Odds and Ends

The Experienced Travellers keep a little grab-bag of observations and “who knew” moments from the trip.  Here are a few:

Vogue! It's fashion week in Paris

It’s Fashion Week in Paris, so luxury hotels and chic restaurants are brimming with thin beautiful people in outfits that cost as much as the mortgage.  This has not inconvenienced the ETs one little bit.  Not for us, the “triangle d’or” delimited by the avenues Montaigne, George V and Champs-Elysées.  But it does lend an air of excitement and creativity to the city, which we enjoy.

Oh la la, even young men are chic

Even young French men take fashion seriously.  We have paid close attention for the benefit of my nieces.  Nurse is getting quite the reputation as La Cougar of the 7th arrondissement for her frequent photos.

ET Fashionista in her new specs

I don’t mean to imply that ETs are immune to the siren of style.  Nurse has some tres ultra new glasses that have a Diana Vreeland sense about them.  No wonder those French boys are smiling back.

I can say "un verre du vin, s'il vous plaît'

I’ve had compliments on my French accent. For this, I credit the Sisters of the Sacred Heart who taught me how to set the table for a four-course meal in French by the time I was in third grade.  A very useful skill.

OK, they like my accent, but no one seems to know what I am saying.  They smile, they nod, they gesture, then they respond in great detail about something completely different.  Am I all form and no content?

Madame would like the check?

ETs know the value of advance preparation.  It is likely that the cafe waiter didn’t leave  “l’addition” (the check).  After all, who wants to be rushed and hurried from a table on the terrace? 

You must signal the waiter and mouth the word “l’addition” or make a squiggly motion in the air.  He’ll nod, then go do something else. 

Awhile later, he returns with the check, but Madame wants to pay with “le credit card” and he doesn’t have the little machine with him.  Off he goes to have a cigarette get the little machine. 

If the machine isn’t working correctly, it will reject Madame’s credit card.  This necessitates a heated discussion with several other waiters (who also have clients waiting for checks).  So he leaves to do something else until another little machine is found. 

At last he returns Alors! There is finally success – 20 minutes later.

Finally, ETs of a certain age have public restroom strategies.  I’ve made room inquiries at hotels to gain access the the toilet off the lobby.  While a cafe purchase gurantees access, drinking  “un cafe” every time nature calls depletes “found money”  — and defeats the purpose. 

Free toilets! The door slides open and closed. After each use it self-cleans

 But the City of Paris has taken action.  Scattered around the city are cutting-edge automatic toilets.  It’s not surprising that after each use, they hermetically close and spew disinfectant for 60 seconds.  What is surprising is that these conveniences are free and operate without any French bureaucratic involvement.  Some of us are leery about getting sealed in and disinfected, but we use them anyways.

So there are a few odds and end for you to ponder over a glass of wine later today.  I know we will.

The hardest decision we'll make all day

12 Responses to “Odds and Ends”

  1. Judy Kiley Says:

    Toby visited the great outdoor toilette at Mendon Ponds Park on this sunny warm exquisite fall day..not the bird trail but down by the lake watching a swan, a large dragon fly, then off to a small deer trail. A stop for apple and cheese at a picnic table where sitting on Judy’s lap afforded the few of a fisherman and geese swimming by.
    Lovely to hear from you.
    Judy and Andy

    • Ann Mason Says:

      I can see le chien noir is having a great time at Camp Judy and not missing me at all. This is all good.

      So, a few fishermen swam by? Sorry I missed that LOL

  2. Robette Says:

    Hi Julie,
    I love your post. Juicy little tidbits with a bit of French mixed in for ambiance. Loved the photo of the restroom and the waiter story. Also it’s good to hear that others have a fear of toilet dramas. I flew to Portland last weekend in the narrowest plane I have ever been on. It was like flying in a cigar holder. There was one bathroom at the back and I thought when I opened the door I would fall into the cargo hold. I couldn’t find the flush handle. It was under the sink, which would have been handy if my eyes were at knee level.
    Ah, the joys of travel. Unfortunately mine didn’t involve chic new glasses, wine or any hint of fashion!
    Here’s to joie de vivre!

  3. Terry Says:

    Oh Robette, the tears are running down my face — that anecdote is hysterical. Your call today went unanswered since I was hiking Chimney Bluffs (on Lake Ontario). Seems not only Judy and The Boy Prince were enjoying the beautiful fall day. Will catch up with you soon.

    Julie, hope you chose the St. Emillion 🙂

    • Jane Says:

      Hi Terry – How would you rate hiking Chimney Bluffs for difficulty and for interest. I just learned about them recently and was wondering about going myself. Sounds like you are enjoying your new freedom!

  4. Linda Says:

    Fashion week in Paris…sigh…

  5. Mary B. Says:

    Would have loved seeing the world of fashion cross my path. Any Carla Bruni sightings? Surely she popped in for a few moments, probably wearing fashionable specs a la Anne.

    Can remember keeping a count of all the funky variations of toilet flushing mechanisms we encountered on one of our trips…life is just SO-O boring in the US where it’s always the same old paddle on the left on the toit-y.

    • Julie Says:

      Mary – Carla was probably partying it up with her modeling friends in town for Fashion Week while we pondered Foucault. Yes there are a variety of flushing mechanisms and it’s not always clear which version is at hand. A little creative thinking helps!

    • Ann Mason Says:

      This is my first trip without cmoing en face with a Turkish toilette. Never mind flushing. Those have no place to sit even.

  6. Rob Says:

    I love Ile St Louis too. But I think Clooney has a place in the Italian
    Lakes… as far as I know both Johnny Depp and Jodie Foster have
    places on the island.

    I enjoyed your pics and your description of lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s… thanks!

  7. Happy Birthday Julie’s Paris « Julie's Paris Says:

    […] popular posts over the past year include our trip to the Chateau de Versailles, some odds and ends around town, the Marais and Monet, and the most-searched term leading readers to the blog, les […]

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