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Becoming Parisian

It's hard to believe that four days ago I was in Paris.

Our final day was meant to be quite a hectic one. Since our journey began last year, there were many places D and I had decided were 'must sees'. The DDay Beaches in Normandy was one of them.

Somehow, I always pictured the beaches to be 'just outside of Paris'. I suppose everyone can be ignorant about everything in France being 'just outside of Paris' - same as everything in England is 'just outside of London'--but I digress.

So, the distance ended up being two and a half hours by train, just to get to the city to start the bus tour. We were committed.

We got up at around 7 am, breakfast in the hotel and then onto the Metro to catch a 9:08 train. We were feeling a bit haggard - the night before was filled with magnificent French wine - but we really wanted to get there.

It took us a bit longer than expected on the sub par underground transportation system in Paris. There are no signs. There are no maps. Who says London's Tube is confusing and scary? They haven't been to Paris.

With 9 minutes to spare, we headed to the ticket machine to purchase return fares.

The cost blew us away. 50 Euros each return - yikes! That exceeds our daily budget - and we hadn't even reached the beaches.

And so, we made a split second decision. We would just have to come back to Normandy.

Disappointing as it was, how could it ruin our last day in Paris?

Well, we were sure nothing good would come of it. We had squeezed in all the sites over three days so we really didn't have anything else to see. The train station we were at had nothing around it. It was raining. We were tired. We were hungry. We were so close to being back home that we couldn't help but think about our Transantlantic flight that was two days away.

Leaving the train station, we got lost. We were cranky. We were not happy campers.

But you're in Paris, you say, the most amazing romantic city in the world!?

Yes, we were saying that in our heads too. Trust me, some things just don't help when you've reached the point of no return.

We sat for a quick bite to eat. It was expensive, a touristy place and really, not all that appetizing.

It was only 11 am.

We wandered around, heading in the direction of the Effiel Tower because really, can you ever spend too much time there?

Begrudgingly we walked on. How could this happen on our last day in Paris?

And then, it all changed. From rainy dark to sunny blue. It was like a little miracle.

A bench by the Tower, people watching and taking in the scene. The security guards with their 'whistles of power', blowing loudly if anyone ventured onto the grass. Children running up and down the gravel walkways, falling of bikes, picking up leaves as parents just narrowly stop them from eating the foliage.

After an hour, it was time to move on.

Jardins du Luxembourg - find a seat - make that two, one for your bum, one for your feet - and just bask in the day. The sun was shining and glimmering off the water of the maginficent fountain, which kids were playing with sticks and boats. Conversations, simply background noise when you can't understand them, but a gentle reminder that as comfortable as you are, you're not in Kansas anymore.

What a perfect Sunday. This was Paris.


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