Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Love Paris in the Springtime.

She made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.
We were in Italy after all.
Specifically, my wife and I were in Florence. At the airport. Our flight out of Italy was cancelled and then rescheduled. But every connecting flight home to California via Paris was affected. Infected. Not good.
Clearly, we weren’t getting home tonight.
The airport was too warm. The lines way long. The crowd thick and getting hot. Finally, our turn came to step up and speak to an airline rep.
There we stood at the Air France counter; tired, poor (vacations cost a lot you know), huddled together yearning to breathe free. For the moment, feeling homeless ready to leave this teeming shore. Both, slightly tempest tossed and I, smelling just a tad wretched.

The Airline Rep fussed with the computer. Fiddled with the phone. She consulted with a Supervisor who ran back and forth between other customers and agents. Then she looked up at us and made an offer.
“If you don’t mind, we could put you up in a hotel in Paris for the night. Includes 3 meals and then we would fly you direct into Los Angeles in the morning.”

It was May and I felt like singing. No, shouting is more like it.
“I love Paris in the spring time!”
The City of Light. Where Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Alexandre Dumas and Ernest Hemingway once called home. Where an engineer named Alexandre Gustave Eiffel built art in the form of a tower. The city whose liberation Joan of Arc fought for. The final resting place for the Little Corporal known as Napoleon. Shopping. The arc de triomphe. Le Louvre. Disneyland. Founding home of the French fashion empire known as Louis Vuitton. LV to his friends. Oh yes, and the food.
Ooh la la. The food.

So we mulled over her offer for at least half a second.
“YES!!!!” we shouted in unison.
Paris for FREE!
Go ahead, call me a cheap date.
But I like “free”. Food samples at Costco. Little shampoo bottles at hotels.
But to stay the night in Paris! All expenses paid for!
I could start singing.
“I love Paris every moment. Every moment of the year
After checking into our hotel, we hopped on the subway train just after lunch to explore Paris, not returning until nightfall.

A walk through Paris reminds you of what makes French cuisine so awesome. The heart of its cuisine lies in the diverse origins of its people. Its history is woven into its cuisine. All those people through all the years have brought a contributing influence. Yes, there’s a style of food preparation that defines French cuisine. Absolutely. And there’s the butter. I love the butter. But the centuries of social change that make up France has also flavored the rich heritage that is French cuisine.
And I love it. Every bite.
I can’t remember the name of everything. But even in the hotel restaurant, people treated food seriously and with respect. And that attitude showed in the dishes that were served. Presentations pleasing to the eye. Flavors that spoke in quiet accents. An unrushed atmosphere. Attention to detail. The French do food.
                                         

There's a lot I can say, but I'll mention this one spot in retrospect.
Restaurant Graine d'apetit ~ Roissy-en-France
We had fresh Haddock with vegetables baked in folded parchment boxes.
Mmmm. Très délicieux!
Red wine from the vineyards of the south of France. Every sip was a celebration of the grape.
And our dessert! C’est extraordinaire! A peach gateau. A cake with peaches. Succulent. Sweet. Warm. Fresh whipped cream. And a scoop of French vanilla ice cream that once sat atop. When it reached me, the scoop had slid off the cake. But who cares? Not I.

I sat across the table from my wife. We toasted our good fortune with our French wine.
Frank Sinatra sang it best.
“I love Paris, why oh why do I love Paris
Because my love is here. “
But it didn’t hurt that our experience was free, too!

52 comments:

Christine's Pantry said...

Great post.

Thanks,
Christine
christinespantry.blogspot.com

rachel said...

love this one!!!! your personality shines and your words are perfect...

Kim - Liv Life said...

What a wonderful post!! You had me captivated from the first word all the way through to the last. I'm so glad you two were able to turn a not so nice event into an adventure to remember.

Holly Henry said...

How nice for you! It just cements into the place the thinking that "everything happens just as it should".

Holly
Visit me @ http://www.simplequintessentialcuisine.com/

Nancy said...

That's where Bernd & I met! It worked for us! Nancy Neumann

Carol said...

haha that's great! I ever said that I want to travel, that I want to see the world. I love to eat and, eat and travel are two thing that, if they are put together, they can be comparable to live a world wonder. Love this post, love the eiffel photo and, I have to admit that...see the french food photograph makes me feel hungry!
Sorry, i don't have a good english.That's all can I say right. Nice to follow you:)
Two kisses from a little village from Spain.

Beth Michelle said...

Oh Mario! Paris in the springtime. AMAZING. How lucky are you?! I havent been to paris in 10 years. I love it there.

Mandy said...

wish i was there!

Karime said...

such a wonderful experience, it was meant to be!

eMiLiA said...

Hmm, cuántas cosas ricas.

Y qué idea más original la de combinar comidas y lugares.
Me gustó el nombre del blog.

Gracias por visitarme.

Abrazo!

Tiffany said...

I love Paris ANY time of the year! :D

Tammy said...

What a fantastic post!!!! My friends and I have been obsessed lately with all things French! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story Mario- Paris seems better than I ever imagined! I know someday I will see it...I just cannot wait! :) The peach gateau looks magnificent, I bet it was just the best!

Tammy~

MeLikeyUK said...

Ah Paris, C'est Magnifique! Fabulous post - can really feel your passion about the beautiful city. Although I'm sure Florence wasn't bad either ;-)

Independent Queen said...

That was a blessings in disguise! I will be there someday and fall in love - with the food, tower or the people..I always want to experience Paris
~Heartboxx.

Citu said...

Hola Mario, saludos desde Ecuador gracias por pasar po mi blog, me facino el tuyo. Y genial lo de viajar a Pris, me diste mucha hambre con la comida que presentaste y ami tambien me gusta sinatra. Un beso y buen fin de semana y perdona que te conteste en español mi ingles es pesimo, gracias a dios el traductor.

Claudia said...

WOW, ...what a lovely place for a vacation! It's worth a visit.

Greetings from Romania!

Natália Rocha said...

Thank you, Mario!
I'm so happy with your visit.
wonderful post!

Paris is very pretty!
My dream is know Paris, and California :)
And a food, ooh la la, is delicious, the imagem are so beautiful ;)

Come back forever in my blog!

Kisses of Brazil!

Natália Rocha said...

I'm sorry, my english is ugly :(

Natália Rocha said...

I'll come back here more times.
I love your blog, it's very interesting! Your text, your photos, the histories, all very cool!

Thank you for loving in my blog, like your coments.

Thank you, good night and God bless you.

kisses*

C. said...

I prefer Vienna ;)

Ellen ♥ said...

Wow! :) Paris is the place where lovers go and going to Paris with someone you love makes it more special. The dessert looks yummy! XD

ellenreviews.blogspot.com

Andie_loves_food said...

You lucky lucky man you! Paris! In spring! Woah! I totally felt your excitement, I've never been to Paris but all the things you quoted that make that city so amazing made me go "Oooh Paris!" I love the pictures and I also love free samples at cosco n.n
I posted a new post explaining my absence in the blogging atmosphere.

CaFoFo online@ said...

Hi Mario! Oi! Thank you so much for your visit and all the complimenst to my blog! Welcome!
About Vienna, it was a joke, I like Paris too, is a wonderful city!
I like all the place that I feel happy and enjoy. I was never in Califórnia, but I imagine is wonderful, because I love the sea, the good weather there…
The Danube River is a place everybody go in Summer, there are a small “beach”.
Of course I visit your blog again and follow you, I hope you follow me too ;)

** What means “Mangia” ?

honey82 said...

eh si..davvero bellissima Parigi..ci sono stata nel 2000..stupenda..;-))
Un bacio Mario

CaFoFo online@ said...

Hi Mario, I´m fine, thanx.

I´m happy to hear that my English is beautiful, because i never went to school for to learn. It´s possible happens some mistakes... and yes, i speak now a little German too.
When is possible send me pics from San Francisco, i would love to see ;)
My husband is austrian, because of this I came to Austria. Are you married?
Thank you too for come and be always nice with me and my blog.
Can you read and understand something with translator or you didn´t try?
Have a nice weekend!!

Ps.: I have a sister in Italy, I will ask to her ;)

Lilly said...

Hi Mario, I think something didn't went as I intended. I tried to follow you several times and this time it finally worked! Don't know what I did wrong the first couple of times but it is fixed now! Thanks for letting me know it didn't work =)

Have a great weekend!

Lilly

Curry and Comfort said...

Mario, you're such a good writer. I love reading your posts! : ) Paris for free.... heck yeah!! I am glad you had such a wonderful trip. : )

Andrea Yu said...

Hi Mario,

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. I'm actually the doctor, my brother is :) I am a textile artist. I got the artistic gene and my brother apparently got the brains for science. He has a blog called Poetically pre med that you must have stumbled on through my blog.

I can relish the excitement and visualize the beauty you have just encountered in France and Italy. I studied abroad in Lacoste, France last spring and visited Rome with my family afterward. I love Europe and definitely miss being there!

Safe and happy traveling!

Andrea

~dD~ said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. And how LUCKY you are!! Paris for free!! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I love the way you write, it's funny and simple :) Take care!

Marie Lourenço said...

Hi Mario!!! Thank you for your visit, as always you honor me im my blog!!!
I loved your history...that luck you had!!! You and your wife must have loved.... I don't know Paris, but, it's on my list for next trip. I came back from Disney a month ago. I went twince there, I know Califórnia, but I knew San Francisco...next year I"ll go to L.A
bye, bye and thanks so much again!!!

Alessandra said...

Ciao Mario, grazie per la visita, wow, Paris for free :-) that turned out to be good after all :-).

I am glad that you liked Italy, but tell me, are you parents from there? And where exactly?

Ciao
Alessandra

misa said...

Hi Mario!
I love Paris too, it's such a beautiful city.
But, wow wow, your travel articles and photos of Italy make me really want to go to there now!! Great food, happy people... Thank you for the great posts! Lovely x

Fivyolen Qiu said...

i wish i were there right now!! what a great place to refreshing my mind now <3

lovely post btw
xx

gratziela said...

Hi Mario!
Thank you for your visit and appreciation. Life is as you do: beautiful if you think about beautiful, and wonderful if you passionately love all around you!
You enjoy more vivid look at my blog. And if these things are fulfilled, then you can see with new eyes the world around!
And if you come in Europe, can you visit Romania, which is a country with wonderful people mins!

Warm hugs!

Lin Ann said...

Ahhh, oui, Paris! How lucky for you and your wife. I must visit soon - that's the way I love to eat. Well said!

Yen said...

This is one of the best example of bad circumstances that turns to a wonderful experience. What a delightful stay you have in Paris even just for a day. I hope I too, can experience dining in Paris, someday:-)
Thank you for dropping a line in my post, God bless you and your wife.

jenskie said...

Hi Mario. Wow, you had a great time in Paris! I would love to visit this place someday. :)

-jenskie
http://jennyescano.blogspot.com

imriz said...

oui! agree with you. looks like i've already toured Paris with how beautiful you put words together.

Mona said...

Hoping to visit Paris one day my sister is living in Paris for almost 20 years already :) Thanks for the visit.

briarrose said...

Wonderful compensation for a hassle. ;) I know you enjoyed it.

Nervenruh said...

I like the way you're writing and the particular choice of words. Good entertainment value!

o0pink0o said...

Wish I could travel to Paris too!

thingsIlove said...

I love Paris so much! I try to visit Paris every year.

Have a lovely weekend and thank you so much for your comment!

Angela said...

I am so glad that you found my blog so that I could come and find yours. You have a fantastic writing style and I am going to enjoy following you.

Helen Hill said...

Hi Mario! I'm glam girl gone gourmet, you left a really lovely comment on my blog a couple of weeks ago, thank you so much and apologies for not responding sooner. As Angela above says - 'I'm so glad that you could find my blog so I could come and find yours' I agree with that statement! I love your blog post on Paris - my second favourite city (am frequently heading over on the Eurostar), your words really capture what Paris is all about. Looking forward to following you and if you and your wife are ever in London and fancy dinner, let me know. Keep on scoffing!

TALIÁ said...

querido amigo gracias por tu comentario, y dime ¿que tal el verano aunque no se si estas en época veraniega? yo estoy pasando un verano horrible porque aunque estoy a 7 kilómetros dela playa el trabajo no me da un respiro, haciendo suplencias de compañeros.
pero ya llego mi hora de descansar por fiiiiiiiiiii el 12 marcho de vacaciones,
bueno asta otro ratino amigo un beso taliá.

Emily Malloy said...

Sigh. How lovely!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I haven't had the chance to visit this town in spring! I bet Paris shines in the springtime. Lovely post.

Cheers,

Rosa

Pistachio and Rose said...

What a lovely post, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice message, its very much appriciated and I have now of course started following your blog!

Alê said...

Olá Mário,


Obrigada pelo carinho.
Vim aqui conhecer também um pouco do seu espaço e me deparo com maravilhas: Torre Eiffel, chocolate, sorvete...

De uma leveza maravilhosa!


Então, peço licença pra ficar e sinta-se a vontade para voltar sempre ao Let It Be,



Bjo

Shirley I. said...

Hi Mario - I love Paris too. We have family there so we go quite often. I wish we had the same sort of food markets everywhere here in the UK. Kindest regards, Shirley I.

Evanir said...

Obrigada por visitar meu blog
nunca sai do Brasil ,
mais Paris é sonho de todo cristão .
Vou contar com suas visitas sempre .
Abraços feliz final de semana beijos,,Evanir.
Paris onde se encontra os melhores perfumes do Mundo