Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Paris Wrap Up

It has been just about two months since we got back from Paris. It should come as no surprise that we are ready to return. Telling people about the trip calls forth memories and longings to sell it all and take up the romantic life on an ex-pat. This of course will not happen. Instead we will wait patiently to return.

Paris in winter is not the Paris of your dreams. There are no idyllic outdoor cafes to sit in; no lazy afternoons stretching into twilight; no sipping rose and listening to Edith Piaf. Not once did we see an old man with an accordion and a monkey. Not once. Nothing is in bloom. The trees are barren skeletons, their spiny branches blending in with the cold, gray sky. No red balloon traipses over the tree tops ready to carry you off into happiness.

I'd be willing to go Paris every winter for the rest of my life.

I don't need to tell you about the charm Paris has. Other writers who get paid to write have stated all that needs to be said about Paris. Paris is like a joke: if it needs to be explain it to you, you won't get it. True to form, they aren't the nicest people in the first. A smile, a polite, if unpronounced bonjour, goes a very long way in bridging the gap. Don't forget the French helped us defeat the British. They like us, they really do.

Middle of the trip, we boarded the TGV bound for Epernay. After arriving in Epernay, we headed southeast towards Oger. Workers were pruning the vines which stood out in marked contrast from the cotton white, snow covered ground. We turned into small development. Where in America the space between homes would have been filled with manicured lawns, ferns, and rosebushes, here every available inch of soil sprouted grand cru chardonnay. France wins.

The car backed down an incline driveway and out popped Bruno the proprietor of Vauversin Champagne. Before Bruno took over his father ran the business. And his father before that, and so on and so back as far as the 1600s. He led us into his garage and down a flight of stairs into his basement. In the basement, the father and son team, ferment, bottle, riddle, age, and cork all of the Champagne which bears their label. We then went upstairs, where it was time to pop corks. We sipped thru their brut, brut reserve, and a 2004 millesime before purchasing a few bottles of this and a few of that.

Through the entire exchange very little English was spoken by the Vauversins and very little French by us. Somehow we communicated just fine.


Cathy said...
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Cathy said...

I have to agree. I love Paris pretty much any time of year, but my winter trip in December 2009 was particularly magical. Maybe because it was Christmas? Dunno, but the minute I get on the plane, I'm always planning my return. Glad you had a great trip.