First off: I wish I had taken a picture of this little place, instead you’ll have to do with a picture I found on line. After some serious searching I’m pretty sure I found the place where the story occurred. I apologize for the stock photo. This would have been a fun moment.
We just wanted a damn drink
It was a hot day in Paris. The afternoon turning to evening. We had spent a full day in the city exploring all the fun stuff the city had to offer. We were full blown tourists. Our eyes wide open, our curiosity craving to be fed and our real life thirst at an all-time high.
We were a few miles from the hotel and our energy was rock bottom. We were tired and hungry. A nice cold whatever sounded like a perfect treat. We passed busy restaurants and local watering holes but our aim was a little store full of little goodies.
Yes, we were on a budget.
At first we feared we were on the wrong side of town. Maybe the only place to quench our thirst was a fancy restaurant but just as we were about to give up a tiny store came into view.
Bread, Bread. Lots of Bread
From the look of the busy crowd it appeared to be a popular place in the neighborhood. Sandwiches, cold drinks and bread lined every corner of the little store.
Did I say bread? Yes, the French love their bread.
The place was crowded and the aisles were narrow. My wife and daughter did the shopping while I parked in the corner and out of the way.
I sat myself near a wall by the register where a long line of shoppers patiently waited their turn.
A few feet away I watched a woman struggle with her purchase. Her handbag was too small, her bread to wide, but somehow she found humor in her struggles.
The City was her child
She looked at me and laughed. Her smile was followed by a paragraph or two in French that I wished I understood. She appeared to be the type I would have enjoyed talking to.
Without hesitation her French switched to perfect English. It was so perfect she sounded like a local from my home town.
“You’re an English speaker,” She said.
“How did you know,” I asked.
As she fitted her large bread into her small handbag she gave me the happiest smile you ever saw and replied, “I overheard your conversation when you came in. You’re American.”
Her appearance was full of curiosity and confidence. I had a feeling she had seen her share of tourists in her town.
I complimented her talent of being able to speak other languages. She repaid my compliment by telling me the wonderful experiences she had when she visited the states.
She was curious what I thought of Paris and when I told her that her city was beautiful she smiled as though I had complimented her child.
We said our goodbyes as she turned and made her way home. Soon my thirst was quenched as we said goodnight to a full day in Paris and the friendly neighborhood we had passed through.