Since there were no balloons of the inflatable type around me today for our prompt, I asked Philippe if balloon referred to anything else in French. He suggested a verre ballon à vin rouge which is a red wine ballon glass that I have enjoyed a drink from a few times since I’ve been here in Paris and have seen on tables around me even when I didn’t have a glass of my own. Little did I know I’d been surrounded by balloons the whole time. For lunch today, we actually skipped wine and went to a champagne tasting with Philippe’s mother and brother. It was in a cave below ground that was a long tube of a space with curved stone ceilings. Essentially, it was a wine cellar and we sat at the end of a very long table to sample various champagnes. We had three different types from three different regions and a bit of charcuterie to go with it. It was a lovely experience and at the end, Philippe and I purchased a bottle of our favorite to take with us this evening when we went to our friend’s house for dinner. This one pairs well with oysters, which Philippe also brought. He can devour a plateful of the things, but I simply have one, because I don’t enjoy them quite as much. But, it’s all great fun!
After our champagne tasting and snacks, we went to a proper lunch at a nearby brasserie. By this point the gilets jaunes or “yellow vests” had already gathered and were marching down the street. There were thousands of them so the only way to get through to our restaurant, which was on the other side of the street, was to march directly through them all. It was a bit surreal to being in the center of a protest, but as we made it to the other side, Philippe turned to me and said, “Now you’ve had a real Parisian experience.” Indeed, I did. Though I have to admit that it wasn’t as frightening as something like this might be in the States where a ridiculous number of people are armed and dangerous. And the march was truly peaceful for the most part, but the news tends to focus on the five percent of individuals who cause a bit of havoc in the end. After lunch, Philippe set out to get his oysters and we found ourselves walking right next to the march once again. As we were walking next to it this time, I noticed a couple crossing the mob with baby stroller. Back in our apartment, the news showed us all the crazier bits that we missed, but the reality, as is often the case with the news, was quite different.
This evening, we traveled to a nearby suburb to enjoy our dinner with friends. It was was a joyous evening with Philippe’s best friend from high school, and her husband and young daughter. The daughter took me around the entire house showing me things and diligently trying to teach me how to say them properly in French. I did fairly well and was treated to happy looks much of the time, but other times, I simply got rolling eyes and, sometimes, a hand clasped desperately to the forehead. There was one word in particular that I sure I never said correctly. She was pointing at a speaker, I think, but honestly it’s all a blur now after so many words. The fun part was that my little instructor never gave up hope and would take me back to that item again and again, assured that I would say it properly this time. This was an amazing experience, as Philippe only gives me one try and immediately gives up, making it impossible to learn French with him. So, I had to admire and appreciate her patience with me. I rejoined the adults for dinner, with a few new words to add to my lexicon, but still lacking enough words to meaningfully participate in the conversation. Yet, what Philippe lacks in instruction he makes up for as an interpreter so I managed just fine. And I was just thoroughly happy and thrilled to experience such a beautifully wonderful evening, once again, enjoying a ballon of wine in Paris.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cobalt Blue, Quinacridone Red, and Aureolin. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!