We were lucky enough to get tickets to the French Open in Paris (known strictly as Roland Garros in France). We really enjoyed being at the tournament. The match was fun, and it was a very easy day logistically, always a welcome treat when traveling. We had Center Court seats for the Nadal vs. Thiem. How great to see the “King of Clay” doing what he does best. Watching Nadal live really gave us insight into his many “routines” – toweling off his face between each point, changing his shirt and meticulously refolding his Nike bandana between sets. His pre-serve ritual goes something like this: knock dirt from left shoe, then right; pick wedgie; pick crotch; adjust shirt at left shoulder, then right; wipe nose; wipe left ear; wipe nose; wipe right ear; bounce ball four to six times, serve and voila! Allez Nadal!
Other experiences and notable Parisian moments from this trip:
-Lots of literary sites including Hemingway’s homes (shared with wives one and two), his writing studio, Gertrude Stein’s house, the old Shakespeare & Co location, and Victor Hugo’s house on Place des Vosges. We also checked out Hemingway and “Lost Generation” haunts like Le Harry’s New York Bar. Appropriately, the trip also included many “Midnight in Paris” film sights: the steps where Owen Wilson met the time-traveling car and the Polidor, where Woody Allen filmed cafe scenes of Wilson meeting Hemingway.
-Setting out for a run, but ending up on a pleasant walk through Pere Lachaise Cemetery and finding Jim Morrison’s unassuming grave.
-Discovering Place d’Aligre Market in the 12th arrondissement and sharing the cote de boeuf for deux at Boucherie Les Provinces (a butcher/restaurant – what a great concept!)
-Eating takeaway falafels for dinner from L’As Du Fallafel, Paris’ most famous falafel shop located in the former Jewish quarter of the Marais.
-Visiting La Maison du Whisky and their sister shop near the Odeon. (The French are one of the world’s largest consumers of Scotch whisky). Tasting and purchasing a bottle of Armagnac.
-Sitting at the “nut table” with those in the know at Les Bonnes Soeurs on Place des Vogues and enjoying a four-course Sunday brunch.
-Eavesdropping on a French soiree in an apartment across the rue from ours. Their balcony windows were open, and we were amused by all the American music they played. The sound of a party is the same, whether in Paris or San Francisco.
-Conducting a croissant safari through Paris’ finest boulangeries. Many bakeries are using pre-made croissant dough these days, so we were seeking out the real deal.
-Brent’s “Pretty Woman” moment when he flipped an escargot shell over to the diner next to him. “Slippery little suckers.”