I took my Off the Clock Summer in September day 1 challenge — on planning something memorable — seriously. My husband had been in Europe for work last week. I was giving a speech in the Indianapolis area on Friday, but we looked and there was a direct flight from Indy to Charles De Gaulle airport. So we elected to meet in Paris for the weekend.
It wasn’t an easy trip — a lot of flying for 48 hours on the ground. We’d used my husband’s frequent flyer miles to get a business class ticket, but when I boarded my Delta flight I learned I had been bumped. I guess using miles puts you on the low side of the pecking order, but it was an unpleasant discovery nonetheless. After not sleeping much on the plane (I would have brought my neck pillow if I’d known!) I stood in a seemingly endless line to clear customs at CDG.
Nonetheless — after I took a much needed 2 hour nap — Paris was wonderful. I went for a run in the Tuilleries, and we went to the Louvre for the afternoon. Then it was dinner at Aux Lyonnais, which was interesting for offering very “country” food from the area around Lyon. I had rabbit. We texted this to our 11-year-old, who sent us emoticons of people throwing up. This reminded me of why it is good to travel without children sometimes.
On Sunday we saw even more art: The Musee Marmottan Monet, which has (naturally) a huge collection of Monet paintings, plus many Renoirs, and others. I enjoyed learning about Berthe Morisot, who painted amazing impressionist scenes of children (why had I not heard of her? I am no art critic, but I would definitely not have compared her unfavorably with Manet — her brother-in-law — or Pissarro or other folks like that). They also had a large collection of illuminated manuscripts, a particular fascination of mine. I took several photos of chants.
Then it was back to the Louvre to see another wing. I got to run right down the center of the Champs d’Elysees, since it was closed to traffic for much of Sunday. We ended the day eating dinner at a sidewalk bistro near the Eiffel tower (taking the obligatory photos, of course).
Then, on Monday, a long, separate ride home. My husband was flying into JFK, me direct to Philly. My flight was at 10:30; his at 9:05, so we took a taxi to the airport together, since that suggested about the same level of personally comfortable margin for the two of us. (The taxi dropped him off in his terminal at 8:23 — but he made it. He pretty much always does.)
I’m pretty tired now — if I did get a lot of work done on the plane — but it was definitely memorable. I guess, in life, I’d like to take the opportunity to go to Paris for the weekend when I can, even if the flights are long and the jet lag is fierce.