New­ly­weds em­bark on a spec­tac­u­lar va­ca­tion in the City of Love

More of Our Canada - - Contents - By Sarah Gagliano Tal­iun, Mis­sis­sauga

When de­cid­ing where to go for our hon­ey­moon, my then- fi­ancé ( now hus­band) Daniel and I had one clear cri­te­rion: a ro­man­tic for­eign city where nei­ther of us had pre­vi­ously been. The an­swer was clear in our minds, so we de­cided to spend the first week of Au­gust 2018 in Paris!

Be­fore land­ing, I an­tic­i­pated a lively and artis­tic city, and my ex­pec­ta­tions were fully met. Scat­tered through­out the city were per­ma­nent mu­se­ums and smaller art gal­leries. There were also tem­po­rary art ex­hibits in open ar­eas for the pub­lic to view. Ad­di­tion­ally, some artists sold their art on the streets, while oth­ers were busy work­ing in their shops or by the Seine.

They say that in North Amer­ica we eat to live, but in Paris they live to eat. Our culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence in “la ville des lu­mières” con­firmed that say­ing for me. There is no such thing as a quick bite to eat in Paris. Even or­der­ing “un café” and “un crois­sant” in the morn­ing was a lengthy or­deal. Pa­tience is a must, but I think that the slow pace helped cre­ate a re­fresh­ing at­mos­phere for us, in stark con­trast to to­day’s fast-paced, on-the-go cul­ture. On one out­ing, we ate at a restau­rant called L’es­car­got Mon­torgueil, and I de­cided to or­der frog legs. It was the most ad­ven­tur­ous type of cui­sine I had dur­ing our stay, and it ac­tu­ally tasted like chicken once I got my mind past the not- soap­pe­tiz­ing out­ward ap­pear­ance. My hus­band, Daniel, chose the steak tartare— es­sen­tially raw beef with spices—but I was not brave enough for that.

In tourist re­gions nearly ev­ery­one can speak English; how­ever, I was ea­ger to see how much of Canada’s sec­ond of­fi­cial lan­guage I re­mem­bered. De­spite not hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice French for the past sev­eral years, I was pleas­antly sur­prised by the amount of knowl­edge I re­tained from my univer­sity days. It was enough for me to be able to ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cate which tick­ets we needed to pur­chase for a train ride to the Château de Ver­sailles, to con­verse with the ho­tel concierge and to buy a dress at a small bou­tique.

We def­i­nitely did our fair share of sight­see­ing, in­clud­ing po­litely el­bow­ing our way through the crowds to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa at the Lou­vre, and climb­ing the Arc de Tri­om­phe at dusk for a per­fect view of the Eif­fel Tower bathed in the colours of the set­ting sun.

We also de­cided to visit a Cana­dian-style pub one sunny af­ter­noon and I was def­i­nitely sur­prised to see this type of es­tab­lish­ment in such a large Euro­pean city. It was very close to the heart of Paris, si­t­u­ated on the left bank of the Seine near the highly fre­quented Saint- Michel—notre-dame train sta­tion. In­side, the walls were decked out with many Cana­dian flags and au­to­graphed hockey jer­seys. There was even a large moose sport­ing a Cana­dian Moun­tie’s uni­form. In­ten­tion­ally cliché in a fun way, I sup­pose, but there was no doubt we were in Paris, not back in Canada.

The first half of our week was filled with sight­see­ing and tour­ing, but by the sec­ond half, we had set­tled in quite nicely and we started to feel like locals in the 6th ar­rondisse­ment of Paris, the dis- trict where we were stay­ing. Some of our days be­gan with an early morn­ing stroll around the lo­cal Jardin du Lux­em­bourg and ended with a stop at what had be­come our favourite lo­cal bak­ery, Paul Boulan­gerie et Patis­serie, for a freshly made baguette. One evening we fol­lowed all of that up with a visit to the cin­ema to watch a French- pro­duced film called Roulez Je­unesse, a com­edy di­rected by Julien Guetta. Aside from the big tourist at­trac­tions the city has to of­fer, I re­ally en­joyed strolling along the small streets in the non-touris­tic ar­eas, par­tic­u­larly very early in the morn­ing when shop­keep­ers were pre­par­ing to open their stores. We are look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing to the city, per­haps for one of our fu­ture wed­ding an­niver­saries! n

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