Monday, December 24, 2007

Paris - Day 1

We awoke to an empty house since both Cecile and Dominique had to work Christmas Eve. We showered, ate a simple breakfast of croissants and pain au chocolate, and then watched French music videos until Dominique came home around 1pm.
Once she got home, we put our shoes on and went for a walk to the subway in hopes of going to Montmartre. I still remembered the way to the metro station, with all of its twists and turns. We arrived at the Marx Dormoy station and tried to buy subway tickets but no teller was to be found. In his place was a hand scrawled sign promising a return in twenty minutes. Rather than wait for Mr. Undependable's return, we decided to walk to Montmartre.
It turned out not to be the death march I thought it'd be, and we arrived at the Sacre Coeur 20 minutes and 10,000 stairs later. After pausing to catch our breath for a few seconds, we walked around to the front and entered the Sacre Coeur. The Sacre Coeur is a huge beautiful, white basilica that rests on the top of the highest point in Paris, which makes it a great place to look down on the city on a clear day. Today, however, was not such a clear day. The fog hung so heavy you couldn't even see the looming, ever present Eiffel Tower.
We retreated inside and walked around the church gazing at its incredible beauty, and then took a seat in the back to have a better view at the curved dome without vertigo getting the better of us. While soaking in the stained glass, beautiful curved arches, and gold foil painting of Jesus with his arms outstretched, we spied a nun mopping the altar. I suppose even the house of God gets a little dirty from time to time and someone's got to clean it! Steve dared to snap a picture, ensuring that he will have bad luck for the rest of his life, and allowing me to reap the benefits, sans eternal damnation.
Next we walked down to Place du Tertre, where artists set up their easels and wait for inspiration to strike, or more often the case, for a tourist to come, money in hand. We walked around the square which was once the home to such artists as Dali, Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh, wandering in and out of shops and art studios with overpriced trinkets in each.
Continuing our walk down the summit of Paris, we crossed in front of the Sacre Coeur, past the handful of shysters who prey on unsuspecting tourists by calling them beautiful and then forcing them to pay for crap they braid into their hair, and then down toward Pigalle to wait for Cecile at the Blanche metro station. Pigalle is the sex district and is home to places such as the Moulin Rouge, and the lesser known Sexodrome, as well as dozens of skeevy shops with velvet or beaded curtains for doors and promises of Poppers for only 6€!
Cecile arrived at the Blanche station from which we went to a flower store to buy a white rose and then went to the chapel of Saint Rita, the patron saint of desperate souls. I contemplated praying for a million dollars, a boyfriend, or a boyfriend with a million dollars, but decided to just let Cecile give her thanks for finally getting her drivers liscense.
We then scurried home so Dominique could begin preparing Christmas dinner which consisted of 22 plates of food including duck, two types of sausage, smoked salmon, foie gras, mixed vegetables, two adorable Christmas cakes in the shape of logs with little decorations on them, and more cheese and liquor than you can shake a stick at.
All of this was consumed over seven hours. Ceciles gay uncle, Sylvain, joined us for dinner fresh from seeing a musical on broadway. He entered the dining room bearing fistfulls of condoms that he scattered upon the tabletop as if they were confetti, and he a Santa of Sex.
As our epic dinner was ending, and midnite was approaching, we opened our presents, which included makeup, perfume, and the 2008 Stade de France calander full of beautiful naked rugby men. Le Sigh. Once the festivites were over, we slept like pigs until daylight.

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