Can I possibly say something about Paris that hasn’t already been said ? Can I synthesize 12 days of bliss in a mere blog ?
In a nutshell, David and I had a fantastic honeymoon that was a magical dream come true ! So here is my humble attempt at trying to recapture the sites, sounds, smells, tastes and experiences of one of the world’s greatest cities…ahhh Paris.
Firstly, we stayed north of the city center in the Montmartre area close to Sacre Coeur and right around the corner to Moulin Rouge. Tourists distinguish by landmarks whereas Parisians simply say the 18th which denotes the neighborhood (or as the French say arrondisement). Our Air BnB host with the most, Grace Teshima, provided us with a cozy warm bed to rest our weary heads and a bathroom with 2 sinks, smart move to keep our wedded bliss alive and well. Each morning she served us a lovely array for breakfast – assorted croissants/breads, variety of jams, delicious butter (best we’ve ever had), organic yogurt, fresh fruit and a large pot of strong black tea to get us going. She loaned us a local map of the metro/bus system with all the streets in every arrondisement which made it incredibly easy to get around the 40 mile area that Paris encompasses. We highly recommend staying with Grace !
One of the greatest pleasures that simply occurs in Paris and rarely happens in Los Angeles, we walked EVERYWHERE ! Like the winding nature of the snails shell, streets take circuitous routes so we were constantly amazed uncovering the sites, sounds and smells of Parisian life around each corner. We were in awe of the enormously beautiful architecture; the abundance of art and the fantastic fashions. The sounds of coffee cups clanging, the clatter of heels on cobblestone streets, muffled conversations in cafes, laughter in brasseries and the beautiful French language made for a festive symphony of sound. And about every 5 stores you’ll find a boulangerie filling the air with freshly baked baguettes, buttery croissants, homemade fruit tarts and scrumptious quiches mixed in with wafts of perfume striding by us. We were in sensory heaven !
And yes we enjoyed all the usual over-crowded landmarks that bring millions of tourists to Paris. What interested us the most were the places off the beaten path such as Halles St Pierre that houses a terrific international collection of outsider art; Marche D’Aligre which is one of Paris’ oldest farmers markets; Le Tiki Lounge for homemade fruity drinks; la Promenade Plantée, the original walkway in the sky; Pharmacie Fouhety for high end facial products at a fraction of the price; and for an exquisite dining experience Saint James Restaurant for a 7 course luxurious repast prepared by a female chef !
A major highlight of our trip was our excursion to Lille to visit our good friends Francois and Jean-Francois, 1 hour north of Paris by train. They took really great care of us showing us their gorgeous home and beloved city with many memorable moments, beautiful sites and delicious food ! We bought 2 kinds of local honey from the forest at a farmers market (they were unfortunately confiscated by airport authorities 🙁 cuz I forgot they were in my bag); saw a stunning building with cannon balls stuck in it from a failed siege attempt by the Austrian gov’t post French Revolution; were gifted super tasty treats from Meert; visited the lovingly restored Villa Carvois, an architectural marvel; and admired the mixture of cultural influence from Flemish to Spanish to French throughout the city. We will surely return for more fun.
We were also fortunate to meet up with friends from NYC & LA: writer extraordinaire Martin & his husband photographer Jonathan in town from Scotland; Giovanni with his beautiful girlfriend Rose showing their fine wares in an apt on rue Faubourg St Honore; Jilann who relished us with the best croissant in Paris, the batobus & Marche D’Aligre; ran into Lynn Yaeger in town for fashion week on her way to ogle Valentino’s latest creations; a chance encounter with Tracy in town for 1 day for her birthday and our newest friend Varda Duchovny, 87 years young with an infamous past (her memoirs come out soon, a great read) living in a converted loft where the King previously stored his mail.
It was an action packed, memorable, eventful 12 days for David and me to share the great love we have for each other and where else but in the City of Love. Paris, nous t’aime !