ugg zip boots The Beat Goes On
I was almost too lazy to look up the word “lazy” in French it is paresseux.
Anyway, as some of you may know, my darling daughter Elizabeth treated me to a mother/daughter trip to Paris LAST April! That’s right 2011. And it’s taken me this long to write about it. I tell myself it’s because I wanted to keep the fond memories all to myself, and, to some extent, that’s true. But, yeah, un peu paresseux, aussi.
In a nutshell,it was une escapade belle,complete with perfect weather, non stop laughs, delicious food and wine, shopping, art, gardens, fountains, walking, and TALKING, talking, talking. Totally divine!
To start, I was happily surprised to discover that, despite propaganda to the contrary, not ALL French women are thin, effortlessly chic, and impeccably groomed. Thus, I was not the only chubby little saucisson in town. Just sayin'”
I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots of details, but here’s a day by day recap to the extent that my sieve like noggin can remember it all. I’m sure Elizabeth will fill in the gaps with some wise ass comments and corrections.
Thursday, 4/21/11 Au revoir, New York. Late night flight on a packed plane, middle seat, with Elizabeth to my left and an elderly woman to my right. We called her “Boca woman,” as she was overly tan, displayed obvious signs of nip/tuckery, and was dressed to the nines in a tailored “lady suit” with a little boxy purse on her lap. During the entire seven hour flight, she never removed her shoes or changed positions. The minute the dinner trays were removed, she put on her eye mask and sat bolt upright, asleep. As I am paranoid about DVT (deep vein thrombosis), I like to get up and walk around every hour or so, go to the bathroom, check out the other passengers, talk to the flight attendants, you know. Well, “Boca woman” was NOT happy about this. Every time I tapped her shoulder to let me out she gave me a loud breathy “Ugh”and grudgingly stood up, then waited, standing up, till I returned, so she “wouldn’t have to get up again” she says. It was hilarious, but I was gooned on Xanax, so whatevs.
Friday, 4/22/11 Bonjour, Paris! Beautiful sunny morning. Took the RER train from the airport directly to our stop Saint Michel. Elizabeth had rented a little apartment in the 5th arrondissement on rue de la Huchette in the famed Latin Quarter, and, since we had some time before meeting the owner Chantal to get the keys, we stopped for an early lunch of Croque Monsieur and champagne at Caf Saint Severin. Chantal was trs agrable, and our apartment was charming and perfectly situated walking distance to Notre Dame, Musee DOrsay, Sainte Chapelle, Jardin des Plantes, Jardin du Luxembourg, Berthillontous!
Some views from our apartment:
We walked along the banks of the Seine for a whilejust people watching and eating our cones. Then we walked over to the Jardin du Luxembourg and ate our first macarons while sitting on those little iron chairs in the late afternoon sun.
On the way back to the apartment, we picked up yogurt, fruit and snacks to stock our fridgeand a bottle of ros, which we drank while unpacking. Then it was off to dinner at a little restaurant just up the street from our apartment, Le Bourbon, where we received a warm reception from the owneralmost a little too warm. Actually, he just about molested me (but in a fun way!). Anyway, we had lovely salads and shared a fondueall of which were perfectly delicious. (FYI, recently I looked up online,
and it received almost unanimous BAD reviews for food, attitude and a dirty bathroom; however, we experienced none of this.)
Near Vanves we stopped at a little boulangerie, where we picked up some coffee, a doughy boule, and chaussons de pommes (apple turnovers). Food is always our first priority. The market was filled with great oddities, including medical appliances, toys, fabrics and lace, dinnerware and serving plates, cutlery, books, paintings, prints and posters. E. picked up a lovely little painting and a Vasarely poster from the 60s.
Here are some things we noticed at the flea marketand throughout Paris in general. People fart out loud with impunity. Public farting is just okay, as is coughing and sneezing without any attempt to cover your nose or mouth.
After dropping our flea market finds at the apartment, we headed back out and found a great open air food market, where we bought berries and apples and bread. We stopped in a fancy cheese shop where we were admonished for picking up wrapped wedges to sniff/squeeze. Ne touchez rien s’il vous plat. Que voulez vous? We selected a mix of hard and soft cheeses and walked over to the Jardin des Plantes for a picnic. Some of our most wonderful dining experiences in Paris were impromptu picnics. As we are both vegetarians, fancy (meaty) French cuisine is sort of lost on us. We spent a leisurely hour or so eating our bread and cheese and fruit amidst the trees and flowers in the glorious sunshine.
Lounging around at the Jardin des Plantes
Later in the afternoon, we headed to the Hotel Costes perfume shop. Elizabeth is obsessed with fragrance, and was seeking Eau Baptiste 8 by Iunx, (notes of orange blossom and honey), which is not sold in the States. Mission accomplished! Whilst in the perfume shop, the sales agent shared a fragrance trick with us. When smelling several fragrances consecutively, one can refresh the olfactory senses by sniffing the inside of the elbow. Some perfume shops provide coffee beans to clear the nosebut this gentleman insisted that was an unnecessary gimmick.
As we left the perfume shop it started to rain, so we ducked into an outdoor caf on the covered rue de Rivoli and decided to wait out the rain with champagne and plates of mixed olives and pommes frites. It was the perfect way to rest our weary legs, chat and laugh, and watch people pass by. When the rain stopped, we walked across the street to the Tuileries and the Louvres (again, exterior only). This was a perfunctory visit (must return), but we had fun taking silly tourist y pictures pinching the pyramid at the Louvres (ha, haget in line!). The post rain sky was gray and beautiful as evening fell.
For dinner that night we ate at a totally forgettable Italian restaurant near our apartment. The pesto was sub par and the penne Norma disappointing, but so what.
After dinner, Elizabeth met up with her friend Maris and some other young people, and I struggled with one of those crazy Euro bath/showers with a hand held spray. It was like a really bad cartoonwater spraying everywhereme freezing and half submerged in the narrow tuba mess!
Sunday, 4/24 Easter Sunday was a mish mash day. We went to the Marais district specifically to experience the famous falafel at lAs du Fallafel . Despite the global praise, E. and I hated this falafel, which contained weird burned eggplant, so we tossed the sandwiches into the nearest binand went looking for more FOOD. Hur, a boulangerie we were dying to check out, was closedbut Patisserie Pain de Sucre was open, and we bought fruit tarts and pretty pastel pastries and macarons in many colors/flavors and basically gorged ourselves.
While roaming around the Marais we stumbled into the courtyard of the Hotel de Sully, where we discovered this whimsical sculpture.
We watched with great interest an Asian family with two young boys who were running wildly around the Pompidou courtyardwearing helmets, as if this were normal play attire. The parents just sat and chatted as the boys ran off way farther than American parents would have allowed without helicoptering over them. This was making me very nervous, so we decided to actually check out the museum.
While modern art is usually NOT my thing, the space was wonderful and the exhibitions amazing. I was mesmerized by a painting of a woman in a red canoe. Dont ask me the name of the painting or the artist. And there were several whimsical mobiles and colorful soft sculptures that I feigned being deeply interested in/knowledgeable about. Um, yeah
It was a beautiful night, very still. All we could hear were our footsteps crunching along on the gravely quais. By the time we reached Bd. we were STARVING, and the only place open was our old favorite Caf Saint Severinso it was Croque Monsieur sans jambon and chocolate chaud pour deux.
Monday, 4/25 Today we walked across the Petit Pont to Ile de la Cit to visit the Gothic Sainte Chapelle, featuring the most ancient stained glass windows in all of Paris. I wasnt wild about climbing the dark spiral staircase to the upper chapel, but it was worth it to see the magical effect of the sun streaming through those windows. Wowsers!
After that, E. wanted to check out Galeries Lafayette, but we discovered it was closed for Easter Monday. Note to self,: dont visit a Catholic country during Easter week.
We stumbled into a sort of mass market candy shop called La Cure Gourmande, which turned out to be a great place to pick up non perishable gifts of cookies, caramels, and hard candies in pretty little tins.
We hit up a few Zara shops (yes, we know they have them in the States), where Elizabeth found some great sandals and some very cute things for Virginia. We also found some little purple Mary Jane sneakers for V. at Du Pareil Au Meme, which only just wore out a few months ago.
Later in the afternoon we shlepped out to Montmarte to see Sacr Coeur. We walked down a very dodgy street, rue Poulet (thats right, Chicken Street!), which was chock a block with African hair care emporiawigs, weaves, extensions, etc. By the time we got to the LONG set of stairs leading up to Sacr Coeur, I said Sacrebleuand sent Elizabeth off on her own while I waited down below at a little caf called Au Soleil de La Butte, where I had my first BAD glass of wine in Paris (a lukewarm Chardonnay in a dirty glass served by a rude waitress),
whilst seated in the epicenter of the entire smoking world!