Flashback: Paris and Juno Beach

We were lucky enough to have time to take a quick couple days in Prague during this year’s All-Star Break, but last year at this time we were spending a luxuriously long (as far as hockey season goes) 4 days in France. From our home in the Netherlands it was only a 4 hour drive to Paris and since Dave was becoming the expert Euro-driver that he now is and I am the best navigator known to man, we went. We went exactly 3 blocks within the Peripherique road of Paris and it was like we entered a zone of constant honking, no regard for lines on the road and suicidal motorcyclists. We made it into the hotel parking structure alive. Barely.

Paris was amazing. There were iconic sights, unexpected side trips, interesting people and the standard smell of sewer that you must whiff at least once in every European city visited. We walked and walked farther than we ever thought was possible. We got blisters in places when we’d never seen before. We crashed into our hotel bed each night with visions of Monet (blurry), hearing the sounds of Francais (blee bloo bla la lee lo kwa), feeling the effects of the delicious wine (dizzy).

Don’t go to Paris if you are on a diet. It’s pointless and annoying. Eat crossaints. Eat pain au chocolat. Eat anything that smells good and is sold behind a glass case. Have cheese that smells like feet and tastes like heaven, and put it on bread that is fresh and warm with crust that makes use of molars. And if at ALL possible, eat all and any of this while sitting outside watching Paris go by.

I was lucky enough to have my old friend Anna (she picked me up in a bar in Ann Arbor a few years back, we’ve been kindred ever since) living in Paris and she used her language skills and social network to show us some more authentic culture. We went to this crazy little club and watched crazy, chain smoking Parisians dance to Brazillian music. We kept the party alive at the apartment of her friends and discussed…well I don’t really remember but I’m sure it was incredibly intellectual. Wine makes me more interesting.

One day of our holiday was spent taking a breather from the hustle and bustle of city streets to drive to the calmer, quieter and more quaint Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy. Dave’s Grandpa Jim was part of the Canadian force that stormed Juno Beach on D-Day. This part of our trip was certainly more somber than the rest, but it was a really important part of our journey and an extremely proud moment for an already proud David to see the beach itself and the amazing museum that has been built to honor the Canadian troops.

We had a wonderful, exhausting, informative, overwhelming, gorgeous French experience. We drove home with only minor navagational issues (Dave got overly excited at a sign indicating the Battle of the Somme, war history is a bit of an obsession for him) and with a trunkful of baked goods and pockets full of sand from the seashore.

2 thoughts on “Flashback: Paris and Juno Beach

  1. I’m so happy to read your fond memories of “our” city. We are taking my in-laws to Normandy next month and it will be our first visit to the WWII beaches.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s