‘Yes, my child, but like all dreams, well, I’m afraid this can’t last forever. You’ll have only ’til midnight, and then…”
-Fairy Godmother, Cinderella
It started as a simple Sunday afternoon. A quick browse at the La Defense Christmas Markets (narrowly avoiding paying 300 euros on a leather jacket) and then on to the Champs Élysées Christmas Markets.
But seeing as we were exhausted from our weekend adventures, we decided to make a detour to a nearby café. Plus, we wanted to wait for the sun to set so we could see the markets in all their shiny glory at night.
At least that was our plan…
For, you see…when you get a loud Brit and an even louder American together in some fancy French café off the Champs, you are destined for trouble. It’s not even two minutes into our conversation when two American businessmen sitting nearby invite us to join them for wine and cheese.
Seeing as we are two broke au pairs living in a foreign country, we were happy to pull our chairs up to their table. But what started as one bottle of wine with bread and cheese quickly became a second bottle of wine with even more bread and cheese.
They were friendly folk, and free wine and cheese made them even friendlier. And it was nice not to be the only two loud english speakers in a French café.
We conversed on life and how we became au pairs. They explained how they travel to different countries for their job and tried to impress us by mentioning they usually have their own driver.
Wine kept being poured, and I made sure to keep eating bread and drinking water.
But somewhere in the midst of our conversation, dinner was offered. Again, seeing as we are both poor au pairs living in a very expensive city (and after brief eye contact agreement with my partner in crime), we said yes.
We took drinks in the hotel bar of the Marriott on the Champs. I had scotch, and I kept being distracted by all the shiny lights and fancy dressed folks. It was slightly unreal. Then, finally, it was time for dinner.
An expensive bottle of champagne to toast the night. A few glasses of wine. Baskets of bread. Foie gras for a starter. Duck for a main dish. Crème brûlée for a dessert.
We calculated our dinner to be about 300 euros….EACH.
(And this does not include the appetizers earlier or the drinks at the bar…and apparently, the champagne was 1000 euros)
I was stuffed….and one happy girl…
It was almost like a dream. One minute I’m dealing with screaming children, and the next, I’m being offered expensive champagne in a fancy restaurant.
But then, like all dreams, they must come to an end. Especially, when the clock strikes midnight, and you have to wake up early the next morning.
So, I demanded to go home…and stood firmly by my demand.
A taxi was quickly flagged and money for the fare was handed to us. We waved our goodbyes, and told the cabbie where to take us.
The dream was over, and like Cinderella after midnight, we were back to our normal selves….