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Day 360: Arrête Ton Cinema!


As an expat, one of our international delights is something much greater than finding the best hamburger in town, or the best cocktail bar. What truly is the most satisfying part about living abroad is having friends come and visit. I think I can speak for us all when I say that there's nothing better than seeing familiar faces in your new home where you can share your view, your own French film of an intimate portal into the City of Light, directed by you.

Last week over instant message chat with Brett, somewhere in between him complaining about LA, and me complaining about the egregious lack of follow-up from school, he nonchalantly mentioned that he was using some vacation days before busy season, and was traveling to Brussels for the week. Brussels! That's right next door! I immediately insisted that he come to Paris for the day as a perfect supplement to his vacation; a day trip in Paris with a local! At first he resisted my invitation, saying that he'd do Paris on another trip. Do Paris on another tip? Was he out of his mind? He's coming from LA for Pete's sake! That's not exactly a short trip. It's like taking a vacation in Montauk from Russia and not heading into Manhattan, saving it for the next time. Aurel, who has been wanting to meet him since their meeting on Skype back in February even further the enticement, and offered him his guestroom-slash-office in his apartment for the night, dinner included. How could he resist? He finally agreed and sent me his train itinerary the following day. This was Brett's first visit to Paris. Project!

Because Brett and I both share an appreciation for the film Before Sunrise, and the sequel Before Sunset, I planned a themed tour inspired by some of the locations, although the film takes many creative liberties, and that the stream of locations doesn't always make sense geographically. Only in Hollywood can you turn the corner at La Sorbonne and magically skip over the little stream of water called the Seine and end up in the Marais, and then stroll the promenade in the 12th, descend a flight of stairs and be on a private ride on a bateaux mouches at Quai Henri IV. I love Hollywood time machines.

The tour started in the iconic Shakespeare and Company, a store every writer coming to Paris should see and made our way through all the little nooks of the 5th. The initial plan was to follow the film and have lunch at Le Pure Cafe in the 11th but because we were famished, and roasting like shawarma under the sun of the unpredicted 80-degree plus day, we stopped one of my favorite left bank cafés. At the charming La Pâtiserrie Viennoise for a late afternoon lunch of cold rosé and Parisian ham and cheese baguette sandwiches. 


 
Day two, we crossed over from one Delpy film fantasy to another and made our way over to Père Lachaise to see Jim Morrison's grave, even though neither of us particularly like The Doors. Can you believe I have never seen his grave? I pass through this cemetery fairly often when crossing from the 11th to get to the 18th and have never taken the time to look for it, until today. Another bonus of having friends in from out of town, you get to play tourist. At his grave which was barricaded by a metal barrier in an effort to control vandalism was surrounded by a large group of tourists speaking amongst each other in their native tongues of Italian, Spanish and of course, English. Like us, none of them looked like die-hard fans in there running sneakers, knapsacks and tour books, and talking about their dinner plans at Chez Georges that night. Brett brought up a great question, would his grave be such a tourist attraction if it were in the States, like somewhere in Pamona California? Why has this become such a destination for visitors of Paris? We were prime examples, we were there too but didn't exactly know why. What's the appeal?

Brett had an excellent introduction to Paris and am confident that we will be seeing him around these parts again. In his 24 hours in town, he understood what all the fuss was about where he experienced the French acapella group that practices at Aurel's apartment on Thursday night, Paris in the rain, the pleasure of stopping for a coffee several times a day at one of the million brasseries the city has to offer, a drunk man at Pili Pili in Oberkampf who was hanging over his cocktail, asking him if he thinks that we are all created equal, and what makes him more special than Mozart, and seeing a bunch of Ecole Militaire officials in uniform enjoying after work mojitos with glow stick straws at a café in the 7th (yes, we were totally coming back from seeing the Eiffel Tower). I love how quirky this city is.

On my way home from dropping him off at Gare de Nord, a man walking behind me walking through the station as I was heading toward the line 2, thanked me for my show. My show? I looked around and saw that he could be talking to no one else but me, but preferred to not challenge him and sped up to lose him. Another man behind me mumbled something that I didn't quite catch and looked down at my bag to see if something was hanging out. No, nothing hanging out. Finally, a young girl stopped me, motioning me to look at my backside. Are you guys ready? As it turned out, part of the back of my dress had been tucked into my stockings since we stopped at the MacDo in Belleville to use the bathroom. I was not wearing underwear. In short, my ass crack was seen by all on the metro from Belleville to La Chapelle, as well as all of the travelers at Gare de Nord.

I'm mortified right now. Just mortified.

The butt crack portion of our 24 hours in Paris together didn't fit in either of my film fantasies, but I guess I'm at the point where I'm realizing that life is a movie, and I'm just the dumb actress trying to keep up with the script.

Bon week-end à tous!

22 comments:

  1. Oh noooo (and tee hee)! Thank goodness someone told you bfore you got all the way home at least! My most embarassing similar moment was once at uni where I somehow acquired a toilet paper tail - not on my shoe but coming out of my pants! Some guy, bless him, ran up behind me, yanked it out and trotted off with it in his hands. Now that's going above and beyond!

    Glad you had a nice day other than that (yesterday was boiling here too). Funnily enough, Jim Morrison's was the only "famous" grave I managed to find, and that was by following a hippy to it!

    Btw, are there going to be fireworks on day 365/366? I'm counting down!

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    1. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Now THAT'S a story!! All of it, the tp coing out of your pants and someone helping you out. I can just imagine your little face! Were you dying??

      There was some hippie dude hanging around the cemetery yesterday too wearing a Doors tshirt who seemed to know all the updates and news about the grave and we followed him too! Maybe we were lead by the same guy! Hahaha...or he was a ghost?

      Fireworks? Hmmmm, there's a thought...I'm not sure!

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    2. My little face was very red I think! But at the same time, I was like "that's such a nice thing to do" - no way you'd catch me touching tp coming out of a stranger's pants!!! For the record, I don't think it was used per se, I think I had made a toilet seat cover out of tp and then when I stood up a bit floated on to my pants and I pulled them up without noticing. But of course he couldn't have known that! *My hero*

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  2. Oh Ella! Oh Ella! I am turning eight different shades of pink for you. Really.
    Utter mortification aside, when I come to Paris, will you be my tour guide? I promise that I will check your backside to make sure you're not showing off your bits and pieces to all of Paris.

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    1. I felt so ridiculous for the rest of the metro ride home. I still do! Aye, this too shall pass...

      Yes! I will be your guide! And I thank you in advance for letting me know if my tookus is showing.

      I've been told I give a great walking tour where I map out the cutest streets and the unbeaten path to get to the big landmarks...it's called my Moving Postcard Tour™ : P !!

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  3. why weren't you wearing underwear??!?!?!

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    1. Because I was wearing tights! Control top tights AND underwear? I wouldn't be able to breathe! : )

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  4. no no no! that didnt happen! oh my... such a shudder moment... i'm so sorry... aside from the tights, i'm glad you and brett had fun :) and sometimes you just don't want to wear underwear. i get it! x

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    1. Omg...thank you so much for not thinking I'm disgusting! I never wear undies with control top tights, never had...but I guess now I will.

      Yes, Brett and I had a fantastic time!!! He's such great company...like you! : )

      xo.

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  5. Yay, I'm finally caught up to current day! I recently discovered your blog, went back to the beginning and have been reading it like a book. I've been obsessed, what a story! I guess stories is more accurate, haha. Anyway, thanks for writing, I've really enjoyed reading. Your year of achievement is right around the corner, congrats!

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    1. Hi Kelsey!

      Thanks for your amazing comment. I'm so glad you appreciate my blog and my stories. It's been a funky year but it's all a learning experience, right?

      Good times in Paris...hmmm

      Thank you again for your comment, as well as your e-mail!

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  6. I love Before Sunrise/Sunset! What a fun themed tour you gave your friend! It sounds like you two had a great time.

    I have to say that this is my favorite Paris blog! You're not telling us how the French are with rules and lists and how-tos, you're sharing YOUR experiences which you agree may be different than others. I love your honesty and most of all your modesty.

    I hope you continue after Day 365.

    Rachel

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    1. Hi Rachel!

      Thank you so much!! The themed tour took a different turn because the movie doesn't make much sense geographically, so I improvised. And of course we had to go to the Eiffel Tower, which then steered the course of the tour a bit. All in all, it was tons of fun.

      I'm so glad that you appreciate my blog for what it is. I do catch myself generalizing from time to time, and catch myself by conveying that this is based on my own experiences and observations, and perhaps they are different from the POV of others.

      I don't like the "do's and don't" lists of France either. I recently read one that said no one says "Bon Appetit" anymore, which may be true in this writer's experience, but every single dinner I have had here has been commenced with this expression. So this claim is inaccurate.

      I try not to dictate or act as an authority on the French because I know I would sure hate a cookie cutter article about how Americans "are". We'll all so different!

      Thanks for getting me! : )

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  7. Ahahahaha I am literally cracking up! Ella! Hilarious! I'm sure you simply walked pulled your dress down and keep it moving, #likeaboss!

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    1. I did act like it was no biggie. But I hauled out of Gare de Nord in minutes!!!

      I thought about it later and the RATP police were checking tickets for passengers exiting the station as we were entering from Line 2. They saw my bottom also. AWESOME.

      Thanks Sue, you made me feel better!!!!

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  8. Oh God! The exposed buttcrack! ROTF!!! Only you, Ella... only you;)

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    1. Yes, only me. I feel like an asshole.

      Those poor passengers!!!!

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  9. "you weren't wearing underwear?"....ahem.

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    1. I feel so much shame. I thought everyone went commando when they wore tights. Aren't tights just really long underwear?

      Guess not... : /

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  10. I'm paranoid that something is on the seat of my pants or that I'm trailing tp on my shoe, so I always check my bum in the mirror and when I step out I also check my shoes. Its such a habit now.
    Poor you! And that creeper guy!! Thanks for nothing guy. That was nice of that girl to tell you!!
    (and you are not the only one who doesn't aways wear underwear while wearing tights.)

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