilltop. I remembered what at the time looked to be about 4 billion stairs, and at the base of it a port-o-john where mom, Sandra, Mrs. Carlyle, and I scrambled to find change for entry because mom was sick (Sorry, mom – some things you never forget).
Can I just say WOW – what an AMAZING church. Gorgeous stained glass, a REMARKABLE view from the front of the Cathedral, and simply BEAUTIFUL little chapels within the church. This was SUCH a treat, and we spent a good 30 minutes roaming around.

We then rolled over to Montmarte (Q – you would have been so proud), where we saw the artists’ square (mom – this is another memory from that trip – I will always remember that square and thinking “So this is what every city in Europe must be like”). It was beautiful, and we found another, very pretty church to visit, complete with what I’ve nicknamed the “Robin Hood” alcove, which was this magnificent little area that felt like something out of the Crusades.
The afternoon was a PERFECT stroll throughout new neighborhoods for me, and every turn was prettier than the one before it. We strolled past gorgeous squares, cute little buildings, and quaint parks, all in bloom and filled with trees, flowers, and Parisians knocking back beer, bread, and cheese. We even walked past a film crew on a side street. However, since we didn’t see Julie Binochet, we kept moving…

The next stop was lunch, and MAN was it good. JT took me to the same place she’d hit in December, and 30 minutes later I was eating a Croque Monsieur covered in ham, tomato, cheddar, and goat’s cheese. Honestly, it was GREAT. HOLY MOLY!!!! Price, if you thought I was “dunloppin’” before this weekend (which I was), wait until you see me on Tuesday. CHUUUUBBBBBYYYYYY BUNNYYYYYYY!!!!!! (Sam forgot to mention the escargot we tried.) :) That face says it all.
After consuming 42,318 calories in the form of a croquet monsieur, JT and I made our way to the Opera House. Now, for those theater fans out there, it should be noted that this is no less than the one and only Opera House featured in Gaston Leroux’s novel, “The Phantom of the Opera.” And can I just say – MAN, that place is EXTRA awesome.

We did have a scare, however, as at first we thought the entire front of the building was covered in scaffolding. However, I’m happy to report that we did see the front, and it was simply beautiful.

The afternoon was spent visiting several different churches before taking the LONG march to our hotel – Le Meridien Montparnasse. The hotel was nice – just well south of the river and a MUCH longer walk than we expected. However, by 6 PM, we were out the door and destined for the featured destination of the evening – Rue Moufftard.

So back story – this is the street with the famous bar where KJ, Muffin, and Sara & Steve went in for “1 drink” and then came out 7 hours later. It’s also the bar where Jenny told me she only did 2 shots, yet we have photos of her doing 3. QUALITY. It was to this place, the Mecca of Parisian beer drinkers, that we sauntered into, determined to have “2 drinks” before dinner. I should have seen this as one of those moments where “those who cannot remember their history are destined to repeat it.” Details…

So we started with two rather stout beers (Delirium Tremens and La Chouffe – yes, the one with the roaming gnome), and a gal came and asked if she could share our booth. Hearing me say yes in English, she breathed a sigh of relief and sat down. Sure enough, we’d met two great Londoners named Blair and Ah-lai, and they were a hoot. We were having so much fun that we ordered another beer…and another. Then they asked us to dinner with them. Now, at this point, I was still okay. However, when the host said it would be 45 minutes and they offered to go BACK to that bar for 1 more, I should have backed it in. However, drawn by the pull of Belgian liquid bread, I was soon back in the fray and staring at beer #4.

There is another wrinkle here – in December, the gang had met a bartender who had played football (our football) at Arizona State. And when we walked back into the bar, he was there. I had worn my Arizona State shirt just for this moment, and I walked over to the bar, pointed at my shirt, and threw up a pair of pitchforks. Two minutes later, we were drinking shots with Tabasco. I mean, I think I should have realized I was in trouble – just look at this photo of me and my new lifelong buddy.

The problem came when we rolled back to dinner, as I simply COULD NOT SIT NOW. I walked outside 3 times, but it was obvious I was still on the way up vs. coming back down. Consequently, as I stared at some French Onion Soup that I know I was not going to eat, I said, “Folks, it’s been nice meeting you, and I am sorry, but I need to go home.” Then I looked at my beautiful wife and said, “Pumpkin, I’ll see you at the house.” Two minutes later, I was out the door in the rain without a map, destined for my hotel.

An hour later, wet and sober, I found our place and passed out. My amazing wife rolled in around 12:30, complete with my leftovers wrapped up and in hand! The classic moment was when they said to her,” I’m sure you’re so worried.” JT’s response: “Not really – he does this.”

We woke up the next morning and SCARFED down the leftovers – nothing better than a cold pork chop at 11 AM along with some cold (but GUUUUUUUUUUUD) cheese.

We started the day at the Luxembourg Gardens, this BEAUTIFUL stretch of grass and manicured lawns near our hotel. It was beautiful, and it probably would have been prettier if I hadn’t LOST MY GLASSES IN MY DRUNKEN STUPOR. Oh well, I wanted a new pair anyway…I just didn’t want to spend the money.

We sat in lounge chairs in the gardens for about an hour, and honestly – it was the most relaxed I’d ever been in my life. It was just PERFECT. I gotta tell you – Sam Taylor now vs. Sam Taylor on Go Live are 2 different people. I am SO MUCH more relaxed right now, and starting to feel more and more like me.
We continued the relaxation by eating a BOATLOAD of Fondue (back on Moufftard, for the record), before wandering along the streets, looking at all the monuments and even catching an AMAZING view of the Notre Dame. We also saw the Deportation Memorial, yet another sombering monument to those who suffered and perished as part of the Nazi regime.

We ended the day with a few more churches (including the Pantheon) and 2 more glasses of wine (one at the station) before an easy train ride back to London. Then it was packing and lights out, as I had a cab in SEVEN HOURS.

Okay, that’s Paris in a nutshell and DEFINITELY all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

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