Luckily I was already sitting down. It’s okay to not like a place you’ve been to. Not everyone enjoys visiting the same towns, watching the same movies, or reading the same books. You can’t find material that will please all of your students. You can’t tell a joke that everybody laughs at.
But if you haven’t been to Paris, you should not dare say you might not like it! The lady kept talking and in fact the conversation turned to her grandkids. But I was stuck wondering how anyone could not like Paris. I tried to imagine what would happen if she did visit.
Maybe she wouldn’t like the long, sweeping boulevards that make the city perfectly easy to navigate. Maybe she wouldn’t like the metro system that can get tourists to all the major sights within a few minutes.
Maybe she wouldn’t like the huge parks such as the Luxembourg Gardens or the Tuileries.
Maybe she wouldn’t enjoy a single museum such as the D’Orsay (my favorite museum in the world), the Louvre (many people’s favorite museum in the world), the Rodin Museum, the Marmottan, the Pompidou, or the Picasso Museum!
Maybe she wouldn’t enjoy the rows of cafés, the hundreds of restaurants, the carefree atmosphere of the Seine. Maybe she would also shrink from the Saint-Chapelle, the Sacré Coeur, and the Notre Dame!
Maybe she would refuse to stand in line to tour the Eiffel Tower, my favorite icon of any city anywhere?
I couldn’t think straight while she was talking about her grandkids. I have nieces I talk about all the time, but I was too flummoxed.
Then we got around to talking about movies. Had I seen My Old Lady, the one with Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, and Kristin Scott Thomas? I certainly had. Miss a performance of Kevin Kline’s? Not on your life. (This is an especially good one. He shows an Oscar-worthy emotional range. Not only is he an Everyman stuck in an impossible situation, but he has to pretend to speak French as an American who doesn’t speak French instead of as an American who actually speaks it fluently.)
“Very good film,” the lady told me. “I guess the whole thing takes place in Paris, doesn’t it? That little courtyard was so cute. I guess I wouldn’t mind seeing parts of Paris as long as I didn’t have to stay too long.”
I didn’t have a witty response. Maybe Paris is simply like a fine wine. Some people prefer tap water!
Can't travel far from home at the moment? For a quick trip to Thailand, visit my novel Thai Twist. For Southern California, Mariachi Murder. For the Greek Islands, Island Casualty.
Planning a trip to Paris but you're not sure what all to visit? Shoot me an email and I'll give you some suggestions. dr _ ransdell @ yahoo com