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And then there was me…

June 5, 2010

What? I have a blog? What is this madness you speak of?

[Music for this post: Michael Franti Pandora Station]
I know. I’m awful. I suck at life. Mea culpa. After the most amazing vacation evahhh, I came back to the busiest I’ve ever been, both at work and in my personal life. Work has been insane the last few weeks (complicated by the fact that I really suck at what we’re doing right now, which means that not only am I working constantly, but I’m constantly making mistakes rendering the prior week’s work totally pointless, which is superfun for my boss, I’m sure) and I’ve only spent 1 weekend in my own bed since I got back from Europe, but said weekend was in the presence of a houseguest, so I don’t count that as “normalcy.”

So, something had to give. And we all know how I feel about sleep. Or if we don’t, we should, because I love it, possibly more than cupcakes (LIES. All lies.).

So now I’m a little stuck in terms of where to start this post. First, I want to tell you about Paris. My last few days there – very important for me, as they’ve helped me see where I want to go in life (or, more appropriately, where I do not want to be in life). But I also want to tell you about Spain, and our ridiculous adventures carousing in Barcelona.

To be fair to the country I love (not as much as the USA, I promise…), I shall spend one more post obsessing about France, but with good reason.

My last morning in Paris broke early and gray, with one target in mind (well, 100 targets in mind, but this one was the most important):

Find. The Hotel. De Crillon.

(Doesn’t that sound like the name of a really bad Knocked Up-style movie?)

The Hotel de Crillon was where my maternal grandpa stayed when he visited Paris in the 70s, working with a local homebuilding company. I think I attribute a lot of my love of travel, and internationalness, to the vast array of bits and pieces he and my grandmother, and his mother (my great-grandmother) collected over their respective careers and retirement. Grandpa went to Korea in the military, and after that traveled all over Europe and South America for work and pleasure. So, it was pretty important to me to be able to say I’d seen a hotel in PARIS where my Grandpa had stayed. Ahem. Back to the story.

My first week in Paris, I wandered the Place de la Concorde looking for this hotel, expecting a gigantic sign “HOTEL CRILLON LISA LOOK HERE.”

What I found instead was a myriad of hotels, with no signs, except tiny little discreetly placed ones.

Like this one.

Good thing I have supervision and can see this sign from across the square…not. So I wandered fruitlessly, with aching feet, thinking I would never. ever. find it. And I didn’t. At least not then.

A week or so later, though, when I returned to Paris, I was determined to make the Crillon my first stop. So I Google Maps-ed it, found it in my guidebook, and marked it with a star. I got up from the Place de la Concorde, and proceeded to wander around like a … tourist … until I found a likely looking awning…(which was, as you’ll notice, so far inset into the wall that passersby would never have known it was there).


More success...

And more success...but my this point the security guards were getting nervous, so I had to quit.

Well, maybe one more. Just to prove I was there.

SO yay! Success! I found the hotel where my Grandpa stayed! Now I was free to say goodbye to the Eiffel Tower…

Adieu, Tour Eiffel...

Say “what up” to the National Assembly:

I shall look down mah Freeeench noze at you, mere mortal.

Pay homage to a French patriot who gave his life for the liberation of Paris:

Henri Jean Pilot, died at the age of 23 on August, 20, 1944, for the liberation of Paris.

Take a quick snap of the Musée d’Orsay, where they keep the Impressionist works (I wanted to go in and buy something for roommate Emily but the line wrapped around 4 city blocks):

There's that French sunshine I love.

And, most importantly, have lunch at a café overlooking Notre Dame.


Write a (very) few postcards:

Don't be offended if you didn't get one. I'm stingy with postcards.

And, of course, to get my last plate of duck.

Mmmm...Foie gras. (Yes, I know it's inhumane. I'm sorry. 😦 )

I also met some nice Canadians who took a picture of me!

Thanks, Danny and Eva!

And then we took one together:

Aww, Danny blinked.

And then I had to go back home, pack everything up, and leave. TRAVESTY. I am absolutely coming back, for an indeterminate amount of time.

OK – that’s basically my last day in Paris. The rest of the trip will have to wait, because I’m leaving for a work training in New Hampshire, and won’t be able to update for another week. Thanks for your patience, readers, and I promise to come back to you. I promise.

Because I started this blog with the goal of giving a tip/recipe in each post, here is a small tip for La France:

If you’re a coffee drinker who enjoys your beverage with a bit of dairy, you will find it weird to ask for coffee in France. “Un café” is basically an espresso. Black, strong, and in a tiny cup. They will not bring you a small pitcher of milk, nor will they ask if you want milk in it. They will assume you know what you’re ordering.

You may be tempted to ask for a “café au lait,” which in New Orleans is a delicious drink in which coffee is mixed with milk, sometimes in the company of chicory. They don’t drink that here. The only “café au lait” they drink is at home, from a bowl, and it’s often made with instant coffee.

SO. If you want coffee, with milk, please ask for the following: “Un café crème, s’il vous plaît.” <<Uhn cafay crehm, seel voo play>>. That way, you’ll get this:

Un cafe creme.

instead of this:

Un cafe.

Got it? Good. Happy travels. 🙂

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    June 5, 2010 8:45 am

    Postcards?? Hmm. Ours must have gotten lost in the mail.

    • Cupcake permalink
      June 6, 2010 5:46 pm

      …looks awkwardly side to side…what postcards? 🙂 SORRY!

  2. Victoria permalink
    June 5, 2010 12:03 pm

    i think ‘supervision’ and ‘super vision’ might mean two different things… ahhh… the space bar… 😉

    • Cupcake permalink
      June 6, 2010 5:45 pm

      I was actually going for supervision along the lines of Superman – supersonic hearing, superspeed, etc….but it should probably be a capital S for Super! in any case. Thanks, Grammar Police.

  3. Jon Kotinek permalink
    June 5, 2010 5:11 pm

    My mom spent about two years working in the Netherlands, apparently one would order coffee with milk there as “coffee the wrong way.”

    • Cupcake permalink
      June 6, 2010 5:45 pm

      Haha – they may *claim* it’s the wrong way…but I claim it’s the *only* way. (Kidding, kidding). That’s so funny!

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