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Le Petite Paris

September 18, 2012
A visit to Paris? Not my first choice. I have a weak command of the language and what of those rumors about the rude French.
To help assuage my fears, my overly-excited husband, Kenn, made all the arrangements and promised a stress-free five-day vacation. I relearned some phrases and grew confident that I could, at least, greet people, find the public toilet, and not starve to death.
Kenn booked our accommodations at the Hotel les Rives de Notre Dame located on the Left Bank. No denying, the location was perfect – just across the Seine from Notre Dame. Amazing views! And right in the center of everything! From our open second-floor window we watched the passersby and sidewalk vendors as we nibbled fresh croissants from nearby patisseries.
Monsieur Tanner, the hotel manager, suggested Bouillon Racine for lunch our first day. The ornate 1900s Art Deco eatery was sophisticated and uh oh the menu was in French. Luckily our astute, well-mannered waiter swiftly offered an English version and made us feel right at home. His recommendations were divine. The new words he taught me, the wine and le dessert du jour, truly made that first French meal “magique!”
At Notre Dame Cathedral, we went crazy with our cameras shooting everything, from the Gothic architecture, the stained glass and the people, to the packs of pigeons covering the grounds.
Day Two was The Louvre and the day my husband got pickpocketed. Seems he didn’t know, and I never mentioned, that Paris is among the top cities in the world for this. We missed our pre-paid organized museum tour, but investigated this behemoth marvel on our own. I am still in awe. Among the highlights: the marble sculptures and Winged Victory.
Shopping in Paris was addictive, and I almost thanked the thieves for putting our credit card out of commission. On the streets, and in adorable boutiques, we picked up a beret for our daughter, coasters, postcards, and several scarves. This uber-popular neckwear seemed to be worn by everyone in the city, like a substitute for a jacket. It comes off inside and goes back on outside.
We consumed nougats, chocolates and pastries nearly every day (it was vacation). I discovered Shakespeare & Company just two doors down from our hotel and purchased Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast just so I could read about his experiences in this amazing city.
But the Champs-Elysees – wow – the clothes, the shoes, the endless possibilities!
Unfortunately, I only had about four hours here to procure footwear for that night’s dinner cabaret at the Moulin Rouge. (Kenn neglected to tell me I needed something more suitable than the flats I’d packed.) As we searched, I longed for this trendy snakeskin trench I found and the shorts everyone was sporting, but instead I splurged on a pair of sexy black 4-inch heels. My calves did look amazing that night. My feet? Excruciating.
I realized why Paris is considered the City of Light during our magical moonlight ride along the Seine. We sailed past the Pont Neuf, City Island, The Louvre, Notre Dame and the fully illuminated Eiffel Tower. I could almost hear a viola playing.
Walking back to the hotel post-cruise, Kenn and I discovered Pont de l’Archevêché (Archbishop’s Bridge) or the Lock Bridge, as one Parisian informed us. Covered with assorted initialed padlocks affixed by lovers to symbolize their everlasting bonds. It seemed appropriate here, yet I found out later the phenomenon isn’t unique to Paris – it exists in cities all over the world.
Paris is better in the rain, so they say. It certainly doesn’t dissuade folks from going out and it didn’t dampen our Eiffel Tower experience.
We lunched on the architectural wonder’s second floor at Le Jules Verne, the city’s top-rated restaurant. We fervently consumed five delectable courses over three hours, conversed with a lovely Belgian couple, and enjoyed access to the observation deck to capture unforgettable vistas.
Even people-watching was exceptional in Paris, especially at the Jardin de Tuileries, near the Louvre. The first royal park ever opened to the public was filled with couples, students and tourists reading or resting in chairs around the fountains and on the grass.
Our day there was gorgeous 70 degrees and sunny. Seated near a tree, I remember thinking what a perfect afternoon. Barely anyone around me was on a cell phone. It was peaceful. I was able to breathe, let go and really relax.
As the calm washed over me, I noticed how the Parisians always dress so fashionably, yet casually, wearing bright happy colors. I spotted red pants, green socks, an orange sweater, and that was just on the men.
I realized that I could spend much more than five days in this city. And, I bet I could even learn the language if I lived here, for say a year.
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2012 9:58 pm

    Reblogged this on beingbailey.

    • December 7, 2012 8:27 pm

      There is just one word for this photos: UAU!!!!Tell me soeinhmtg: These B/W and Sepia photos where shot this way or you tweeked the colors later on the computer?And how did you do the Karen, photographer shot? Second camera on a Tripod or a friend? That photo is awesome.

  2. January 29, 2013 10:06 pm

    Winged Victory was one of my favorite Louvre sights also! Wonderful post of your visit to this magical city ~ Kat

    • January 30, 2013 9:08 am

      I am so glad you liked this. The trip was a really unexpected treat. And I look forward to going back.

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