Reflections on the Honeymoon in France

Yes, we’re back from France, and Rebecca and I had a wonderful time. We wanted to go somewhere romantic, of course, and somewhere neither of us had been, so Paris seemed ideal (other than a quick stop in Amsterdam when I was 16, I’d never been to Europe at all.) So France it was.
The funny thing about a honeymoon: You’re not really thinking about it in advance, because you’re thinking about the wedding until like the day before. We had lots of ideas of stuff to do, despite not a whole lot of advance planning other than flights and hotel.
To answer the first two questions: Yes, we did have a bidet in our hotel room, and yes, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese really is called a “Royale with Cheese” (actually, “Royal,” perhaps renamed in honor of Segolene.) But no, we didn’t partake of either. That’s the funny thing about Europe, the little differences.
And no, we didn’t get any trouble at all for being either American or Jewish, which was my biggest concern about the trip. However, everyone seemed to know we were American the second they saw us -None of that “pretending to be Canadian” bullshit for us- and the last names “Silver” and “Goldenberg” didn’t exactly hide our Semitism either. But nope, no trouble; not a single Frenchman accosted us on the Champs Elysees and blamed us personally for Bush’s election or the war in Iraq. . My old pal John Pagano used to call the French “baguette-swinging Jew-haters,” but I saw not much of either.
A few other observations, with photos hopefully to follow by the end of the week:
– I mostly loved the food, especially the croissants, the crepes, and those French hot dog things with the cheese. But a couple of restaurant pet peeves- no water, unless you order it? And even then, no ice? After an 80-degree day, I really needed that. As for the opposite extreme: the coffee just sucks. You get one little cup, it’s weak, and the milk is warm. Real bad- and such small portions.
– We took a day trip to Normandy, and it was just amazing- more on that in the next North Star column. In Paris proper, all the viewers along the river were beautiful, as well as of the Eiffel Tower from across the river.
– Every time I heard that “European” siren sound, I got the Clash’s “White Riot” in my head. This happened about five times a day throughout the trip.
– Was my enjoyment of Versailles improved upon or lessened by the Sofia Coppola “Marie Antoinette” movie? I still can’t decide. But I can say the Hall of Mirrors is really not all that impressive. Other movies I need to see again soon as a result of the trip: “Last Tango in Paris,” “Before Sunset,” “Amelie,” the whole damn French New Wave canon, the “Sopranos” episode where Carmela goes to France, and (of course) “Saving Private Ryan.”
– Drivers in Paris are delightfully, hilariously insane. Those pulling into parking spaces will think nothing of ramming into both the car behind them and the one in front of them. And going in reverse, quickly, for an entire block on a one-way street? No problem! Probably the funniest thing I saw on the whole trip.
– With nothing left to do on the last day, we headed out to EuroDisney. Yea, yea, I know what a joke the place is. But neither of us had been to a Disney park in about 15 years, so it was fun. The unquestioned highlight? A multimedia live show called Animagique, featuring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck drawing cartoons on eisels, until Donald jumps into the film vault and spends the rest of the show jumping between the universes of different Disney movies. If you’ve ever wondered what an acid trip would look like from Donald Duck’s point of view, I highly recommend it.

4 thoughts on “Reflections on the Honeymoon in France

  1. NYJordan

    Woo! Glad you made it to Eurodisney after all! I have a major soft spot for the place so that’s cool you had fun.
    I remember the driving situation in Paris to be…just that, a “situation.” And the roads design doesn’t help either. I remember being in a taxi there on a rotary near the Champs and EVERY car around me was at an angle (relative to our car) that I STILL think is impossible for a true civilized society. And I’ve driven in Boston AND NY 😮
    Hope you had some chocolate croissants, I’m still in withdrawal over those 6 years later 🙂

  2. A

    No crepes? And as for the Fench New Wave movies…they rock! Especially Jacques Tati! I love his films!

  3. jessi

    As your artist cousin, I feel it is my responsibility to let you know the correct spelling of “eisels” is “easels.” Glad you enjoyed the show though. 🙂


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