When Man turned down my invite to go to Paris, Caren so selflessly volunteered to be my travel partner.
“We should talk to Robby for advice on where to stay and what to do there,” she suggested. “She was just there a couple of years ago.”
Consulting Robby turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to this plan. While Robby gave us her tips on where to go, how to get there and the culture or Paris, she got caught up in it and the next thing we knew our travel group was a trio.
One morning we met for coffee to discuss ideas for where to stay and what dates we would travel, etc. It was still just talk at this time. Paris was still just a wistful dream to me; a fun idea. Robby arrived at the coffee shop armed with a lap top and calendar. By the end of that meeting, Paris was a reality. We had a time and a place. The place was named Juliette on the Ile St. Louis. From the website pics, she looked too good to be true! We gave the landlady our dates and everything was set for Spring time in Paris.
“Ladies,” Robby said after we sealed the deal, “We are going to land in Paris and head straight for the nearest wine bar. We’ll hop from bar to bar for the rest of our time there. There will be no sleeping!”
I laughed at Robby’s enthusiasm! Robby is a pillar of self control and moderation. One of the eldest of the women in our circle, she is often a source of wise council and unbiased advice. To imagine her bar hopping and staying up into all hours of the night was a funny thought. She would be our compass and safe guide through Paris.
Maybe my clue should’ve been when we headed straight for the bar at the airport… Maybe it should’ve been when she started ordering her drinks on the plane… MAYBE I should’ve known that Robby had not been joking but was dead-on-serious when she said we would hop from bar to bar when that is exactly what we did after settling into Juliette. Robby was on vacation. There was a new gal in town. We didn’t know who she was until Day 2 when Starbucks christened her as Wapi but Robby was not guiding us through Paris. Our guide would be Wapi and Wapi’s guide was her BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level.
It had been recommended that we dine at St. Regis which was about 2 blocks from our place. We walked in around 5 or 6 that first evening and didn’t leave until close to 2 a.m.
In France, waiters are paid a salary. They are not busting their hump for your tip (in fact it’s rather insulting for you to tip) and they are not shooing you out the door to replace you with a new customer. If you wish to sit all day in a café you may. And so we did.
We grazed on cheese plates, frites, bread and desserts. We enjoyed every sip of wine and café crème. Well, except Wapi. Wapi drinks beer and only had a Not A Beer twice the whole time. Still, that was very exciting! We’ve never seen that happen before! Also, Wapi did not mix her drugs. No caffeine and then alcohol or even the reverse. Wapi knew what she was doing.
Anywhoo, that first night we giggled and…snorted…all the way home. I dove into my Hobbit Hole at Juliette and slept soundly until the bells of Notre Dame rang out the next day. We all got out of bed and Wapi got the coffee going in the French Press. We sipped coffee as Wapi and Caren set our goal for the day and plotted our path out on the map. Then slowly we all began to ready ourselves for that day’s adventure.
Finally we set out at the crack of noon and went on a hunt for breakfast. This began the routine of finding a café, having a light breakfast with café crème, using and rating the toillete, and then moving onto our land mark for the day. We typically would make a stop at another café or brassiere between breakfast and said landmark in order to keep our BAC or BCC (Blood Caffeine Content) levels up.
I don’t know what it is about European booze and caffeine but I don’t think it’s the same as home. I never felt anxious or hung over. My arthritis hardly bothered me at all despite the amounts of caffeine and alcohol that I had. Maybe it was all of the walking? Maybe it was our lazy mornings? Maybe it’s all been in my head all along but I was hooked to the caffeine there with out the nasty side effects that I experience from caffeine here.
So we went through Paris going in and out of shops and cafes and seeing things like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower as we gave ourselves a walking tour. Every night ended at St. Regis for a night cap and frites. Every night our heads hit our pillows at approximately 2 a.m. Every day we started with coffee while goal setting and then out into the streets of Paris again at The Crack Of Noon.
We felt fabulous! Everything was fabulous. The views, the food, the architecture, the people watching, the fashions. Everything. It was all fabuleux! WE were fabuluex as well. Lola was in her element. Wapi did not think Wapi was a fabuleux name and so she wanted a fancy name for when we were being fabulous. We named her Fifi. Caren kept her fabulous name from her youth, Tallelulah.
Lola, Fifi and Tallelulah shopped, ate and drank and then when tired of walking we hopped into a pedi-cab. We actually only did this once but it was absolutely fabuleux! The driver zipped in and out of cars and buses. We would be inches from the vehicles next to us as the bike straddled the lanes in the street. He laughed at my terrible French, as I made fabuleux sound more like something from the Flintstones. “Fabalabaleux!”
Since we were staying on Ile St. Louis on the Seine, we one day tried the bateau mouche to get us home. This is a large boat taxi type thing. A very touristy mode of transport. Fifi lead the way, purchased our tickets and we all boarded the boat. Tallelulah and I were content to just sit back and watch Paris float by as the sun began to set. Fifi, however, began to get alarmed as she noticed the boat was not stopping.
“Oh my gosh. Is this not stopping? Are we on the wrong boat?!” Fifi left and Wapi soon took her place. “This is not fabuleux! This is horrifle!” she cried.
Tallelulah and I cried as well but only because we were laughing so hard as the boat pulled up to St. Louis and began to slowly turn around to bring us back to the very place we were trying to leave.
“I got round trip tickets. Horrifle!”
Wapi ranted and raved at herself the whole way back.
“8:05 p.m: The Eiffel Tower,” she joked as the boat slowly made it’s way back to the start. “8:45 p.m: The Eiffel Tower. Again.”
Once off the boat I hailed us a Taxi while Wapi beat herself up the whole way home. We grabbed some dinner and then went to St. Regis for our night cap. Bed by 2-ish. Out again at the Crack Of Noon.
This was the fabuleux lifestyle. This was The Way Of Wapi.