*Note—this post was started before Christmas. And then the kids arrived. Needless to say, I’m terribly sorry that I have not been answering comments. I wasn’t being rude it was just that there was a lot going on. Please accept my apologies!
Seriously. I really am. I feel horrible because I love “talking” with you guys! Please accept my apologies!
What do you do on a Saturday in Paris when you have a car? You drive to Fontainebleau, the Chateau that was originally Francis Premiere’s place and later Napoleon Bonaparte’s hangout. But first we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the hotel!
Where Bonaparte eats only multiple croissants, I try to keep it healthy with whole wheat toast and eggs. PS. That healthy thing went out the window as soon as Christmas week arrived. I’m now suffering the effects of too much sugar, fat, booze and carbs!
We walked up to Place Dauphine to get the car from the garage, headed to the hotel where Bonaparte’s friends were staying to pick them up, then headed about an hour outside of Paris for a day of hanging at Fontainebleau.
Fontainebleau. Such a quaint little place that warms my heart!
Once again, the drive was pleasant. The weather was cloudy with rain early one changing to…just cloudy. Allow me to say that I’m one of those individuals who prefer Fontainebleau to Versailles.
I didn’t take this photo but I do have them of Versailles somewhere. It’s gorgeous. I won’t argue that but I just like Fontainebleau better. What can I say?
Yes. I said it and I mean it. Don’t get me wrong. Versailles is an incredible masterpiece of an estate and it was the best series ever. But it’s just massive and that means massive crowds. The summer crowds are impossible to bear and the winter is less crowded, but overall, I like Fontainebleau because it’s just a more comfortable and intimate dwelling. And when I say intimate, I don’t necessarily mean it’s a small, confining place—it’s a friggin’ castle for cryin’ out loud. But there’s something homier about it.
And the parking during these winter months is more readily available.
Last time we visited this chateau, part was sectioned off for restoration. A different part is sectioned off now.
This was sectioned off last time we visited. I dunno. It’s pretty void of humanity so perhaps it still is sectioned off. Can you imagine this being your little courtyard? I can.
Come along on a little tour with me.
Every Catholic’s dream–to have a church in your home so you don’t have to drive to Sunday or Saturday night Mass! It’s in your house!!
Napoleon’s throne. Allow me to say that MY Bonaparte has a different throne!
So much better than those cheesy popcorn textured ceilings
No gas powered fireplace for this place!
The French version of a knick-knack..
…and then some..
I could definitely use this master bed. How about you?
Can you imagine dining al fresco out here in the summer? Or aperitifs?
The nursery. The. Nursery. It’s better than any bedroom I’ve ever had!
One of many parlors
Stained glass window. I thought this might be St. Thomas More but he wasn’t French.
As a mother, this would have been so welcomed when my kids were younger because I would get great exercise running after them down this hall!
The Emperor of the Manor. I do believe he had plenty of renovations to do. After all, the original owner was Francois Premier!
Afterwards, we stopped at a quaint family-run café for a bite to eat before heading back. The place was no-nonsense and the food decent. It felt like being in someone’s home. And the food was excellent!
Le Magenta, this family-run cafe was so ridiculously warm, inviting and no-frills great!
My lunch? Eggs with Mayo. Simple and delicious and the hard cooked eggs were perfect as was the home-made mayo!
But before making our way back to the City Centre, Bonaparte decided upon riding by the home his mom and stepdad owned. It was their weekend home away from Paris and they loved it and spent as much time there when time allowed.
Across from the family abode.
Yes. When my husband was young and not hanging out in cafe’s drinking wine or coffee and smoking cigarettes, and not at Daniele’s, he could be found here. Did I mention I could be found in my parent’s basement?
His stepdad, Jean Casadesus, was a concert pianist and died in a car accident. Thus, he is eternalized in this memorial plaque outside the family dwelling.
As usual because the French are so insistent on having huge fences around their property so nosy tourists like me can’t get a photo, I couldn’t get one of the house. However, here is the plaque outside the family compound.
Back in Paris before it got dark, we still had time to park the car, walk around and rest before dinner.
Again, we dined at La Procope and again, we had a wonderful meal.
Another dinner at Le Procope. Hey. Saturday night is MOBBED at this place. If you are going to be in Paris and want to have dinner here, reservations are a must. If you don’t make them you will wait. A long time! We made our reservations quite in advance!
I started off with ravoli in a cream sauce…
And for my main plate, I had kidneys. I could have had a second portion too!
After dinner, we did a thing. We stopped by a little creperie on Rue St. Andres des Arts. We stopped here the first time I came to Paris 15 years ago and revisited. It’s not fancy. It’s not spectacular. It’s just a cute little creperie that’s been there for years.
There’s always room for crepes…
…especially ones with chocolate and almonds. I spare no calories.
A walk back to the hotel took just a few minutes and after a busy day, it was lights out and a deep slumber!
OK. So wait. Take a good look at the line in this pic. Kodawari Ramen on Rue Mazarine was packed every night. This was on Saturday evening. You would not believe how long the line stretches. This must be some good shit but I’m not waiting on any line this long for food!
Sunday and Beyond
On Sunday morning, we went back to Cafe de Paris for another enjoyable breakfast. Much to the sharp eyes of the Frenchman, he noticed that a bowlful of Senequier nougat was in the back of the cafe and inquired with the server. Lo and behold Senequier owns Cafe de Paris and sells the sweets in the cafe. Guess what we went home with?
Another visit to Cafe de Paris..
You can enjoy this lovely nougat in the cafe but we opted to take it with us.
A pile of croissants in the bar area. This is one of my favorite photos from our visit–sometimes my iPhone does a good job!
We attended Mass at St. Severin. Truth be told. This is my favorite church in Paris for Mass. I love the scent of it and its old and I’ve been going here for many years when I visit. I found out that Bonaparte made his First Communion here—that’s how old the church is! Just kidding—but he did make his FC here.
It seems that every church in Paris is undergoing some sort of repair or renovation at this time. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with what happened to Notre Dame?
I really do feel a sense of comfort whenever I go to Mass here. The church happened to be filled with young families which was very nice to see.
It was off for more walking and we drove to Montparnasse to return the rented car. That’s the weird thing about Paris. It’s definitely more convenient to rent automobiles in the USA—only because of the location thing. We had to seemingly drive forever to a deserted place in the bowels of Montparnasse to return the car. It was no big deal for my husband but he did mention that it wasn’t a great thing for someone not familiar with the City.
We hailed a cab rather easily and made our way to the cemetary at Montparnasse to visit Daniele, Yves and Zazi, Bonaparte’s cousin. It isn’t a visit to Paris until we see Daniele and I still miss her terribly.
Daniele and her husband Yves are buried together. The buttons? An homage to Yve’s 1962 film “la guerre des boutons” (the war of the buttons), which is now a classic.
After that, we headed over to Le Bon Marche—a more “upscale” department store. Seriously. The store is beautifully curated and the displays are perfection but the affordability of the majority of products sold are out of my reach. Regardless, we picked up Christmas cards. And across the street are the store’s gourmet and home departments. Both spectacular. It makes me wonder what French tourists to America think of our willy-nilly displays.
Bon Marche is a very upscale store but walking through is a delight!
The window decorations at Bon Marche were a step above Galeries Lafayette this year!
What is it with Christmas trees being hung from the ceilings of Parisian Department stores? It’s nice isn’t it?
A display of candles–yes. these are candles at the home department of Bon Marche!
That being said, we sauntered over to FNAC to do some browsing and then over to another book store in the “neighborhood”, Taschen, where we picked up a great book for only ten euros!
Seriously. This book was a steal for ten euros. The photographs are wonderful!
By this time, it was late afternoon and we rested up a bit before walking to a local bistro for dinner.
We ate our last meal for this trip at Café Bonaparte. It was somewhat surprising to me about how good this local place was. I also was surprised to find out this was a teen hangout of Bonaparte’s when he was growing up. He and his friends would convene here to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. Very French. I hung out at the beach destroying my skin.
The night lighting really makes this cafe look warm and inviting and inside–it was in every way!
This was the comfort-food money dish. I will definitely be ordering on our next visit.
One last coffee and..
Tarte Tatin with a scoop of vanilla ice cream ended our last dinner in Paris Thanksgiving 2019!
I have to say, though, that I can’t wait to go back here. I had steak tartare which was excellent but he had sausage and lentils and I’m sorry I didn’t get what he ordered. Service was wonderful and it was a nice little walk back to the hotel.
And that was it. Our Thanksgiving trip of 2019!
Still dark at Seven AM…goodbye little sofa in the waiting area.
On Monday morning, we got up early to get to the airport and that’s when I started to become overwhelmed with sadness and a feeling of emptiness. Both because I knew that my brother’s funeral would be in a couple of days and because I honestly grow sadder with every leave from Paris. I’m a City girl and always will be but due to the high cost of city living….
Breakfast at CDG Airport and..
Away we go till next time!
Stay tuned because this trip—although over, I’m working on a little post about more tips for Paris travel!
Hope you enjoyed the visuals and let’s get ready for the New Year!