Faced with limited cooking options at the apartment, we decided to seek a petit-déjeuner in the streets of Dijon. After accidentally entering a teahouse that only served croissants (apart from a wide selection of tea and coffee), we pivoted to another restaurant across the street. Karol ordered a waffle (un gaufre) with nutella and the remaining five of us ordered an “English breakfast” (déjeuner anglais), which consisted of creamy scrambled eggs, half-cooked bacon, a sliced baguette, and fruit confiture.
On the way back from breakfast, we ordered sandwiches for the road (baguettes, of course) at a local sandwich shop – our trip to Paris would be at least 3 hours long and we would attempt to make it without stopping. Having packed our bags in the morning definitely helped make a a quicker transition. Soon enough, Keane arrived with the van outside the apartment and we were on our way to the City of Light.
The drive from Dijon took us mostly through fields filled by rolled bails of hay and pastures where French cows were grazing or taking their afternoon naps. The two-lane freeway provided for a smooth journey; the road was well maintained and the traffic sparse and moving briskly at around 130 km/h (or around 80 mph, the legal limit). It all felt very comfortable and safe.
As soon as we remarked on the comfort of our journey, we witnessed the aftermath of two major car crashes. The scenes of accident reminded us of the importance of remaining alert and prudent despite the feeling of relaxation and safety invoked by the peacefully bucolic scenery and the carefree spirit of a summer vacation. More than ever we felt thankful for Karol and Keane taking their driving responsibilities seriously.
We distracted ourselves by solving math puzzles, trying to figure out the speed of the tip of the blade of a large wind turbine. The big fans seemed much smaller than they actually were, only a thorough examination of the size of a service door betraying their actual size. We estimated the that the blade of the turbine could be anywhere from twenty to thirty meters long and it accomplished a full rotation in between five and six seconds, and then used some math to find the speeds in miles per hour. It was fun!
Before we knew it, it was time to take a break. Thankfully, a rest stop appeared in the distance, and we pulled over to use the bathrooms and eat our fancy Dijon sandwiches. Making good time, we passed another toll before entering the home stretch to Paris. In the meantime, Carlyn was updating us on her arrival earlier that day and we were looking forward to seeing her in the evening!
We arrived at our apartment, a spacious 3-bedroom flat with a large living room right on the bank of the Seine, a little after 4:00 pm. The place was a little cluttered with little rugs, fuzzy pillows, and blankets, so we picked up a few things and stored them in the closet. We also moved some furniture around and voila – we ended up with a great living and rehearsal space!
Once we were reunited with Carlyn, we rehearsed our concert program and our group went to enjoy French crêpes at a local crêperie. After an eclectic meal with two many types of fancy crêpes to list, we went to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle from up close (it sparkles for 5 minutes on the hour, every hour between 9 pm and 1 am).
There was a lot of construction going on around the Eiffel Tower and in the surrounding Champs de Mars park, and we had to take several detours to climb up to Trocadero to enjoy the view. After the midnight sparkle was over, we navigated our way back home – about a 20 minute walk – and closed shop for the day. Bonne nuit!