Paris, France

Our TGV ride took us through the beautiful countrysides of France at blistering speed, and much greater comfort than a plane. The seats were comfortable, I was able to get a fair amount of sleep, and the chefs in the rear train car were very entertaining, and patient with my returning, meager French. The three or four miniature bottles of wine also eased the ride. Can you tell so love the drinking age in Europe?

“Passenger” by Hippo Campus just began as we pulled onto the platform of Gare de Lyon, and we hailed an Uber to take us to our hotel. We arrived at the Hotel de Cannettes around nine, exhausted and ready for a hot meal. We flung apart our suitcases, changed, and hit the streets of downtown Paris, just outside our hotel, and immediately saw countless options. Cafes, restaurants, bars, and clubs were jammed together all around our street, and the city stretched on like this for quite some time. All the food was gourmet and farm fresh (we could see the product of the livestock and farms of the countryside) and competition was at its peak in such close quarters. We ate more than three meals most days, and with a quick pace between sights to see, we burned all of it off – and then some.

Day two we were well rested, and prepared to walk around and explore. The Notre Dame, which had been badly damaged by a fire only a few weeks before, and Pantheon were our main targets, but we deviated constantly, dropping in on shops and cafes for a glass of wine or snack. On the way back from the Pantheon, we came across the most delicious deli I’ve ever experienced. A beautiful French lady with excellent English caught our attention from the road with a few samples of meat and cheese, and after a couple bites she had us hooked.

She led us inside, gradually handing us samples from varying platters of meat, cheese, and bread, all homemade and complementary to each other. Every bite was better than the last. She pulled aside a small tray of meats of all sorts, each with gorgeous marbling. Overhead hung the larger cuts from which she made the more manageable packages. The aromas of the shop were heavenly, and after she sealed the deal on a few hunks of cheese and a number of spiced meats, she gave us each a bit of wine to wash it down, which of course warranted purchasing a bottle. We finished it back at Cannettes, and crashed for day three.

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