From Versailles, I headed back to the city to meet my friends by the Eiffel Tower for a picnic. I actually did not go up the tower and didn't really have any plans to. As it turns out, the workers were on strike for most of the week I was there, so I probably couldn't have gone up even if I had wanted to. We picked a spot a ways down the lawn and set about attending to a cobbled together spread of baguettes, wine, cheese, cookies, and a bag of Haribo gummies of The Smurfs that, in France, are Les Schtroumpfs. Peddlers carrying shopping bags full of alcohol sauntered by idly. Pockets of tourists posed ludicrously with forced perspective. Waves of dark clouds rolled by, but mercifully kept their contents to themselves.
After luxuriating on the grass for a time, we parted ways. A and K were headed to catch a train to London to attend Wimbledon the next day. G and I made our way to the ubiquitously recommended L'as Du Fallafel for dinner. The line wasn't bad, but I did not have much of an appetite at that point for some reason. It was good though. We strolled a bit along the Seine to Point Neuf before calling it a night. We walked west as it grew dark and the river lit with boats filled with river-going revelers and the Eiffel Tower shone it's rotating beacon across the city.
For my last full day in Paris, I did very little. I allowed myself a late morning before heading to Frenchie To Go for a superb pastrami sandwich. A bit different from what one might find in the States. Less fatty, but still flavorful. I then went to the Galeries Lafayette to wander and pick up some macarons from Pierre Hermé for folks back home. The Galeries were pretty obnoxious, over crowded shopping malls. Having not had anything else planned before dinner, I went to the 6th floor cafe and actually fell asleep on a table for a little while. I think I may have spent too much time in Paris asleep in random places.
For dinner, I made a point of going to Le Severo. A small corner shop that I'd found frequently referred to as the best steak frites in Paris. Not having had any other notable steak frites in the city I couldn't say for sure, but it was pretty amazing. The steak, a thick medallion cote de beouf, was prepared perfectly. A stellar piece of meat, to be sure. It was the fries, though, that were the most remarkable. The intensity of the potato flavor was just not something I'd ever had before. I don't really know why they were so good. I could have eaten a bucket of those. It was my favorite meal in Paris.
The next morning I made the trek back to CDG in the rain and concluded that CDG is the worst airport ever. But Paris was a nice wind down from a tiring couple of weeks in Nairobi. I deliberately left my itinerary pretty unstructured so I could just go about the city leisurely. There are a million things I didn't do or see, but Paris will always be there. Perhaps I will go back one day. There's a chance I may be traveling to Nairobi again in September or October. I think then I may try to swing through Italy.