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Trip Report November in Paris: Nikki's trip report

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I hate November. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder. And I fantasize about running away from home. This year I decided to do something about it. So I booked a flight to Paris and reserved an apartment for two weeks and combed the internet for concerts, art exhibits, courses, and generally all the things I like that my usual travel companions would prefer not to do. And I went all by myself.

My daughter and her boyfriend did join me for three nights, and I got together with internet acquaintances two evenings, but other than that I was on my own. I went to two Mozart operas, one ballet, four course lectures at the Collège de France, a classical comedy at the Comédie Française and a concert of contemporary chamber music. Three art exhibits, two performances of live music in bars, and two brocante markets. Numerous cafés and restaurants where I ate wonderful autumn produce and game: mushrooms, wild boar, pheasant and grouse.

I took it easy, going to bed late and rising later. Could be I never actually adjusted to the time change. I explored new neighborhoods and took photos, became expert at reading the bus map, and enjoyed the pleasure of staying at home, where sometimes I did nothing but watch Gilmore Girls dubbed in French on TV and look out the window where the guy across the street was hanging out his window, smoking a cigarette and picking his nose.

It was wonderful.

The trip begins the day after the presidential election. I arrive in Paris after an uneventful flight and everybody wants to talk to me about Obama, starting with the taxi driver. We have a long time to talk about it too, because there is a train strike affecting the RER and the métro, and traffic from the airport is brutal. I learn all about Mauritius, where the driver was born, and about his life story and philosophy of child rearing.

I get to the apartment early, so I bring my bags into the café on the corner and have a cup of hot chocolate while waiting until it is late enough to meet the person who is to greet me at the apartment. I have rented the apartment through American owners who have purchased and fixed it up for their own use but who rent it out when they are not able to be there. It is in the Batignolles neighborhood in the 17th arrondissement, an area with which I am totally unfamiliar. I get the tour of the apartment and take the keys and as soon as the greeter leaves, I go to bed. In a couple of hours, I will wake up in Paris and figure out what to do next.

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