I’ve been meaning to post on an amazing celebratory trip to Paris, where several of the most lovely ladies and I celebrated our big upcoming birthdays. Then immediately upon return, my family made the decision to move to the East Coast…so, I’ve been a little bogged down in moving logistics, and this post has been in progress for much too long.
But there’s no better time than the present (and keeping ones mindset Parisian), right? Plus, I refuse to let this trip be a vague memory, it was far too special.
So here we go!
It began on a direct flight from Seattle to Charles De Gaulle, a few failed Ambien attempts to fend off jet lag (turns out sleeping aides and adrenaline aren’t a good mix), but there’s unlimited wine on international flights, soooo,’ it’s all good.’ We “checked in” to our apartment (charming, functional and very French) booked through Pad-A-Terre on St. Honore and immediately began to explore Parisian life in the 1st arrondissement.
Our group was tipped off to enjoy a delicious lunch at Gladines, where we tried to blend in with French hipsters who casually donned bandanas and scarfed cheese in a way so effortlessly cool, we couldn’t possibly replicate, no matter we were all still positively giddy. Following lunch we immediately set out to explore the City of Light as it is primarily meant to be traveled, by foot.
The love locks were so densely attached to Pont des Arts, apparently you’re not allowed to add any more as they are literally weighing down the bridge, though they are still actively being sold by many of the touristy (though charming) stalls along the Left Bank.
There was the tiniest of ‘disco naps’ at our place on St. Honore before heading out for our first nights meal at heavily recommended (and also located in the 1st) Verjus. Ever notice how some of the coolest spots are kinda a hard to find?
The multi-course meal (or meals as it felt like, since the food kept on coming, along with the vin) was prix fixe, didn’t disappoint and felt distinctly comfortable as is coincidentally run by ex-pats, a Seattle couple, if you can believe it.
Next morning bright and early, errr 11:00 a.m. we headed out for the Fat Tire Bike Tour, which we almost missed because it started at noon. We rushed over to explore the City on a little faster tilt, by bike. First, we had to learn some of the French “rules of the road” like sticking together like a large mass of salmon (which was easy for us being from the Pacific Northwest and all) when taking on big intersections (a.k.a. acting like you own it), and also yelling “dominate!” while flocking together, along with some choice hand gestures, and soon we were off.
and it felt so free, no one even wore helmets and though I wouldn’t admit this to my kids, it was kinda nice, or at least laissez faire. I loved exploring the city in this manner. So much to take in. (and actually kind of good for jet lag and the too-much-wine haze)
We learned all kinds of fascinating tid-bits from our guide Patrick (who we later randomly ran into late night in St. Germain, I guess Paris isn’t that big of a City after all), including how royals (not to be confused with the team, by the way Go Royals!) were measured on status according to the size of their calves.
One of the aspects of this trip that frankly made is so successful and special, is that each of the six ladies picked one or two things that were really important to them to do on the trip. And we each tried to respect those things so each of us felt satisfied in some of personal objectives. Of such, one of the gals “missions” was to check out an antique market that her mother, who is an interior designer, and travels to Paris frequently, recommended called Marche Vernaison.
When we asked the folks from the bike tour how to get there, they provided the Metro instructions along with a little snicker and also mentioned that we should tuck our purses into our pants for the journey. They explained it’s a highly pick pocketed area, but again we were determined, intrigued and prepared with our purses in our pants, and low and behold we found it. And you know what? It was actually a delight. The surrounding areas were a tad sketch, but the actual market was quite lovely.
I could’ve spent days, and lots of Euro shipping things,
but even just the experience of being there was something. And the antique dealers didn’t even sneer at us too much for our fragmented french speaking attempts. I was dying to stop at this cute and super festive bar/restaurant located right in the market, but too many good food options/not enough meals or time to eat them all. The group made our way back to our apartment (after a few funny experiences in the tres crowded Metro) to do a quick wardrobe adjustment from biking and antiquing to head out for a night on the town.
We headed over the bridge to Saint-Germain-des-Pres, where we seemed to end up quite a lot on this trip. Each meal in Paris needs to be strategic so every caloric bite is maximized, so I had a big list of places I hoped to go. L’Avant Comptoir, was one such place I pretty had to check out. This spot is a nice hotel, and restaurant, but what we were looking for is the wine/hors d’oeuvres bar located sneakily behind a crepe bar next door. Again, all of the coolest are a little hard to find, no?
Voila! A menu on the ceiling! Need I say more?
So we gorged ourselves on ham croquettes, duck confit sausage hotdogs, fried Parmesan pesto cheese puffs croquettes, and more and well a lot of rose, we joked about the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cupcake…and related, “If you give a Mom, a glass of rose….” That night went on with some other shenanigans I shouldn’t disclose…but come back for my next installment and I’ll continue to tell the tales of Parisian adventure