Bonjour mon petit lapin. We have hit the dusty gadabout track again and are in Paris, France, Europe. Now, it would be all too easy for me to raise crassly cheap laughs by dredging up hackneyed French stereotypes so that will hopefully make writing this blog much more straightforward. We will be here for at least a few months but originally jetted in from glamorous London Luton Airport (which definitely is in London) for my brother Paul’s wedding to his girlfriend Cristina.
Susie and I made our way to the Town Hall where Paul and Cristina were to be joined in a legally binding contract of amour by the Mayor himself. Judging by his general demeanor on the day, I would guess His Honor may be no stranger to the hip flask.
High on love and secondhand whiskey fumes, the newly married couple made their exit through the traditional corridor of guests while being showered with rice; the most romantic of all the wholegrains. Frustratingly, it began to rain viciously just as they stepped outside forcing an immediate return through the guest gangway. Once again they faced a rice deluge although as they were now briskly walking inside, this resembled an ironic protest at incompetent government ministers for Third World Aid. I joined in anyway as I had a quarter bag left and seemed a shame to waste it.
Having bravely endured two uncooked rice peltings, the happy couple cheerfully compared scratched retina while the rest of the party jumped into taxis and headed for the restaurant reception. I have since learned that Parisian taxi drivers dislike passengers sitting in the front. Unaware of this delightful idiosyncrasy at the time, I blithely settled myself in next to the driver. To discourage this kind of naughty informality my seat had been folded forward at a virtually 90 degree angle which left my forehead resting daintily on the faux walnut dashboard. No amount of fumbling with levers or doe-eyed pleading with the driver made any difference. Fortunately it was a short journey and before you could say ‘permanent spinal damage’ we were there.
Our group were the first to arrive and as we were early the free drink bonanza had yet to begin. Through a series of complicated misunderstandings and a fatal lapse in concentration, I found myself standing at the bar buying a round of drinks. Hoegaarden seemed a popular choice overall but the two children in the party turned out to be complete lightweights, announcing that Belgian ale ‘wasn’t the tipple for them’. As they were unsure what to order, my mum helpfully suggested they have a Perrier each. As you know, I believe money is no object when it comes to our young people so when a nonchalant glance at the menu revealed that two small bottles would cost me €20 I felt nothing but a warm contentment. However, I did choose to quietly tweak the drink specifics to tap water as this was a golden opportunity for the youngsters to pretend their l’eau came from a gurgling mountain stream; thus strengthening their lateral thinking and giving them an edge in the potentially competitive job market of around 2019.
I was pleased to see the barman provide complimentary snacks to go with the drinks. If he had thrown in the deeds to a small property in Provence that round would have been a bargain. We were asked to take our drink and nibblets into the garden as the seating area was still being prepared. This sounds idyllic but the downpour meant eating food outdoors was no picnic.
Fortunately the rain eased off and the sun emerged as Paul and Cristina swishly arrived. While watching them pose for photos I was unable to spot any trace of the rice which had so comprehensively covered them earlier. I noted the vegetarian option for the main meal was risotto. Coincidence?
Celebrations continued into the teeny-tiny hours of the morning and there was just time to catch some ZZZZzzzzzzz’s (youth slang to widen readership demographic) before we were up and and gathered by the Seine for a River Boat tour. I spied one aqua-craft that I hoped wasn’t ours.
The rain continued to lash down during the cruise but did I let a few drops of rain spoil my fun? Yes. Yes I did. But in some ways the weekend wasn’t just about me. Paul and Cristina also had a part to play and I would genuinely like to thank them for an extremely enjoyable and special (in a good way) two days.
I’d also like to say sorry for that risotto joke.
Filed under: Paris | 2 Comments
Tags: France, Married in Paris, Paris, Paris Town Hall, Reception Paris, Riverboat Seine, Taxi drivers in Paris, Titanic Seine