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Saturday, September 16, 2017
"Oh, Kaye!" chats about Paris (originally posted at Jungle Red on 9/3/2017)
In case you haven't heard, I'm going to Paris.
My first trip to Paris.
Fi nal ly !
If you haven'theard, then I have to assume you don't live on Planet Earth since I've even been stopping complete strangers on the street for the past year to share my news.
Yes, yes,yes - I'm a bit of a pain in the neck when I'm excited about something.I know, I know. I can just go on and on and on about it all until I am on a person's last nerve. Believe me, former husbands loved pointing out what a pain in the neck I could be.
It's my first trip, so you know, I deserve to be excited, right?!
Luckily, DonBarley finds my enthusiasm to be more of a plus than a minus. Suffice to say, he is one of the good guys. One ofthebest.
And long, long time very dear friend, Vickie Smith.
And new friend to me, but very long time friend of Vickie's, Lisa Butler.
We've rented a wonderful house through Airbnb that Vic found for us.
It's in Montparnasse. And as it turns out, not far from the home of Jim Haynes.
Some of you are probably familiar with Mr. Haynes, but for those of you who are not, "nearly every Sunday for the past 30 plus years, Mr. Haynes, a Louisiana-born expatriate, has opened the doors of his former sculpture studio in Paris and invited the world to come dine in largely the same spirit."
I am fascinated by Jim Haynes. He has, however, been experiencing some health issues and is quite elderly, and I'm not sure the dinner parties will continue. But. We'll see. Right now his webpage says to check back in September.
But. Who knows . . . perhaps we'll see him sitting on his front step and we can say "Hey!" That would be cool.
And, oh my, have we planned some adventures!
We will, of course, do many of the things you're supposed to do as atourist in Paris. A boat trip down the Seine to watch the city light up in the evening, a trip to Versailles and Giverny. Wandering through Montmartre, Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain, and Marais, andice creamat Berthillon'son ÎleSaint Louis.
Besides having a lovely green area with benches on which to sit and rest your weary soul, and tired ol' feet, you get one of the best views of Notre Dame.
And, you get to quietly commune with the oldest living tree in Paris. And, I have a "thing" for trees - wonderful old stately trees. I seek them out, and they speak to me.
Also, because of the way things are in our world right now, it's become important for me to think about things with a little more reflection than maybe I once did. For that reason, while in Square René Viviani,I'd very much like to spend a quiet moment at a "sculpture decorated with stags’ heads and water drops that represent aspects of the legend of St. Julien. In addition, there are infants, some of whom have wings while others appear to be lifeless. Under the Vichy government (the govenment of France that collaborated with Nazi Germany from 1940 till 1944) more than 11,000 infants were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz because they were Jewish. About one hundred of these children lived in the vicinity of this square in the 5th arrondissement. "
11,000 infants deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz because they were Jewish. We need, I think, to be remembering this right now.
And, while we have agreed on many things we'll be doing together, there are some things that some of us want to do that others don't - like The Catacombs, for instance.
And on those days we'll head off in different directions and meet back in our courtyard to chat and giggle about our day over a glass of wine and decide where to go for dinner.
Each of us agree that in addition to some planned outings, we also love theart of flâneusing,and allowing serendipity to have her way with us.
(anyone here read Lauren Elkin's "Flaneuse?" I recommend it).
Museums, Gardens, Eating, and Shopping, oh my!
We're only going to be there a week, so we'll miss a lot and probably will just have to go back another time . . . bless our hearts.
Actually, Vickie and Lisa have been before so Lesa and I are counting on them for a lot of their Parisian knowledge.
We're also planning some"different" sorts of adventures.
While Lisa and Vickie are doing a wine and castles tour, Lesa and I are having breakfast with the giraffes at the Parc Zoologique de Paris.
Doesn't that sound fun? Ican'twait. And we're treating ourselves to a 1920's style photo session.
One of the interesting, but lesser known, things in Paris I want to see isLe Passe-Muraille -'the man who walks through walls'. It is a larger than life bronze statue representing a man half trapped in a stone wall.
It's full of helpful information (and a lot of very funinformation!)
It's broken down into chapters by neighborhoods, but not necessarily arrondissements. Each neighborhood chapter has sections on landmarks,arts and entertainment venues,restaurants,cafes,hotels,chic shops, andafter-dark stops along with a fold out map for each neighborhood.
There are also some blank pages for adding notes. Thus comes my only complaint - notenoughblankpages, so I ended up making use of the margins on many pages, thanks to friends telling us about their favorite places to shop, to eat, to have hot chocolate, etc. (Daniel Hale saysdefinitelyCafe Marly for hot chocolate)
And by the way, Dear Travelers - Paris is not the only city with its own Little Black Book . . . do check them out!
Another favorite book is this one, and I can't recommend it enough. Even if you're not planning a trip to Paris, it's one you might enjoy
Due to all this "research," I have read a LOT about Paris during this past year, fiction and non-fiction. So, I have, of course, ended up with ahugelistof recommendations, but I'll be posting that in a separate piece for those who are interested. Except - I have to tell you about this one.
A Paris All Your Own - Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light
Contributing authors include Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler, Melissa Shapiro, Jennifer Coburn, Maggie Shipstead, Lauren Willig, Cathy Kelly, Rachel Hore, Meg Waite Clayton, Ellen Sussman, M. J. Rose, Susan Vreeland , Megan Crane, Michelle Gable, J. Courtney Sullivan, Julie Powell, Jennifer Scott, AND our very own Cara Black. Edited by Eleanor Brown. "These Parisian memoirs range from laugh-out-loud funny to wistfully romantic to thoughtfully somber and reflective." Speaking of our Cara. She'll be leading one of her wonderful Aimee Leduc tours in Paris the same week we're going to be there, so we're going to be sitting in the audience in the tearoom at WHSmith while Cara talks about "Murder in Saint-Germain." We're all pretty excited. And guess what? WHSmith has also ordered a few copies of my "Whimsey." Am I excited about seeing MY "Whimsey" on a shelf in a bookstore in Paris? Pfffffft. Well, yes. Yes, I am.
But,did I tell you about my travel journal?
Right up front I'm going to admit making a mistake with this, but . . . 'tis done.
To those of you who love, use and appreciate a really nice journal, use a fountain pen and enjoy painting sketches in addition to writing - this is not the journal for you.
Debs will be one of the first to agree with me.
I got this leather bound journal on-line for not much money - $10 or $12 maybe. And it is pretty. But.
The paper is thin so forget using a fountain pen or paints. Not only is going to soak through the page, it's going to soak through the next page too. It is no Iona journal (darn it!).
But it's working out okay now that I've discovered it's flaws. One has to learn from one's mistakes, right?
I'm working withcrayons and colored pens (ballpoint only!) andcolored pencils illustrating some pages and jotting down some thoughts before we get to Paris.
I'm like a kid with stickers, so yes, lots of stickers too.
I'm an on again/off again journaler, and have been all my life. Rememberthose little leatherette diaries with the lock? Santa brought me a new one every year. One thing I have always been is a journaler when traveling.
This was in Greece many, many years ago. When I go back and read the journal I kept for that trip, it's almost like being there. It's enough to make me know that I will, one of these days, go back.
Sometimes while journaling, I might sketch a scene - it does not matter that I can't draw worth a diddly - I do it anyway. Sometimes I'm just capturing a thought. Or writing down a quote, or apiece of poetry, or just a quick phrase that touches me in some way. And because I'm excited about this trip, I've started my journal early.
See what I mean about not being able to draw? I can't even color! But. You know what? It doesn't matter. It's all fun and creating is good for us.
especially 3D stickers! Who knew?!
Okay. Packing. Packing is hard. Especially for some of us who are "nesters" and feel we need to have everything we own with us wherever we go. So, I did a "practice pack." Here's a couple pictures of some of the things I pulled out of the closet to choose from. Casual little black dresses (okay - and, one little red dress) to be perked up with accessories. I just grabbed some and tossed them onto the bed.
Then I decided what I'd wear on the plane, put a couple things back into the closet, and with the help of space bags, I packed up clothes,shoes,jammies,toiletries and undies. And a few, very few, pieces ofjewelry. Resulting in . . . Ta DA !!!
One under-the-seat bag and a backpack. Yes. For real. Five little black dresses, one little red dress, two pairs of shoes, leggings,scarves, reversible cape, undies, jammies, travel size toiletries and make-up. Space bags rock. However, Once I proved to myself I could do this, I changed my mind. What about souvenirs?! I am not coming home from Paris without souvenirs (besides that "possible" tattoo, that is). Excusez-moi, combien, s'il vous plaît? So. I'm sticking with the small under-the-seat bag, but forgetting the backpack and carrying a tote/purse on the plane with me. I have a smallsuitcase that would fit in the overhead, but, truth be told, I think I'm going to just check it. I'll have really necessary items in my purse/tote and/orsmall under-the-seat bag. It's non-stop from Charlotte International to Paris, and if my suitcase gets lost for a couple days, I'll be okay. If it gets lost for the entire week, I'll consider it a shopping emergency. 😊 In Paris. 😍 A.Shopping.Emergency. In.Paris.
Okay, so now, Dear Reds, I know most of you have already taken your very first exciting trip to Paris, and many of you have been back many times.
So, how about some sharing of your favorite places.
In particular . . .
Best hot chocolate(Is it Cafe Marly like Daniel Hales says?)!
Best beef bourguignon!
Your favorite patisserie,boulangerie,cafe,bistro,restaurant?
Favorite place to shop - for clothes,for lingerie,for perfume,for stationery,for books,for small souvenirs to bring home for friends and family,for antiques,for jewelry,for scarves,for shoes?