We slept like two little babies on our first night. Perhaps it was due to the fact we were awake for over 24 hours. Or more likely it was due to the fact that we are both extremely lazy people and all that walking tired our bodies out. Doesn’t matter though because we woke up refreshed and full of energy.
At 7:30 in the morning, the sky was still a bit dark and the sun hadn’t fully risen. The days really are shorter in Paris!
Today’s agenda was light. A visit to Montparnasse Cimetière to see Danièle, and without the Porto I wanted to share with her. We would be meeting Jean Denis and Marie at the cemetery. I guess Bonaparte didn’t want them to know how truly twisted I am! He also most likely did not want me drinking Porto early in the day! Also on our agenda was to stop by Zazi Films to pick up some family paintings and the invite to the Avant Premiere of “Demain Tout Commence”. And lastly, attending the film’s premiere later in the evening.
However, the most important and biggest must, was a morning trip to my mecca of skincare and beauty. My girly heaven. My favorite shop in Paris—CityPharma!
Armed with well-rested feet, two small cameras and a cell phone, we hit the pavement in search of….basically whatever came before us!
And today, armed with a trench coat over my blazer. This was my three-day uniform!
Our first stop was up the street to Rue Bonaparte and the corner of Rue Jacob. After all, we did need to fuel our bodies the way we load up our cars with gas or petrol! Funny thing, this walking around. For years—and I mean years, we passed by the bistrot on this corner of Rues Bonaparte and Jacob and never entered. We were always driving.
Elegant and discreetly decorated trees stood where customers would normally be seated during warmer months at Le Pré aux Clercs.
This morning would prove different and have us wondering just why we never stopped before. Le Pré aux Clercs is a charming place to stop and have a quick breakfast. We had café crème at the counter, and Bonaparte had his usual croissant. The service was great. The café crèmes were strong and the price was incredibly cheap. 3€ per cup. We were fully loaded and ready to take off.
Better than my beloved Starbucks, the cafe creme at Le Pre aux Clercs was delicious, strong and dirt cheap. Look how pretty the cup is. Look how lovely my morning beverage is served!
A sign of the cold weather –tables and chairs stacked indoors..
Lonely for now, but come summer these chairs will long to be back inside.
….and the cafe is beautifully embellished for Christmas!
The walk to City Pharma was easy and casual; and along the way we found some entertaining photo ops!
Is this not the most beautiful window display of all time? Proof that despite the tackiness of yesterdays Christmas Marche, true elegance is created in Paris! I am having this photo that I took blown up and framed!
A more creative window display at a gallery. When you have nothing to wear in Paris you go with the flow. I though the sculpture on the far left was a real person. I was willing to give her my coat!
I was moved to tears of joy when we spotted this on an exterior wall of a building off of Rue Bonaparte. Yet another reason to love the French! #jamaistrump
Laduree all dressed up in Christmas greenery!
A bustling scene…
A hotel named after guess who!
I love the way the shops are so elegantly decorated!
I also found two more Wallace Fountains! One was directly in front of the school that Bonaparte attended when growing up. When I asked him why he never mentioned there was a Wallace Fountain in front of the building he just shrugged and said “Eh. I nev-ahr no-ee-zt eet“.
I find it amazing that Bonaparte went to school at the site of this Wallace Fountain. But then again, Bonaparte doesn’t like water–he drinks only wine!
So much for the French being nonchalant!
This really IS “old school” in every way!
The second Wallace Fountain of the day was at Place Saint-Sulpice..
Attention to detail. Saint-Sulpice is being cleaned. Check out how clean the left-hand side of the church is compared to the middle.
More decorated trees on the street…
..and more. And I remain fascinated that nobody vandalizes them!
And as we made our way up Rue Bonaparte it came into view. My one and only important shopping venture. CityPharma!
Ladies. It is virtually impossible to NOT be able to find CityPharma. As all roads lead to Rome, in Paris–all roads lead to CityPharma!
Be still my heart. When I arrive at the corner of Rue Bonaparte and Rue du Four I become overwhelmed!
Those sly devils at CityPharna have little display bins at ever corner–temptation abound!
Aisles upon aisles of the best prices on all items skin care!
Look at this intelligent packaging. Open the box and instructions how to properly apply this cream! I want to marry this.
Some of my CityPharma haul. Bonaparte needed Advil because he had a headache from the throngs of women in CityPharma..
Look! Hot Toddy makings in a jar. I love this place!
At 4 euros, I’ve never seen Patchouli oil this inexpensive. At home, the cheapest I’ve seen it is ten bucks or more. You know I bought this–I love the scent of patchouli oil!
On the way out, I mentioned to Bonaparte that if I lived in Paris, I would be at CityPharma every day. The woman, who was on the line behind me, was also behind me when I said this. She nudged me, winked, smiled and was on her way. We understood each other!
We passed by Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Pres, last time we were here was for Daniele’s funeral. Looks like the church has started to be cleaned, the tower is nice and bright!
Our walk to Montparnasse was brisk—mostly because it was still rather cold. And I thanked the Lord that I wore a thick fake hair because it kept my head warm!
Say bonjour to my little French friend. I asked him his name and he looked at me, shrugged his little shoulders and said “Le Woof”.
We were to meet Jean Denis and Marie at the cimetiere at noon. And we arrived three minutes to so we sat on a sun-drenched bench while our French counterparts arrived exactly on time.
Resting my feet. Again. I would have died without these boots. They were both warm AND comfortable.
Off to see Danièle, and her husband, Yves Robert, the four of us walked merrily up the path that led to the graves. Oh..and I do mean merrily. We were laughing and remembering funny things about Daniéle rather than going to visit her in a somber and depressing way!
Jean Denis gave us buttons to place on his dad’s side of the grave. In remembrance of the film “La Guerre des Boutons” one of Yves Robert’s most famous movies.
This was also a chance for Bonaparte to visit with his favorite cousin, Zazi.
I need to say something here. You don’t know what fun is until you’ve gone to a French cimetière. Seriously. I am fully aware of those who seek intellectual stimulation by visiting the graves of really, really smart people like Jean-Paul Sartre. But after our visit with Danièle, we took on a more “joie de vivre” outlook at the resting place of the dead.
We went on a little tour of the headstone sculptures!
This is definitely museum quality sculpture. They just don’t make headstones like this anymore! (SMH)
I was a bit disappointed that the family of Andre Citroen didn’t have a headstone of a Citroen car to watch over their spirits!
“If there is paradise, paradise will exist only if I am welcomed there by my dogs and cats”. Proof that the Sigre family not only loved their pets, but they had a sense of humor as well!
I have no idea what this means….
..but I can tell you, hands down, THIS is the best cemetery sculpture of all time. All. Time.
I was so enamored and fascinated by Charles Pigeon’s family grave that I wanted to get in between Mr. and Mrs. P and cuddle with them. Oh if I lived in Paris, I would show up with some strong cleanser and make this grave spankin’ clean and sparkling! This deserves an award!
Living people come here to sit on a bench and enjoy a good book—or a bagged lunch to dine al fresco—or just to sit and reflect and even to enjoy the museum-quality sculptures that date back to 1824. In Paris and want to perfect your skill as a flaneur or flaneuse? Visit either Montparnasse or Père Lachaise cemetaries. They are pretty lively places and you won’t find any deadbeats—except those who’ve passed on—and most of them are pretty entertaining!
We spent many late afternoons at this gallery…
..the walls filled with various works of art and now it was our final closure–and that was a good thing!
After a couple of hours perusing the many artful headstones and family graves, we headed over to the Galerie Andre Girard. After Danièle’s death, it was decided to close the gallery. And seeing it empty was our last sign of closure. We came to terms that our future visits to Paris would be completely different with her passing. She gave us subtle signs that we really needed to move on.
Although not a Michelin star restaurant, this bistrot was a perfect place to enjoy lunch.
And move on we did! To a light lunch at “le Lithographe Bistrot” on Blvd . Raspail. Because we drank an enormous amount of wine the night before at Jean Denis’ and Marie’s, we passed on the red and went for regular tap water—which was fine. Bonaparte and I both had Croque Monsieurs. Marie had a quiche and salad, and Jean Denis ate ultra-light with a bit of cheese topped with honey—he was having a colonoscopy the next day! (Which was very successful—he’s in fine health!)
I happened to enjoy this Croque Monsieur because it wasn’t greasy. I’ll worry about my weight when I get home…
The quiche and salad looked very appetizing!
Even though I’m not a condiment person–and I cannot stand ketsup, I thought this was a much better presentation of the red stuff than a basic Heinz bottle.
More jolt fuel after lunch and we were ready to bust a move!
We discussed life in Paris vs. life in America, real estate and Hugo’s films. I don’t know what it is but whenever we are with Jean Denis and Marie we just have a really great time! If Bonaparte and I lived in Paris, I know we would be spending a lot of fun times with them!
Bonaparte’s feet were really cold at this point and he decided to cab it to the office of Zazi Films. A chance stroke of luck was found in the form of Yohan—the owner of the G-7 cab!! Young and very French looking with glasses and that hipster stubble, Bob Marley tunes were giving me a feeling of summertime! Bonaparte asked Yohan if he would mind waiting for us as we would not be long—we would be carrying paintings with us that would prove nearly impossible to walk with. Our cab waited and drove us back.
..made a stop at Zazi films to pick up paintings and an invite while our cab driver waited!
We asked Yohan if we could reserve him to take us to the Rex theatre later that evening and he did. We also made arrangements with Yohan to take us to the airport on Wednesday morning. We now have his number and we have a cabbie that is completely dependable!
If you are ever in Paris and need the number of a reputable cab driver, let me know and I’ll give you Yohan’s number!
I was still too wound up to rest so I decided to go over to Rue Dauphine and do a little shopping…
What a discovery! A new shop on Rue Dauphine named after my daughter! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that I thought she would like.
And after a bit of unsuccessful shopping, I headed back for a bit of a rest with Bonaparte.
Time for a half-hour rest in the comfy hotel bed!
Time to get ready for the Avant Premiere. I had originally planned on wearing a killer pair of red heels. But because of all the walking we did, my feet were kind of sore—and I kept my now old faithful suede thigh high boots.
Yohan was on time to pick us up and we headed over to The Rex theatre for what would be my first experience at a French film premiere!
This old theatre is massive. Massive!
It’s hard for me to describe the emotions of being at this Avant Premiere without my sounding like a self-centered connasse. But—I am self-centered. I am the center of my universe and I love and enjoy being the center of attention at all times. When I am not the center of attention, I am forlorn, and saddened. This is why Bonaparte is just so perfect for me. He brings me back to earth and keeps me grounded!
My ability to stalk seek stars is unfounded. This is why my son Roman doesn’t want me at tapings of Fallon or Saturday Night Live. This is why my son Jake does not want me anywhere near his job at 30 Rock for NBC news. This is why both boys are thankful that the security at 30 Rock keeps people like their loving mother away from them at all costs during the work day.
I can’t for the life of my understand why BestImage or PurePeople didn’t ask ME to pose on the red carpet. I feel so persona-non-great-ah! Bonaparte’s cousin, Hugo, is on the far right. I think this movie is going to keep him busy as a director for a long, long time!
My delusions had moi thinking that I would be walking the red carpet for this film. Oh yes! I envisioned me posing in front of the “Demain tout Commence” backdrop. Maybe with my ass squeezed into tight jeans I was wearing facing the many photographers and looking back over my shoulders blowing a kiss to them while tousling my fake hair toward the fans of those who have absolutely no idea who I am.
I was shoved into the theatre with the masses. They, in their puffy coats and me in my j. crew trench. As I showed our invitation to the usher, I was certain that we would be seated next to the actor Pierre Ninney (who in real life is a lot smaller than he appears on screen). But rather, we were relegated to seats in the side rows. I was crushed.
I will say this–the seats in the Rex were the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in!
When I explained my emotional distress to Bonaparte, he seemed to have breathed a sigh of relief and comfort—as though he was actually happy that we were sent to the bowels of the theatre! He seemed even more at ease when I was upset at him for not pointing out my favorite actress Mathilde Seigner to me. He knew very well that I had a mental script planned for my delusional first meeting with her. I would tap her on the shoulder and say “Ms. Seigner. I love you. You are my favorite actress. Can you tell your brother-in-law Roman Polanski that MY son Roman is named after him?” “Ms. Seigner!” “Wait!” “Please don’t run away from me like that!!!” “We could be best friends!!” “Mathilde!”
I don’t know if I can ever forgive Bonaparte from keeping me from
bothering, annoying, introducing myself to the great Mathilde Segnier!
Despite my delusions, we had a terrific evening and it was a great experience. Before the film, Bonaparte’s cousin, Hugo Gelin ran up onstage with the cast and was entertaining and endearing as he spoke. I’ll admit, I would have loved to be on that stage, but the cast was adorable and Omar Sy—I am so in love with him and his mega-watt smile!
Scenes like this were just so …HAPPY!! I really want to see this film again–and again–and again!
The film was great. Completely feel-good. It was mostly French language with parts spoken in English and for the most part, the movie was easy to follow without the use of subtitles.
Have a look at the trailer..and Omar Sy’s mega-watt smile!
In a nutshell, Clemence Poesy (remember her as Eva, Chuck Bass’s girlfriend on Gossip Girl?) gifts wild boy Omar Sy with their baby daughter, of whom he has no knowledge of. She abandons the baby with him. And Sy and adorable daughter embark on a new life in London!
This movie is so family-friendly and adorable without being saccharine. Hugo did a wonderful job directing this great little comedy-drama. “Demain tout Commence” opens in theatres throughout France on December 7th. It is supposed to open world-wide—which means coming stateside. And I hope it does because everyone with a heart needs to see this. I know that the title in English is “Two is a Family” but I’m fond of “Demain tout Commence” because it was Danièle’s favorite saying “Tomorrow it Begins”.
I am so in love with Omar Sy..and this movie. Go see it. You will thank me! Don’t forget to bring tissues!
When the film ended, we were able to congratulate Hugo. OMG, he was in his element and beaming with happiness. It was so wonderful to see someone so happy. Bonaparte was extremely proud of him.
By this time it was midnight. And we were hungry. And cold. It was Bonaparte’s idea to walk up a few blocks to get a cab because the area of the theatre was still drawing a huge crowd. We should have called Yohan!
So we get a cab and out of nowhere, two men come up to us screaming that we “took” their cab. Since I’m not very nice and sweet when I’m incredibly hungry, I got my New Yawk on and loudly shouted at them to “get the (insert “eff” word here) outta my way!” The cab driver must have understood New York English because he had quite the laugh. Bonaparte had nothing to say. I’m sure he was mortified at my behavior. But, hey, he was nice and toasty in that cab!
OK so here is where there is a difference between New York City and Paris–despite being a late city during the summer months, Paris closes a bit earlier during the hibernation of late fall throughout winter. We gave up on finding a place to eat and had the cab driver drop us off at Place Saint-Michel. Our dinner would be take-away from one of the snack stands at the entrance of Rue Saint-André-des-Arts.
But lo and behold, as we made our way from Place Saint-Michel, a vision stood before me at Place Saint-André des Arts. Another Wallace Fountain! I was thrilled and immediately took a photo.
Three Wallace Fountains in one day! How great is this???
When Bonaparte asked me how could I have passed through Place Saint-André-des-Arts for years and not have noticed this fountain, I shrugged and said ” Eh” “I never noticed it”.
Oh the nonchalant ways of those who think they are French but are not. That would be me!
Our dinner this evening was a kind of French version of street food. Au Pt’it Snack. The greatest cheap eats on Rue Saint-André-des-Arts. I had the lamb sandwich. Bonaparte had the Gyro—extra sauce. And yes—we’ve enjoyed food from this place in the past!
If you want cheap eats–this is the place. It’s great for anyone on a budget or who isn’t a foodie to grab a filling meal!
Monsieur Pt’it Snack was happy to feed me and make me not so pt’it!
I’ll just have one of everything please!
A full stomach. A fun premiere. A great film. Hanging at the cemetery with the dearly departed. Overall another great day of nuthin’ and everything!
To be continued….
An appropriate song for Day Number Two could only be Edith Piaf’s tribute to Paris—Padam, Padam!
LOL……………..I don’t know where to begin. Completely in love with your post! The cemetery discussion was fab, the comments shopping for beauty items….fab. Going to the theater how wonderful. And these public fountains are just incredible. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been traveling for days just reading this, and it’s wonderful! Thank you!
Hi Vava! I’m happy to comply with you–and I”m happy that you feel as though you have been traveling for days–hopefully with me!!! You are most welcome!! OMG–the beauty items were truly fab. Beyond fab!! Working on Day Three now–but I’m getting tired. I decorated the Christmas tree today!! Whew–it’s work!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXO!!!
Love your blog, and I have a real appreciation for the effort involved in making the posts. Sometimes I don’t comment, but rest assured, I am enjoying your writing! Hope you have a very happy holiday season with your family. <3
I'm kind of mostly into the lights, so that is what I'm going for during the "dark season". No tree for us this year. Just LIGHT! 🙂
Another epic post, and the sequel did not disappoint. How much fun that was. I happened to visit Montparnasse cemetery in July. My sister-in-law and I saw Danielle and Yves’s final resting places. They were – and remain – much beloved actors in France. As for the movie première, well, let me tell you that had I spotted the wonderful Mathilde Seigner, I would have made a total fool of myself. She is a favorite of mine as well, and I have at least 5 of her movies in my private French DVD collection. It’s uplifting to see two people – you and Bonaparte – tearing through Paris like this, with limited time, it is true, but still making the most of every minute. Good for you! — Veronique
Hi Veronique. I told Vincent aka Bonaparte that you and your SIL saw Daniele and Yves graves..he was glad to hear that!! Thank you! Oh–I’m thrilled that you are a huge Mathilde Seigner fan too! Isn’t she the greatest? I love her!!! I’m all done with the posts now and cannot wait to return!! XOXOXO!!!
Another enjoyable day in Paris,,I envy that since I haven’t been there since last December. Two years ago I strolled through the Montparnasse Cemetery; next time I will look for Daniele’s grave and leave a small pebble from the US.
Hi Irene. My reply got lost. Ugh. WP sometimes drives me batty. Anyway, it would be lovely if you would leave a pebble at Daniele’s grave next time you visit! I know you are itchin’ to get back. Paris does that to us–doesn’t she??? XOXOXOXO!!!
Such a fun post documenting a fabulous trip. Loved reading it, Catherine! Paris could/should be on our travel list for the summer…we’ll see. 🙂
Hi Jeanne. Seriously?? If you plan on going to Paris this summer, shoot me an email and I can try to recommend some good things to do!!! That would be so amazing!!! Your daughters would love it there! XOXOXOXOX!!
Thanks Catherine. I will. I need a place to go to stay after Paris…Normandy area? More South? The Coast? Or stay in Paris? Thanks.
So looking forward to this while you were away in Paris, and it´s just as enjoyable to read as I imagined. Haven´t been in Paris for some years, but starting to get the itch:) Sounds like you made the best of your three days! Great post, I loved it!!
Thanks Angelin! I’ll tell you, after writing about our three days, I realized that for no real “plan” we did an awful lot of “nothing”!!! It’s like being back in NYC again!!! Thank you–and I’m glad you enjoyed!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
That trailer was so self-explanatory. I’ll have to watch for the movie, but foreign films seldom come to Utah. This places FEELS like a foreign country!!! Loved the architecture of the buildings. Especially the one labeled “A bustling scene.” The building reminded me of the back end of a cruise ship! 😀
Wonderful post and you have such wonderful experiences. And so wonderful to travel to Paris with Bonaparte to navigate away from the touristy places and explore the “real” Paris. Last time we went to Paris long ago in 2005 we stayed on Rue Jacob. Such a lovely area. I love visiting grave yards and remember when I was very young going with my grandmother to clean her family graves. We had to carry metal buckets, small spades and flowers on the public transport connections
Fabulous post!!!! You need to start giving guided tours – we can go from one CityPharma to the next with odd jaunts to other places, seriously that is a great haul – Nuxe are lovely and I have my eye on Caudalie to try sometime soon, there is a great UK website that has these brands but I would still prefer to see them in the shops. I hope you’ll give us some reviews too please – I love that sort of thing, bliss !
Oh I love your blog! So happy to have found it, directed from your comment on Pseu’s blog. I noticed the Wallace Fountain at St Sulpice the last night of our recent visit to Paris. We stayed at Hotel Recamier, and the fountain was right there in front of us! I should have been paying more attention.
Hi Christine! Oh…I’m so glad that you are enjoying the blog! My new “thing” is going to be scouting out all the Wallace Fountains I can find with each trip to Paris! When were you there!!! I’m missing it already!! Can’t wait to get back:)XOXOXOXO
We were there the first week of October, at the tail end of fashion week. Such fun to see the paparazzi chasing after models as they left the shows staged in the various museums. We were in the city for 5 days, then did river cruise to Normandy. Not at all my favorite way to travel, but it was an interesting experience, and we got to sample other parts of France. Though I could explore simply Luxembourg Gardens for a month and not get bored.
Wish I had the nerve to write a blog. I love yours, covers lots of topics so well. You are a great writer.
Thanks Christine! Hey. You don’t need nerve to write a blog. I had been thinking about it for a long time–and it wasn’t until I lost my job that I began to blog! Wow! Next month it’ll be two years! I’ve heard mixed reviews about the river cruises. One of my friends loved the cruise, but she did mention that it was a bit “slow” moving for her. I’ll take any way of traveling through France!!. I’m with you though on exploring Luxembourg Gardens for a month..and just walking the streets for a month. Oh..and I told B that I could actually picture myself riding on the Metro for an entire day just riding from area to area–it would be a great way to learn more about Paris!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
You finding these Wallace fountains is like me asking “Where is the bubbler”? When I travel outside of WI
Looks like a nice time!