France in December | Vive La France

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It’s day one in France and I don’t know how long I have been awake, what day it is, what day/time it is back home or how to form sentences in either English or French.

Flying in economy is painful if you are any bigger than a pomme de terre. I wished I were a Mr. Potato Head so I could detach my arms and shoes, stuff them in my trap back door and slump myself against the cabin wall for eight hours. Once the wheels were down, someone could kindly kick me towards the front of the plane and I’d reattach my limbs and go about our trip once out of the fun house. Sadly that wasn’t a realistic option, so I tried sleeping upright, a task that has recently been achieved both at my desk and home. With minimal beauty sleep success, we landed safely in Paris and navigated our way to the RER train. We asked at least quatre information booth attendants and each got us closer to our train.

Team Leandrew’s return to France (affectionately known as unfinished business) has a few goals:

  1. Eat all the foods. Especially the carbs.
  2. See père lachais and Opera Garnier.
  3. See all things Christmas.
  4. Drink toutes les champagnes.

Least common denominator, we are trying to live up to American stereotypes.

After the attacks on France nearly three weeks ago, family and friends shared their concerns about our planned trip. Being in and around Paris so close to the horrendous events that occurred was a concern. Would it be safe? Would we be OK? Would it change Paris?

Here are a few of my observations from the past day we spent in Paris and Reims:

  • Airport security/checking in took longer than last year.
  • Definite increase in police presence from our visit last year. At each train station there were more police, military members with large guns, K-9 units.
  • The events in November haven’t deterred all travelers. Our flight to Paris was full.
  • The French continue to move forward. Christmas decorations are up and trees are being sold and bundled outside of Gare d’est.

Walking around Reims, where champagne is housed and where the Nazis surrendered WWII, there is a huge Noël event with street vendors. Families walked the LED-lit streets buying trinkets and snacks. A child behind us threw some sort of firework to the ground creating a very loud pop. Leann and I both jumped. Knowing my reaction, I can only imagine the amplification for those that call France home.

France will continue to recover and rebuild.

My brain is calling it quits for today. I’ll try to add more details on the trivial stuff of what we ate and drank.