One of the best parts about living in Europe is the travel perks. What a simple New York to Washington D.C. or Los Angeles to San Francisco flight would be for east and west coasters was my simple flight from Dublin to Paris. No transatlantic flight, no jet lag, and practically no time difference helped to make my short trip hassle free.
The quick visit was to meet up with an old friend. Although I’m a California girl at heart, I lived in Oklahoma for a few of my growing years. I hated it at the time. The only excitement for a twelve-year-old was to join a soccer team. That’s how Amanda and I met. Now years later, I’ve graduated college, relocated to Dublin, and Amanda was attending a convention held in Paris for medical experts, like herself, to network and discuss all the research stuff that goes right over my head. So I planned to pop over for a couple days before her conference began.
I’d been to Paris just twice before this trip. I’d seen the touristy things before and museums are more of a fly-through experience for Amanda, so this time we decided to just enjoy the city. We hopped on the very efficient Metro and wandered around. We’d have a CrÃªpe here and there (warning: the microwavable pancakes do not count as a CrÃªpe experience!) Not until I first went to Paris did I understand why so many girls in my dorm first year had a stash of Nutella.
When we got tired, we would stop at a cafe and people watch. All of the cafes had outdoor seating facing the streets. Even just a quick plate of ‘Fromage’ or when you feel like splurging,’ Escargots,’ can make your afternoon break a time for a French delicacy as well. Also, the water will cost more than wine and beer, so why not?
Eventually, we bought a bottle of wine, some cheese and a baguette. We thought a place along the river would be a nice place to sit and rest and walked along the island’s walkway until the very edge where the two channels of the Seine River met up, right before the Louvre. There was a park, but it had a sign that indicated our bottle of wine was not welcomed. We sat right at the edge of the island, just chatting, catching up, and watching the cargo ships and party boats pass up. We even managed to watch a music video being shot on one passing ship.
Then, when the sun began setting, we headed back to the hotel (I was crashing at the company-paid hotel room with a fold out couch), to change for a proper dinner. Then we thought we had found the best cafe in all of Paris. We had a complimentary glass of their cherry wine and sampled the meat dishes. I never realized that I would ever eat duck, nevertheless in the form of a sausage. I have to admit though, seeing those mashed potatoes made me a little ready to return to Ireland.
The next morning, my friend and I decided to walk around the city as much as possible before I had to catch my flight. At first we thought we got lost, and ended up back where we had dinner the previous night. Then by the third ‘chez ClÃ©ment,’ we realized that we had just dined at the Olive Garden of Paris. They were literally by every major Metro junction and touristy section of town.
No matter how savvy we thought we were, we were still Americans in Paris.
It was time to go back to Dublin. I checked in, had some time to grab a snack and boarded the flight. An hour and a half later, I was back in Dublin. Just two days in Paris may not be enough for some people, but for me, it was just the perfect mini-vacation.
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