May 30, 2014 – Sawyer had a blooming headache by the time we landed in Paris. I can see why, what with the worry of being on the wrong plane and consuming an entire bottle of French champagne with only a spritz of blackberry juice. I gave her the few mealworms I had stashed in my pocket and a bottle of water and that seemed to help.
The second we touched down my cell phone started buzzing with texts from Mom and Charlotte. Where are you now?! Call home immediately! Don’t go wandering!!
Good grief! It’s not like we boarded a space ship and we’re circling Mars! We got on the wrong plane. It happens! Yes, I’m disappointed not to be with the rest of our flock enjoying the sophisticated ways of our travel benefactor, the remarkable photographer Dumpling Longfeather of Nova Scotia, Canada. I so wanted to see the sights and sounds of that beautiful Atlantic province. But, as I said to Sawyer once she loosened up from her complimentary cocktail, we won the jackpot! Think of France as the ultimate layover. We may only be here a few hours. Let’s make the most of it!
The woman at the airport informed us that we could not book a return flight until tomorrow afternoon. I called Mom and told her. I asked her if we could take the train to beautiful Provence since it would be returning to Paris the next morning. She agreed that Provence is lovely, but said no.
“There are farms in Provence and I don’t want to run the risk of you two ending up at one and not being able to get home!”
Instead, she told us to stay put in Paris. She booked us a hotel room close to the airport. She also informed me that I would be reimbursing her when we got home. I was going to advise her that I was not the one proclaiming to be the “Fowler Party”, but Sawyer was already under the weather; it didn’t seem right to throw her under the bus, too.
The hotel room is exquisite! A bellhop named Pascal showed us to our room. He unlocked the door and stepped aside so Sawyer and I could make a grand entrance into a suite overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Since Charlotte and the rest of the flock have the group suitcase, we had nothing to unpack. Sawyer thought the proper action would be to tip the valet regardless, so she handed Pascal the maple syrup bottle we bought for Violet at the airport in New Hampshire.
“We’ll get her something way better from Paris”, she whispered to me.
Pascal must have felt bad over the fact that we had no luggage. He handed each of us a white terry cloth bathrobe, a voucher for dinner in the hotel restaurant, and said he would have the kitchen send up a cheese plate.
I wasted no time checking out the amenities. There was no roost, but an enormous bed and a television bigger than our coop! The bathroom, albeit designed for humans, had buttons and hoses and things that made it rain inside – certainly suitable to entertain any chicken with a sense of humor. The ducks would love this place!
Since it was still light outside, we decided to take a walk. We posed in front of the Eiffel Tower and texted the photos to Charlotte so she could share them with the flock – especially Peaches who was still convinced that we had been kidnapped.
“I wish Peaches was with us,” Sawyer sighed.
“Me, too,” I said.
That’s when I saw the sign with the picture of the pastry on it. It was called, La pâtisserie de François. It is here that we discovered chocolate filled croissants – (or croisant au chocolat, as I am now fond of calling them.) I may never eat anything else for the rest of my life! We couldn’t get our fill! We finally asked Francois to pack a white paper bag with a dozen croissants and Sawyer and I savored each bite as we strolled along the Seine.
We passed a vendor along the way selling berets from a market cart. We bought one for Violet and had them embroider her name on the back. It looked so good that we each bought one for ourselves and wore them for the rest of our walk.
When the sun went down, we sat on a bench and watched the city come to life in the glow of street lamps and moonlight. The Eiffel Tower stretched deep into the night, its golden silhouette casting a fluid masterpiece onto the water below. Somewhere, a street musician played a concertina which made me long for my piccolo. Paris is captivating, but I started to feel the pangs of homesickness. Sawyer was quiet. I could tell that she too, was feeling wistful. We had waited so long to take this adventure with our flock and now we were thousands of miles and an ocean away from all of them. We split the last croissant and headed back to the hotel pondering along the way what our feathered family was up to. Tomorrow, we will reunite in Nova Scotia!
Au revoir, magnifique France!