Paris has been a dream of my aunt's since she was a little girl.
On numerous occasions, she has envisioned herself standing in complete wonder and astonishment of the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Palace of Versailles. She will wander down the Champs-Élysées and soak up the beauty of her surroundings, as well as the art, culture and architecture of this romantic city.
All, of course, with a glass of wine in one hand and a piece of cheese in the other.
With a husband who has zero desire to leave his hometown, and no real reliance on a bountiful bank account, my aunt has had to become content with virtual tours.
As an impulsive and experienced traveler, I have decided there is no time like the present. Despite the fear of international plague and warfare, we are Paris bound... We will spend five days in Paris and then travel around Northern France, by car.
Although my 72 year old aunt is thrilled, each day I receive a frantic phone call about some capricious issue that woke her in the night.
She is incredibly concerned about; travel insurance, jet lag, Covid testing, vaccination declarations, Parisian bathrooms, where to get euros, ATMs, French driving rules, bus routes, train stops, museum opening hours, admission prices, tours, airport taxis, accommodation reviews, wearing jewelry, pickpockets, weather conditions, travel advisories, airline tickets, dining attire, getting lost, WIFI, cellular data, phone contacts, QR codes, flight check in, boarding passes, plugged ears, liquids in her carry on, laundry facilities, travellers cheques, staying hydrated, the cost of wine, where to buy cheese, breakfast locations, and now, of course, the threat of being nuked.
She has been doing extensive research into what kind of footwear is frowned upon in Paris and now has me second guessing my own shoes.
She has a beret, but is hesitant to bring it, just in case she looks too local and people mistake her for speaking their native tongue. She is worried about not having enough face cream to last the duration of the trip, despite my assurance that France might very well sell face cream too.
She has a notebook for important and extensive notes, a first aid kit, a multitude of chargers and power adapters, a simple phrases French language book, a flashlight, a light scarf, a heavy scarf, a quick-dry travel towel, portable laundry detergent, suitcase locks, a curling iron, a windproof umbrella, reading glasses, and comfortable walking shoes, to list but a few.
I have the corkscrew.
... and possibly some quite atrocious shoes.
Off we go.