The Croque Is Paris

Nov 28th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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The Croque Is Paris

Do any of you recall the story of "A Bicycle For Maelia", a post from a couple of years ago? If so, you'll be happy to hear I've had another meeting with that little French enchantress. Maelia is now, in the words of her mother, Stephanie, "half past four".

This past Sunday, they generously invited me to attend an ice show with them, "Disney Princesses Sur Glace". I was worried Stephanie might not be able to locate my rental apartment, so we arranged that they would pick me up in front of the American Church on the Quai D'Orsay.

The sun was shining brightly as I headed in the direction of the Seine. Church bells were ringing. Just inside the arched entrance to the church, a row of parked, empty baby strollers waited.

Expectantly, I stood in front of the church, facing the Quai, scanning the traffic for Stephanie's blue Twingo. In one hand, I held a big, black Longchamps bag full of gift-wrapped Princesses and one Prince Charming.

Though dressed in a red, gold, and black silk scarf, and a red turtleneck beneath a well-cut black wool coat, as I stood there holding my stuffed satchel, humming happily to myself, I felt for all the world like Mary Poppins.

That "Chim-Chim-A-Ree" image was instantly dispelled when vehicles full of soldiers and police officers suddenly descended out of nowhere.
Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 02:48 PM
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Out of three Army Jeeps leapt men in camoflage, followed by police vans from which boiled MORE men in uniform. Every one of them impressively armed with a big automatic weapon.

As seconds ticked by, I stood rooted to the spot in the midst of a well ordered swarm. The invaders swiftly fanned out into position around the church. Several ran into the building itself, weapons at the ready, where a service was being conducted!

Just the night before, I'd witnessed the police scoop a man up off the street with great efficiency and very few words. Just bundled him into the police van and restrained him on the floor. Through the windows of the vehicle, I could see the policemen bent over their captive.

Accordingly, I braced myself to be tackled. I was just lamenting the inevitable damage to my new coat when an even more horrific thought blazed out of my imagination.

You know those security pouches we wear in airports, the kind that flip open to reveal ID and boarding passes?
Well, once at my destination, I hook the cord around my waist and tuck the pouch inside my slacks, at the small of my back. My passport has molded itself to the curvature of my spine and rides comfortably there.

But what if these guys saw that bulge and, like Inspector Clouseau, surmised that I had a bum in my pants??
Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Oh, was it the post where somebody wanted to send a bike to a girl in France, and you volunteered to deliver?

You certainly should top that old post or give us a link. It was such a great story!
FainaAgain is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 02:51 PM
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Here is the old post... sorry it happened in the middle of your report!
FainaAgain is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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And here is a link... to photos!!
FainaAgain is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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Just then, my Mobal phone chirped. With careful, deliberate movements, I pulled the phone sloooowly out of my pocket and glanced at the screen, praying the troops wouldn't jump to the unfortunate conclusion that I was holding a detonator for the bum.

The caller was an agitated Stephanie, reporting that she couldn't come any closer. The area was secured. The rear windows of her car are tinted. When the police couldn't immediately see inside the back of the car, they pulled open the doors to find only a very startled Maelia strapped in her car seat.

I told Stephanie I would meet her around the corner. I began walking. No one shouted, "Arretez!" No one challenged my passage, though armed men hustled all around me. It was beyond weird.

When I reached Stephanie's car, I dove into it like a prison escapee. She slammed it into reverse and we took off, our hello's lost in laughter.

Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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It's good to hear from you again, Croque Madame, and know that your Paris adventure turned out reasonably well, despite all the drama. Wow!
Underhill is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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P.S. Was there actually a bum?
Underhill is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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And now a word about studio apartments. Two words, actually. Think twice!

Though my grandkids had previously slept comfortably on a fold out sofa bed in another Paris rental apartment (while I was enthroned in solitary splendor in the bedroom), this time I found myself on a torture rack.

The mattress had a dip at the top, another at the bottom, and wooden boards pushed up the middle. Stretched out on this fiendish device, my pelvis upthrust, I considered it to be just the right position for a gynecological exam. Or sex. But call me a wuss, I prefer my bottom propped up on pillows, not boards.

Despite a gravely abused body, yesterday I ran all over Paris, shopping. Loaded up at La Grande Epicerie, then beat it across town to La Maison de Miel for a few jars of my grandson's favorite honey.

Well, you what those Metro stairs are like. Flight after flight, some stations more murderous than others. As I began my final climb in a heavy wool coat, shopping bags hanging from me like Beluga whales, something gave out.

Couldn't breathe. Heart pounded. Face turned an attractive shade of eggplant. The world began spinning.

Geez, I thought, I'm gonna die right here on these nasty Metro steps. Irritated commuters in a hurry will kick my dead body. Or worse, steal the honey.

Somehow, I hauled myself up the iron railing. At the surface, a fresh breeze partially revived me. I determined to make for the apartment.

Negotiating the unevenly bricked streets and the high stone curbs was a bit tricky what with the spots in my vision and all, but I survived the walk, albeit with a staggering gait. Inside the apartment, I dropped the loathsome bags and collapsed.
Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:25 PM
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Thanks for the link, Faina! And no, Underhill, I do not permit bums in my pants.

Anyway, when I came to some time later, it was a pleasant surprise to find myself alive. That's when I made my decision. If I was going to live, by God, I would do it in comfort.

Threw everything into my suitcases and started out across the arrondissment. It took two roundtrips, pulling one bulging suitcase at a time, but I checked into a marvelous hotel.

I now have one and a half beautifully decorated rooms and more importantly, a queen sized (how appropriate!) bed with a thick, deep mattress.

Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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Where was the wretched apartment.....I'd surely hate to find myself there someday!
Did this occur before or after the invasion at the church?
Judy is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:39 PM
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Oh Madame, how wonderful to hear from you, One who lights up my life. Any photos from this adventure?
I've missed you!
cigalechanta is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:43 PM
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I flew out early Thanksgiving Day, leaving a slightly scandalized family in my wake.

My non-cooking daughter was nearly driven to consult my collection of cookbooks, but she is amazingly pregnant (14 years after the first one!)and opted out on the basis of nausea.

My son was triumphantly carried off to the Land Of In-Laws by his jubilant wife. He is well loved there and will never want for food or hugs.

My husband was sent to scavenge for turkey at the table of friends, who cooked an extra two drumsticks just for him.

They all survived their first Thanksgiving without me, as I was confident they would. I will return to them a year older (today is my 60th birthday) and wiser than I would be had I stayed home. More importantly, they will be wiser, too.

My parents died at 52 and 55. I have outlived one daughter and an ex-husband. Ours is a small family unit and, as my brother and sister like to remind me, I am the oldest one in it.

I've been working too many hours, after a promotion that just makes me tired. This trip wasn't, for me, a thoughtless flight. It was the instructive beginning of a stepping back, a slipping away.

But tonight I attended a Madeleiene Peyroux concert at L'Olympia by myself. She was terrific.

And you know what? Now that I'm back in Paris, I've decided to hang around for a few more decades.

At the very least, I'll return to my family to let them, as Madeleine sang tonight, "Dance Me To The End Of Love".
Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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Oh Croque_Madame how I so remember the "Bicycle For Maelia", I do not even have to read the post although it was so kind of Faina to pull it up.

Your experience in front of the church, stressful I would think!

And the horrible bed at at the studio apartment, how good that you escaped and found yourself a comfortable hotel.

And feeling dizzy while climbing the metro stairs, scary..but out of bad comes decided to get lodging where you would feel a bit of luxery.

Happy 60th birthday Croque_Madame along with wishes that you have many more beautiful years and more wonderful trips.
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 04:52 PM
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Sixty years old -- you're just a kid .... and don't ask how I know! Pamper yourself just the way you wish others would pamper you, but I think that you have that all figured out. I was very worried about your well cut black coat being damaged ... thank heavens you are both all right.
Nina66 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Dear Madame, thank you so much for this. I remember your original report about the bike. You must be well asleep at this hour in Paris. It sounds like a wonderful birthday. And what a well deserved gift you gave yourself, comfort and luxury. May you have many more celebrations and please share them with us.
gomiki is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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I remember the Dora bike. How nice that you were able to see them again.
kybourbon is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 10:00 PM
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"Geez, I thought, I'm gonna die right here on these nasty Metro steps. Irritated commuters in a hurry will kick my dead body."

When I worked in Paris, I actually did faint coming out of the metro once, at the top of the escalator. When I came to I was lying on the ground as irritated commuters stepped over me, tutting and pulling angry faces. Not a single person tried to help me up or see what was wrong!

Am enjoying your report though
hanl is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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LOL.. I did the same thing once-upon-a-time. Took the solo trip for my own reasons...rented a studio and checked out after 2 days. That's when I found the Hotel Relais du Louvre that I rave about. Best thing I did.
I won't post the name of the landlord of the studio though...he's going to credit me some $$ when I stay in a Marais apartment of his... or so he says.
So far VERY exciting stuff!
SuzieC is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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Good to hear from you, CM.

ira is offline  

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