On a Tuk Tuk adventure
"Everything ends this way in Paris...
everything is a pretext for a good dinner."
- Jean Anouilh
For today's Show & Tell Friday, I offer a beautiful memory...
Usually, after a day of wandering Paris, we begin our leisurely 30 minute walk home at the Place de la Concorde (entrance to Jardins de Tuileries). Yes, we always stop for some 'sustenance' at the same favorite cafe along the way! But, on this day, mom just could not do it - she was exhausted from a day of lots of walking, poor dear. There was no other solution, we had to take a taxi home. We were all dissapointed at the prospect, it was a gorgeous afternoon: the sun was just beginning to set on a warm balmy day - perfect walking weather. With a sigh of resignation, I walked toward the taxi stand.
That's when I noticed that, in order to get to the taxi stand, I had to walk by the oddest sight: 'topless' glorified golf-carts with kitschy signs affixed to the side panel/doors - Tuk Tuk Parisiens, Toutes Destinations! As I looked at the wonderful, silly carts, I had a Mimi ahhhah! moment - this is how we're going to have our cake and eat it too: getting home and still enjoying the beautiful Parisian dusk.
I approached the fellow sitting in the driver's seat of the nearest Tuk Tuk and asked him what he'd charge for six of us for a one way ride to the 7th. He answered 15 Euros for each Tuk Tuk (three to a Tuk). That's exactly what two taxi rides would cost. You know that I said yes! The kids were thrilled!! We piled in, and away we went.
*Warning: the following photographs were taken while traveling in a 'topless' Tuk Tuk, at @ 24 mph...
Mom, Sage, and Never - on a Tuk Tuk adventure!
Rory was with Mr. Gorgeous and I -
I'll get photos of that next time, 'cause we are so going to do this again!
When I first 'developed' these photos, I thought that they were too blurry to add to the 'keeper' pile. But a few months passed and I re-visited them. Upon further consideration, I've decided that they look like a painting that would have been shown at the Salon des Refuses. Love them!
What a wonderful, unique way to experience Paris
I think I did Berthe Morisot proud,
if I do say so myself ;-)
The ride back to our apartment was...magical! Not because we rode by monuments - this was absolutely not your typical tour experience. No, it was magical because we rode the streets alongside ordinary everyday pedestrians, cars, and autobuses. These topless carts allowed us to feel the warm breeze, as we gently bumped and thumped along. Of course, the best part was the expressions on our children's faces - an adventure to remember forever! And we talked, laughed, and shrieked the entire way ;-)
When we reached our final destination, and alighted at our apartment doors, all I could think that it was that the ride was not long enough - I wanted to go again! The next day, Mr. Gorgeous made arrangements for our last night in Paris - a date night. He called the Tuk Tuk company and arranged for a romantic hour long Parisian tour-for-two, followed by dinner at our latest favorite restaurant Le Bistrot du 7eme...
Our driver was nearly 45 minutes late, to pick us up at our apartment. Don't know why and don't care. Peter especially was pissed. When our driver/guide - Salvatore - arrived he was contrite and, sometime/somewhere along the way to get us, decided to make it up to us by giving us a personal nearly 2 hour dusk tour of Paris! Good thing I remembered to bring my cashmere wrap, a hat and scarf for Mr. Gorgeous, and one of Never's fleece stroller blankets. Salvatore took us to every nook and cranny of 'his' Paris.
Down rue Cler, around Les Invalides and the streets surrounding Musee Rodin, Place de la Concorde, the Jardin du Tuileries, the Palais du Louvre with a stop at I.M. Pei's Pyramids; down the Champs Elysees to the Arc du Triomphe...
A Tuk Tuk is so small that Salvatore was able to take us on the tiniest, narrowest streets - at times I could reach out, if I wanted, and touch a cafe chair. We rumbled down several streets too narrow to fit a car; several pedestrian lanes; a crowded street market; and even a few private parks. Salvatrore got us as close to the action as if he were taking us on a walking tour.
Of course, in such an intimate setting, we shared a little of our life stories and quickly developed a relaxed easy going repoire. Salvatore, the son of an Italian mother and French father, became frustrated as our tour continued. He told us that his Italian and French were much better than his English and there was so much he wanted to tell us, that English was not allowing him to.
Once we told Salvatore that Mr. Gorgeous speaks fluent French and Italian, and I speak fluent Italian (and can understand quite a bit of French), he conducted the rest of our tour in a delightful combination of French, Italian and English (thank Goddess that Mr. Gorgeous translated the French words I didn't understand ;-)
How can I express, in mere words, how amazing it was to tour my beloved Paris, in an open air glorified golf-cart, with running commentary in a combination of French, Italian, and a little English thrown in for good measure?
As we rumbled toward the Arc du Triomphe, we were nearing the end of our magical mystery tour. As I took this photo, Peter was on his Blackberry, confirming our dinner reservations. Impulsively I asked Salvatore to drop us off at our restaurant, instead of our apartment (only a few blocks away). You should have seen everyone's faces as Peter and I pulled up in that topless jalopy! Bistrot du 7eme is our latest addition to favorite restaurants in Paris list - great food and wine list, with candlelit romance oozing from every pore.
It was a crazy, fascinating, bumpy, intimate, fun, and romantic dusk and evening ending with a moonlit walk home... Ms. Anouilh is absolutely correct, everything ends in, is a pretext for, a good dinner in Paris. Now that's what I call pretext! It was a perfect Parisian moment - sigh.
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!