Mother’s Day in NZ is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. I don’t very often get to spend the day with my mother, but this year on Sunday May 11th we were together in Paris. We spent the day in Parisian style with a trip to the market for fruit and vegetables, cheeses and meat terrines for lunch before visiting the bird and flower market on the Île de la Cité and wandering through Notre Dame Cathedral. After we had strolled along the left bank of the Seine looking at the bouquinistes – while it was sunny – we popped into the wonderful Shakespeare and Co bookshop on Rue de la Bûcherie. Later to escape the sudden downpour we found refuge – as you do – in a café tucked in beside Saint Severin church on rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin. We sipped aperitifs whilst we watched people meander along the narrow cobbled streets, guide books (and umbrellas) in hand, intently tracking down items on their Paris must-see list just as we had been doing.
My Mum and her friend Evan had made the long trip to visit us for her first ever trip to Europe. They had arrived looking as fresh as daisies after 24-hours flying time and were barely fazed that Mum’s suitcase had not arrived. (It turned up that night – phew! – delivered directly to the hotel.) For two weeks now we have been exploring Paris by foot, by metro, by bus and train and even been riding the free city-bicycles; the Velibs. We have been busy and we’ve had a blast.
It helped that we organised the sightseeing plans carefully over the first few days, making the most of the bouts of sunshine and walking for exercise to help dissipate the jet-lag. Even so I am mightily impressed at how energetic and enthusiastic my visitors have been. Training on the golf course at home was good for them; at least 2 rounds of 18-holes of golf each week clearly keeps you fit in your late seventies!
My Mum has managed the public transport like a seasoned tourist, and has got to grips with the local geography so well that she’s been out shopping on her own without getting lost even once.
To make the most of the proximity to “Old Blighty” (aka Britain, aka The Motherland) we ventured across the Chanel to London on the Eurostar train, just for the day. A grand surprise had been planned, in secret, for a rendezvous with my daughter who wanted to see her Gran. Texts flew between Katherine and me as we approached “the target zone.” Mum was bowled over when we found ourselves in the same café as Katherine; definitely a mothers and daughters day.
Back in Paris the weather took a bold step towards summer; the showers disappeared and the sun took over. We’ve picnicked in the park at lunchtime; licked ice-creams bought from the Jeff de Bruges chocolate shop on rue de Levis, and from the Pont d’Alma, watched the lights sparkle on the Eiffel Tower on a balmy May evening.
Today, the Paris visit is over. I said goodbye to my Mum this morning and as I type she will be in flight bound for Singapore, en route down-under to NZ. Thanks for being here Mum, Bon voyage and À bientôt until the next mothers and daughters days.