Journals from Paris – part seven

Thursday – September 30, 2016. Paris, France.

Tonight I was invited to join the cousins for drinks. Jean-Thibault has many cousins and relatives who live in the city, and they all keep in touch pretty well. This evening most of the young adult cousins got together at a brasserie (bar). I had no idea where I was going, but I followed Nicholas out the door ready for an adventure out on the town.

We left the apartment, walked five minutes, and took the metro to the sixteenth arrondissement. We climbed up the stairs from the underground metro and walked the streets. Surprisingly, they were fairly quiet except for the occasional restaurant we would pass with tables outside filled with people enjoying the Parisian night.

Nicholas kindly “warned” me about how the French greet each other. He told me when he was in the U.S. that when he greeted an American girl she was quite surprised when he “kissed” her on both cheeks. I laughed it off, but knew I was in for a new experience.

We arrived to a bar filled with people. I followed Nicholas in wondering what I had gotten myself into. About ten cousins were visiting with each other around a table in the corner. They saw Nicholas and got up to greet us. Several introduced themselves and welcomed me with a kiss on both cheeks, then made room for us to sit at the table.

Knowing only a little French, I hadn’t been sure what to expect. My cousin Caroline had assured me though that several of them knew some English. I ordered my first glass of rosé in France. It was from Provence and tasted light and smooth. Cousins intermittently spoke to me in English and introduced me as “one of the cousins” to their friend who was the waiter. I sat back and breathed it all in as I sipped my wine, listening to the French conversations and watching the people at tables around us.

We ordered cheese and saucisse from a paper menu. La carte had probably ten to fifteen options of cheese and sausage each. You just checked the box beside the item and gave the menu to the waiter. It was a perfect French experience as we sat visiting, drinking, and eating French cheese, saucisse, and baguettes.

I met several cousins I had met before including one who had come to Texas years ago with some of Jean-Thibault’s family. I hardly remembered it, but they spent Christmas in Dallas and at our farm in East Texas. Guillaume was working for the Senate now in Paris. It peaked my interest as I have worked in Texas government in the past with my father. We talked for a good while about French government and the politics of our two countries. It is fascinating to learn about other cultures and countries.

We stayed late almost until midnight breaking up as Nicolas, Paul (a cousin in the same apartment building as us), and I walked back home. Plenty of people were still out visiting and enjoying the late night at the cafés as we strolled back home.


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