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Trip Report Cannibals and Carnivals: Nikki's trip to Paris

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As our plane landed in Paris before dawn on Monday, March 7, it was freezing outside. When my daughter Eileen and I left Boston the evening before, it had been warm enough that some of the five feet of snow banked up on either side of the driveway was starting to melt. It felt as though we were being plunged back into winter. The weather reports I had checked on line before we left had predicted temperatures in Paris in the fifties during the day and forties at night. Hoping that the freezing weather would not last, we retrieved our bags and headed by taxi to the apartment I had rented for two weeks.

Eileen was going to spend a week with me and then I was going to have a week on my own. I had been in San Francisco with my husband visiting our other daughter for a week in February and had only been home for a few days before embarking on this trip to Paris. A bit dizzying, all this time change and rapid change of scenery, and somehow the preparations for Paris had taken a back seat.

I did have a number of things planned for months: tickets I had bought for various concerts, operas, and theater; a schedule for courses at the Collège de France; ideas for art exhibits, places to see, restaurants to try. But I did not put a lot of time into deciding what to pack or how to spend our time. Eileen informed me that she wanted a somewhat relaxed pace as she needed to recuperate from a very hectic schedule at work and at school. So the idea was to play it by ear within the framework of activities that had been planned ahead of time. We ended up being pleasantly surprised at the things that came our way: the peacock displaying its fan in the Parc de Bagatelle; the combination bookstore and organic juice bar down the street from our apartment; the railroad car we shared with a group of boisterous men dressed in bridal gowns and hot pants on the TGV to Bethune.

My plans were to challenge my French comprehension, to enjoy my daughter's company for a whole luxurious week, and to feast at the urban cultural smorgasbord that is Paris. Mission accomplished.

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