Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Sunday, May 11, 2008

10 reasons I almost stayed in Paris

1) It is impossible to find bad wine. The $5 it as worst mediocre; at best delicious. Also, it is cheaper to order a bottle of wine in a restaurant than it is to order a couple of cans of coke and some filtered water.

2) Boulangeries. I ate so many creme-angliase-and-apricot pastries (called Oranais) that I needed to buy new pants.

3) The museums and galleries. In the nine days we were there, not one went my that I didn't see something that caused my brain to short circuit and leak out of my ear. I still can't believe I saw Beuys' 'Peau,' Dali's 'Alice' bronze, and two late (from Arles) Van Gogh self portraits int he span of a week.

4) The museum attendance. I expected to have my mind blown at the Centre Pompidou; my expectations were met and exceeded. I did not expect that people would line up an hour before opening to get in to see the Lousie Bourgeouis exhibit. Every museum we went to was absolutely packed, even on a weekday morning.

5) The Opera House. It was nice to be home for an afternoon.

6) The markets. On our second-last day, we went to an open-air market that stretch for half a kilometer, starting at the Bastille station. There, I bought Chardonnay from the actual village of Chardonnay, a beautiful little bag of dried lavender, and half a kilo of strawberries that changed my life (and were eaten in one sitting).

7) The food in general. Every little cafe and brasserie serves food that puts anything in this country to shame. Our first full day, we walked into a brasseries and had onion soup with croƻtons and cheese, duck confit, and a creme brullee, all of which were mind-blowing.

8) Cemeteries. They're lovely, both solemn and friendly, and the workers look after feral cats that guard the dead.

9) The Metro. Speaking as someone who does not and never will drive, being able to get anywhere in minutes and never be farther than 500m from a metro station was incredible.

10) The architecture. It would be difficult not to find a place to live that wasn't in some refurbished Haussmann-era apartment building overlooking some stunning view.

These were just ten of the moments when I looked around me and wondered how, how I could stay, how I could make it happen. Come on, Calgary, remind me why I am here. It'd mid-May already -- would a *little* bit of green kill you?

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Natalie Zed updated @ 9:04 p.m.!!