"We Take on Paris" Paris Travelogue by cpiers47
Paris Travel Guide: 22,946 reviews and 56,910 photos
On the first night of three, the entire group of us (almost 40) trouped into a restaurant for the usual early dinner enjoyed by tour groups (before "real people" care to eat). Conversation was the normally stilted getting-to-know-you-but-most-likely-won't-see-you-again of people thrown together on what was essentially a work-related trip. In a decidedly memorable moment, one of the women fell asleep in her chair.
Z and I had decided to try out a pub afterwards, one that our Parisian tour guide had recommended. We almost pulled names out of the air...people we'd sat with at lunch or talked to on the way. Somehow, the magic of JCKZ was born. Without our students or spouses looking on, we were suddenly all back in college: bound and determined to have the time of our lives.
We spent the next three days doing just that.
Despite all of our travels, none of us had been to Paris before. So, we looked at even the bus tour as a first. Versailles was lovely as well, the 4 of us making sure we were in the same section, getting ever so slightly stuck in an elevator in the gardens and finding the most delightful brasserie for lunch.
All day long we'd been considered "the Wild Ones" because we'd stayed out the night before. Nevermind that we'd returned to the hotel by 11...we'd been labeled! Over lunch, we laughed about that and chatted nonstop. Until someone looked at a watch and realized we were supposed to be at the bus NOW. And we weren't even sure exactly where the bus was!
A sprint up the hill later - laughing and slipping through the wet leaves - we arrived breathless at the bus, only to learn we weren't the last ones. Big D from Chicago strolled up as we were gasping for air and trying to dry ourselves off.
One night we hustled our way down the Eiffel Tower because, at some point in the evening, we became absolutely fixated on the idea of riding the Carousel we'd seen on our way. After crepes with Nutella, we proudly purchased our tickets and laughed our way all the way through the ride.
K decided - after a drink too many - that she must have a picture on a motorcycle parked on the street. It was a close one to convince her that we would all ride bikes the next day before the policemen headed our way. I dragged her past them, arm in arm, all smiles.
"We all need bikes!" was K's anthem. Even when sober, she wanted everyone to be having the best time possible! She often led the charge: across the Seine, down the Eiffel Tower, across the street, to the Carousel.
There were any number of slightly-fuzzy toasts, this one in the red-light district in a pub where we paid too much for our beers! But, even the search for a WC is fun with the right group of people. It was here where we found yet another type of unique toilet and made some sort of hilarious joke about "wheels" than none of us can remember now.
And, we bonded again over the challenge of catching a cab at 3:30 in the morning and convincing one to take us out of the city center. Then, joining with the cab driver in trying to find the way to the hotel. Easier when it's not early morning. I believe we had to be out the door shortly after 7am the next day. That exhaustion bonded us, too.
We were called that, too. And, perhaps made a little trouble for the hotel bar staff on the last night when we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. We played a got-to-know-you game for those hours and hours, writing down what we knew about each other and laughing over our guesses and answers.
It doesn't take much to find drinking buddies or people to complain to. It's something much bigger when you find a group of people who really care about each other.
On Saturday, we were in Montmarte as a huge group. Although it's worth mentioning that our tour guide never counted the group. The number diminished decidedly as we made our way higher into the city. I have no idea where those people went, I just know there were people I didn't see after day two...
At Sacre Coeur, I ended up on the steps, listening to musicians play as the sun set over the city. As I rejoined the group, everyone was just starting to move toward dinner. Not seeing that I'd rejoined them, Z and K had stayed behind, looking back for me, ready to be separate from the group and whatever else that meant so that I wouldn't be left behind. Nevermind that I was just a few steps away and we all followed the group, nevermind that we weren't lost at all... it was a great moment.
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