Saturday, 8 January 2011

Paris in the Winter

It's just past ten o'clock in the evening on my first day in Paris and I'm running on adrenaline. I arrived to a very gray and wintery city, as you can see from this photo of the park in front of the Musee Marmatton where a wonderful collection of Monet's paintings, particularly the last, almost not-representative water lilies, shimmers from enormous canvases. I'm writing from my hotel lobby, the only place in the hotel with free WiFi to the accompaniment of rather loud, Jim Morrison tracks from the early Doors.

I can't say that I'm loving this hotel, which is about six miles out of the city center and was a 12 Euro taxi ride to and from the Monet Museum. It's comfortable, but the area is industrial, grim and under what appears to be permanent construction. With the somber weather, it's a bit depressing. It's not even close to the project offices; I have to take a bus because it is outside the metro radius! Not acceptable! I'm told, however, that there is a hotel with kitchenettes right across from the client's offices with a negotiated Fluor rate of 100 Euros, as opposed to the 99 Euros here, so I think I'll change in a day or two.

The winter in and of itself, though, is rather nice. The trees are quite bare, so you can see their structure in the parks, like bones in a huge x-ray. People are wrapped up in jackets, wooly hats, mitten and scarves--mostly black. Good thing I stocked up on black and gray clothes. I was asked for directions twice this afternoon, so I must fit in better than I expected. Until, of course, I open my mouth.

I had a charming, slightly rowdy dinner with seven of my team members tonight at a local bistro--fois gras du canard avec pommes. Why does everything sound better in French? The dish was absolute heaven, but I think it wouldn't have been quite so like an angel's kiss if it had been labeled sauted duck liver with apples.

I'm taking advantage of my day off tomorrow and trying to decide whether to go to the Louvre or the Musee D'Orsay. Either one would be superb, but there's this amazing restaurant at the D'Orsay, so .... I'm already reminded of the journal I kept when Keith and I first came to Paris in 2000, "France on 5,000 Words a Day." I had meant to write about all of our experiences, but when we reread it, we realized that we were mostly writing about the food.

C'est la vie!

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