Bonjour Bloggy Friends,
While standing in line for our tickets, however, the attendant announced that Versailles was closed for the day. She gave no reason. It was just flat out closed. We stood dumbfounded for a moment, but when we finally pulled ourselves together we quickly decided on "Plan B" - a tour of the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Ok, I know visiting a cemetery doesn't sound like an ideal second choice to Versailles, but this place is unbelievable. Not only are there hundreds of gloriously famous people buried here, but the size of the cemetery and architectural intricacy of some of the tombstones is astounding. We cruised by Maria Callas' plot in the crematorium, Oscar Wilde's massive tombstone covered in lipstick kisses, Edith Piaf's discreet family plot and of course Jim Morrison's grave, which is so popular that it has to be blocked off by guards and gates.
Later that evening we met my old friend Thomas (pronounced Toomah) for dinner in the Marais. For two summers in the late 90s he lived with my family and I as a foreign exchange student. We lost touch for many years but finally reconnected through Facebook. That's how I was able to let him know that I'd be in Paris if he wanted to meet up. He took us to a quintessential French restaurant called Cafè Rouge. I can't hardly remember what I ate because I was so consumed with catching up with him after all these years. I'm happy to see that he's living a wonderful life in Paris. He has a fantastic job near the Champs Élyseés and just bought a new flat outside of the city. He'll be moving there with his girlfriend soon.
It was also fun to drill him on the Parisian culture, which Alan and I have been trying to wrap our brains around the whole time. It comes to find out life isn't much different for young, working class Parisians as it is for us - at least in his experience. He says he doesn't take two hour lunches, he picks up his groceries in one quick stop and he doesn't drink nearly as much wine and coffee throughout the day as we had figured.
It was great to catch up with Thomas, but we had to cut the evening short because our train to Amsterdam leaves in the morning at 6:25 a.m. Stay tuned...