“Do you know this, Mark?”
“YEAH! It’s the dab!”
… or more exactly, a t-shirt showing Mona Lisa “dabbing,” whatever “the dab” is (cf. Fortnite).
“We really have to introduce him to art.”
“First Sunday of the month, so free admission to all museums today!”
“The Mona Lisa is at the Louvre and it’s going to be packed like yesterday,” I point out.
“Musée d’Orsay?” my mom suggests.
We were lucky—our two hotel rooms are comfortable, clean, affordable and the staff let me use the kettle in the lobby to boil water for my soup at night. However, it’s the kind of place that gets angry reviews from American travellers—”ROOM IS TINY,” “NO STORAGE SPACE FOR MY 20 SUITCASES,” “SMALL SHOWER CABINS FOR THIN PEOPLE ONLY.”
Rooms 002 and 003 are a great place to wash and sleep but a terrible meeting spot to make plans for the day.
“Can we just agree on today’s goal and just head out? Guys, please?”
“There are plenty of Sunday markets in Paris,” Feng offers.
“Ah bon? Really?”
“Never heard of them.”
“I think I can find a couple…”
“Let’s follow him,” I tell my mom. “He probably knows where he’s going, he must have done some research.”
Lo and behold, Feng took us to a second-hand book market Parc Georges Brassens and then to the puces Porte de Vanves. I supplied us with coffee and everybody was happy. “This guy is amazing…” my mom even sighed.
“Should we try Orsay now?”
“Sounds good. The usual? You two take the subway and we walk?”
My mom and I crossed Paris once again. The queue at the Musée d’Orsay was surprisingly fast and manageable and twenty minutes later, we were inside the amazing 1900 railway station converted into a 19th-century-work art museum. We saw the Berthe Morisot exhibition and the many Van Gogh, Manet and Gauguin paintings.
After the visit, we walked to Les Invalides together and my mom went back to the hotel with Mark to rest for a while.
“Last seen entering Les Invalides subway station,” I joked, snapping a picture of the two of them holding hands. I could hear Mark shouting “I don’t need a ticket, I just sneak under the gate”—good to see Feng taught him a few French fare-dodging tricks.
“You and me alone in Paris… what should we do?”
“Am I supposed to take you shop Avenue Montaigne?”
“Let’s skip it. The Canadian Embassy used to be Avenue Montaigne, I spent way too much time in this neighbourhood dropping off visa applications and waiting to pick up my passport.”
We followed the Seine River until the Pont de l’Alma—“look, that’s where Lady Di’s car crashed!”—walked up Avenue Montaigne to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, spent some time around the Arc de Triomphe—we ran across traffic on Place Charles de Gaulle like two stupid tourists—and followed Avenue Kléber up to the Trocadéro.
“I’m going to call my mom. Maybe they want to come and see the Eiffel Tower at night.”
I picked them up again at Les Invalides and we arrived at the Champ de Mars right when the Eiffel Tower started to sparkle.
Formula for a perfect day? No plans, just hope for the best.