I’m not going to lie. The last day in Paris—no matter how long or short the visit, can be daunting and angst-ridden. Actually, I can be pretty cranky on those last days of trips– only because I don’t want to leave. And I was pretty cranky at one point today.
But read on and we’ll get to my royal crankiness later—which was well-deserved.
On this last day, we woke up early. We decided to pack at this moment because it would be better than rushing either during the evening or tomorrow morning. Luckily, I literally lived in the same clothes for the past three days, so packing was a non-issue for me. Bonaparte carefully cut the canvasses from the paintings he claimed from his family and even more carefully, packed them away.
We enjoyed our last breakfast—or rather, our last petit déjeuner at Café Buci. We didn’t go far from the neighborhood.
Not too much time spent in the cold–the cafe is just around the corner from the hotel!
I’m a sucker for a tiled floor like this. Cafe Buci has a ton of character..
Isn’t the interior inviting? It was a great place to wind up our last morning..
And there’s plenty of reading material to chose from while drinking your coffee. I wanted to deface the magazine cover of
Mailorderbride but Bonaparte put a stop to it! I’m a revolutionary!
Our plan for the day was to head over to the 5th arrondissement and over to Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. There is a small passage named after Bonaparte’s grandfather, Jacques-Henri Lartigue and he wanted to get a few photos. What actually prompted this was one of my blogging friends who happened to be in Paris, took a photo of the plaque and refreshed Bonaparte’s memory! I thought it was cool, too, because Hemingway lived at 45 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine—just a few feet away from the passage.
It was cool to see this plaque honoring Bonaparte’s grandfather in real life!
..a closer view. I think we’ll get this blown up and framed. It’ll be cool!
The weather was still cold and so we headed out despite the wintry blast. And it was so cold for Bonaparte that he decided we should cab it over to the passage.
Also in the day’s plan was a visit to Bonaparte’s nephew’s office. There were a few paintings that had been stored at the gallery; and he was given a chance to look through the works of art to see which ones he would want to bring home. This was a well thought process.
The two men corresponded with each other and were to meet at 11:30 in the morning.
I’ll get back to this in a moment.
The office was pretty far away from where we were. And so, I had my very first experience on the Paris Metro. Strange as it may seem, and in the more than 14 times I’ve been to Paris, I had never, ever been on the metro. We always had the use of a car. Or we walked.
Look! My very first Metro tickets. And yes, I saved them!!
A certain someone did not like the metro. Whereas I loved traveling underground in the NYC Subway system for years and years—underground is the quickest way to get where you are going.
Lookit this!! What’s not to love? The lighting is so much better than in the NYC subway! Oh..and yet, another puffy coat!
More Metro! And more puffy attire!
What I found fascinating about the metro was that it was pretty darn clean! And—the maps were very easy to read. Maybe I was spoiled with the ease and comfort of the Subway when I lived in Manhattan, but I wish we had taken the Metro years ago. This was a great discovery for me!
Ok. Back to the “meeting”. We showed up at Nephew’s office at 11:30 AM. We rang the doorbell. No answer. We waited a while. And then Bonaparte rang the doorbell. Again. No answer. I could feel my blood boiling.
Bonaparte used my phone to call his nephew. No answer. He left a message.
We left the office.
Bonaparte was incredibly disappointed and a bid sad. I was a cranky, angry, pissed off madwoman!
And I would not keep quiet about it.
How friggin’ selfish and self-centered can one person be—and I’m not talking about me this time. I’m talking about the Nephew. Plans are made for a relative to fly from the USA all the way to Paris, France. Time is of the essence because Uncle B. has only three days to squeeze in family business and pleasure. Uncle B. doesn’t get to even see his family except for the times when he comes to Paris. AND HIS SPOILED, ENTITLED OVERGROWN NEPHEW CAN’T EVEN MAKE THE TIME TO VISIT WITH HIS OWN BLOOD—HIS UNCLE—AFTER THIS MEETING WAS SET IN STONE??
NOTE: I am NOT speaking of his cousin who directed the movie. This is another relative. I want to set the record straight!
I had a meltdown in the streets of Paris. Many versions of the “eff” word came rolling off my tongue. My head spun around like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist. My crossed-eyes straightened out then crossed again! Livid doesn’t even describe the true way I felt.
Oh..and I was validated because later on Nephew called and made up some sorry-ass excuse that he was at the radio station at an interview. Which proves that he could care less about his uncle who flew over the Atlantic to meet with him.
All his nephew had to do was call and cancel the meeting. But to shrug the meeting off with no word is so rude and disrespectful that I. Can’t. Even.
Bonaparte, being the much better person than I am, pulled me to the side of the street where I was now speaking in tongues. He gently and calmly said ” Cassee. Eez ahr lass day ‘ere”. “Ou nid to let ziz go.” “Are you gon’ to be ma’d awl day?”
Still crazed, eyes half shut, I looked up and uttered “oui.”
After I saw the look in his eyes, I came back down to earth. His eyes looked sad. He was deeply upset that his nephew wrote him off. I was not going to make matters worse.
And with that, I grabbed his arm and we went back into the Metro! We were on our way to see the decorations and do some shopping at Galeries Lafayette!
We were entertained while we rode the train—first, by an accordionist playing old-school French songs and then by a jazz musician playing his trumpet. I can get to really enjoy this French version of the subway very quickly!
Before we arrived at Galeries Lafayette, we stopped off at La Vaissellerie.
I’ve been to other locations of this fun store. It’s a great place to get dishes and mugs and just tons of fun stuff!
THIS is the place to bring back little souvenirs for your friends. Check out the mugs..
Look at the piles of plates on the floor. This is a very dangerous place for me to be in–but it is one of those stores that you can roam around in for a long time!
Bonaparte’s daughter had asked if we could pick up a small gift for his granddaughter’s French teacher. La Vaissellerie is a mix of kitchen stuff, cookware, and kitch. Its great! We picked up a cheese holder and were on our way. Due to my clumsy ability and my gift of bumping into things, Bonaparte wanted me out of that store as quickly as possible. The longer we stayed, the better my chances were of breaking something!
Galeries Lafayette is so prepared for Christmas!
Next stop. Galeries Lafayette!
Galeries Lafayette is an incredibly cool and unique store. The departments are actually smaller galleries divided up within larger departments.
I gasped at the price of the beautiful leather belts at this galerie, Faufe Le Page. I’ll have to stick to J. Crew for now!
It’s very pragmatic if you ask me.
From one of the upper tiers. You can’t pass up a view like this!
This year’s Christmas Tree under the domed roof!
See the little tram? It kept going from side to side. It was so much fun to watch!
..and then there is the ferris wheel!
A closer view. Any closer and I would have fallen through the Chanel counter!
The decorations were incredibly elaborate but yet a bit simple in that everything was done in white. It made the lighting beautiful.
White paper ornaments hanging from the ceiling..
Change color with the lighting..
..and go on and on and on..
It was decided that since it was so cold, I would forego my shopping on Rue de Rennes and just bask in the warm toastiness of this magnificent store!
On the top floor, we were able to take a photo overlooking the Sacre Coeur..
..I’m so happy that the camera’s zoom did not let me down. Can you believe this photo was taken from a department store window?
A bit of Christmas shopping and a treat for me.
I’ll be placing MY tam tams into..
These beauties. Surprisingly, the cream colored lacy number isn’t padded but it is constructed so well that nothing sags!
I stopped at the Princesse Tam.Tam galerie and picked up a couple of bras. I’ve heard how great French lingerie is but never bothered with any purchases. I can honestly tell you, these bras are great. The fit is fantastic and my girls are appreciating these laced wonders!
We left the store (And look at that–more puffy coats!)…but not without taking…
Photos of the outside window displays..all white and..
By the time we left Galeries Lafayette, it was late afternoon—and since the days are significantly shorter, the sun was starting to set on this last day.
We cabbed it back to the hotel for a little rest and to get ready for our last dinner!
But wait! Before we rested, we managed to browse around Gibert Jeune and pick up a few books..
I laughed a bit too loud while looking at this book–it’s hysterically funny. But the illustrations are what makes it! Any woman who has ever had a fail will love this book!
We also stopped at a used CD and DVD store that we frequent. I picked up an inexpensive Juliette Greco CD. I’ve been listening to it in my car instead of Christmas music!
I needed pens and another journal so we made a stop here at Buci News..
Had I not been so hungry, I could have spent all night here. Look at all these ornaments..
But this–THIS-was by far, the greatest Christmas decoration I’ve ever seen. A certain Frenchman would not allow the purchase. He said he would never allow such a thing in the house. I’m currently searching for this online!
Yohan was picking us up at 8AM the next morning and we figured an early dinner would be best for us. Reservations were at 7:30 PM. And we had a nice little walk across Pont Neuf and onto Place Dauphine.
One of our favorite restaurants in Paris. Going to Paris? Save the number and address and enjoy a great meal!
Restaurant Paul never fails to please. We’ve had many dinners there over the years. In summer enjoying our meals outdoors and watching the activity on Place Dauphine. In the winter, nestled in a banquette or table in the warmth of the dining area.
Yum. Yum. Carbs were my friend at this dinner. The bread was great..
But first were our Kir Royals!
My artsy dinner collage. From top left. Potatoes that I’ve duplicated at home. Oh..they are so gooood. Escargot. Next–quite possibly THE best appetizer of all time. Fricassee of escargot with a mushroom cream sauce topped with a foam. It’s the second time I’ve had this and was thrilled it was still on the menu. Dessert was french toast with baked apple slices and a caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. I had the lamb with polenta and Bonaparte had steak topped with foie gras. Yeah. It was a great meal!
The food here is always consistently good. And better than good. The menu is small and there aren’t a lot of choices. The menu pretty much stays the same. And trust me, that is a great thing.
I am a member of the clean plate club. And I am not ashamed!
The staff is always so professional and pleasant and it is nice to see the same faces welcoming you year after year, time after time.
We toasted our trip and enjoyed our meal!
Bonaparte was so excited about the food that he couldn’t even focus the camera to take a photo of me. Um..WHO’S YOUR GRANDDADDY????
And afterwards, we took a slow walk back to the hotel!
Night time along the Pont Neuf..
I sure hope that boat was heated!
Yohan—the best cab driver in Paris, showed up promptly at a few minutes before eight in the morning to drive us to the airport.
We left Paris just as the city was about to wake up. The sun was rising and greeting us as we bid Au Revoir Paris once again.
So long for now!! See you next time!
This was a great visit. We had closure. Bonaparte was able to move on. We enjoyed each other as we did a bit of everything and absolutely nothing! We enjoyed seeing Hugo’s film “Demain tout Commence” and are thrilled with the success the film will bring to him! We enjoyed our little adventures. And—I learned that tantrums just aren’t worth the energy!
Some more shopping at the airport and we were on our way back home. And imagining our next trip back!
..more Christmas Shopping and…
I DID take a photo of the Eiffel Tower!!
The menu for economy. Air France may strike quite often but they know how to service the travelers!
I went vegan with cous cous and veg. Note to American Airlines–are you looking at this???
Regardless of what you may read in magazines or books. Or what you will see in fancy advertisements, Paris is just a non-pretentious city. Her inhabitants are not all chic and elegant. They wear puffy coats and jackets. They love tacky Christmas Markets. They eat fattening street food. They have an open mind about cemeteries!
So seriously, if you have never been to Paris, don’t be intimidated by the smoke and mirrors and the perfection of those you read about during fashion week. Those things are just a tiny part. The big picture is a wonderful, historic, beautiful, lovely, charming, art-filled visual. It is glittery and gritty at the same time. Paris welcomes all. And you don’t have to have a plan to enjoy it! Let the City guide you. Wander. Discover. You are bound to find something fun and memorable!
And thank you for reading about our three-day in Paris. Sometimes I get long-winded but there’s always something to write about. You CAN have a great time without cramming every museum and sight in.
On this last day, I’m ending the post with one of the most beautiful songs ever! From “Notre Dame de Paris”. The three men from the original cast: Garou, Daniel Lavoie, and Patrick Fiori singing “Belle”. You’ll get chills up your spine! (Momcat—you’ll love this again!)
OMG Catherine, I felt as if I were on your short visit with you. Had tears in my eyes a few times,,,happy tears. You would not believe the metro ticket stubs I have around my house in many places and a few in my wallet. lol My favorite perfume is and has been Coco by Chanel for many years. When I was there last year in December, but because of the tragedies the lights didn’t light up on the Eiffel tower until Dec 5, I was in a panic those first few days. The Tower is the only thing I insist on seeing each time I visit that wonderful city……to the top, or dinner there or just a drive by on some years.That is why my daughter made sure the apartment we rented had a view of it. Thank you so much for your blogs.
Bon soir Irene! I’m thrilled that I was able to make you feel as though you were on my Paris visit with me! Hahaha. Yeah–today it’s rainy and I stuck my hands into the pocket of my trench coat and pulled out metro tickets! It must have been devastating to be in Paris during that attack last year. With the new political conservatism, I see more bad things in store for all of us.,…
Seriously–I think any visit more than 5 days warrants an apartment rather than a hotel. I’m sure you and your daughter enjoyed that view of the Eiffel Tower every day and moreso in the evenings! Thank YOU for enjoying!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Catherine, your adventures are a joy to read! Thanks so much for taking us along as you and your hubby went on this adventure. Really enjoyed the pictures! – Amy
Ahhhh, mon beau Garou, grrrrrrr! And Daniel Lavoie too. Isn’t this a great song!! Well the whole album is just awesome…..❤️
Hi Amy! I’m glad that you enjoyed the adventures and the photos! XOXOXOXO!!!
Momcat. Lest we forget Patrick Fiori???? I was actually kind of glad that traffic was horrible on the way home for work this evening because I was able to listen to the album in it’s completion. There is not one bad song–every one is a blockbusta!!! I knew you would like the little video!! XOXOXOXO
Enjoyed! As usual.
Thanks Vadalia!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I was wondering if you could tell me how you make Kir Royals at home. I would love to try them but I find so many variations on the internet.
Thanks so much!
First–get good creme de cassis: ( Then get a good champagne or even a good sparkling brut wine. Get a flute glass. Pour about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the creme de cassis into the glass. Pour the champagne over it and fill to almost the top. That’s it. Since I’m losing weight, I’ve become used to a lighter Kir Royal without a lot of cassis. It’s my favorite drink!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Thanks so much, I’m going to buy the ingredients tomorrow! Just wanted to let you know that your blog is my favorite, I always look forward to it!
That’s great Kelly! Let me know how they turn out!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Oh the Christmas feeling your pictures showed!
Someday, I hope to get to Paris … 🙂
Bridget. You will get to Paris someday! Paris is a lot more accessible than you may think–it isn’t all super wealth and everyone wearing Mr. Karl everyday. It’s a pretty normal and down-to-earth city–but the history and beauty make it special!! XOXOXOXO!!
How incredibly special to have a Parisian plaque in honor of a grandfather. You had a very busy day and even though the disappointment of the Nephew’s rudeness was completely justified you got to enjoy a fantastic day. I too am a member of the clean plate brigade as one of my pet hates is food wastage. So unnecessary and thoughtless to those who struggle to have enough to eat. My 2012 New Years Resolution was to not waste food and it was so successful I do it every year! I love love the mass of white hanging lanterns as Christmas decorations. Very sophisticated.
Hi Yvonne. Yeah. Isn’t that cool? We visited the square in Opio in honor of his grandfather and now we saw the Parisian plaque. It’s so cool. Oh. We grew up eating everything on the plate. My mother had no patience for wasted food either. The decorations were just even more beautiful IRL too!! Made me want to come home and do all white deco–but I have enough white–LOL!!!XOXOXOXO!!!
It is so frustrating when people (relatives or not) can’t honor their word/appointment. I can see why you’d be so upset. But at least you did enjoy your last day in Paris!!
The food, the shopping….what’s not to like!!??
Hi Jodie. Oh…being stood up is a big no-no with me. It is rudeness at it’s acme! But it’s true, the last day ended up being completely enjoyable and there was nothing to not love!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I love the Metro because driving a Paris (excuse my French LOL) it’s a bitch. Parking is a bitch and you have to pay. So I have the Navigo to get around Metro, Tramway, Bus. It licks like you had a nice time. Until next time right ?
Dude. The weird thing is that Bonaparte loves to drive around Paris. When I lived in NYC, I didn’t mind driving because everything is on a grid. Streets east to west. Avenues north to south. Easy. In Paris there are so many nooks and crannies that I do feel walking is far better..but next time I’ll be taking the metro everywhere! XOXOXOXO!!!
That’s amazing that nephew blew it off. Poor form, indeed. I’d be pissed, too! But, I’m glad you were able to enjoy your last day, sounds as if you had a great time! The inflatable Christmas wreath cracks me up. (I’m with Bonaparte on that one! :-))
Vava. It is so poor form squared! I’m glad to know that my pissed off nature is one you also agree with! Ugh. Come on though. That inflatable wreath could be used as a donut for hemrroids!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
LOL……………..hadn’t thought about the multiple uses of an inflatable wreath – you’re right!
I would be cranky too if I had to leave Paris after only a few days. Too bad about the lame-o nephew.
I am going to re-post your white paper ornaments and link back to you on my 12/14 post, if that is ok.
You absolutely can post the pics and link back!!! XOXOXO
Hi Tami. I replied earlier via my phone. But yeah. There are two cities that make me really cranky and sad to leave. Paris and my ex-home city, New York. Are those white paper ornaments not the greatest decorations you have ever seen in your life? Again, feel free to repost and link back!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Perfectly perfect…three days of bliss…great!
Jeanne. It was blissful..and now it is time to concentrate on Christmas!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Another wonderful post, but tell me – what is wrong with being cranky???! That, and being embarrassing are my 2 superhero powers. Nothing like cranky or embarrassing to get the young things all flustered when need be 😉
Juliet. I like the way you think!!! I have a tendency to be very embarrassing..and I won’t change. Let’s be cranky and embarrassing together!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I immensely enjoyed this trip of Paris of yours, Catherine! I’ve never been there at this time of year. (Your first time on the metro? well, I love French pharmacies and skin care and somehow I’ve never made it to City Pharma!–and I used to stay at a hotel on rue du Four!)
er … *this Paris trip of yours* I meant to write!
Judy–despite the chill in the air, I really love Paris more in cold weather. I think it’s because you can saunter into a cafe and have a nice chocolate chaud (of which I FORGOT to have) or a nice hot coffee or cafe creme. You stayed on rue du Four? So you are a fan of the St. Germain area just the way I am!! I don’t think I can stay anywhere by the 6th or 7th!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
HI Cathe, I stayed for five years at the Hotel de St. Germain on rue du Four. A two-star hotel but very nice, and the best part was Dina Fernandez at the front desk. I stayed there 2003 through 2008 (except not 2007). After that, my French friend Philippe let me stay at his place in the 11th for 2009-2011. A friend of mine and I stayed in an airbnb in the 3rd for 2013; I celebrated my 60th in a different part of the 11th, also airbnb, in 2014; and in 2015 I was at a hotel in Montparnasse, very close to the cemetery; the hotel, Istria, has an illustrious history re surrealists.
I do love the 6th, but since Dina left the hotel … ! Plus the arrondissement is very expensive, as you know!
JUDY!! I know the Istria hotel well, because I’ve passed it many times. In fact, many years before I met Bonaparte, he stayed at the Istria on one of his visits. He said it was a very decent hotel. We like the Prince de Conti because, as expensive as the 6th is, the hotel is incredibly reasonable. The 6th is my favorite area mostly because over the years I’ve gotten so familiar with it. I’m also a fan of Montparnasse. Geez–just writing about it makes me want to return on the next flight!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Catherine, once again I have to thank you for taking us on one of your marvelous adventures to Paris! I love reading and learning about all things French- and of course seeing all your pictures! Love tucking myself in at night reading one of your blogs.. keeps me having better dreams than when I watch the news lately!! Thank you for that!!
Hey Annamarie. Yeah. I’m trying to get our minds off of a certain “someone”! I haven’t watched the news in over a week. I can’t watch it. At all! Keep reading the Paris posts! LOL!!XOXOXOXOXOXOXO!!!!
My heart sank for Bonaparte; oh the disappointment. Why are the younger generation so careless about other people’s feelings and time? Your reaction was just as I would expect, and understandable, but what a gentleman Bonaparte is and how sensible not to spoil the day with negative emotions.
Your three days sounded wonderful and how nice that it enabled you both to move on.
I hope you will show us your paintings hung in your home.
Keep blogging – I so look forward to each new one.
Hi Susan. Right? Am I right??? Let me tell you something–his nephew isn’t young either! THAT”S what makes it worse!!! But you’re so right. B. IS a gentleman and is a far better person than I am. Oh..I’ll definitely do a post about the artwork in our home–we have to get the paintings re framed and stuff and won’t do it till after Christmas. But that’s a great idea for a future post. Thanks!! XOXOXOXO!!
Enjoyable as always. Your posts about Paris are the reason we chose to go there on our cruise shore excursion next year instead of Normandy. Btw, this is one of my favorite paintings by an artist I love, Canadian Claude Theberge. It’s called Une nuit au Pont Neuf (A Night at Pont Neuf). I believe it may have been painted from the other side of where you were standing in one of your pictures. Maybe! Unfortunately he passed away a year or so ago, but I have one of his prints.
Ohhhh..Lady Calen, I LOVE this painting. I love the colors and everything about it. I’m going to check this painter out. Trust me, you will have a blast in Paris. An absolute blast!!!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!
Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful trip. Paris is gorgeous!
Hi Julia! You are quite welcome!!! Isn’t it a beauty of a city?? XOXOXOXO!!!
The BEST bras and PANTIES are at the FRENCH supermarkets…….The BIGGER ones!OMG FABULOUS and cheap and still going 5 years later!!!!!!You and I may need to take a quick trip one day just to STOCK UP!As for the FRENCH NEPHEW his LOSS!I do not know if it’s the AGE or being FRENCH but I would have been as PISSED AS YOU WERE!Sounds like you got a lot done…………………..airplane food lately has been VERY GOOD for me too!!!
Hi Elizabeth! I regret not buying panties. But I LOVE the bras that I bought. They are so comfortable and just so nice!!! Oh God–I would LOVE to go to Paris with you–we would rock that city so much!!!! The nephew. He’s way old enough to know better. Oh well, Bonaparte knows that the nephew is now persona non grata with me–and that is not a good thing!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I would agree that Paris is even better in the winter. I’ve been when it was so cold that the Seine and the fountains at Versailles were frozen but it didn’t impact on my love for this great city. I’ve never spent Christmas there but I have had the most amazing New Year. Great post & photos. Xx