Although we arrived in Paris only yesterday, Derek and I have already begun to understand what Hemingway meant when he called this city a “moveable feast.”  Finally liberated from our pre-wedding diets, we have spent the last 24 hours in a near-constant state of consumption.  PantheonAs I write this, we have just wiped away the baguette crumbs from our makeshift picnic on the wrought-iron balcony of our room in the Hotel de Grands Hommes (about which all of the spectacular reviews on tripadvisor are, indeed, true).  We have a room overlooking the Pantheon, an ancient building that Derek has fallen in love with.

We spent yesterday afternoon wandering the narrow streets of the Rue de Mouffetard and, of course, pausing to indoctrinate ourselves into the French lifestyle via a Nutella-filled crepe.  Following a touristy-but-still-cool cruise on the Seine, we joined throngs of Parisians in line at Le Relais de VeniceParis 038, where the waitress, when she arrived to take our order, asked us only a single question: “rare or medium rare?”.  Nothing more was needed, as there was no doubt that we, like all the others, were there for the steak frites (aka steak and french fries), a French classic.Paris 033  True to their reputation, the steak and the frites were both extraordinary, as was the meringue/chocolate concoction (with the greatest chocolate sauce ever created by man) that followed.Dessert - pre-devastationPost-Devastation

Jet lag and recovery from our wedding-related sleep deprivation meant that we didn’t rise this morning until well after our guide book’s recommended hour of 8:00 a.m. (Waking up this early apparently allows one to take in Paris’s most famous sites while avoiding most other tourists.  It is a theory that we will never test.)  We wandered into Guy Savoy’s Les Bourguinistes for a late lunch, during which we ordered–and then devoured–everything on the prix fixe menu.  Among the stars of the show were my soup (labeled “carrot,” but more aptly described as “butter”)Paris_Sep_7 008 and Derek’s duckParis_Sep_7 010, which, as best we can tell given my still-limited language skills (the studying on the plane could only carry me so far), was drizzled with fig sauce.

We’re now preparing (yes, we’re still hungry) for a 10:00 dinner at A Beauvilliers.  (Jet lag allows us to eat as late as the actual residents of this city.)  While our bellies are certainly rounder than they were last week, the ill effects of our binging are somewhat lessened by the fact we’ve been walking all over the city.  Today’s jaunts took us to the Pantheon (which is located about 200 feet from our balcony), the Palais de Justice (where we happened upon a trial for drug possession in full swing–incredibly interersting even despite the language barrier), the amazing stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chappelle, a quaint flower market and, of course, the Notre Dame, where we lit prayer candles (a candle burns in Paris for you, Uncle Larry) Prayer Candlesand ascended the 387 steps of the church’s North Tower to see Paris from a completely different perspective.View from Notre Dame

I’m currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.”  In one chapter, Gilbert hypothesizes that every city can be summed up with a single word (so, for instance, Nashville’s word might be “musical,” while Detroit’s could be “recovering”).  The people who most enjoy a city are those who can be described with the same word.  On our walk back to the hotel this afternoon, Derek and I decided that we and Paris currently share a single moniker: “splurge.”  Perhaps that explains our love affair with this town.

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UPDATE:

We have just returned from what can only be described as one of the best meals of our lives (a label not given hastily, given all we’ve been eating since we arrived here).  I know there’s a book called French Women Don’t Get Fat.  French women must not eat at these restauarants.