From a Lost Bag to a Day at the Beach to a Wine on the Champs-Élysées
Re-entry into Paris was no easy affair — with a lost suitcase to report at the very same moment as the airport was evacuated by the bomb squad to inspect an abandoned bag…plus dealing with the unusual intense heat of which Parisians are not accustomed. I had just come from the land of heat, humidity and over-air-conditioned everything where you go from an oven to a refrigerator, where one minute you’re sweating and the next minute you’re freezing, never really feeling comfortable.
You will not hear me complain about the heat in Paris after enduring a year of gray, cold, rainy weather. And after living for years without air-conditioning and just a fan that follows me from room to room, it is preferable to that overzealous approach to the heat. On the other hand, the heat in Paris is wreaking havoc with our visiting guests in un-air-conditioned apartments who are more in tune to central air-conditioning and the idea of going from ‘oven to refrigerator’ and who now only have a choice between open windows with street noise or the heat with fans.
The lost bag has not been fun. Two days later it has yet to be delivered. I phoned Air France about a dozen times. The last phone call was shocking, as not only did they have no information about the bag arrival, or the delivery they promised this morning, but they admitted that they cannot call out from their ‘call center’ — I have to phone in to them. Fortunately, while I am missing some things from the bag, I have what I need at home to make up for it…except much summer clothing that would relieve some of the heat spell. There is no telling when I’ll have it back.
Paris Plage was particularly busy thanks to the heat. There were more than the usual number of sunbathers on the sand soaking up the rays and hoping to tan their pasty white skin. The city must have reduced their budget this year as it seems there were fewer palm trees and trees in general, fewer places to relax in the shade and the traditional blue flags were not to be found. All in all, it seems less animated with less activities, in spite of the numbers of visitors which was acutely more.
While those on the sand were bronzing, those on the “parvis” of the Hôtel de Ville, could enjoy the FNAC-sponsored live concerts which took place there from the 18th of July through yesterday. Over the course of the four days, there were 32 concerts, all free and open to the public.
Late in the afternoon, I happened upon “a young up and coming French producer who sports a pretty unique electronic style” — “Superpoze.” His instrument was an electronic board, not a keyboard, and he played it with flair, as if it were, akin to Jerry Lee Lewis, but the sound was totally synthetic. He had the crowd enthralled and the day continued to be full of surprises.
The Tour de France was scheduled to come to the finish line on the Champs Élysées about 9:45 p.m. It was surprisingly easy to get reservations at La Brasserie at the Publicis Drugstore at the western end of the famous avenue just near the Etoile. They placed us at a table near the window with a perfect view of the scene — in the air-conditioned restaurant, with good food and a bottle of chilled rosé wine. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
The bikers circled the avenue many times, but in such a whiz that if you didn’t have your camera really ready, it was impossible to capture the moment. It was no surprise that Christopher Froome championed the 100th Tour de France! Even though “he lost 53 seconds to the winner of the final stage and 43 seconds to his nearest rival in the general classification, the Sky team sealed its second successive victory in the Tour de France at the end of the evening spectacle on the streets of Paris.” We saw the finish about 9:40 p.m. from our luxurious spot.
Then the ceremonies began to hand out the sought-after prizes, with the Arc de Triomphe in the backdrop on which were projected images along with a full viewing of the ceremonies on huge screens for all to see. My friends from New Orleans exclaimed, “This is like Mardi Gras on the Champs Élysées!” — with thousands upon thousands of fans in their newly-purchased Tour de France yellow T-shirts to welcome in these serious athletes.
It was the perfect end to a perfect day in a warm, sultry Paris — a rarity indeed.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(with daughter, Erica and nieces Shari and Allison)
P.S. West Village New York City studio apartment (with a perfect view of the Empire State Building) is available for vacation rental September 23-30, 2013 for $1,200! Located in the heart of the coolest ‘hood’ in the city. “It’s super cozy, clean and comfortable.” A 50% deposit reserves your stay. See the apartment at West Village Studio. For your reservations requests, email: [email protected].