Grumpy never catches a break. Just when it looked like there might be a lull in his whirlwind schedule, he and his wife have been suddenly called away on urgent business to Paris, France. How will we fill up two whole weeks? I have three goals.
Goal #1 — Do A Little Gardening
Nothing relaxes me more than a leisurely morning spent trimming here, pruning there, just tidying up the garden. What better place to indulge myself than at the palace gardens of Versailles, just south of Paris? At about 2,000 acres with 200,000 trees and more than 200,000 flowers planted every year, there’s always a fun task at hand. To further cement Franco-American ties, I shall secretly plant a few native American treasures on the grounds — silver maple, Virginia creeper, sumac, mesquite, and pricky-pear cactus. C’est bon!
Goal # 2 — Brush Up On French History & Culture
Ask any Frenchman what’s the one place in France a foreigner must visit to truly understand the character, sophistication, and joie de vivre that made France a dominant world empire until June 1940 and he’ll answer without hesitation, “Moulin Rouge.” And rightly so. From what I’ve been told, every military, domestic, foreign, culinary, and recreational decision of any import is made right here. It will be fun to join the movers and shakers of French society, if only for an evening.
Goal #3 — Try The Food
Everyone knows that Paris is the gastronomic capital of the world. Phenomenal restaurants, bistros, and cafes serve up such delicacies as liver, tripe, sweetbreads, and brains in such an aesthetic way that you never knowing what you’re eating until it’s too late and you’re actually eating it. Many Americans are afraid they won’t know how to order food in France, but no worries. Just follow the familiar sign above, walk confidently up to the counter, and say, “Bonjour. Je voudrais Big Mac et fries, s’il vous plait.”
DO NOT ask for French fries. That would be gauche. Parisians call them “freedom fries.”