The plan looked something like this:
go shopping Christmas Eve to buy a gift for my friend who was arriving in Paris early Christmas morning.
Buy a few items to put in her apartment, so she had some essentials and a warm welcome.
Go to a market stock up on some delicious food to create a Christmas platter, chill a bottle of Louis Roederer champagne, have an early night to be up bright and cheery for my friend’s welcome.
This however, is not how things panned out.
After the night with Richard Gere and the theft of my bag I had a lot of important items to achieve.
Thankfully I still had my mobile phone, although in hindsight it was touch and go.
My favourite bar has a very space age, groovy toilet. Nice to observe but not that nice to use.
Set at the back of the ancient zinc bar is a stainless steel room. Floor to ceiling stainless steel panels, which makes it difficult to discover where the door to the toilet is. Once you work out that, what you find inside is a clean but squat toilet.
The bar owns a couple of surrounding cafes, so it is not unusual for women to use the toilets of the nearby cafes. This is what I did.
I left my iphone, scarf and tripod next to my glass of wine on the bar with Richard Gere and scooted off to the nearby cafe, to use their toilet.
When I returned my mobile phone was not on the bar where I had left it. Seeing that it is winter and although the nearby cafe is only two doors down the road, you still need to swaddle up in a coat. I checked my pockets, although I was quite certain I had left it on the bar because I was showing Richard Gere how great my Canadian mate’s photos are on Instagram.
I pick up the scarf, nothing, pick up the tripod, nothing. Richard Gere reaches behind him and produces my phone, claiming he wondered how long it would take me until I wanted to play with my phone. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not constantly play with my phone when in the company of others. This statement didn’t fit me.
The beauty of hindsight is the ability to replay events. This was one event that piqued my suspicions that Richard Gere had an important role in the missing handbag saga.
I am so very grateful that that sly move on his part, didn’t work and I still have my iphone.
It was my saviour when I set about cancelling my credit cards and to call a Parisian mate to ask where the nearest Police Station was. Without any idea what had happened the night before, he told me to go to Tuileries metro where he would be waiting for me to assist with the Police. When I mentioned to him that he didn’t know why I needed a Police Station, his kind reply was that it didn’t matter, if I needed the police, I must be in some kind of trouble and he was there to help.
Verging on tears at his thoughtfulness I high tailed it to Tuileries where he whisked me off to the Police Station and aided in translation to prepare my police report, I guess it helps that he is a lawyer as well!
With the report tucked into a make-up purse; the only thing that I now have to carry around the few important items that I have left, he took me back to his office where he scrounged around for food and made me a welcome, hot cup of tea.
I barely know The Lawyer and had only met him briefly on my recent trip to Paris in October but his kindness comforted me.
Later he offered to take me camera shopping. Of course I had no credit card to buy one but we could check out where I could buy one, once I had access to money. With my tiny umbrella turning itself inside out, with the gusts of wind and rain, we then ventured over to the department store BHV, so I could get some gloves.
The outpouring of kindness and offers of assistance from my Canadian Mate, my friend in Australia and The Lawyer has once again resorted my faith in human nature.
Still with no sleep under my belt and barely any food in my tummy, exhaustion was setting in. I needed food and rest for my friends arrival and Christmas Day.
The lack of traffic early on Christmas morning brought my friend to Paris much quicker than I had anticipated. A text message had me throwing on clothes to an un-showered body and racing down the street to greet her.
With my news out of the way and lots of welcoming warm hugs, we began a little tour of Paris, on a mild Christmas morning. Ensuring my Aussie friend Chicky Babe would have good luck and return to Paris, I set about convincing her to perform my ritual of standing on Point Zero.
A hot drink at Cafe Panis and we set off, through the left bank, along the Seine, over Pont des Arts bridge, which is now groaning under the weight of the many locks from tourists.
After exploring the courtyards of The Louvre, wandering through the Tuileries Gardens, the cold and weariness after the long journey from Australia for Chicky Babe and both of us with empty tummies, there was only one place to go. Petit fer a Cheval.
Warm welcomes and concern over the Richard Gere Bag Incident from the staff was comforting. Snuggling up next to the heater, where only a day ago I stood for four hours waiting for 10am to arrive, we sipped on wine, clinked glasses and wished one another a Happy Christmas.
The plat du jour was Ostrich. Unusual, last year it was deer and I remember it feeling strange to eat Rudolph the reindeer for Christmas. I guess the Parisians did eat their zoo animals when times were tough.
I settled on the Ostrich and Chicky Babe on a steak.
It was so nice to spend Christmas with a real friend as opposed to a Richard Gere look a like. At least I didn’t have any fears of her stealing what little I had left!
We had a lovely fun Christmas night in Paris. It was so nice to have Chicky Babe here with me to keep my spirits up.