My Technology Does Not Speak French

It’s been a rough start. I must say that if I wasn’t so tethered to technology, I would be having a much easier time.

Cell phones have been tough. Of the three of us, all with different makes and models of phones, only my sister is able to get online. I’ve made the executive decision to surrender and forgo cell phone technology. All those wonderful internet-based apps I used in New York? No go. I’ll just use the maps that are on every street corner here in Paris.

Other than tech struggles, all else has been good. The weather couldn’t be more delightful. Both days have been sunny and in the 60s to low 70s. We’ve logged in about 10-1/2 miles with no blisters on our feet. Overall, most Parisians have been patient with us as we butcher their beautiful language.

Jet lag’s hit me hard on this trip – another sleepless night. After tossing and turning for two hours, I finally got up at 4:15am and typed a rough draft, then quietly slithered out of the apartment at 6:15 for an early morning walk. Still dark outside, I was a bit nervous about being on the streets alone.

As I approached Rue de St. Antoine, the main street near our apartment, I was delighted to see some activity at a bistro nearby. I was in dire need of a cup of coffee. The closer I got, the clearer it became that the patrons were still partying from the evening before. Silly me, mother of 3 teenagers, to think young people would be up shortly after 6am having coffee. I did find a patisserie in the next block with freshly baked chocolate croissants. And yes, if you’re gonna be rude and keep count, it was my 3rd in two days.

I was struck by the many homeless families sleeping on the street. There were mothers, fathers and their children all are snuggled up together in pallets, sound asleep. All their worldly possessions were nearby, stacked in push carts. Pots and pans, shoes, books . . . all out in the open for anyone to steal as they slumbered on the cold pavement. Although they looked peaceful in their sleep, I could hardly bear to look, especially at the small children.

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One of my sister’s good friends, Alicia, is also here in Paris, visiting her brother who works for the State Department. They very graciously invited us to dinner last night and what a treat! We had the rare opportunity to peer inside a real Parisian home. The beautiful oval dining room adorned with 1-foot moulding, the circular marble staircase, the 12-foot tall doors – yes, it looked just like Julia Child’s apartment in the movie Julie Julia.

As we sat around this lovely table enjoying our wine, Alicia entered the dining room and announced that we had a problem. You see, her command of the French language was no better than ours. In her attempt to navigate the oven, all knobs labeled in French, she had accidently hit the ‘clean’ button. The oven was on lockdown for two hours and the temperature was quickly rising to the 800-degree mark. Our dinner, fish and potatoes, was inside.

You can only imagine how the evening ended. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.

The view from our apartment.

  • My "Sophisticated" Life
    Posted at 09:04h, 01 September

    Wow so sad about the families in the streets. I wonder what their policies are for homelessness there. Crazy story about forgetting your passport! Glad things are starting to come together. My friend was supposed to visit this weekend but missed her flight and couldn’t get on the next one. Anything is possible…

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 11:55h, 01 September

      oh, it is a beautiful weekend here. What a bummer that she missed her flight.

  • Max
    Posted at 10:03h, 01 September

    Yes! I’m keeping count of the croissants. Of all the things you wrote about, I focused on that! Soldier on!

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 11:54h, 01 September

      Now Max, I wouldn’t date do you that way. Right!

  • Jane K.
    Posted at 10:28h, 01 September

    The story of the oven set to “clean” instead of “bake” is priceless!! Definitely worth a scene in a future movie.

    Sorry about the tech traumas. But when in Paris…

  • thomas
    Posted at 11:02h, 01 September

    so with no computer and no phone, how are you posting?

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 11:53h, 01 September

      my dear sister is letting me use her MacBook Pro. She leaves in a week, tho, so need to figure it out by then!

  • Leigh the Money Diva
    Posted at 11:48h, 01 September

    Do tell which phone/carrier/system is working in Paris? I’m hoping my new LTE with sim card will be useful and not ridiculously expensive when I get to Paris in a couple weeks…
    Have an extra choc croissant-walking over 10 miles a day makes up for it!

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 11:52h, 01 September

    The brand new iPhone works with a new SIMM card. And just today T-Mobile MyTOuch 4G now works. My 3G iPhone does not work.

    • Megan Broutian
      Posted at 13:25h, 01 September

      That is so weird because on our last two trips, we kept marveling at how good cell reception was in Paris, even down in the metro. I had my Maps on the whole time and I walked everywhere — even when I took the metro, I knew exactly where I was when I came out (iphone, 3G, AT&T). I dunno what to say.

      • lisaweldon
        Posted at 14:54h, 01 September

        I have the verizon 4 which is not the global phone…no SIM card.

  • Catherine Parker Lessing
    Posted at 15:57h, 01 September

    I feel like a benign voyeur…glad things seem to be on the upswing. No blisters is great. I’ll be wishing you a good night’s sleep to help fuel more fun. And what the heck – eat all the darned choc croissants that cross you path. And check out the eclairs – I have a serious research need to know what type of filling is used. 🙂 Homeless families observation makes me very sad…and we know there are plenty right here at home who need help, too….

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 04:08h, 02 September

      ok, Cathy, I remembered that someone had asked that I report on eclairs. It was you! Well, I am proud to report that I had one yesterday…it was iced in chocolate as well as having a chocolate mousse in the inside. I might have to try several more to make sure they are ALL chocolate filled. You know the ones we have in the states is cream-filled . . . I’ll keep reporting on them as I sample them!

  • Joanna
    Posted at 16:54h, 01 September

    It’s 5pm here. Hope you are sleepy tonight.

  • Pat moslow
    Posted at 16:54h, 01 September

    Good news. Last time we were in Paris we ate pastries three times a day. I lost 8 pounds on that trip. Still another reason to love Paris, the calories don’t count!

  • Debbie V.
    Posted at 23:09h, 01 September

    I hope you figure out your internet/phone thingy soon. I’m enjoying your posts.

  • Shannon C
    Posted at 13:13h, 02 September

    Your posts remind me of several sayings I have had to adopt as I get older… “Life happens when we are busy making plans…” and “God gave me a sense of humor, because he made me this way…” . Your doing great with both!.
    Just think how dull a trip would be if we didn’t have the unexpected add a little spice along the way! Julia, her life and her cooking reflected it! I believe the the perfect French diet includes: Vitamins & Minerals & Chocolate Croissants too!

  • Alicia
    Posted at 20:19h, 02 September

    Hellooooooooooo! My French is fine. The stove is in GERMAN. And it’s true: I have very little facility with that language. Ha ha. Next time, I’ll stick with chocolate croissants! Oui! Great to have y’all here for the oven debacle. And just so your readers know: We ended up prying the oven door off the stove front and saving the meal.

  • Janis Miller
    Posted at 10:02h, 14 September

    Great oven story. But one must never forget that chocolate croissants are certainly important but don’t forget the to-die-for Parisian chocolate (or cocoa as we know it) For the best, go to the Cafe Paradis (right next to Hotel St. Merry) and experience pure bliss. And when you come back, my friend has perfected the recipe so it can be had every day here too.

  • Lisa weldon
    Posted at 10:49h, 14 September

    I ve got to watch my girlish figure, Janis!!