My husband has not had good experiences or memories from France, so you can imagine his response when I suggested that we visit Paris as part of our upcoming vacation to commemorate our 20th wedding anniversary. As I pleaded for a romantic afternoon strolling along the cafes, wonderful pictures by the Eiffel Tower and a visit to the Louvre, he reminded me of the last time we were in France. We visited Cannes for a day on a Mediterranean cruise 2 years ago. After browsing the much too expensive shops, we decided to head to the beach. To access the beach, we had to go to a “beach club,” which luckily provided rental umbrellas and lounge chairs. As we approached the small stand, I realized that the young man didn’t speak English and we don’t speak French. I did my best gestures and spoke extra loudly (because that helps) as I said UMBRELLA and TWO CHAIRS. It became apparent that the young man didn’t understand and my husband was instantly annoyed. I continued pointing and over enunciating, determined to prove my husband wrong about the French people. This continued for a few minutes and then a lightening bolt hit me and in my excitement I screamed, “PARASOL!” The young man seemed relieved as he got one and then he motioned to the chairs and I nodded and held up two fingers. Victorious, we followed the young man to the beach where he proceeded to set up our chairs and umbrella. After my husband handed him a tip the young man looked at us and said, “Thanks, have a great day,” in perfect English; I couldn’t believe it. I laughed and my husband gave me his I told you so look. Later that afternoon we were heading back to our ship and stopped at a mobile stand for a snack. My husband asked for two Coke Zeros (which were on display) and the salesman just stared; he didn’t understand. My husband said it again and pointed to the can. The salesman looked annoyed and said, “Oh, Coke Zzerro!” (imagine it with a French accent) at which point my husband was about to strangle the man.
So, in a few weeks we will be heading to Europe again and we will be visiting Paris for a few days before heading to Greece. I am hoping that I can turn my husband’s heart to favor the romantic city that I have always wanted to visit. So if you know anyone in Paris can you ask them to be super nice to us?!