Oh, Paris… *sigh*…
I could easily sit here and romance you all day about champagne and macaroons. Or, how walking down Place Vendôme makes a little fashion heart flutter. Or, about how the sight of the Eiffel Tower makes you want to fall in love. But that, my friends, would rip you off of the ridiculous story about how I broke my leg a mere couple of weeks before my family took their holiday to the City of Love.
So, here you go. (You can thank me later.)
For one of my mother’s many 29th birthdays, my dad offered her a trip to Nice, Monaco and Paris with the surprise that halfway through the trip my brother, sister and I would join. Great plan, right? Well, it would have been until I decided to ruin myself during a business trip two weeks prior to departure. “How?” you ask. By having a dance off in a nightclub with a fabulous gay man that had been my waiter during dinner.
I’m basically a genius.
Lessons I learned on that fateful night:
#1: Even though you think sneakers are a safer choice than stilettos, this is not true. Stick to the stilettos, they have a better track record.
#2: Constructional support beams and posts in the middle of the dance floor should NOT be used as poles to dance on.
a. They are thick and nearly impossible to grip.
b. They are strategically placed in clear view of all other patrons for full embarrassment.
c. The floor around them is about as disgusting as a bar floor in Edmonton, Alberta could ever be.
#3: The enthusiasm built by a Led Zeppelin song needs to be harnessed before attempting stunts.
#4: Your true friends laugh first, then rush you to the emergency room later.
Incredibly long story short: 48 hours later I was in surgery having a metal plate, 2 pins and 5 screws hold my 9 broken bones (including my tibia and fibula) back together. Ouch.
Fast forward two weeks, and I learned an amazing thing about the horrors of air travel: Go with a broken leg and they are eliminated! That beautiful, robot-boot of a cast had me cutting security lines, boarding and deplaning first, as well as getting escorted on golf carts throughout the airport.
Arriving into Nice, and surprising my mother outside of her hotel room door, kicked off three very challenging days of crutching around narrow streets, beaches and restaurants trying to keep up with my family. Not to mention the nicknames and rhetoric I endured. (In my family, the more you’re teased the more you’re loved – I’ve never been so loved. Thanks.)
Once we arrived in Paris, the struggle continued as I hopped around the Notre Dame cathedral, wasn’t allowed higher than the first landing on the Eiffel Tower, and I often wound up sitting drinking espresso with whichever family member got sucked into taking a shift sitting out the sights with me.
Most of all, I was not looking forward to touring the Louvre with my handicap. This was compounded when we all realised the day we had chosen to do so was the monthly “free Sunday” and the lines were horrendous. My siblings and mother, being the loyal family members that they are, decided to ditch the cripple with my dad in order to race around trying to fight the crowds and squeeze everything in. Karma, being the lovely thing that it is, kicked them in the ass when a Louvre employee offered to sit me into a wheelchair and personally guided me to the front of each line and shuffled me through back rooms. Everything from the Mona Lisa to the Venus de Milo were viewed in under two hours by my dad and me, while the other three missed out on many of the works while queuing up. I call that a success!
All quipping aside, Paris is on every girl’s “must-see” list for a reason. But go prepared and with lots of time. Yes, there is a lot of touristy stuff to be done and it really isn’t a city where you should skip those sights. You’ll just want to make sure that you also have enough time to see the true charm: down side streets in sweet little patisseries, and getting lost in the uniformity.