#1 | Italian
The first thing we eat
is Italian food. Fancy that! First lunch in Paris and here we are, going over an Italian menu written in French. How did Ernestine and I end up in an Italian restaurant anyway? I feel a little guilty for being too lazy to explore the neighborhood to look for a proper French restaurant.
Across, a church. The bell tolls, announcing the end of Mass. It’s Sunday! People come pouring out looking famished. It doesn’t take long before the tiny Italian restaurant starts filling up with the faithful. The waiter smiles at us with eyebrows raised. Hurry up, he says without a word. And now, aloud in French: What would you like to have? I don’t even bat an eyelash. Spaghetti, please. The waiter nods as if it is the most natural thing in the world.
The restaurant hums with French conversations. Ernestine and I laugh at nothing in particular. I bump elbows with the old man seated at the next table. Excusez-moi, he smiles, roast chicken stuck between his two front teeth. I didn’t know the French loved Italian, too. We will eat what the French eat, I declare, and like a Fellini heroine, wash my guilt down with a glass of vino rosso.
2 | Pyramide du Louvre
The sun is brilliant
in the afternoon light. It washes the Louvre pyramid with a golden glaze. What a peculiar sight, this pyramid. Glass and metal and strangeness all in one. It’s like a red feather boa wrapped around a nun’s neck. Or something to that effect. Odd but beautiful, set against the traditional edifice behind it. Beautiful in its oddity.
Around people are paralysed by the heat. An American woman poses for a photo, letting her index finger touch the tip of the the pyramid’s pointy top. It’s an optical illusion choreographed by way too many tourists, an image I want to erase from the interweb forever. Can’t you take that picture already? the woman seems irritated. I’m getting fried here!
One, two, three! Perfect!
She and her companion quickly cower in the shade. Not us. We face the sun, like sunbathers on the beach. The past two weeks in 10 degrees was torture. So we surrender to the heat. The next day, we will discover that our hands and faces are a shade darker. But for now, we let the glorious heat embrace us.
The Louvre is open every day (except Tuesday) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Night opening until 9:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays and closed on the following holidays: January 1, May 1, December 25