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Trip Report A Paris Traveling Veteran's Report of Recent Visit

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I just returned from a week in Paris. It is my 12th or 13th trip there, i'm not exactly sure. My visit was part of a longer trip with family, I had a week on my own and decided to once again return to my favorite city.

Choosing what to do this time became somewhat challenging. And in that challenge I discovered that travel can sometimes be more about moments rather than grand experiences. Example: The Museam of the Shoah in the Marais. This is a relatively new museum and it is free. The exhibits are thought provoking and educational. Much of the permanent exhibit is in both English and French but not all of it. It was worth every minute I spent inside. And later I would encounter a stranger who would bring me back to my visit in a poignant albeit bittersweet way.

That evening I decided to eat in the 7th at La Fountaine. As I ate at a table on the sidewalk, an elderly gentleman left the restaurant with his family. As he walked by me his forearm was at my eye level and I couldn't help but notice the series of numbers tattooed on his forearm. My mind went back to all the photographs of children and teen agers I had seen earlier at the museum and I couldn't help but wonder if that man's younger self was in any of those images.

Another moment or two: I didn't realize it at the time, but La Fountaine is somewhat well known. All i knew was that I was hungry and I was fortunate that they had an outside table available. The hostess defied all stereotypes of Parisian snobbery (something I've rarely encountered by the way). She could not have been lovlier and to a solo diner like me it made all the difference. I don't mind eating alone, it's what you do when you travel solo. But at La Fountaine, I felt so welcomed by this lady and her wait staff. The food was excellent and as I left she stopped me to say good bye and we shook hands. It may not seem like a lot, but it is another travel moment that I will not soon forget.

When I stay in Paris I stay in the Montparnasse area near the Luxembourg Gardens. I have not stayed in Paris in summer for many years. It was very hot during my visit and I took to the habit of getting some ice cream in the afternoon and heading over to the very shady Luxembourg Gardens to read. It turns out that this what Parisians do as well. Scattered throughout the gardens are chairs. I noticed that many people took two chairs, one to sit and one to put up feet. I also noticed that almost all turned their chairs toward the grass with the chair just at the iron rim of the lawn. (sitting on the grass is not allowed.) I just followed along and this became one of my favorite parts of the day during my visit; an ice cream, and a couple of quiet hours reading in one of the oldest and most beautiful gardens in the world.

I shopped. I walked. I had Falalfel in the Marais and Macarons from Laudree and dinner a La Coupole. I walked iconic streets and loved every minute of it. One night as I walked through the Champs de Mars waiting for the Eiffel Tower to light up I decided I had to use the restroom. I got in line and waited with everone else. As I waited on the stairs I looked up and there it is, filling up my entire field of vision, the Eiffel Tower. I decided right there that I was fortunate enough to be standing in a bathroom line with...The. Best. View. Ever!

Moments. Its all about moments.

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