As know-it-all adolescents, my mother would annoy us with her self-defensive warning that pride goeth before the fall. Having departed Monfort at 6:45, I drove down the Rue de la Republic sans faute toward the Aix Eurocar rental office an hour later, feeling pretty proud of myself. I had several hours left to drop off the car, walk five blocks to the train station and snatch a coffee and croissant. Problem: seeing the locked up Eurocar facade, I remembered I was to return the car at the train station. Lucky I had time to wind back.
Problem two: After circling about forty minutes, I discovered that there are two train stations in Aix and the one I needed was in a suburb, not around the corner. Feeling the pinch.
Problem three: As my francophile-artist friend, Cindy, says, French directions and road signs get you ninety percent of the way there. Deduct more for not catching avery word. After sweating more wrong turns, I arrived at the airport-sized train station and after one final bad turn down a fireman-dedicated lane, handed over the car keys at 9:15. My unnerved and damaged self-esteem was consoled to still have ample time to buy a baguette sandwich for the train.
Paris has been a dream, granted a chilly one. I finally spent time at the Louvre and revisited my favorite artists at Musée Dorsay. Last night I reveled in a magical dream of new French friends saying goodbye: a Moulin Rouge version of the real goodbye I had shared with the waiter at Le Jardin d”Artemis, who announced to the French diners that I was his American artist friend.
Difficult to top that farewell, I’ll end the trip tonight after one last cold walk to the Seine and back, dining late in a tiny husband-wife restaurant around the corner, sating any sense left in my body, mind or soul that can possibly absorb another ounce of life. I may explode, but what a way to go!