I’ll admit I haven’t been very fun in L.A. lately. I barely go out anymore—most nights you can find me at home writing or curled up with a book. I always seem to have early clients or a pending deadline, and I’m perpetually on a diet. Plus, although I love this city, I’ve lived here a long time, so I feel I’ve pretty much seen and done everything this town has to offer.
However, there’s something about being in a new city that brings out my adventurous nature and makes me come alive. I want to discover and explore the city and see as much as possible. I once heard the term “traveler’s bravado” used to describe how people tend to behave more boldly on vacation; well, I think I definitely had some “traveler’s bravado” going on while I was visiting Paris Valentine’s weekend.
I went to Paris with a girlfriend, and it seemed as though she and I switched roles for the weekend. When we’re in L.A., my girlfriend is the one who always wants to hit up all the clubs and parties. However, in Paris, she was far more interested in shopping on the Champs Elysees and taking selfies with the Mona Lisa and Venus di Milo, while I was the one who wanted to stay out until the sun came up. After our first night of the trip, my girlfriend remarked that I’m much wilder in Paris than in L.A.
I had been to Paris ten years earlier and was lucky enough to have stayed at the ultra-posh Hotel Costes. I’ve always loved the ambience and the décor of the hotel, which is adorned with beautiful fresh roses, and I remembered the bar scene was really fun, so I suggested we start the night out there. It was at the Hotel Costes that my girlfriend and I met many interesting characters—a French man who asked us for a threesome, a man from Saudi Arabia who invited us to a strip club (we politely declined), but it was the swinger couple from Switzerland we had the most fun with—of course, not THAT kind of fun.
When we went to order drinks at the bar, the husband, in the most gentlemanly manner, stood up to offer my friend his seat. At this point we didn’t know they were swingers yet, but we did notice the wife was very friendly and smiling ear to ear. My girlfriend even commented that the wife looked so happy—could it be possible swinging is the key to a happy marriage? I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and when I opened the door to leave the stall, the wife was standing there waiting for me. She told me she thought I was beautiful and went in to kiss me. Not wanting her to feel rejected, I politely gave her a peck on the lips and told her I wanted to go check on my friend.
The couple invited us to go to another spot along with their group. When we got to the venue, my new friends started dancing on the bar. I danced with them for a few songs before going to join my girlfriend who was sitting in a booth on her phone. My girlfriend still wasn’t aware the couple was on the prowl, so as the husband made his way over to us, I quietly clued her in. Right away, she loudly asked him, “Are you and your wife swingers?” He stood up taller and proudly exclaimed, “Why, yes, we are!”
At this point, a guy who looked like a French Bradley Cooper approached me. When I told him he looked like the American actor, he said, “I am much prettier than Bradley Cooper.” My girlfriend said, “Eeeew. Let’s go home.”
The next night as the two of us were walking into a nightclub, a very handsome 6’7 rugby player from Dublin approached us. There had been a big Ireland Vs. France match that night in Paris, and this guy’s ear was all scratched up as a result. Although I thought he was cute, my girlfriend and I headed straight to the bathroom. My girlfriend wasn’t in the mood to party, and she left almost immediately. I ended up dancing and sipping champagne with a couple of French guys at their table. I wasn’t interested in either guy, but they were showing me a good time.
At some point, I became hungry and asked one of the guys to take me for a cheeseburger. While we were getting my coat from the coat check, the rugby player swooped in and whispered in my ear, asking me if I wanted him to save me, I nodded. He said, “Sorry, she’s with me,” took my hand and walked me out of the club directly in a cab. Very smooth—I did feel a little bad for the French guy, but you gotta love the rugby player’s take-charge kind of a attitude.
When the cab driver asked us where we wanted to go, we said, “Take us for cheeseburgers.” As the cab driver pulled up to McDonald’s, I said, “Not McDonald’s! I don’t eat fast food.” The cab driver said, “Well, you’re American, I thought you would want an American burger.” I said, “I want a FRENCH burger,” and that’s exactly what I got. The cab driver took us to a little hole in the wall where I got my burger, which consisted of four mini beef patties on a baguette, and that French burger was delicious!
The rugby player and I tried to decide what to do next. He thought the Arc de Triomphe would still be open for hot chocolate. However, it was already around 5am when we arrived at the monument, and the security guards told us it was closed. Since we couldn’t go inside, the rugby player gave me a piggyback ride around Arc de Triomphe instead. He dropped me off at my hotel at 6am and headed back to his hotel to catch a 10am flight back to Dublin.
When I told my girlfriend I had hung out with the handsome rugby player we had met, she asked if he was “the giant with the bloody ear.” I laughed, “Yes, that’s him,” adding, ”He’s fun!”
As if piggyback rides and cheeseburgers weren’t exciting enough, on my last night, I was hit by a lightening bolt. The way the French describe love at first sight, un coup de foudre, literally means a stroke of lightening. I can’t think of anything more romantic than Valentine’s Day in Paris. I ended up having had the most magical dinner with a man who told me he felt a lightening bolt when he saw me, and we both felt if circumstances were different, that maybe we could fall in love.
Now I’m not a person who believes that love has any bounds, but realistically, we lived on separate continents with a great big ocean dividing us. So, this was a very bittersweet ending to my weekend in Paris.
The next morning, as I packed my bags to head back home to Los Angeles, my girlfriend said, “You met a lot of nice guys here this weekend.” And it’s true, I really had. I love the French joie de vivre!
L.A. is often referred to as La La Land, but it was Paris that felt like a dream♥