Saturday, February 19, 2011
My Trip to Paris
In 2001 I went to Paris. I spent a mere two nights/three days there on the way to London, but I’m so happy I have actually been to Paris. I travelled with a female friend who was running the London marathon. She had planned on going by herself and was talking about the trip.
Someone then said ‘why don’t you go too Fiona?’ I was recently single after my first husband deserting me. I had just started a new job and was living in a new, much bigger city (by my choice, I didn’t want to be single in the small-ish town I grew up in). I shared a house with my sister and two other flatmates.
I had the money, I just didn’t know if I could get a month off work. Normally you have to work there for over a year to accrue three weeks, and I had only been there less than ten months. I’d never been to Europe though, and decided that if my boss would let me have the time off, I’d go.
He agreed! Somehow we worked out the extra days, maybe some were unpaid, or he carried them over to the next year.
Paris was our first stopover on the way to London, but funnily enough we flew into London and then onto Paris. From New Zealand it’s a long trip. It was almost a full 24 hours later than we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
My travel companion is much more gung-ho, can-do and gutsy than I am, so rather than pay for a taxi, we hopped onto the train. Amazingly we got to our hotel alright, near the Paris Opera. We stayed in a gorgeous French decor hotel (Millennium Opera), with a tiny lift that the metal cage doors rattled shut.
Our hotel was on Boulevard Haussmann and very central, which meant that Galaries Lafayette, the famed department store was a mere stroll down the road. My travel companion wore knit track-pants, a sweatshirt, running shoes and a bumbag. Oh dear. We weren’t very close friends - my sister had rented a room in her house and that’s how I knew her. In Paris I dressed up more than on any other stop on my trip.
On the first day I suggested we sightsee separately, saying to her that she would be bored with all the shopping I planned to do (she wasn’t a very girly girl and shopping was low on her agenda). Even though I love nice things, I didn’t plan to do much shopping at all, but I did plan to soak up the Paris atmosphere.
I wore a black knit just-below-the-knee skirt, a dark charcoal fine merino round neck long-sleeve top, maxi-net tights (like a large fishnet) or perhaps it was stockings, I don’t remember. High heels, a grey faux-fur scarf, a camel-coloured leather shoulder bag and my blonde hair dried straight and pulled back into a low ponytail completed my Paris look.
I loved just strolling through the shops and up the back streets pretending I lived there and was out for an afternoon’s shopping. Sabine was alive and well ten years ago, in fact I think I’ve always been a day-dreamer.