Significant Stuff

August 6, 2010

It’s the Paris Principle.  Allow me to ‘splain.

I rented a little apartment in the Marais district for a week and Ron and I snagged Hillary and Rachel during a visit to Scotland and dragged them to France.  There was no kicking and screaming involved – other than hoots of joy.  Internal hoots, of course.  This is Paris and there’s no reason to be gauche.

We did all sorts of cool stuff and almost all on foot.  We walked to most of the museums.  The Pompidou was on our walking route to the city centre-ish.  We had tea after scoping out Notre Dame on our first evening at a salon de the’ across the street from that mind boggling structure.  I’d lit a candle.  The first time in Notre Dame on another trip, I’d lit a candle.  If I got back a third time, it’s a tradition.  During tea, Hillary posed a question from one of her classes at the Glasgow School of Art and we threw in our opinions.

And, thus our week in Paris.  Musee d’ Orsay, the Louvre, Montmarte, Sacre Cour, Picasso Museum, and foooood. mmmmm.

We also discovered socialized medicine running smoothly on such a one-on-one personal level that the glow of those green crosses in the pharmacy windows came to symbolize comfort and care.  We learned early on that the people in Paris are kind and considerate.  You just need to understand how to approach them and then they will give you the shirts off their backs.  It’s all about being polite.

I’d read about this and our earliest opportunities to try it out were like magic.  We’d walk into a shop, wait for the proprietor to greet us, respond in kind and then allow him or her to provide what we’d come in for.  A shop in France is an extension of a person’s home and they take great pride in welcoming you in and showing you to exactly what you need.  They are experts at their niche and this gives them the chance to demonstrate the depth of their knowledge. Big French bonus if you’re gracious.  The French are into this big bonus.

Especially the pharmacists.  That little green cross came to signal to us that there was a highly trained professional inside who could, with the barest of explanations, diagnose your problem, duck into the back and return with the 2 boxes of medicinals that you needed.  And that he or she would be spot on.

Hence the Paris Principle.  What do you do when you’re sick, sick, sick on vacation?  You take a pill and get on with it. You might be moving slower, but that ensures a steady pace.

If I’m lucky, it will happen in France.  But, regardless, I’m responsible for my good time.  Even in the northwoods of Wisconsin.  There’s Nyquil.


Susan Scot Fry

ps.  If someone in Paris claims that they don’t speak English, they’re lying to you.  The very few who said they didn’t speak English did so with this little glint in their eye.  It was a game.  But, that’s another story.

Update…  Big naps, little adventures.  Get up and get going, crash hard and do it again.  That worked yesterday.  How about today?  Sometimes, that up and down energy flow works best.  Sometimes, slow and steady.  It’s the difference between a sprint and a marathon.


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