On Sunday, we are going to France. I know what you're thinking, but, look, someone has to do it. Steve and I are willing to take the bullet for the rest of you. I've finished the laundry from the shore and, in my mind's eye, I'm thinking about what to pack, what combinations will be most versatile, what clothes will wash out in the sink. I've decided on my long, felted sweater instead of a raincoat. It looks nice with a wider range of outfits, and I'll bring my broad-brimmed rain hat. I'll check the weather Saturday , and if the forecast is especially wet, I'll switch out, but mostly I'm betting against the rain.
It's a hardship tour, too. We spend a couple of days in Nice, bus over to Arles and cruise up the Rhone for a week, right through the wine districts. The cruise line brings chefs from the districts on board and features the local wines. Yeah, yeah, there are historic tours, too, but who are we kidding? When we're all as stuffed and happy as we can be, they bus us over to Paris for 24 hours.
Paris. The tours offered in Paris cover what we saw when we were there four years ago. That was on our "free" trip to Paris, compliments of Steve's emergency medical evacuation out of Moscow to have his gall bladder removed. On the direction that, when sufficiently recovered, it was good for him to get fresh air and exercise, we took a short excursion each day, metro-ing to sites in central Paris. Unfortunately, at that time, he couldn't walk enough to see Versailles. That is my goal this time.
As the best of good luck would have it, our very favorite patisserie (thanks to a recommendation from Steve's nurse – he's still a little in love with her) has a branch right on the grounds of Versailles. Lauderee, oh, my sweet Lauderee, of the pale green and pink china, napkins and boxes. How much dare I spend on macaroons? How many can I bring home without crushing the box? Without their going stale? What flavors will I enjoy this time? Raspberry, pistachio, lemon? (Remarkably, the chocolate aren't as good as some of the other flavors.) Dare we try Jasmine Mango, added in 2008? Should we deviate altogether and have a napoleon with our coffee?
I know for many people, Paris means fashion, Paris means art, Paris means love. For us, Paris means macaroons from Lauderee. Without rain, please.