Italy was a fine experience but upon my arrival in Paris, I realized that I felt like I was coming home. I flew into Charles Degaulle Airport, jumped onto the RER train, and arrived at my old favorite hotel, the Elyssa Luxembourg, without a hitch. On the train I met a pretty Columbia University grad student (she was also a UVA undergrad from Lynchburg, Virginia) just arriving in Paris for the first time for a month-long French language immersion class. I treated her to my "vast "knowlege of Paris and my snappy mangling of the French language and she laughed enough to temporarily forget her jet lag.
Once I got to my hotel, I had plenty of time to check-in, drop my bags in the room, board the old #27 bus right outside, and make it down to the Cafe Corona for the weekly meeting of the Club Metropole (a group of American ex-pats). As it turned out, I was this week’s only tourist attendee and therefore Visitor Of The Week. It will be interesting to see my picture and the meeting notes on the club website next week.
I’m using a French keyboard as I write this and the main keys are laid out like this:
(take a look at your keyboard for comparison) and requires things like 3 keys to be pressed to produce the @ sign, so please bear with me.
After saying goodbye to Club Metropole president Ric, I dashed over to the Louvre to snap up a 2-day museum pass (lets you skip the entry lines) and then hopped the bus back to the Left Bank and my hotel. This is the location of the Sorbonne University and the neighborhood pulses with student activity. A light rain was falling and I have to confess I was not much in the mood for the cafe scene so I indulged in… Quick Burger. This is a sort of Five Guys burger place and sooo much tastier than the McDonald’s across the street: it was terrific.
My cold has improved markedly and I realized yesterday at breakfast in Rome that all the Americans were coughing and sneezing. I wonder if this was not a cold at all but instead some kind of allergy (though I would be greatly embarrassed to say that I’m allergic to Italy!).
Tomorrow: The Louvre, with my favorite large-scale French paintings by Delacroix and Gericault, and the Orsay, with its fabulous Impressionist collection.