Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
Ric has a 40 year professional career history in advertising, publishing and marketing in Boston, New York and San Francisco. He has degrees in history and psychology and has been trained in debating, public speaking and stage acting. A large part of his 40 year career was spent in numerous professional and business settings as a presenter and featured speaker at seminars and professional meetings.
Ric has been a visiting professor at Worcester Polytech Institute. He also teaches a popular course on marketing for authors at prominent venues such as the venerable “Cape Cod Writers Conference”. Ric is a published author of a Mystery Series and multiple other novels. His newest, Echoes Down a Dark Well, is a paranormal mystery and came out in 2012 under Tell-Tale Publishing's Nightshade Imprint. Recently he made a visit to Paris and we are lucky enough to share it with him by way of a running journal he kept of the adventure (so like a writer!).
MAY 5, 2013
PARIS TRIP BLOG Paris Day 1 … Nous partons (just barely!) et nous arrivons … Finally Arrived at the airport in plenty of time. Got through security with no problem. Flight on time and begins boarding, when... A bored French accent requests our presence at the Air France desk where they tell us. "Quelle domage madam et Monsieur, we have overbooked and so even though you bought your tickets back in freakin' October... We've gotta bump someone and since you have no air miles with us.. Guess what?... You're it!" And so... After much "discussion" we did make it on to the flight.. (And at an upgrade no less... Long story..) and 6 hours later we were in 'La Belle' France. And shortly there after we were wandering the cobblestone streets of the City of Lights. And I'm pleased to report that despite my long absence, les femes Parisian' are still tres chic and very, very thin. They are also pale and wear a perpetual expression of anger, depression and despair. However they do have a reason... But that's a story for ...Day 2 'Till then... Au revoir mes ami...
Paris -Day 2… So just why are the French so thin, attractive and so unhappy about it? Well me and B didn't take long to discover the thin part... They friggin' walk about a hundred times more than us fat-ass Americans do! For instance, me and 'ma chere femme' thought we were doing good at home with our 2-3 miles a day. Ha! Since we've been in La Belle France we've been averaging 10 miles per day! And that's small freaking change to the French. They also ride bikes everywhere and move tres vite all the frickin' time. And that's why they are rail thin even though their diet and habits would kill one of us Americans inside of a month. I mean not only do they pig out on cheese, fabulous French bread, every kind of heart stopping organ meat you can imagine, and enough chain smoking ciggy's to croak a whole herd of elephants, they all seem to survive just fine. And since we've been immersing ourselves in the Gallic way we've found that one of the immediate benefits is that you can stop every 3-4 miles or so for bread, cheese, wine and beer and walk that sucker off toot freakin' suite! The other thing that we find tres interesant is that we hot blooded New Englanders are walking around in short sleeved shirts while the French are bundled up in leather coats, fur boots and the ever-present scarfs. And here's one that Barb noticed... The men are all dressed in high fashion and "wearing the colors the woman don't". Although from this old Troglodyte's perspective the woman still look good ... damn good! And then there are "clueless Gendarmes, surly shopkeepers, fantastic food, incredible wine, lines at the Louve", a war historian's dream at Les Invalides and finally ... who the freak could get lost on the way to the Eiffel Tower! Well we did! More to come as L'adventure continues...
Paris... Day 3 .. In search of Napoleon, Quasimodo and a cheap beer. Found Notre Dame just fine... It's smack dab in the middle of the Seine River so pretty hard to miss. The flying buttresses and stained glass were tres magnifique but alas, no trace of Quasimodo the fabled bell ringing hunchback ... C'est la Vie On the other hand we did locate Napoleon which again wasn't hard since he's been dead for close to 200 years and ain't going anywhere since he's being held down by several tons of red granite... Which by the way is very impressive despite the fact that it looks a lot like a giant red Lego. It was actually one of my favorites as the whole place (Les Invalides) is chock full of weapons from all eras. Starting with the Greeks and Romans and right down to WWll . In fact I liked it about a hundred times more than the Louvre... Which I think in French means "la tres hot, overcrowded, less than fragrant place of long lines and longer waits.. " Here's a tip.. Order tickets through your hotel and you can avoid at least half of the wait. Here's another tip. Spring for the translated headphones (which alas we did not) and don't ever expect to learn anything from the hundreds of civil servants sitting around in every room presumably to answer questions. Problem is ... They don't! I tried all three languages in which I have a smattering. English, French and German. Nothing. The best I got was in response to, "where is the bathroom and the exit?" which elicited a Gallic grunt and a vague wave to somewhere possibly across the Seine or perhaps he was telling me to ask Quasimodo.. Which in retrospect couldn't have been any worse. Still we and several thousand other tourists did get to see the Mona Lisa. (I held my camera over my head and then watched it later) The opposite of the "Le Louvre Zoo" was a delightful wine and cheese tour that our son Chris had set up for us. We and another couple from Kentucky (Go Big Blue! ) we're taken down the back alleys and side streets of St. Germaine by a charming, perky young woman where we feasted on wine, cheese and chocolate. Now that was worth waiting for! Still to come... Versailles, Marie Antoinette's pink marble palace (the cost of which probably gave the beleaguered French peasants the notion that all royalty and aristocrats would benefit from a visit to Madam Guillotine) and of course Bistro crawling in Paris
Paris... Day 4 ... The feet get another workout at Versailles
Caught the Metro out to Versailles where fortunately the Bourbon king's suburban palace was too big for even us to miss. The place is truly incredible and and once we managed to extricate ourselves from the hundreds of tour groups we spent half the afternoon wandering through one luxurious, over-the-top room after another. And as I gazed at the acres of marble, and mirrors and gold, I couldn't help but hope that none of our political leaders ever take this tour ... I mean with the way they spend our money imagine what would happen if they ever saw how real kings lived! Can't you just see it? "Hey let's raise the deficit another trillion and rebuild Versailles right there in Washington!"
But it was magnificent. And we strolled down to the artificial lakes feeling a bit like Jethro and Granny in the Beverly Hillbillies ... "Well golly, jest look at that there cement pond!" (But it was worth gawking at). Then we took in Marie Antoinette's palace, pink marble and all. ... And let me tell you, she sure did love different colored rooms; pink, gold, green.. With wallpaper to match! In fact it was so pretty you could almost 'lose your head' over it. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist)
After all that walking and gawking (now you understand why I don't write poetry) we were pooped and parched so just down the road from the palace we found a nice little bistro that catered to peasants like us and refreshed at a teeny tiny table with some 1664 French beer (not sure if the name reflects when it was first brewed or how much the price is in Euros)
Then back to Paris for a Rive Gauche meal and a bottle (or two) of vin rouge!
Still to come ... More Bistro hopping, walking and the quest for that perfect little French restaurant with the meal that you're not sure what you're eating but it tastes damn good!
Paris... Day 5 ... Open air busses on a beautiful sunny Paris spring day but with no hat or sunscreen .. equals 'la visage rouge'. Or one beet red American tourist! Took one of the Hop-On, Hop-Off open air busses out to the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Élysées and it was gorgeous but ... I stupidly forgot my hat and sunscreen so was nicely baked by the end of the day, which meant ... Naturalement ... Lots of nice cold beer. So we stopped at one sidewalk cafe.. And then another, and another and .... Well you get the picture. We slowly worked our way up the Seine through the Latin Quarter and back to St. Germaine and thoughts of a fashionably late French dinner. Thus it was in a pleasant haze that we decided to flip the Euro as it were and try a place I spotted on line. We had been batting about .500 on restaurants, which in baseball is good but in the gastro-experience means that you've eaten a lot of bad 'soup d'onion'...And we had. But this little gem of a bistro opposite the Luxembourg Garden was a true find. The quintessential white washed brick, open beams and vaulted ceiling, shelves of wine racks with vintages just begging to be tasted and the smell of garlic and fresh bread. And we did the whole route .. from the escargot soaked in garlic butter to an amazing rack of lamb followed by white chocolate and lime. And of course all washed down by a fantastic 2003 Bordeaux. And then... Et finis... Quelle Domage And as all things must... We must return to our hum drum lives and leave behind the Parisian world of cares, bistros and brasseries. Quaint side streets and beckoning back ally's. And then of course there is the one thing that we will not miss... And let me tell you folks I am most definitely not a PC person who wants to run everyone's life, but Pleeeeze!... What is with the French and the constant chain smoking? Like most of my fellow boomers I did two packs a day in my teens, but in the 40 years since I quite I guess I've become unaccustomed to smoky cafes, 'cause let me tell you, these cafes aren't just smoky... You might wanna consider bringing you own gas mask! Seriously! And just in case you were thinking of asking... No, there is no such thing as a 'non-smoking' section. And if you can't find your waiter to order another glass of Ferme Blanc, it's 'cause he's out back having a smoke! And then there's the metro trip to the airport, where once again Air France had no seat for us! And the flight home with several hundred kids from high school French clubs. But as the French say, that mon amie is a story for une autre jour... And all in all, it was a great trip. Lots of adventures, and isn't that really what its all about? And so as Europe fades into the background... Au revoir La Belle France... jusqu'à ce que nous nous revoyions.
I blog there the 18th of each month!
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