She thanked her lucky stars that they had made a reservation because Le Bar was brimming with people. Just as she had researched, it was on the corner of Avenue George V and was the perfect rainy day spot for a quiet lunch.
Staring down at her phone, she repeatedly tried to turn her service on and off. “I simply can’t figure out how it’s not working,” she complained to Todd who perused the menu. “Like, I didn’t get an international plan just to not post photos while we’re here.”
Todd looked up trying to avoid the prices he saw and casually remarked, “Can’t we just wait until we’re back on the hotel wifi?”
With a furrowed brow, she looked directly at him and he knew his question wasn’t going to be met with a verbal answer.
“They, uh, sure don’t hold back on the prices of the food here, do they?” Todd followed up. Again, with no response.
They had both ordered a martini to begin their late lunch. Todd’s with bleu cheese olives and her’s with a twist. They would go perfectly with the nap they planned to take before their dinner at Café Charlot.
Todd, not wanting to pay 61€ for a hamburger that included foie grois, knew that he would have to handle the situation carefully should he propose a split dish. “Should we start with the cheese plate and see how full we are after that?” he asked.
It was the perfect recommendation as she had already been breaking her keto-ish diet all vacation by consuming all the wine and cheese she could possibly order.
“Mmmmmmm,” she responded with clenched lips. “The blue lobster salad sounds delish, but I’m totes down for that.”
Todd gave a slight sigh of relief as he had just seen that the blue lobster salad would run him a casual 78€.
“I know we just got done shopping for the day,” she began as Todd folded his menu and set it on the table, “But if you want to – oh, I don’t know – sneak away this afternoon and get that Goyard bag I was coveting, I’m not going to stop you.”
“Okay, okay, I can take a hint,” Todd relinquished.
“All I’m saying is that Christmas is coming,” she finished without consideration for the price of the trip they were currently embarking on. “Or, you know, I’d accept another gift instead too.”
Todd rolled his eyes but managed to smile as to not look put off.
“I’m going to run to the bathroom,” Todd told her while standing up from the table. His eyes gazed around the bar trying to find where it was located, only to finally see a dark hall in the back corner. “I’ll be right back.”
With a brief moment to herself, she again took to her phone that wasn’t letting her connect to anything. Asking for a wifi password at such a nice restaurant would have been completely tasteless, she thought, but she hadn’t posted a story to her Instagram since their breakfast that morning. Caroline and Katie were filling her messages with “Ugh, so jelly!” and “luckyyyyyyy,” but that wasn’t enough gratification.
As she held her phone over the table trying to take a bird’s eye photo of her martini and the menu, she was interrupted by a waiter who spoke broken English.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she apologized. “Can you tell me what today’s cheese selections are?”
What she could make out from his list were Camembert and Brie de Meaux. Unsure of what either actually tasted like, she nodded approvingly and slowly told him while over-enunciating, “We’re going to start with the cheese and order entrees after.”
He smiled and took her menu, only to turn around and roll his eyes at the bartender who was pouring a glass of wine. They seemed to have a tacit understanding that they were, yet again, dealing with incompetent Americans.
Todd sat back down and confirmed that she’d ordered the cheese plate and only the cheese plate. The trip was already surpassing the budget he gave himself ahead of time, and he secretly prayed after every bill he signed that her parents would chip in when all was said and done.
“So, what’s been your favorite part of the first couple days?” he asked.
She began racking her brain thinking through everything they had explored. They stockpiled their first day in Paris with some touristy things they didn’t want to inundate themselves with come later in the trip. After all, Todd sought relaxation as the final quarter of work weighed heavily on him.
“I mean, The Louvre was amaze,” she began, “But honestly, it was soooo annoying how many people were trying to take photos of The Mona Lisa. Like, how embarrassing.” It seemed she was more mad that she couldn’t get a good photo of it herself, but that was beside the point. “I also love love loved the I Love You Wall, but I’m so pissed it was raining that entire day.” The rain didn’t ruin anything but the photo she wanted with Todd in front of it, but she wasn’t going to openly admit that (nor was she going to openly admit that it would’ve been the perfect place for an engagement).
“I’m really excited for you to go to the Eiffel Tower for the first time, though,” she reiterated for the hundredth time on their trip. “It’s just, like, so romantic – just like the rest of the city.”
Todd felt like she was laying it on pretty thick but seemed to be taking the hints nonetheless.
“I’m really excited for the Musée D’Orsay tomorrow,” Todd told her, trying to detract from anything driven by shopping or romance. “I’ve always wanted to see a lot of the paintings there in person.”
She wasn’t necessarily against their jaunt there, but she was somewhat bored with it.
“I wouldn’t say no to going back to the Galeries Lafayette to see the Christmas tree once again,” she chimed in as the waiter set their cheese plate down in the middle of their small two-top table.
Todd had a feeling it was because it was too dark for their first portrait mode photo to turn out the first time around. “We also need to go to the rooftop,” he added. “I don’t know why we skipped that the first time around.”
She smiled and continued, “Mama wants some more truffles too,” before picking up a wood-handled cheese knife and digging into the Camembert.
She looked up after her first bite and asked, “You know what would go well with this?”
Todd peered down at her half-finished martini and prayed it was anything but the blue lobster salad.
“A bottle of Veuve,” she followed up coyly.
Knowing that the bottle would likely cost more than the salad itself, he groaned and debated pitching that they just get a couple glasses instead. Unfortunately, he also knew that two glasses wouldn’t photograph as well for her as the yellow that graced the bottle’s label, so he squinted at the wine list and finally surrendered.
“After all,” she stated, “We’re in Paris – let’s celebrate.” .