Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Final Day in Paris

Our final day in Paris was a little stressful. We woke up and decided to just wander the city for a bit before going to see Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) at the Opéra National de Paris. I ate a Croque-monsieur (French ham & cheese sandwich) for lunch from a small shop and we packed up our bags. The plan was to leave our luggage at the opera house, walk around Paris, eat a fancy dinner, go to the opera, and finally leave France.

We were given directions from a nice older French lady and were able to check our bags in at a souvenir kiosk in the main lobby (we were only permitted this because the attendant was nice). We then wandered the streets of Paris and indulged in some gelato before locating 'Chez Oscar' for dinner. For my final dinner in Paris I started with a Kir. This is a traditional French aperitif consisting of white wine (traditionally Aligote) with creme de cassis (blackcurrant liquor). I then tried my first, and possibly last, escargot. It wasn't too bad,  it just had a lot of garlic. My main course was a delicious and simple lamb dish.
Escargot & kir
Chez Oscar (not very busy at 5pm)

We finished dinner and headed to the Opera Bastille, the modern opera house in Paris. This opera house was designed in order to make the arts more modern and accessible to the general public, it was inaugurated in 1989. The production of Le nozze di Figaro was outstanding and the acoustics were amazing! The opera by Mozart was sung in Italian and the subtitles were in French, which I could slightly understand. I had a copy of the libretto in English so I was able to read along with the performance.
Me & Melanie in the Opera Bastille
Justin, Melanie, & Me at intermission.

Seeing this opera was a big deal for me. It was my 3rd opera and the first time I'd seen a production overseas. I loved the performance and Melanie and Justin even told me that they really enjoyed it. After the performance we bolted to the door, grabbed our bags, and pushed through people to the exit. We had approximately 40 minutes to catch the subway to the train station to catch a train to a bus station to catch a bus to the airport.
After a peaceful and wonderful day enjoying fine food and culture we ran through the metro in posh attire and carrying heavy suitcases. We reached the train station with 10 minutes to navigate to our train. We found where the train pulled in, but encountered an impasse. The metro system would only take credit cards for train tickets. European credit cards have smart chips in them (a lot like cell phone SIM cards), and the machines in the metro would not accept our 'swipe' credit cards. So naturally we hurled our luggage over the 4' tall doors of the gates and climbed over them. This worked perfectly, but not 50 yards away from the gates we noticed 5 security guards and a guard dog. Fast forward past 1 train ride and 2 buses and we were attempting to sleep on the floor of the Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting for our plane back to London. The entire night this song from the opera was stuck in my head: Voi che sapete che cosa è amor (You ladies who know what love is, is it what I'm suffering from).  

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