Travelogue: Paris past and present (part one)

leaving home

A picture out the plane window as we leave for Paris

Hey, wow, it’s been a few days and we have since spent a weekend in Stockholm and then flown to New York City to visit our older son before returning home to our younger son.

I wanted to share about our recent trip to Paris, but before doing so, since it was a pretty short basically three-day visit this time with work interspersed, I thought it might be fun to go back in time and share my first experience in Paris.

I have had a few chances to visit Paris over the past decade, but when I finally did take the opportunity to experience this amazing city, I wanted to do it right. No quick and frenetic business trips with my husband, no one-day excursions from a cruise ship, I wanted the real deal: two weeks at least. For my 50th birthday (in 2013), I announced to my husband that I wanted to go to Paris. We both were really excited to plan the trip. Blue Eyes had been a couple times for business, but barely left the hotel other than for meetings, and yay and hallelujah, the whore never went with him. Once, a friend made him dinner of seared duck and potatoes cooked in duck fat at the lavish apartment he shares with his famous clothing designer wife and their three beautiful children, and it turned out to be one of my husband’s all time favorite ever meals. The friend also drove him around town a bit and quickly pointed out sights, but Blue Eyes never really got out of the car. We both looked forward to a real visit to Paris.

In the planning stages, I decided I wanted to visit the city during the French Open Tennis tournament at Roland Garros, which happens the end of May/beginning of June each year. I am an avid men’s tennis fan and this would be our first Grand Slam. I booked tickets through an agency in the states that specializes in that type of thing. Three tickets, one for me, one for Blue Eyes, and one for the Peacemaker . Our older son and his girlfriend would not arrive until the day after our Roland Garros excursion. I also wanted to stay in an apartment so that we could all fit easily and it wouldn’t bust the budget. We also would have our own kitchen so that we could shop in the wonderful Paris food markets and cook some of our meals. We also had a washer dryer. The apartment had two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a pull out sofa in the living area, was located in the Marais district, and was a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Blue Eyes and I flew to Paris on Friday, May 24, ten days after my 50th birthday. This date turned out to be almost exactly one month from my snorkeling accident in Hawaii at which point I thought I was going to die in the Pacific Ocean and I ended up with an infected coral wound that took the entire four weeks to heal. I also ended up finding out from an MRI that I have a torn meniscus in my right knee. I think it was mind over matter on my part, and a whole lot of medical care and carting me around to doctors on Blue Eyes’ part, that allowed me to heal in time for my birthday trip. He was so terribly sweet and attentive. In terms of my husband’s sex addiction, he had been with Camilla on a 2-day trip to NYC in early April of that year and had not had any contact with her since mid-April. I really wish that had been it. That he had been able to end things there because it really bothers me that after I nearly died, and after our amazing trip to Paris, he slept with her one more time. It breaks my heart, but I will not linger on that here. I cannot change the past actions of my sex addict husband. What’s done is done.

view from Marais Apt.Partial view from the dining room of our Marais apartment on our first day in Paris

The Peacemaker arrived in Paris the day after we did from his school back east and was with us alone for four days before his brother arrived. We had already become well enough acquainted with the metro system that we took the train out to the airport to pick him up and help him with his luggage. We all had some jet lag the first couple days, but that is what is great about having a couple weeks, plenty of time to acclimate to all the changes.

I started out with a list of more than 30 things I wanted to see or do while in Paris. I knew I would not get to them all, not to mention we had a two-day business trip scheduled, in the middle of our Paris trip, to London (one of my all time favorite cities) on the Eurostar, which was fun and turned out to be quite the little adventure. I will rarely turn down a trip to London, even if it includes a business meeting or two.

My original Paris list included the following (not in any particular order):

Stroll the Rive Gauche (the Left Bank of the Seine, the path of authors and artists), Roland Garros (French Open Tennis), Musee D’Orsay, Musee Rodin, Palais Royal Gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Musee Louvre, Walking the Ile Saint-Louis, Rue Saint Honore, Shopping at Marche aux Puce de Saint-Ouen, Eiffel Tower (to the top?), Marais District (falafel, shopping, dining–our home for two weeks), Victor Hugo’s Apartment at Place des Vosges, French Crepes, Laduree, Champs Elysees Louis Vuitton Store, Chocolatiers, Viennese Chocolate Chaud at a street cafe, Steak Frites, Musee Picasso, Centre Georges Pompidou, boat tour on the Seine, Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, walking tour of Montmartre including Sacre Couer, Moulin Rouge, the deepest subway in Paris, Arc de Triomphe, day trip to Versailles, Opera Garnier, Shakespeare & Company bookstore, purchase flowers for our apartment at the flower market, Saint Germain des Pres, Saint Sulpice, Musee de l’Orangerie, the Sorbonne & the Latin Quarter, Grand Epicerie at the Bon Marche (for luxury food shopping), Pierre Herme (for chocolate), Eurstar to London (Gare du Nord station).

This list was compiled after reading blogs and getting recommendations from friends who either visited or lived in Paris.

We totally lucked out as just down from our apartment was a cafe named ‘Le Voltigeur’ which doesn’t look like much in the below picture, but trust me, they had fabulous Viennese Chocolat Chaud plus amazing croque monsieur sandwiches and delicious daily special quiche. They were open late and proved to be a great place to grab a bite and also to people watch from our apartment. Every day there was at least one golden retriever that visited the cafe. This place really felt like a new home for me.

Le Voltiguer

Le Voltigeur cafe as seen from our apartment

I am a huge chocolate lover and Viennese Chocolat Chaud is served (at least at this cafe it is) in three parts. Part 1: a cup of thick, rich, melted dark chocolate. Part 2: a pitcher of hot milk. Part 3: a glass of fresh whipped cream. We combined the first two parts and topped with part three and enjoyed the most amazing cup of hot chocolate, ever. We only did this a couple times because, well, it is decadent.

Since I have no other pictures of the Chocolat Chaud (other than ones with Blue Eyes in them), I am posting a picture of me with my indulgence. Perhaps now you can see why I am a little obsessed with blue eyes… both of the siblings I grew up with (Aunt TeeTee and GQ) have beautiful blue eyes. Blue Eyes, obviously has blue eyes, which I am mesmerized by. I wanted at least one of my boys to have those blue eyes, but alas, they both have my brown eyes. But I digress.

chocolat chaud

One of the other things on my list that I really wanted to do and that we did on one of our first days in Paris, was go to a flower shop near the apartment and purchase flowers for the dining room table. I felt very Parisian.

flower shop

flowers

Peonies and roses are two of my all time favorites.

dining room

After acclimating to our apartment and our neighborhood, our first major excursion outside the Marais was a walking tour of the Montmartre area including lunch at a local bistro at Place Emile Goudreau. We took the subway to Abbesses Station on the Paris Metro, the deepest station in the city at 118 feet below ground. We knew it was going to be deep, but when we saw a huge elevator after a couple flights up, we thought, nah, we can do this. Well, it was good exercise for us, but it is a lot of steps up. After exiting the station, we headed to a bistro at the base of the Montmartre hill.

Place Emile Goudreau

Bistro at Place Emile Goudreau

cafe montmartre

Lunch was amazing, per usual

steak and potatoes

We saw a number of cute little restaurants along the route that I had seen and pinned on Pinterest when planning the trip like Le Poulbot, below.

le poulbot

and La Maison Rose

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 12.31.18 PM

Of course the main attraction is Basilique du Sacre Coeur. Along the way we also passed lots of souvenir shops and artists on the streets at the Place du Tertre, the Dali Museum, Au Lapin Agile (oldest cabaret bar in Paris, the Moulin de la Galette (famous old flour windmill), plus many other sights. It’s best to look up a good self-guided walking tour online so you get all the background on the dozens of sights along the way. They also have guided walking tours available through tour companies, but whenever booking tours in Paris (we did not book any) be sure and make sure it is a reputable one. I have heard some not so great things about guided tours in Paris.

sacre couersacco

Right outside Sacre Coeur, there was an acrobatic performer who was simply amazing. He moved himself around a light post so adeptly and he was so strong. Very fun to watch, especially with Paris as the backdrop.

acrobat on lampost

We took the funicular back down and I found a particularly pretty carrousel at the bottom. There are colorful carrousels all over Paris.

carrousel

As we walked back down to the subway station on the main drag, we passed cute shops like this one, below:

la cure gourmande

as well as the famous Moulin Rouge.

moulin rouge

All in all, getting there, eating lunch, the walking tour including all the stops, and snacks and visits took about six hours and was exhausting, but well worth it. After just three days in Paris, I was able to cross a few things off my list, we had tackled our jet lag, and we still had so many days left to enjoy the rest of Paris (and a little bit of London).

Until next time, au revoir.

11 thoughts on “Travelogue: Paris past and present (part one)

  1. Love this piece and the photos and you are beautiful and I love brown eyes!!!! Everyone except in my family have brown eyes!!!! Blue eyes are a pain. I am always squinting!!!!!
    My daughter was proposed to at Sacre c. after they had dinner nearby. Trouble was that daughter thought partner was messing around so she told him to stop fucking around but he would not get up from bended knee until he had an answer from her and all this messing around caused some drunk young french men to start to serenade them. Hilarious!!!!!
    How I love Paris and your photos are so good at capturing the essence of that place. Love it.
    Xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • How long ago was the proposal? Did she marry him? I love Paris. My boys are very handsome with their brown eyes, but growing up brown hair/brown eyes, blue eyes and blonde hair always seemed exotic to me. 🙂 . Even more exotic, green eyes and red hair. I hope you are doing well. Is your husband back in town?

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      • He proposed in May 2013 after they went to Cannes film festival. They are not married and not really sure if they ever will. Any spare cash they have they put into their films. Maybe one day when they sell a film for good money they may splash out and have a wedding. Kids are so different these days. They both live with us as well. 🙂
        H is back and getting ready for his next trip to the DRC. Ebola country. He gets to go to such nice places. Not. At least I am not tempted to travel with him tho his travelling sets off triggers something awful for me.
        I am not in the greatest place at the moment. My health and wellness 30 day thrive flew out the window so quickly with my last trigger. I seem to be slowly picking up the shreds and getting myself back on track. Even yoga practice is suffering. I will get there tho.

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        • Well, thank goodness each new day brings an opportunity to do things the way we want to do them. Health, wellness and yoga aren’t going anywhere 🙂 . I can’t believe your husband has to travel again. That would be a big trigger for me, probably bigger than me going with him. We have just about run out of places they have been together that we have not been to since so that shouldn’t be a problem anymore. I guess at some point BE will travel by himself again, but not anytime soon. Obviously he still struggles to control the subconscious addict.

          I’m sure having your kids around while your husband is gone is a help. Hugs to you as you battle the triggers.

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          • He barely travelled last year but as travelling is part of what he does there is no way he can avoid it. The list of women friends he has made on his trips is pretty impressive. I made him go thru all his deleted contacts and tell me who each of them were and which trip etc. He usually travels business class and only on the odd occasion in 1st but obviously there is plenty of opportunity and space and of course the flights are very lengthy so he has time on his hands.
            Having kids at home is good…..we share all chores and there is always someone to chat to. We also have a sound editing guy living here as well. 6 adults 5 cats and 1 dog.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh and you are so right that yoga and eating better will still be there…….waiting for me. ( and u) 🙂
            I felt so bad at work yesterday as I snuck a kitkat in my bag because I was feeling like one and then had to hide to eat it!!!!
            Ha ha ha.

            Whole 30 for me as well but I will start after Easter.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I think I am actually going to try and start Whole30 tomorrow… we’ll see. I feel desperate to get things back in line and see progress again. We leave again for Miami/NYC 3/30-4/6. I was going to wait to start until 4/7 or 4/8 as I thought we would be home an entire month and then it would be complete just before my birthday. I can always do another round after my birthday. But, now I know we will be out of town again in late April. I think I can still pull it off even while traveling. I guess we’ll see.

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              • If you decide to start let me know how you go. Also many recipes that are ‘paleo’ will fit within the whole 30. There is even an online cooking site with many recipes.
                I guess I eat paleo 80% so I need a whole 30 to give me a kickstart. Another kickstart is a juice detox for a day or two.
                After your travelling food just cutting out gluten and dairy and sugar will make you feel awesome!
                All the best. Xxx

                Liked by 1 person

  2. For all the beauty and its descriptions you’ve just shown me, all I seem to be focusing on (especially with OUR first trip to Paris, as a couple, in 2 short months) – afterward – is you. You appear so kind and warm. I want to nuzzle into your shoulder and cry because you’ll know the hurt I’m feeling. You’re beautiful and kind-looking… the sort of person I feel like I would be safe with… and that’s really all I want right now. To really feel safe, for a change, and not have to be on my toes constantly, doing damage control and/or licking my wounds in such a way that it won’t greatly impact my loved ones, whether those loved ones deserve such kindness or not.

    I feel selfish for even saying so- all of that written above… but at the same time, I wanted to let you know: You are beautiful and kind and it *really does* show!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your very kind and sweet words. You are young enough to be my daughter and I do wish I could hug you and let you cry on my shoulder. I do know those feelings of hurt and betrayal so deeply and I do understand. It is such a difficult journey. I am so thrilled for you that you will be experiencing Paris soon… in May? That will be wonderful. I have a few more posts about Paris, hopefully you will find something helpful.

      I have a feeling we live far from each other, but know I am a virtual hug away. ❤

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