Friday after I finished classes at noon, I was off to Paris to spend the weekend with Marjorie. This weekend was especially exciting because it would be my first time in the city when it wasn’t gray, cold and freezing. So, of course, within moments of arriving, we hopped on the subway to walk around the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was a beautiful afternoon and the place was packed with Frenchies soaking up the sun. We spent the rest of the day walking around and then at a bar listening to 4 different bands.
Saturday, we slept in late and awoke to the Paris I know and love – cold and gray. This called for brunch, which is the new, fashionable thing to do in Paris. There’s nothing like paying 22€ (about $30) per person for 1 coffee, 1 juice, 1 egg, bread, a bagel and fruit to remind you of how expensive Parisian life can be. So, because, we had a lot of carbs to burn and it was gloomy, we decided Père Lachaise Cemetery was a perfect place to spend the afternoon. This is where you will find (literally) thousands of tombs stacked on top of the tombs of Édith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Frédéric Chopin, Gertrude Stein and many other famous french people. Père Lachaise has that dreary, beautifulness that is (sometimes), so Paris. We were surprised to find a number of recent burials which only made me wonder, how does one get buried at Père Lachaise? Well, basically you must put yourself on the waiting list and be living in Paris when you die. It also helps if you’ve lived in the city for a long time and if you are a french citizen. But even if you “get in”, you can only rent space for 10-50 years until they “get rid of you” and re-lease it to “someone else”. People buried in the 19th century were lucky enough to have bought their space for perpetuite (forever). This process makes me laugh because it is so Paris. Unfortunately, we were trying to save our feet for Sunday’s marathon, so we didn’t explore too much, but I did manage to see the grave of Jim Morrison.
After our afternoon with dead people, we returned to Marjorie’s apartment and got ready for a party to celebrate one of her friends birthdays. Even though I was a tad shy because of my language ability (or lack there of), I still managed to have a good time and talk (mostly in french) with a number of people. I am grateful for Marjorie and her friends being so patient and gracious with me. This is evidence that Parisians can, in fact, be very warm, welcoming people. However, the most exciting part was not practicing my french, but the apartment where the party was held. I tried to play it cool, but I couldn’t help but totally freak out when the I looked out the living room wall of windows and saw a perfect shot of the glittering Eiffel Tour. Please, someone pinch me.
We didn’t stay too late because Sunday we had to wake up early and head to Fontainebleau for the marathon. Apparently, Fontainebleau is to the Parisians as the Hampton’s are to New Yorker’s. Really, the place is totally adorable. After picking up our race numbers, we had lunch and walked around a little to look at the magnificent Château. In my opinion, this is the best castle I’ve seen in France so far (yes, even better than Versailles).
When the race began I really tried not to focus on running, but to focus on soaking in the ambience and beautiful views. I took this time to think about how much has changed in my life since my very first 5k race 9 years ago. In 2003, I never dreamed that within the next decade I would have run several half-marathons, a full marathon and let alone a race in the French countryside. I ended up finishing in 2 hours and 19 minutes. Not too bad for my one run a week training schedule.
As you can see, I had an absolutely fabulous weekend and can not thank Marjorie enough. I’m sure all of you are a little sick of hearing stories from France so on Friday I am jetting off to London for the long weekend with the Chevrier’s. Pictures and stories to follow!