Lost (Again!) in Le Marais

Weaving and winding its way along the narrow medieval passageways, scanning the street signs for “Rue  Michel LeComte” in the Le Marais district of Paris, our taxi cab had now been frantically driving around the block for what seemed to be several long hours. Still feeling somewhat groggy, fatigued and suffering from a little bit of a “headache”, having indulged in way too much vino on our 8 hour long claustrophobic overnight flight from Canada, I was anxious to set up camp in our rental apartment and introduce my niece to the culture, cuisine and couture of this intoxicating city.

Speaking a melange of Francais with “un peu de l’anglais” thrown in, we were eventually deposited at our Parisian digs.  Pleased that I, being the responsible adult that I was, had even been brilliant enough to arrange that the same cab collect us 10 days later for our return journey home.   Unfortunately, the irresponsible adult in me had neglected to take note of the cab driver’s name or phone number of the taxi company.  Yikes!!  Oh well....can’t worry about it now....just have to hope that the taxi shows up on the designated morning.  And that’s a whole new blog post entirely on its own!

Schlepping our luggage up 3 flights of 18th century wooden stairs, my sleep-deprived brain was barely able to concentrate as our rental agent toured us through the apartment, explaining the intricacies of how the stove, television and internet work.  This would have been quite useful information to have carefully absorbed when needing to prepare meals or hooking up the laptop. No wonder then that we became frequent customers at our newly favourite eatery, Pizzeria Eno, located just steps away.

With Paris being the ultimate fashion capital of the world, I first needed to freshen up, coif my disheveled locks and attire my pink-sneakered self in an ultra-chic, glamorous and sophisticated frock and attempt to pass myself off as an uber-cool French fashionista. Plugging my electric hot rollers into the two-pronged European socket, I immediately heard a popping sound and stared in disbelief as plumes of smoke emanated from the bottom of the tray.

Yikes!! This can’t be good. Yanking the electrical cord from the socket, grabbing the smoking curlers and hurling them into the kitchen sink, gratefully thanking my lucky stars that this time I did not accidentally plunge our entire apartment complex into complete darkness, as I did when our coffee maker blew up in Barcelona. (Sept 22nd post – When the Lights Went out in Barcelona). Do I sense a pattern here?

Ambling along the laneways and corridors of our bustling French quarter, darting in and out of the multitude of unique whimsical shops, my niece and I spent a delightful rest of the afternoon blissfully content under the seductive spell of Paris.

Since it’s a six hour time difference between our neck of the woods and the City of Lights, being the responsible Auntie that I am, I needed to get the kid home and get some shut-eye. Having stayed in the 3rd arrondissement on my previous Parisian excursions, I considered myself somewhat of an unofficial expert on the neighbourhood. Perhaps it was because Rue Michel LeComte is one of the narrowest medieval passageways I’ve ever placed my pink-sneakered foot in, the cobblestoned corridor tucked away and sequestered from the larger bustling avenues, our leisurely ten minute walk home turned into a three hour frantic quest. Yikes!!  We were hopelessly lost amongst a labyrinth of twisting and winding laneways.

Rue du Temple, Rambuteau, Beaubourg and Blvd Sebastopol were no longer the familiar arteries that I had once confidently strode on, but a maze and jumble of routes leading everywhere but home.  In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken that map with me after all.

 Re-assuring my niece that “we’ll be there in just 5 minutes”, scrutinizing my memory for any recognizable landmarks, I zealously re-traced each and every step and cringed at the thought that I might have to fess up and tell the kid that we might not make it home in time for dinner.

By now our pink-sneakered feet (yup, pink-sneakered kid) had pretty much canvassed most of the Rues and avenues of the 3rd and 4th arrondissement and had left no stone unturned in our quest for the holy grail, that of course being, Rue Michel LeComte.  A bit dramatic, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.

Turning the corner of Rue Beaubourg we unexpectedly found ourselves on familiar territory once again, my niece excitedly squealing: “Look, Auntie Nora, there’s our building, across the street!”

Note to self when globe-trotting with the kid:  take a map with you!

Thought I’d add this note about an odd, curious and coincidental find in our Parisian dwelling:

How curious, how wonderful, how coincidental, how odd? “Les chiens de Riga” was one of the few books prominently stacked on the bookcase. My niece pointed it out, as the title of the book had the word “Riga” in it. The reason that I mention this book is that we are of Latvian descent and found it coincidental that we happened to stumble across this volume in our randomly chosen rental apartment.  Riga is the capital city of the country of Latvia.  What a delightful and unexpected synchronicity!

Come promenade along the cobblestone laneways and get lost in Le Marais with us....

Next week – En route to the Louvre....waiting for Mona Lisa

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