As dawn rises and sunlight fills the room, I’m aware of slowly ascending through the steps of wakening. No alarm blaring, no lawn movers roaring, no kids yelling; just a peaceful Sunday morning in Paris. This gradual awakening is like the softest experience of all. I feel so calm. I can’t believe I have slept eighteen hours. I never want to get out of this bed for the rest of my life.

A room with a view.

A room with a view.

I lie there, listening to the city sounds until ten o’clock, when I force myself to get vertical. I need to email my sons about my safe arrival in Paris. I pull on the cord that the landlady had quickly gestured toward while saying proudly that the apartment had Internet.

In horror, I see a dial-up phone cord dangling like an artifact from the previous century. My time in Paris will now include lots of time in Wi-Fi cafés.

In the kitchen, I pull out drawers to see what kind of utensils I have to work with. It’s pretty well stocked.

I notice a little cardboard poster stuck on the fridge with a magnet. I lean down to read it. It lists the emergency numbers in case you need la police or les pompiers (firefighters) or l’hôpital (hospital). Then I read chien perdu.

Are you kidding me? Losing a dog in Paris is at the same level of emergency as having a heart attack or a robbery?

Then I notice there’s no emergency number for chat perdu.