Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Paris with the Liam, Day 4
It was a cold, rainy afternoon 'round here... of course. I say of course because it was the day I'd planned to meet a friend across town, so of COURSE it would have to be our coldest day yet. Liam & I had a late start. I'd arranged to meet her at 14 hr (2 pm), and when I looked at the clock after finally getting both of us fed, dressed & happy, it was 1:20. The metro system is amazing, though. We were across the Seine in the outskirts ("banlieus") of Paris 20 minutes later. The metro went above-ground as we crossed over the river, granting quite a lovely view of the city before dipping back underground. We emerged in a part of Paris I'd never explored before: la Defense, which is their new buisness district. It was completely unlike the Paris I'm familiar with: towers and new buildings everywhere, and not a church spire or cobblestone to be seen! I misunderstood my friend's instructions about which metro stop to get off at, so I ended up walking for quite a while in a downpour. Liam was snug as a bug in a sling under my rain poncho. I, however, didn't realize how wet I was until I arrived at my friend's house! Oh well, it was cool to walk through another part of the city. The little township of "Puteaux" was quite nice-- residential with schools, grocery stores and shops all stacked neatly like in all french towns. This one just has the advantage of being a short metro ride or walk over the Seine from Paris.
I'd been looking forward to seeing Cecile probably more than almost anything else this trip. She took a half-day off from work just to hang out, drink coffee (and munch on Trader Joe chocolate-salt-and sugar-covered almonds. Addicting another continent, one person at a time, oh yeah!), swap babies and catch up. Centuries-old buildings are great, but you can't put a price on friendship. There's something so encouraging about seeing someone once a year or so and picking right back off where you left off-- watching them faithfully serve Christ and continue to grow in godliness. It's like when you both have the same best friend, you always have lots to talk about. I was glad to see her and meet her new little girl and see how much her little boy had grown (he's a month older than Eowyn). We got to go pick them up from school/nursery, shop at their local little store, and "bavarder" (chatter/talk).
Around 7, just as it began to get dark, Liam and I hopped on the metro again and got off one stop later towards town in Neuilly, a rather nice suburb in the northwest of Paris. As has become our tradition, Ryan's CEO Fred & his wife Claire played their roles as amazing host & hostess & treated us to a lovely French meal. I FINALLY got to meet their 3 munchkins, who have always been off visiting grandparents when I've visited before. Sweet kids who absolutely adored Liam. I thought of our little Eowyn when their 3 year old daughter declared herself her daddy's princess. :) Little girls and daddies the world over...
Dinner was pumpkin soup to start, then pork filet mignon with honeyed gravy, turnips and dinner wines followed by several types of cheese, figs & grapes. So good. Claire always impresses me by how amazing she makes simple food taste with a few well-selected spices, and in typical French fashion, it's all presented beautifully.
Our taxi ride home late gave us a beautiful view of the city at night, passing the Arc de Triomphe and going down the lit Champs-Elysees. Our taxi driver said he's lived here 40 years and that sight never gets old. Paris is one city it's hard to take for granted!
So blessed to be here,