I've learned that "a coffee?" in Paris can often mean a lot more. So when my friend Eric, who I met on my first trip here in 2006, messaged me yesterday morning to ask if I wanted to have a coffee, of course I said yes - even though I don't even normally drink coffee. I hadn't eaten, so we ended up wandering until we found a corner café where he had his coffee and I had some lunch. Afterward, we wandered some more. It turns out that this weekend is "les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine," or European Heritage days, where all kinds of government buildings and historical sights or interesting places all open their buildings that are normally closed to the public for free. As we walked around, we would stumble upon all kinds of places and just wander through, sometimes just the garden areas, not wanting to wait in a queue to go inside. I was amazed how many people were taking advantage of the event - I don't think it would get such a response in the States. It was a spectacularly warm day, so everyone was out all over town to take advantage of the weather. We stopped for a while to lay in the grass (like many others) in the Tuileries, then continued on and ended up back at a bar for beers, where the crowd filled the street outside for happy hour. Afterwards we stopped for a late dinner, and yes, coffee. It was a great full day with one of my favorite people - no better way to spend a Saturday in Paris.
[apologies for blog posts before 1/2009 that are not yet updated to format]