Sunday, March 26, 2023

Springtime in Paris (Day 3) March 22, 2023

We continue to have lovely weather for the most part.  It has only rained a couple of times but this former Pacific Northwesterner is not afraid of a little rain.  Okay, I did have an umbrella which came in quite handy. 😀

For Day 3 in Paris, we had two destinations on the docket: Sainte-Chapelle and Musee Picasso. 

"The Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel in the Gothic style, within the medieval Palais de la Cité, the residence of the Kings of France until the 14th century, on the Île de la Cité in the River Seine in Paris, France. Construction began sometime after 1238 and the chapel was consecrated on 26 April 1248."

Source: Wikipedia

The stained glass is breathtaking, even on an overcast day.  Our timed arrived was a strategic one because soon after our arrival, many more people were entering the chapel.

On our way to our next destination, we decided to visit the Conciergerie, where Marie-Antoinette was held before her execution:

"The Conciergerie is a former courthouse and prison in Paris, France, located on the west of the Île de la Cité, below the Palais de Justice. It was originally part of the former royal palace, the Palais de la Cité, which also included the Sainte-Chapelle. Two large medieval halls remain from the royal palace."

Source: Wikipedia

This museum had some fantastic technology that included an iPad-like device where you could point it in a room and a rendition of what it was like back in the day came up.  Very cool!

We were famished from all that exploring, so we stopped by a bistro for lunch.  We were given a great seat on the second floor of the restaurant and enjoyed a delicious meal.  Rose had a scallop dish and I enjoyed a traditional beef and potato stew (with an obligatory glass of wine, of course!).

With very happy stomachs, we ventured to the Musee Picasso and checked out a special exhibit by Faith Ringgold:

Faith Ringgold is a major figure in American feminist art, from the civil rights struggles to those of Black Lives Matter, and the author of some very famous works in children’s literature. Her work links the rich heritage of the Harlem Renaissance to the current art of young black American artists. Through her retelling of modern art history, she engages in a genuine plastic and critical dialogue with the Parisian art scene of the early 20th century, particularly with Picasso and his "Demoiselles d’Avignon".

Once we got back home we realized that we had 'forgotten' about our plans for the evening that included dinner at Cafe des Deux Moulins, the cafe that was featured in the film, Amelie. I was disappointed to cancel that outing but we did have tickets for a visit to the Moulin Rogue that night which was quite the experience!  We had the honor of sharing our table and witty comments with Olivia and Shay, two lovely gals visiting from California by way of Dublin, Ireland.

I was taken aback by all the bare boobies (!) I saw in the most fabulous of costumes. The men were pretty much fully dressed the entire time. Hmm.  Okay, I am a bit of a prude these days. 😄 I was also surprised to see children at a burlesque show, but I guess folks just do things differently these days.  The costumes were simply out of this world!!!!  I wish I could have captured at least one photo but you weren't allowed to take photos. Even after my two sips of whiskey that set me back $15, I was still in awe of the show the performers provided. The energy required to do all that they did was quite impressive. 

What a day!

To see all my photos from the day, click here.

Be sure to check out these other places in Paris:

Thursday, March 23, 2023

J'aime Paris (Day 2) March 21, 2023

We have been a good pair of tourists exploring so many areas of this marvelous city. Day Two was an epic 12 hour day of walking around Paris.  We started off with a tasty quiche and croissant we had picked up the day before - both were delicious! We decided to meander our way to the Musee d'Orsay and the Arc de Triomphe using our Museum Pass for access.  We had yet another gorgeous spring day. Yes, we were feeling quite lucky because the weather was supposed to be rain, rain, and more rain.

What should have taken us an hour to walk took quite a bit longer because we kept spotting beautiful buildings and sights to explore.  I think it actually took us closer to three hours to get to the first spot! (*) But it remains true: it is all about the journey.

When we arrived at the Musee D'Orsay, we just walked up and walked in (love, love, LOVE the museum pass) to take in as much as humanly possible. So. much. art. I walked around with a big fat smile on my heart the entire time we were there. We also enjoyed a delicious quick bite to eat in the museum cafe.


Somehow, someway we rallied and decided to walk over to the Arc de Triomphe as well.  I mean, we were 'in the neighborhood' and all. We didn't know if we would be blessed with continued good weather, so why not take advantage of the gorgeous day and go catch the sunset while standing on top of the iconic structure, right? The last time I was in Paris, we arrived just as they closed - what a bummer!  This time as we were entering the area, the employee told us it was closed and several of us groaned in protest but as it turned out he was totally pulling our legs.  What a Mr. Smarty Pants. 😆

And because we are a couple of over achieving broads, we decided to walk over to the Eiffel Tower just as it got dark and what a treat it was! There is nothing like rounding the corner and then there it stood in all its glory.  We even got the twinkle lights! 

We headed to the nearest Metro station to get home. Oh, how are feet and legs ached from all that walking.  But we did stop by for dinner before hopping on the train.  Of course, we enjoyed some snails (When in Rome, er, Paris and all that) and a drink consisting of whiskey was a given.  We were a little confused about how to get our Metro tickets but a very nice (and super cute) Metro fellow helped us out. We were on our way home in a very crowded train.  I got to talking to a couple of gals on the that train about how crowded it was and we made it home.  Oh, a hot shower and to bed - what a glorious combo!

Want to see the photos from the day?  Check them out here!

Be sure to check out these places in Paris:

(*) This might be an exaggeration but not by much. 🤣


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

And, we're off - Paris, here we are! (Day 1) March 20, 2023

My travel buddy, Rose, and I in Paris!  My last visit here was February 2018 and I was so looking forward to a return visit to the City of Lights. During that trip, the Seine was flooded but the only concern with that was not being able to walk on the path by the water's edge. I will never forget the first time I laid my eyes on the Eiffel Tower. It was nighttime and my travel buddy, Carla, and I had to fight off the jet lag so we walked to the iconic landmark and saw it in all its glory. You could see it in the distance from our apartment and each night at midnight, those famous twinkle lights.  Just stunning.

Fast forward to today.  We arrived during some turbulent times for the city. At the time of this writing, the French government pushed through pension reform without a vote. Folks are a bit upset with this and there are protests and strikes underway.  The garbage started to pile up and get a bit stinky, but I learned from someone on social media that collectors were ordered to pick it up or risk jail time and fines.

We have a robust itinerary for our 9 day stay.  I am cautiously optimistic that we will make it in to all of our destinations including one sweet little place: L'Ecritoire is a family stationery since 1975. I stumbled upon it after visiting the Centre Pompidou in 2018 and it is the cutest little shop.  I was so enamored with it, I purchased some notecards from it in 2020. I am so looking forward to a return visit!


Our non-stop flight from Logan airport in Boston to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris was relatively issue free.  I did have one minor issue that irked me so much, I had a little trouble letting it go until I finally convinced myself that I was causing my own suffering!

They kept saying that the flight was full but upon boarding there were several rows without passengers.  Me and a couple of other passengers were curious about moving to one of the empty rows but were told to sit tight. Another passenger made the move but was immediately told to go back to his original seat.  Then and young white man moved and I advised him of the situation - he promptly ignored me and was not told by airline staff to move back to his seat.  I was madder than a wet hen! I was commiserating with my lovely row mates who were traveling from York, PA to Rome about the whole situation and my frustration with yet another example of annoying 'white male privilege' and well, one of them was a white male so I quickly 'excluded present company and we got a big laugh out of it.  I eventually moved over to the row with Mr. WMP and he would not make eye contact with me.  I will add in addition to that situation, two young white men were standing by to cut into the pre-boarding line but I alerted them to get in the queue properly (aka get your butts to the back of the line) - they complied. I mean, I didn't want to have to talk to a supervisor or anything like that! 🤣

Other than those 'guys', I enjoyed several lovely conversations with other passengers in addition to my row mates who I lent my phone charger since theirs was tucked away in forced checked luggage. All in all, it was a good flight on Air France!

When we arrived at CDG, we made a beeline to border control / immigration and OMG - I have NEVER seen a queue like it before!  I heard about security check in nightmares this past summer at various airports but have been luck to avoid getting stuck in situations like that and I suppose luck was with me this morning because the US line had about 20 people in it!  I suspect it was likely due to our possibly being the first US flight to arrive that day and we missed the mad rush.

We arrived at our lovely Parisian apartment after an hour and a half commute with a hired driver. It is a total splurge to hire someone but with the strikes and all, it was totally worth the expense. 

After settling in a bit, we decided to do our best at getting ahead of our inevitable jet lag and started walking towards the Eiffel Tower which is about a 5 mile one way walk. We weren't sure we could make it to the destination but it is all about the journey, right?

We popped into a few places along the way including a cafe for breakfast (Au Cadran Voltaire) and another place for lunch (L'Elephant Du Nil). I love having access to pastry shops, bakeries, and the butcher to pick up specialties.  We ventured into a pastry shop to pick up tomorrow's breakfast of quiche and croissant.  We have learned that the rumor of rude Parisians is true as it was clear the employees were making fun of us, even though I am not fluent in the language.  Having written that, everyone else we have interacted with have been most generous and welcoming of us bumbling Americans. 

After our day of exploring, we made our way back home with a stop at the market for some staples.  Of course, I did pick up a bottle of French wine that I will be cracking open tomorrow night! I keep pinching myself: I am in Paris!  But whatever you do, don't call me Emily. 🤣

Want to see all the pics I captured for the day?  Check them out here!

Be sure to check out these places in Paris: