Beware of Paris

by Marinka on November 3, 2008

Last spring, my kids and husband and I went to Paris for a week, thinking, hey, Paris is a moveable feast, it’ll be an amazing experience for the kids and it’s Paris, what could be better?

It was wonderful trip, excluding that moment when the plane took off and my daughter said, “I have the worst feeling that we’re going to crash!” and then described that feeling transatlantically for the next six hours. Paris is indeed beautiful (duh) and everything was delicious (double duh) and I felt really comfortable there despite the rumors that Americans are not widely adored there. I think part of my appeal to the Parisians that I met was that my limited vocabulary made me appear really easy going and fun loving, which, incidentally is pretty much the polar opposite of my natural personality. Whoever thought that “just be yourself” was sound advice for interpersonal relations has never had the good fortune of meeting me. Anyway, since my vocabulary consisted of “viola” and “c’est la vie” and “croissant”, my popularity was secured. Yes, of course I know “ooh lala” but no one likes a show off.

One of the things that I loved about Paris was how child-friendly it was. I don’t mean just the bistros, but the boulevards were made for kids to run around on. Or for Napoleon to march on, really, I fail to see the difference. And Husbandrinka had lived in Paris for years, so he was a fantastic tour guide, showing us the Obelisk that Napoleon swiped from Egypt, the Russian gold bridge and for some inexplicable reason, the bus stop where he first disembarked when he first arrived in Paris as a student. (I’m assuming that he didn’t take the bus all the way from NYC, but I never asked).

The other thing that I loved about Paris is the Eiffel Tower.

I don’t know who that person is in the picture, or why the hell she wouldn’t get out of my otherwise postcard perfect shot. But it’s not me, so you don’t have to tell me how adorable I look or anything like that.

I also loved the views from the Eiffel Tower

And visiting Husbandrinka’s friends whose apartment faced the Eiffel Tower. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to drink champagne at their apartment, look out at the Eiffel Tower all lit up and smile broadly at them because they don’t speak English and I already Viola’d them to death.  They told us that when they first moved there, they’d sit up all night and look at the Eiffel Tower all night. At least that’s what Husbandrinka translated it as. For all I know, they could have been saying “she sure does like to drink, that one.  And from the looks of her, doesn’t pass up on too many meals, either.”

So imagine my surprise when, months later,  I came across this list that my daughter made, warning the general population not to go to Paris if they don’t like certain things, many of them, incidentally, not generally or exclusively associated with Paris, but all of which we encountered. Ah, youth.  C’est la vie.

One year ago ...

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Vodka Mom November 3, 2008 at 4:01 am

I love that list! I can’t believe you went to Paris- I am so damn jealous.


Manager Mom November 3, 2008 at 4:33 am

Does your daughter babysit? because she would get along famously with mine, merrily making nonsensical lists all evening long. And yours could teach mine how to make those fancy a’s.


Kylie w Warszawie November 3, 2008 at 5:26 am

The only thing I know how to say in French is “vous le vous couche avec moi” and I’ve been to Paris numerous times.

For some reason the men love me.


Andrea's Sweet Life November 3, 2008 at 6:42 am

I like the “trust me, I have experience” line. Looks like you have a future politician on your hands. ha ha ha ha ha (or not).


Heather, Queen of Shake Shake November 3, 2008 at 8:16 am

I can’t imagine. Waking up and looking out my window to see that every day.

I should post a picture of what I wake up and see out of my window every day. A damn ugly ass water tower.


Kristine November 3, 2008 at 8:30 am

BWAHAHAHA…Love the “trust me” part!


Sonya November 3, 2008 at 8:39 am

You’re too funny! Ahh Paris, where I brought my 13 year old daughter and her 12 year old friend to the Eiffel Tower at night. And we stayed out till 11:30, catching the train back to the friend’s house: no coins, no coin machines, plenty of paper Euros, ticket counters closed, no way to pay…

The train police (not to be confused with the dudes in military garb walking around us with their machine guns casually slung over their shoulders at the tower grounds) used their passes to swipe us through the gates. Only reminding me after I’d gone through that I was on my own once we got to our destination (where we’d need to swipe our ticket to exit the station – can you tell I’m not a city girl?!)

Ugh, I sweated the entire train ride and the girls, they thought it was HYSTERICAL!! and came up with all sorts of wonderful ways to break the law in a foreign country.


Z November 3, 2008 at 9:52 am

Damn. I don’t like Pokemon. Guess I’m not going to Paris…


Heinous November 3, 2008 at 10:05 am

LOL…your daughter must have adored being with you on that trip from the looks of her note.

I’ll have to avoid Paris now since I can’t stand asparagus. I hope they don’t have it in London too.


Nilsa November 3, 2008 at 10:13 am

Paris with the family? Ooooh la la!

Your daughter is so cute – outside of the “we’re going to crash” comments. Oh my!


Real Live Lesbian November 3, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Those damn Parisians and their asparagus!

I’ll take her word for it. She has experience!


Rachel November 3, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Hey, you look adorable in that picture in front of the Eiffel Tower!!! 😀

You MUST save that list. She will LOVE that years from now…


Roadchick November 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm

I have to ask (because I’m a smartass like that) – do you mean voila or do you really mean viola, a slightly larger violin-like instrument?


Karly November 3, 2008 at 6:48 pm

So jealous that you went to Paris. I’ve never been out of the country. I’m now going to go plan a trip to Paris and then fall over dead when I see the price. Should be fun!


the mama bird diaries November 3, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Paris is so cool.

My husband likes to give me the walking tour of the upper west side where he used to live. His drycleaner, his bodega where he bought his cigs, his fave take out place. It’s really riveting.


Mama Ginger Tree November 3, 2008 at 9:56 pm

How’d you get my husband’s cousin in your photo of the Eiffel Tower? It looks just like her.


Marinka November 4, 2008 at 8:44 am

Manager Mom–sure, my daughter can babysit. You just need to sign a few (dozen) waiver forms.

Kylie–I have no idea what that means. Is it something whory?

Sonya–you know when we were there, Husbadrinka made us hang on to our metro tickets because he claimed we needed them to get out, but we so didn’t. I think that after your family messed with the Paris metro, they did away with that system. Thanks!

Roadchick–no, I mean that violin-like thing. What’s “voila”?

😉 love smartasses!

Mamabird–maybe our husbands can team up. Mine likes to give a walking tour of the West Village. Bonus stops include his first dry cleaner and many, many apartments that he had. And it’s weird, although I’ve been on this tour approximately 12,006 times, it never gets more interesting.

Mama Ginger Tree–I am very close to her!


January 29, 2010 at 4:31 pm

LOL – “trust me. I have experience.” Well, damn. Or should I say, et voila.


MrsKinFlorida May 8, 2010 at 8:38 am

funny- we took baby j to Paris last summer- and who knew i was tri-lingual! Yeah I took like 4 years of French but like 20 years ago and my daughter was astounded as to how I could just speak and ‘understand’ what people were saying when I was just nodding and thinking ‘holy shit i have no idea what this fucker is saying so i must just go in the direction in which he pointed’

oh well c’est la vie right?


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