I’m not kidding. I am attempting to post seven glorious days in one of the most amazing cities in the world in one post. No wonder it has taken me so long to do this. Here goes….
The flight I booked through Cheapoair (it’s a real website, I promise, I’ve used it numerous times) allowed me to fly business class to Paris within a similar timeframe and price range as coach fare on Delta, so I flew Iceland Air to Paris, through Iceland!
Bad stuff: Keflavik Airport has bitten off more than it can chew. Tourism is booming in Iceland. There aren’t enough gates or jetways for all the planes. Both ways I ended up walking up and down an outside stairway to the tarmac and then riding a bus to the terminal or the plane. It was tiring and time consuming, but I made my connections (because they hold all the planes for everyone).
Good Stuff: Business (Saga) Class on Iceland Air was really nice. Food was great, service impeccable and the views arriving and departing Iceland were beautiful. Next time I think I would save money and choose Economy Comfort… it looked just as nice and less expensive. I forgot my iPad on my first flight and I was literally running to catch my next flight. I didn’t realize I had left the thing in the pocket of my seat until I was at my next gate. My second flight was running late (all my flights ran late). I asked the gate attendant if she could check on it. They had it delivered to me within 10 minutes. I dare say that would not happen in the U.S.
I’m pretty sure there’s a trip to Iceland in our not too distant future (suggestions welcome).
My plane landed first. TC’s direct flight from the U.S. East Coast was delayed and arrived shortly after mine. We met up at the airport and headed into the city by taxi.
The apartment we reserved in the Saint Germain area of Paris was lovely. We booked through HomeAway and the entire experience went smoothly.
No rest for the weary on Day One in Paris. Somehow both TC and I were full of energy and ready to take on the city (even though I missed an entire night’s sleep). TC wanted to hunt down Space Invader Art and I was ready to soak in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Paris.
First stop, Pierre Herme Saint Germain so TC could order her beloved Ispahan Croissants (more on that later) for Saturday breakfast.
Once croissants were ordered, we were off to explore our new neighborhood. By this time it was very late afternoon and TC wanted to introduce me to a David Lebovitz favorite, Poilane. Next to their little boulangerie, is the cafe. We intended to have a bite to eat, but it was near closing and all they were offering were pastries. So we opted for tea and an apple tart to share.
I cannot subsist on sweets alone, so we continued to stroll Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Very close to our apartment are the famous Cafe de Flore and Cafe Les Deux Magots, the historical rendezvous spot of the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and Julia Child.
Just down the street from Les Deux Magots is a steak frites restaurant Blue Eyes and I have eaten at before, and loved. TC had not been, but had been wanting to try it, so we got in line. By this time I was very hungry. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations. There are three locations in Paris, and all work the same, no reservations with generally long lines that move quickly.
And then TC introduced me to THIS:
Day two in Paris was a very special affair. First, it was TC’s birthday. She was up before me and out to spot new Invader Art and to pick up her birthday croissants. Her excitement was contagious. I had eaten an Ispahan Croissant once before in Kyoto, Japan on the recommendation of TC. The Ritz Carlton Kyoto (an absolutely gorgeous boutique hotel) has a Pierre Herme shop in the lobby. I found the croissant to be delicious, but a little sweet for me. Dare I say it, the Ispahan Croissant is TC’s one true love. She ate two each morning for about the first five or six days we were in Paris.
If you would like to make these croissants yourself, this website has the recipe: Iron Whisk: Ispahan Croissants.
TC also introduced me to my favorite breakfast food, La Fermiere Yogurt in the little blue re-usable crocks. I brought six of those crocks home with me. I think I will plant a little herb garden in them at the beach house. I’m especially fond of micro-cilantro.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Saint Germain.
After breakfast we headed off to the Paris flea market at Porte de Clignancourt. This market had been on my “must see in Paris” list since 2013. I am thrilled TC and I made this market a priority. It was a one shot Metro ride from our local line 4 station at Saint Germain. Once out at le Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, we haphazardly ended up at Marche Vernaison and I’m so glad we did. I purchased a treasure to take home to the beach house. An abstract nude caught my eye from outside the vendor’s shop. Once I saw it, I wanted it. It was the middle of the night at home, so contacting Blue Eyes for “permission” seemed cruel. Unfortunately, the vendor was new and was not set up for credit… CASH ONLY? Well, I was not carrying around that kind of euro. I put down a 100euro deposit to hold it and told the vendor I would be back on Monday (the market is only open Saturday-Monday, thus one of the reasons I had not been before).
After the flea market we headed to La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marche near our apartment. Our eyes were big as saucers eyeing all the delicacies at the Epicerie (a large food hall).
We picked up some goodies for a picnic style lunch back at our apartment.
After a bit of rest, we dressed for dinner and headed to The Marais, my personal favorite neighborhood in Paris. TC had chosen a nostalgic favorite, Benoit, for her birthday dinner. I had never been to this restaurant, one of the oldest in Paris.
I fell in love with this restaurant, from the artistic menus to the gorgeous china, and of course the delicious cheese gougeres, it was a grand experience.
After such an extravagant meal, some serious walking was in order. We headed into La Marais and it quickly became obvious that it was Paris Gay Pride Day. La Marais is THE gay neighborhood in Paris, full of unique boutique shopping, amazing food, great energy, and wild entertainment.
Sunday morning arrived and by the time I rolled out of bed, TC was gone again on her morning croissant fix/Invader hunt. I chose to take it easy and read a book. I needed the energy for the afternoon as TC had booked us at the OPERA!
Day four started off much like the others with TC out and about walking, eating croissants, searching for space invader art, visiting perfume shops and following in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette (chocolates)…
I was on a mission to get that cash and pick up my treasure. After about an hour of finagling with BNP Paribas and my banks back home, I was able to secure the right amount of cash and make my way back out to the market by Metro to pick up the painting. My lovely French vendor guy was waiting for me with my treasure all wrapped up. He called me a taxi and by early afternoon, I was on my way back to secure the painting in our apartment. TC shared her decadent chocolates from Debauve & Gallis with me and we scarfed down a bit of baguette and brie.
Since the Galeries Lafayette shopping center had been closed when we were there on Sunday after the Opera, we decided to head back to that area and do some shopping. The Galeries Lafayette are a must see for their glass ceilings alone.
Before heading across the street to the Food Hall, I spent a little time drooling over the Angelina pastry counter, but we did not try any as TC had all our desserts planned out, LOL!
I love food halls in general. Even if I don’t purchase anything, I can spend hours just perusing the options. Galeries Lafayette food halls are no exception. Last year I was there with Blue Eyes and I fell in love with the spice shop. This time I actually brought some of the spices and salts home with me.
TC then introduced me to Fauchon’s cafe and we shared a beautiful strawberry tart.
Honestly, people, I know I am diabetic and so my portions of the desserts were small, a bite or two at best. I was not on a suicide mission. But a little taste here and there with all the miles of walking we were doing, just felt right.
For dinner we took off to a new area of town where we ate at Cafe Constant. I must have duck confit at least once while in Paris because, well, it’s DUCK CONFIT! If you have never had it and you like rich delicacies, you will not be disappointed.
By the way, here is my Paris flea market treasure at the beach house
On day five we went and had a real breakfast at Angelina. I had never been. The shop/cafe at the location on Rue de Rivoli was so sweet. Small, but the mirrors and murals make it seem bigger, and it is right across the street from my favorite garden, the Tuileries.
After our very filling breakfast, we walked over to the Tuileries, the gardens outside of the Louvre Museum.
On day six I headed out to the Hockney exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou by myself. Even though the Pompidou is in the Marais district (where our family stayed for 2 1/2 weeks four years ago), I never made it to this famous modern art museum designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. With the David Hockney exhibit, I wasn’t going to miss it this time.
Then I set out to walk back to the apartment, however, a pretty heavy rain shower thwarted my efforts and I ended up stopping in to a little Trattoria for some pasta. The pasta was so rich that I decided it would be my last meal for the day. I retired early at the apartment and left TC to fend for herself, which she does quite nicely.
Our last full day in Paris was really about two things for me… a couple treats to bring home for my men, and the Jardin Exhibit at the Grand Palais.
After perusing some other shops in Saint Germain, I stuck my goodies in the fridge and TC and I set out for the Grand Palais.
I very much enjoyed the Jardin exhibit, but I will say I was expecting more Monet and or other large scale garden paintings. I will have to go elsewhere for that next time. The exhibit, however, did include a very well rounded look at garden and art as it relates to so many different mediums such as film, architectural drawings of garden design, and some pretty fabulous jewelry.
My last stop of the day was at the Henri Le Roux chocolate shop just below our apartment. As a matter of fact, that blue door in the picture is the entrance to the apartment building where we stayed. A wonderful location, but I do still love my La Marais.
We packed the night before and had Blue Eyes pre-arrange an Uber ride to the airport for us, so Friday morning was a breeze. TC and I were in different terminals, so we said good-bye in the Uber… until next time.
What a glorious seven days in Paris with a lovely friend. I’m pretty sure Blue Eyes won’t let me go without him next time.
Au Revoir aux amis. ❤