Visiting Paris Anytime Soon? Let’s Talk About It!

I don’t think of myself as an “expert” on Paris.  But,  I’ve been to the City of Lights many times in the past fifteen years that would place me on a level of being comfortable enough that I can find my way around, understand a good deal of the language, speak a small amount of the French language—enough to get the point across, and have acquired some savvy in how to make the most of my visits.

 

I’m not jaded but after driving past the Eiffel Tower for many, many years, I keep forgetting to tell people to visit it.  So…if you’re going to be in Paris at least hang out on the grounds for some good photo ops of this gorgeous structure!

Paris, like New York City, is my happy place.  I’m definitely a “City Girl” and am at my best when I’m in a large city—there’s always something to do and Paris personifies that vibe.

You’re going to Paris for the first time and you’ve been planning this trip for a long, long time.  You’ve been saving your money. You’ve been perusing the internet to research museums, restaurants, sights, hotels, and studying “what French women wear”.

First things first.  Stop studying what French women wear. Do not look at online articles or Instagram posts of how to dress like a French girl and all that fluff.  The fact is unless you are in the midst of the 16h arrondissement or sauntering on Avenue Foch, you will be more likely to see women and men dressing more like patrons of any other major city.

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Seriously.  Do not dress like this when you are in Paris.  A beret is fine on it’s own. In the winter.  A Breton striped shirt is fine on it’s own.  In the summer at the beach.  Together they say “I’m trying so hard to look French”. Nobody dresses like this in Paris.  Trust me.

Also, try not to make your itinerary too ambitious.  Paris is a city that was made to be savored.  Be a flaneur or a Flâneuse.  Wander the streets.

Walk till you need to rest your feet!

  Take note of the beauty in window displays.  Stop at a square to sit and people-watch.  Head to a centuries-old, musty-scented church for reflection (even if you are an atheist—honestly, you will still enjoy) and to appreciate the artistry of the icons, stained glass and so on.

Take it easy.  Walk around.  Stop and take a good look at the beauty of the city!

With that said, let’s talk!

  1. Decide what you want to concentrate on: This might sound silly but it makes sense. Are you a museum person?  Are you a food person?  Ballet/Opera person?  History Buff?  Are you comfortable seeing the city on your own, or would you feel more comfortable in a small tour group?  Make what you really love to be the focus of the trip.    Paris has a ton of museums and sites to see.  Make a list. Make a couple of lists and narrow those lists down to “Must See’s”.

Below is a listing of some of the sites that I enjoy and have been more than once. This by no means anything that you must do—it’s just subjective.

  • Les Invalides   This is such an under-appreciated museum with tourists. I guarantee if you visit this museum, you will be both fascinated and intrigued by what wonders are inside.  And Napoleon’s tomb is here.  It’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon.  I tell all my friends and family to stop here!

This is it. Napoleon’s Tomb at Les Invalides–but there’s so much more here and it is an incredibly interesting museum!

  • Musee d’Orsay__ For some (such as yours truly), the Louvre can be a bit crowded and overwhelming.  This is my personal favorite museum in Paris.  The collection of Impressionism is outstanding and might I add that when I saw Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” up front and personal, I started to cry. I swear to you this is true.  I was just moved to tears.  In addition, there’s quite the collection of Gustave Courbet paintings and he’s my favorite artist of all time.  He was a bit of a bad boy and I love that!  Regardless, this is a very “doable” museum and is just very easy to get around because it isn’t overwhelmingly huge.  Try to get there early in the morning because the lines get long!

Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” is just one of the many wonders of the Orsay.  I definitely would recommend this for a first Paris visit vs. the Louvre!  Just my opnion. It’s less overwhelming!

  • Musee de L’Orangerie at the Tuileries  Another wonderful museum, smallish and always a great exhibit.  Claude Monet’s Water Lillies are permanently housed here.  And might I add, if you don’t want to deal with the summertime crowds at Giverny, go see this.  You will thank me later.

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There’s much more to see at the musee l’orangerie but the big attraction here is Manet’s Water Lilies.  Late afternoon is a good time to visit this museum!

  • Musee du Luxembourg  Another one of my favorites because it’s small. This museum has the greatest exhibits ever. We saw the Alphonse Mucha exhibit here in 2018 and to this day it remains one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever seen.  We also saw a wonderful exhibit on Fragonard ‘s painting a few years back. This time around I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to visit because I really wanted to see the British paintings exhibit but there’s only so much time.  Right?

The Alphonse Mucha exhibit was one of the best I’ve ever seen and it was in the small Musee du Luxembourg! You can stroll through the gardens then make a stop here–having a lovely afternoon!

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Be prepared to spend a few hours here. This is a treasure chest of all things intriguing and interesting about Paris.  I LOVED the Carnavalet and you will too!

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A somber memorial, the Shoah is something that everyone should see.  It’s a very moving tribute to those murdered during WWII.

  • Tours Anyone? I’m not adept with tour groups in the City. However, there are tour buses that you can hop on and off during the course of the day.

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These buses are always full during the summer months but really–it’s more fun to hoof it!

  • If you prefer a small, more intimate tour, might I suggest Veronique of Wander with Vero?  She works with Rick Steves so during her off-season, she is available for tours and let me tell you, I’ve been following her blog for years.  She’s the real deal and I would trust her fully!

Tour Guide Supreme!  Veronique of Vero Tours!  Check her schedule because if you ever need a guide around Paris, she is the one you want!

  1. Get Your $hit Together: This is important.  I’m not kidding.
  • Make the plane reservations as far in advance as possible. A bit of advice—I LOVE flying on Air France. However, due to the percentage of strikes that the French have, and as time is of the essence with our meager vacation time, you may want to fly a different airline. (It’s in the French Constitution. Just as we have the right to bear arms, the French have the right to demonstrate in the streets!)Pilot_Strike-muteage

Be mindful. As great as Air France is, a strike can occur at any time. I know this too well! These guys should have been flying planes. Instead they were trying to dress like French girls with their Breton shirts! As I write this, the trains and metro are on strike!

  • Put in for your time off from work as soon as you figure out the dates you want to travel. Especially if you are traveling during the summer months. Everyone wants to take off at the same time. First served wins the plate!
  • If you don’t have a passport, get one as far in advance as you can. If you do have a passport and haven’t used it in a while, check to see if it needs to be renewed.
  • Make sure you call your credit card companies to let them know you will be out of the country and give them specifics dates.
  • Get to your cell phone company and sign up for the International Plan.  This will allow you to use Wi-Fi for a reasonable price!
  • Got pets? Make the reservations to board them or make arrangements for whoever will be pet sitting.
  • Keep abreast of the conversions and when you see a good price, buy euros in advance if you can. If you are going to be traveling for mor than I week, might I suggest getting in touch with your local police department. They will drive by your home in the evenings to “checkup”. This is a very pragmatic practice and one can never have a false sense of security!
  • BRING AN ADAPTER!  You will want to charge your phone. Buy and adapter made for France/Europe and stick it in your travel bag. Keep it there!
  1. Don’t Overpack: My husband swears I have a very odd obsession on this subject.  But I digress.  Overpacking is a waste. A waste of time because the more you pack, the more you will waste time mulling over what to wear.  A waste of money because the airlines charge money for additional luggage these days—especially American Airlines–$60 a bag for economy flyers.  If I could pack five days of clothing in a carry on—and that’s including wigs and makeup, then you can do it!   Repeat wears—nobody is judging you.  Keep a monochromatic tone.  I wear a lot of black and navy.

Five days worth of clothing, two pairs of boots, three wigs and makeup were stuffed into this.  Caveat: a blazer was placed in my husband’s suitcase.

Below is a listing of clothes that I may like to suggest i for about five days in Paris. Note—in the summer, I pack mostly dresses because it’s one-stop dressing.

  • One or two pairs of black pants  (or a pair of navy pants and a pair of black) one pair of jeans. i.e. J. Crew Pixie Pants or any knit pant works wonders. The stretch factor is ridiculously comfortable and also aids in the comfort of walking around.  In the cooler months, a pair of jeans will suffice. Besides—most restaurants have a pretty casual dress code these days.  Just dress nice. If you are going out to a local restaurant in the evening, black pants with a dressier top is sufficient.

Chippy helps to pack!  Both pairs have stretch. Trust me you want comfort and any pant with stretch will offer that.  In addition, a pont knit or any knit won’t wrinkle and is comfortable for flight time!

No matter what the season, Paris can be pretty rainy. And jeans will suffice well for damp weather. These AG Jeans are light enough for all seasons yet will keep you warm in cold weather.  

  • Flat shoes for walking. Boots or Booties.  (In the summer, flat sandals)  My years-old Cole-Haan Air Nikes fit the bill but alas, are no longer available. Instead, might I add a stylish but comfortable shoe such as Tieks? You’ll want something that can go from walking around to the possibility of dinner if you don’t get the chance to change.  I also, during the cooler months bring my favorite Geox booties which I purchased at Galeries Lafayette in 2018!  Heels, kitten heels but nothing too high.  Remember, there’s lots of uneven terrain and cobblestone and if you are clumsy like me, you may be prone to tripping or worse, falling. Leave the very high heels home. Please.

Quite possibly the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. However, they’ve been discontinued. by Cole-Haan due to the Air Nike thing.  Although I’ve never owned or worn Tieks, I understand they are ridiculously comfortable. They could prove to be a dupe for these!

A flat bootie such as these from Nine West are great for walking around in colder weather. I was so glad I took these on our recent trip. It was rainy and damp and these were perfect!

THE perfect bootie for dressing up a bit.  These booties by Geox were purchased at Galeries Lafayette in 2018. They have a heel but are incredibly comfortable. They were worn every night to dinner-dressed up the pants!

  •  Tee shirts, sweaters. Depending on the season, of course. Button-down shirts have a tendency to look fussy and sloppy at times due to the fabric. Sticking with jersey or cotton knits is a more practical choice and they don’t wrinkle when packed.

Tee-shirts under sweaters is great for layering during the cooler months.  During the winter you might want to add a turtleneck or two!

  • For variety, pack a few different scarfs. It’ll make a repeat outfit look brand spankin’ new!

A colorful scarf such as this will go with every color shirt/sweater/tee you bring..

Here it is worn over a navy sweater and cheap costume pearls. 

The HG of travel makeup. So great, I have two! This is perfect for travel!

  • No need to bring a ton of bras with you.  Two is sufficient but bring the panties!
  • Jewelry? I bring the cheap stuff.  My Walmart hoops are the Holy Grail of earrings.  Less than two bucks a pair, it doesn’t matter if I lose or leave them behind.  It’s too stressful to worry about jewelry when traveling so the inexpensive costume stuff comes in handy!

All three items are from Walmart.  And let me tell you, nobody will be standing so close to you to judge.  Simple items that are not fussy will give a more expensive appearance!

 Make Reservations:     Make dinner reservations well in advance.  Restaurants in Paris get crowded. Especially on the weekends.  If you show up at a popular restaurant without a reservation, you could be kept waiting for over an hour. And when you do make reservations, keep a copy of the confirmation as proof.  Almost every restaurant allows you the comfort of booking a table online.  OpenTable.com is excellent.  Believe me when I tell you this is important.  An example, last year the husband and I decided that we would take a chance and make last-minute reservations at Allard and when I say “last minute” I mean the day before.  As we entered the restaurant another couple behind us walked in off the street and were turned away.  Resos are a must.  Print out the reservation confirmations, place in a folder and take the confirmation with you to the restaurant.  Please note that the restaurant listing isn’t extensive. This is largely due to the fact that for many years, before Daniele’s passing, we were spoiled by having meals prepared by her housekeeper.  Below are some of the places we frequent and like.

  • Restaurant Paul Located on Place Dauphine, I have to say, this is our favorite restaurant in Paris.  It’s a neighborhood restaurant and during the day, it is where the hotshots from the Justice Department lunch.  The menu is not extensive, which is a good thing because everything is prepared fresh.  Dinner here is outstanding and during the summer, get a table outside under the awning. You’ll enjoy the goings on in the square—everything from boule to musicians to kids and families out enjoying the summer days and evenings.

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It’s a neighborhood place.  In the summer you can eat outside.  The food is consistently great…

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….and the card for you!

  •  Le Caveau du Palais  Next door to Paul on Place Dauphine and run by the same owners, this is another local restaurant that’s also a great choice. Again, the menu is not extensive so you’re sure to have a freshly-prepared meal!

Located next to Paul is Le Caveau. You can have dinner on Place Dauphine more than once!

  • Frenchie    It’s been a while since we frequented this restaurant but I remember how impressed my foodie fans were when they found out we dined here on more than one occasion.  It’s a small place but there’s also a Frenchie wine bar.

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Frenchie Restaurant. I can’t find any of my pics from here. But I can tell you the first time we visited , it was one of the best meals I had ever eaten!

  • Le Procope  So enjoyable we ate there twice during our recent trip. It’s noisy on the weekends.  And reservations are a The food is very good and the service is stellar! The ambiance is just so old-school.  This is a place with a wonderful and rich history so if you do get the chance, try a meal here.

Le Procope. So nice we ate there twice!  Make reservations if you do not want to wait for a table!

  • Allard  Truth be told.  I like this restaurant much more than the husband does.  The beef cheeks have got to be one of the best dishes I ever had in my life!  It’s a wintery blend of comfort.  The restaurant has been around for many years and has changed hands.  I think it’s worth a visit.

Mmm. Mmmmm.  The Floating Island dessert at Allard was outstanding!!

  •  Le Bonaparte–Facebook has a page but I don’t do links to Facebook because Zuckerberg refuses to delete political advertising.   This iconic café on Rue Bonaparte across from Eglise St. Germain has been around for years.  In fact, the husband, Monsieur Bonaparte, used to hang here after his school days drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.  The food is wonderful and the bistro/café vibe makes this an excellent local place. It’s fun and crowded and noisy and the service is stellar!

I’m truly shocked that it took me over a decade to find out how great this cafe is!  Definitely take a meal here!

  1. Shopping   Shopping in Paris can be fun and can also be challenging. Try to stick to products and clothing that are exclusive to France and not the States.  And you know what?  The majority of us visiting are not of the socio-economic grouping that will go on a spree at Dior, or Chanel, or Givenchy or any other haute couture fashion house.   There is a plethora of boutiques throughout the city that have beautiful clothing, accessories, shoes, purses for reasonable prices.  And the great thing is that they are unique and not something you’ll find here.  Naturally, exceptions can be made but for the most part, stick to what you won’t find at home!  One thing before I list—while I realize that Louis Vuitton is extremely popular, if you are searching for a LV bag, head to the boutique on Place Saint-Germain des Pres. You will thank me later because many of the LV shops, especially at Galeries Lafayette, have insanely long lines. I’m not kidding. It’s crazy.
  • City Pharma-If you’ve been following my blog then you are fully aware of my love for this mecca of skincare.  It isn’t a trip unless I stop here.  French brands that are ridiculously pricey in the States can be found here for a huge   The prices are insane and so are the crowds.  Get here as soon as the store opens because it can be an absolute madhouse.  Fear not though because the floor staff is adept at English and if they aren’t, they will find someone who is.   I can guarantee that if you come here for the first time, it certainly won’t be the last.

It isn’t a trip to Paris unless I stop at CityPharma. Honestly. It’s the first shopping I do.  Early in the morning before the crowds hit. I’m in and out.  Trust me, once you go here, you will NEVER go to Paris and NOT stop at CityPharma!

  • Fragonard  There are a ton of Fragonard boutiques throughout Paris.  I frequent the one on Blvd. St. Germain.  It is a delightful and colorful boutique with so much more to offer other than fragrance.  If you are looking for a new scent that is affordable or a gift do not bypass any of the Fragonard boutiques.

When we’re in the South of France, I always stop by the Fragonard Perfumerie in Grasse.  When in Paris, I prefer the Blvd. St. Germain shop. It’s adorable and I can load up on favorites.   Santal is my new HG for the winter and I can’t get enough of it!

  • Sophie Sacs  located in a very heavily shopping location on Rue de Rennes, this is a tiny shop overstuffed with leather bags.  Nat et Nin, a wonderful but little-known brand here in the USA, is sold here.  If you are in the market for a quality bag, at an affordable price and don’t want a logo bag, Sophie Sacs is the shop for you.  The people working there are really nice and helpful and the array of colorful leather is astounding.  I frequent this store a lot!  Lots!

This bag was purchased at Sophie Sacs in November of 2018.  I stinking LOVE this bag.  There are no logos. Nothing fancy. It’s just a big bag in a color you don’t often see. The leather is butter soft and…

It holds a TON of stuff.  I took this to Paris this November and often use it as a “travel” purse .  It cost around  100 Euros.  Another tip. Buy things that you will use on a regular rotation.  And unique!

  • Monoprix  Think Target—but only better.  Monoprix is a store that offers everything from food to clothing to tacky souvenirs   and the equivalent of drugstore cosmetics and toiletries—but French style.  Locations abound throughout the city, but not all locations offer what the larger Monop’s might have in-store (Monop is the store’s nickname). Little tip here— Monoprix brand mascara is epic.  And if you are looking for little gifts to bring back home, load up on the stores little reusable grocery bags. I’ve purchased these for stocking stuffers, to throw in my purses and for friends.

These little shopping sacs are priceless at 1.50 euros.  I keep one in every bag and have bought them as litte gifts.  They hold a good amount of groceries and are strong!

  • FNAC  Across the street from Sophie Sacs in Montparnasse, this is the location that we frequent, although there are many throughout Paris.  If you are looking for small electronics or French CD’s to sate your want of French music, or movies or books, this is the place to shop.  The sales assistants are also incredibly helpful.  I had an issue with my cell phone’s camera a few years back and was ready to purchase another phone. Instead, the S/A looked at my phone, clicked a button and explained to me how to fix an issue with my phone’s camera.  This is a good thing to know when traveling!  In addition, the stores have a decent stationary department!
  • Repetto   While there is a Repetto boutique downtown NYC, I still find it easier to shop for the brand’s shoes in Paris when I’m there.   These shoes can be purchased at Galeries Lafayette and the various Repetto boutiques in Paris.  I like the one on Rue du Four up the street (a ways) from City Pharma.  The sales help at the boutiques is far superior to that of the Repetto section at Galeries Lafayette

My newest pair of Repetto ballet flats.  I needed Navy.  And these are narrow-feet friendly!

  • Galeries Lafayette  There are two locations in Paris.  Hausmann and on the border between the 14th, 15th and top of the 6th in Montparnasse.  We shop at Haussmann. It’s a beautiful department store in which everything is so well-displayed.  Bonaparte did take note that over the years, more and more brands that are sold in America seem to be taking over-but, such is globalization.  Besides, with the many brands that are not sold here, it’s still a great place to shop. Each “brand” has its separate “gallery” if you will, making shopping a pretty-darned good and easy experience.  The experience has been nothing short of delightful.  Shopping for lingerie is a wonderful experience!  I had the pleasure of purchasing Princess Tam●Tam bras a while back and it was one that I’ll always remember well.  Over the years, I’ve made many purchases here. This year it was a camel coat by the brand Jodhpur, the brand is an exclusive to the department store and designed in France but not constructed in the country.

This camel coat was purchased at Galeries Lafayette and I’ve been wearing it pretty-much every day!  It was on a Black Friday discount!

  • Le Bon Marche´  Located on Rue de Sevres in the 7th arr, this is a very pricey department store.  I can’t afford the clothing here but it’s fun to browse!  And the store’s food/home department across the street from the department store is an experience!  The abundance of gourmet goods will make anyone’s mouth water!

We browsed at Bon Marche. It’s VERY pricey but we did manage to pick up Christmas cards!

  • Airport Shopping/Duty Free Shopping:  Don’t overlook Airport shopping.  Great deals abound here!  Oona loves Chanel “Madamoiselle” perfume and my stepdaughter, Claire loves Thierry Mugler “Angel” so with each visit, I wait till our return trip and pick up the scents at CDG.  I’ve also picked up some great deals over the years..

Among great airport deals, these patent Repettos. I think they were under 50 euros!

And what is quite possibly, the greatest deal ever.  A Longchamp weekender that was 43 euros. Nobody wanted the color. Personally, I love it because the dirtier it gets, the less attractive it’ll be to sticky fingers!

  1. Study your Neighborhoods!  This is important! I have a cousin who stayed in the 13th arrondissement when she visited Paris for the first time. She didn’t have a great time and I was so upset that she hadn’t talked to me before she made her plans.
  • Fact is, if you are going to Paris for the first time, your best bet is to stay in a “lively” and convenient arrondissement.  The 1st, the 2nd, the 5th, the 6th, the 7th, are all areas that are bustling with activity.  Other arrondissements, while safe and very nice, may not offer the bustling activity found in the ones I mentioned.

We love the 6th!  A lively location that’s convenient and has just what we need…

…and I ALWAYS stop at Carrefour to pick up my fix of Banana Juice!  Some love the wine in France. I love Banana juice!

  1. Getting Around: It’s relatively easy to get around Paris via public transport.
  • The Metro takes a while to figure out if you are new to the city (this coming from a woman who depended on the NYC Subway System for many years) but it is relatively safe and gets you where you want to go quickly!
  • Uber –get the app for your phone and you are never without transportation. A few years back we witnessed the ugly strike by the French cab drivers. They despised Uber.  But in Uber’s defense, there was a time when getting a cab in Paris, unless you called G-7 cabs in advance, was nearly impossible.  We’ve had great experiences with Uber—immaculate cars, pleasant drivers (and I’ve been kicked out of a cab a couple of years ago), quick arrival and reasonable pricing.  Just make sure you’re in a place with Wi-Fi when you use your app!
  • Cabs—Thanks to Uber, it’s easier to get a cab these days. There are cab stands throughout the city and at the department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Bon Marche, the cabs are on a line waiting for you to hop in!  Actually, it’s also easy to hail a cab on the street these days.  If you want a cab at a specific time, call G-7,  it’s a very reputable cab company and we’ve been using them for years.  If you need to get to the airport early in the morning or at any time, they are reliable and know the quickest routes—and if you book in advance, say to get to the airport, there is a fee involved but it’s worth it because of the reliability factor—this comes in handy due to the many demonstrations throughout Paris.I can’t say enough about G7 Cabs.  Reliable.  Clean as a whistle. The drivers know the city inside and out!  If you need to get to the airport EARLY in the morning, get a G-7!!
  • Your feet—Need I say more? Just remember to wear comfortable shoes or boots.  Paris was made for walking.  And you never know what treasures you’ll stumble upon! And remember—no white sneakers!

Comfortable shoes are an absolute!  I’ve had these Cole-Haan Air Nike Ballet Flats for ten years now and they come with me on every trip.  They are only now showing wear..

  1. More stuff to remember
  • Take pictures of the ordinary stuff. See a wheelbarrow outside of a café?  Take a photo.  A long line outside of a restaurant? Snap it!  The most interesting photos aren’t posed or pretentious. They are the ones that catch your eye at the right moment.  You want to remember the trip through your camera’s lens and oftentimes the simplest shots are the best. A store windows.  An old building.  A puddle in the rain.  Whatever strikes you, take it!

Photograph the ordinary.  This photo was taken from Bonaparte’s Aunt Daniele’s kitchen. I LOVED cooking in her kitchen because it was a pleasure to look at the rooftops.  To this day, this remains one of my favorite photos!

Another favorite is this random pic of a basket of croissant..

And I was astounded with the pragmatic way Christmas trees are sold. “Stands” are cut from the trunk then the tree is placed in the trunk stand.  I had to take a photo of this because I’m now obsessed as to why we don’t to this in the States!

  • Hotels have smaller rooms. Much smaller. If you aren’t at a five-star, luxury hotel (which I’ve never been), be mindful that the hotels throughout Paris have smaller rooms.  They are meant to sleep in, change your clothes and use the bathroom. If a room has a TV, you can bet it’ll be a lot smaller than the one you have at home.  The lighting is also different. It’s not as bright and I find that applying makeup is a challenge due to that and my horrific eyesight.  In addition, you might want to bring a facecloth with you. Not every hotel supplies you with facecloths (I found this particularly odd when I first visited Ireland).  Didn’t bring a facecloth? Head to a store and purchase makeup wipes, you can repurpose them as washcloths.   Speaking of hotels, we’ve been spoiled by staying with Bonaparte’s aunt, Daniele when she was alive.
  • Since our visits the past two years, we’ve stayed at Hotel Prince de Conti and although the rooms are small, this hotel’s location is ridiculously convenient.

In the early morning, there is coffee in the lobby. This comes in handy whilst waiting for the cab to take you to the airport..

And might I add that the lobby is incredibly toasty warm and cozy and feels like home..

And this small hotel offers quite a hearty breakfast!

  • Citadines  offers a slightly different place to stay. We’re mulling over staying here on our next trip because sometimes it just nice to be in a place with a kitchen. I like to cook and enjoy living more like the locals so we’ll see after our research!
  • Airbnb We’re also thinking about an Airbnb apartment but need to so some serious research.  We miss being in an apartment and aren’t sure what the time restrictions are with the Airbnb’s so it’s a learning experience even for seasoned visitors!
  • Get yourself a pocket-sized guide to Paris. You do not want a huge map that you will take out randomly to showcase to others that you have no idea where you are. This isn’t a wise tourist thing. There are pickpockets and other petty thieves. And although Paris is very safe, it is no different from the bad folks that are in  all large cities. Remember. That false sense of security is not a good thing.  We live in the suburbs and people have homes broken into all the time….

As you can see, this pocket guide is 8 years old now but still comes in handy…

It has pull-out maps of arrondissements. There’s talk of some arrondissements being merged so I may be buying a new pocket guide in the future for big changes.

And there’s a Metro Map (doesn’t do good while the Metro is on strike).  This tiny book is chock-full of everything!

Honestly, I could go on and on and on but I’ve tried to narrow this down to the best way I could—especially if you are a first-timer to the beautiful City of Lights.

Remember. Please don’t be intimidated. What you see on Social Media for the most part doesn’t give a realistic view—much of it is smoke and mirrors.  Paris is a gorgeous city filled with something for every budget.  Granted it isn’t cheap but it can be affordable if you do your homework and plan!

For more Paris reading, here are a few archived blog posts:  Paris in Three Days Part One (Parts two and three can be reached from the first installment)  Paris Without Daniele Part Un

Some Best Buys

Paris In Four Days__Part One

That is it and I hope you enjoyed this!  I also hope I didn’t come off as preachy because I can’t stand that.  These are merely suggestions.  Hey!  No matter where you travel, have a great time, study the locals and be yourself!

One last thing. Check out the many book stores!  Taschen has great “coffee table” books. We purchased this for ten euros and it’s a lovely reminder of Paris!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! And Many Thanks and Much Love!

Image result for patsy from ab fab nye memes

I pretty-much follow Patsy’s ideology on New Year’s resolutions…but..I TRY to be a better person!

It’s a New Year and a New Decade.  And while I work on my latest post on Paris Info and Tips,  I wanted to take a break and thank everyone for remaining loyal to my blog.

you holding a giant gift basket that says thank you

 

My sincere thanks and appreciation!

This year was difficult for me.  Due to the nature of my job, I was oftentimes just too spent emotionally to come home after work and write.  And I feel horrible about that.  This year I am making an effort to leave my work at the office the second I leave for the evening and come back to concentrate on my first love–this blog.  And I thank you for not leaving me!

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I’m at my desk at home now, writing a new post and ENJOYING it!  I’m back in blogness!

It was also a year when the unexpected happened.  The loss of my brother.  I’m still incredibly saddened by this and am angry and …well, it’s time to move forward.

I wish everyone the best of for this year.  The best of health.  The best of happiness. The best of success. The best of humor–because humor is important and the best medicine is a laugh a day.

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A laugh a day is key–especially if you can laugh at yourself.  I am the snorter!  Yes, I have the piggy laugh!  Do you?

Happy New Year!!!!!

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Thanksgiving in Paris Part Three: On Saturday We Hang Out at Napoleon’s Place. On Sunday–We Don’t Rest!

*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!

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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.

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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!

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Thanksgiving in Paris—Part Two! We Got a Car!

Bonaparte surprised me with the announcement that he rented a car for two days.  We would be driving out of Paris both on Friday and Saturday.   He wanted to take a drive out of the City and down memory lane to visit a few places that brought back memories of his youth.

This is NOT the car we rented.  It was a Jeep but I like this one better!

We started the morning out at Café de Paris with…. you guessed it.

Might I suggest if you are in Paris and staying in the 6th, head to Cafe de Paris for the greatest service and croissants and coffee. And if you sit outside, the people watching is stellar!

Coffee and Croissant.  And then he went off to get the car as I walked around and went back to the hotel to wait for his return.

It was still raining but not heavy rain.  It was a perfect day to drive out of the City and into the countryside.

I have to say that I was tempted to jump out of the car and run into CityPharma for a return trip!

Today ‘s schedule was an ambitious one.

This is one of the favorite photographs I took on this trip. We drove by the Eiffel Tower and I couldn’t resist.  

We left Paris early and as we drove out of the arrondissements, I admired the historical beauty of this romantic city.  The drive was pretty darned pleasant.  No manifestations to slow traffic and it was early enough so that the shoppers headed to Castorama and Ikea weren’t yet on the road.

No city can match the beauty of the buildings in Paris. I may be a bit opinionated but I just love the history….

Tout seul on the road and loving it!

We stopped at Saint-Hilarion to visit Bonaparte’s mother, Evie’s, grave.  She’s at rest in a tiny but charming cemetery.  The grounds are well-maintained and slightly unkempt at the same time.  There is a ton of history here.

Evie’s grave.  Although I knew her only after she lost any sense of being lucid, in her own little world, she was a very sweet woman. I wish I had known her before she became ill.

This “cimetiere” wasn’t morose, maudlin or morbid.  It was just charming, touching and beautiful in is natural state.  Check this out!

This old, tattered plastic watering can has been here for years.  Somewhere in the bowels of my photos, I have this same photo taken during the summer a few years back.  Some things never change!

A weathered and rusty cross…

A moss-spotted grave…

My husband in a thoughtful stance.

And, the little chapel that, last time we visited Evie’s grave, was in ruins.  It’s been restored inside and is just so peaceful in its pristine loneliness.

I like to believe that Evie and my brother, Pete, stopped the rain and gave us some decent weather!

The inside of the chapel has been restored. I kinda had to do some “nyc girl manipulation” and jimmy the lock to get this photo.  Rest assured I relocked before my criminal act. And I said an “Act of Contrition” too. All is well!

Next, we drove into town to Maintenon and walked around a bit.  We stopped at Chateau de Maintenon and it looks just as beautiful in the winter as it does in the summer.  The lampposts were decorated so elegantly and sparkly.

The Chateau de Maintenon  is one of the greatest chateaus I’ve ever visited. In the summer, the grounds are absolutely stunning and this time of year, it’s a bit sleepy but still gorgeous.

This church next to the chateau was securely locked. I wouldn’t even attempt my naughty act of trying to gain entrance.  Preparations were being made for a Christmas concert..

Another favorite photo.  Sometimes my SmartPhone takes smart photos.  Look way in the background and you can see the failed Aqueduct that Lous XIV built.  Thousands of lives were lost during the constrution but it is an incredible structure. The object was to bring water to Versailles.

.if you’re ever in Maintenon…

WTF decorates like this???!!  THE FRENCH DO!!  And it looks magical!

Then it was on to the estate, Le Moulin, also in Saint-Hilarion, where Bonaparte spent so many weekends of his younger days.  A little backstory in case you are new to reading this blog.  Bonaparte’s aunt was the actress Daniele Delorme. She was married to actor and director Yves Robert.  They had an apartment in Paris and this retreat.  I have a townhouse in Phoenixville, PA–LOL!

 

Can you imagine having this property?  The housekeeper’s home is in the background.  I’ll take it. I’ll clean the bathrooms with pleasure if I can stay here!

During the summer, there’s a family of ducks that hang here. I don’t know where they went. Hopefully, they haven’t been turned into someone’s dinner!

This gate leads to more property.  Bonaparte was getting stressed that I would try to break into yet another place because the owner almost caught me at the front gate.  I like to think of myself as a “real life” journalist if you will!

The home was always open to weekend visitors and many a French actor/actress or musician would be a guest.  My husband had wonderful memories of this home.  It’s a gorgeous old estate in the most bucolic setting.  The film “La Guerre des Boutons” was filmed on the property. Luckily for Yves Robert, he didn’t have to commute far to work!

And here it is. The main maison that Bonaparte spent years in.  Take a clue from me, if you want a decent photo of a French estate, do it in the late Fall/early Winter when the leaves leave the trees bare. In the summer everything is hidden by the foilage.  Don’t these people realize I’m downright nosey???

And much to my husband’s relief that I didn’t get arrested for trespassing or breaking and entering!  Back to Paris it is!

On the way back we drove past two town meeting centers—one named in honor of Bonaparte’s uncle and the other named after the character that Bonaparte’s brother, Martin, played in that movie.

I have no idea what these salles are used for.  Weight Watchers meetings perhaps?  I doubt it because the French are skinny.  Maybe groups to stop smoking!

Bonaparte’s brother, Martin’s P’tit Gibus ended up to be an incredibly popular character!  I swear Martin is as adorable now as he was then!

Still early enough to have a large part of the afternoon free, we arrived back in Paris, parked the car and headed to the Ministry of Culture.

Back in Paris. No rain but clouds abound!  We’re on our way to enter the Ministry of Culture to catch the Jacques-Henri Lartigue exhibit!

Presently, there is an exhibit being held that showcases Bonaparte’s grandfather’s photographs.  What a family—huh?   There is a rumor going around about my family that those who may have been naughty Irishmen fled to Australia. That’s why I have relatives there.  We are worlds apart—LOL!!

If you’re in Paris between now and January, stop by!!

So, we went to the exhibit.  For me, it was fun to have a more in-depth look into the world of Jacques-Henri Lartigue because there were quite a good number of his photos that I’ve never seen before.

The start of the exhibit..

“Champs de courses d’Auteuil”  Paris, 1911. This remains my absolute FAVORITE JHL photo.  I would wear any of those outfits today.  What a stunning photo!

This photo was taken in 1969 during an photo shoot for Courreges dresses.  I love this because Andre Courreges is/was my favorite designer of all time and this also looks like an Irish Dance competition photo!!!

Um…. the husband wasn’t very pleased with the way the exhibit was displayed or curated.  And that is all I can say on the subject!

This is where things got weird–according to ME!  There was a fantastic slide show, which I was completely mesmerized by because these were personal photos which gave me more insight to his grandfather.  HOWEVER,  it was presented on a wobbly TV screen?  It would have been so much better if presented on a blank wall in a dark room.  Man was my husband ticked off!

And then we were off again!

We did a bit more walking then hailed a cab back to the hotel.  Something you outta know.  There was a time when it was nearly impossible to get a cab on the street in Paris.  Then Uber happened. And after strikes by the cab companies, and manifestations, it seems that the Uber/Cabbies have learned to tolerate.  It’s now a hella lot easier to get a cab. Thank you, Uber!

Another enjoyable walk before getting a cab. Late afternoon into twilight would soon be happening!

And after a rest at the hotel, we headed out to GET dinner. This time in the form of a walk to Rue de Buci to Carrefour for sandwich makings to have in our room!

Dinner was quiet.  We headed to Carrefour, picked up sandwich makings and finger foods and enjoyed a simple meal in our room.

I’ll tell you all about Saturday in the next installment!!

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Thanksgiving in Paris—The 2019 Edition__Part One

Thanksgiving in Paris is a relatively new tradition that Bonaparte and I embarked upon three years ago.  This little trip gives us just enough time to get mentally prepared for the Christmas holidays and gives us a bit of respite from a holiday that neither of us is particularly crazy about.

And away we go!

Don’t get me wrong.  It isn’t that I despise this holiday, it’s just that it never rang that important.  Growing up with dad who was a NYC Police Officer, there were many Thanksgivings when he had to work.   And when my mother discovered that the turkey and all the trimmings could be catered, the local deli made our feast.  And it tasted weird.

And as a young adult I just never got into it.  When the kids were growing up Thanksgiving meal was rushed because Oona and I had to high-tail it into the Marriott in Philly for the annual Oireachtas, the regional Irish Dance competitions.

The kids are grown and into their careers and their lives.  Jake is working and living in Los Angeleez, Oona is married and living in Cincinnati and Roman is in NYC and works the parade many a Thanksgiving.

And so, Christmas is my thing. That’s the holiday when family gathers together and this year, we’ll be celebrating the Sunday before Christmas.  That’s the way life goes when the kids have work commitments.

But back to our trip.

It was five days.  From Wednesday until the following Monday morning when we returned Stateside.

And here’s how it rolled….

Five days of clothing, underwear, makeup, and hair!  I am not lying when I tell you, I would rather WEAR five days of undies and clothing on my person than to pay $60 to check a suitcase with the airlines!

Five days in Paris.  And I refuse to check luggage because I don’t want my wigs or makeup to suddenly become “lost” at the expense of American Airlines.  I’m also a light packer and went with the essentials.  Black pants, black sweaters, jeans, a couple of tee shirts, underwear, a blazer.  I’m easy.

What I wore on the way over–comfy J. Crew Pixie pants, flat shoes, a black long-sleeved tee, a scarf and Gabor’s High Society wig.  

Whereas Bonaparte decided to check a large suitcase because we would be doing some shopping.  American Airlines charged him $60 for the checked-in luggage. This is what happens when you fly economy.  You get nickeled and dimed.  Friends of ours were on the same flight and in business class, they were not charged.  I can’t stand the Corporate Caste System!

Due to circumstances with my brother’s passing, there was a part of me that just wasn’t “there” when we landed.  It’s to be expected but I made the best of it and was truly happy to be back in The City of Lights.

Quite honestly, I’m more comfortable here than in Philadelphia.

Going through customs took no time. In fact, it was the quickest I can remember in fourteen years of visits!  The Frenchman’s luggage collected, we headed out into…………………. rain!  And more rain.

And we got into the cab at just the right time because there was a manifestation about to occur.  The farm workers were annoyed and were holding a tractor brigade along the highway leading from the airport into Paris.  Luck was on our side.

Image result for tractor manifestation in paris

That’s right folks, we just missed the start of yet, another manifestation.  It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside!

We arrived at the Prince de Conti hotel, dropped our luggage off until check-in, and hit the streets of the Sixth Arrondissement.

The weather ensured that many small streets would be empty.  It was kind of nice!

First stop was Café Buci for some good coffee and croissants.  And after getting fueled up, we hit my favorite stop, CityPharma where I picked up a few skincare items.

Just what was needed after a flight through the night.  Good coffee and croissants.  Weight Watchers be damned. I’m eating right now!

Morning fuel!

This time around I didn’t get too much at CityPharma.  Just a few small items..

But I DID stop at Carrefour to pick up Banana juice. I can’t find it here in the States but each visit to France has me happy as a fly on $hit because I drink this stuff  like a madman!

More walking around looking at sites and before you knew it, we were ready to check into the hotel.

This cafe is on Rue de Buci and I love the way the awning is decorated.  Very similar to last year!

Never allow a bit of rain to put a damper on your travel plans. Either the weather is going to be good–or it isn’t. Regardless, you’ll still have a blast!

Dinner was at Le Procope, an old cafe/bistro filled with history, we had dinner in the Chopin room.  On a Wednesday evening, the place had a good crowd. The food didn’t fail to please either.

Le Procope was a hangout for the intellectual crowd at one time.  Now..it’s just a darn good place to eat!

I’m telling you, wearing a wig is the greatest asset for travel!  You change your hair the way you change your shoes!  We’re enjoying our first dinner in the Chopin room!  That guy–huh??

Bonaparte started off with escargots while I enjoyed…

Foie gras and jam on toast.

And he also enjoyed steak with a nice Bearnaise sauce.  I was so busy chowing down on my duck that I never took a photo!

Our server was so upset that the fries weren’t hot enough for HIS pleasure that he brought out another serving.

The rain stopped and we enjoyed a nice stroll back to the hotel under festive street lighting!

And that was our first day!

We started our first day on Buci and ended it on Buci!

Thursday, Thanksgiving, 2019

Rise and shine.  To more rain.  Actually, the rain isn’t bad. I enjoy rain when I’m in a large city.  When I lived in Manhattan, I welcomed a rainy day and the same holds true for Paris.  The buildings lend themselves well to the gray sky.  The rain isn’t as heavy as it is here in the States. It’s a lighter, more refined form of precipitation!

We started the day off by running a few errands.  I hit Fragonard because a refill of my Santal scent was in order and we walked to Repetto to get me a new pair of ballet flats.  We walked and walked and let me tell you, it was such a welcome change.

This scent.  My new favorite as of last year.  Santal is actually a unisex scent.  It’s definitely got some masculine vibes but I like that in a winter scent.  It’s sandalwood with a hint of pepper. I love it!

I picked up a little decoration for the tree too!  

I bought Navy ballet flats and I can’t wait to finally wear them!

I stopped into St. Sulpice to light a candle for my brother and one for a wig sister and another for my sister-in-law.  In addition, rosaries were purchased.  There’s something very soothing about sitting and reflecting in a church and the musty scent of St. Sulpice gives hints of the layers of history that took place in this house of worship.

This is not St. Sulpice. It’s Eglise St. Germain.  I stopped in there too.  It’s an obsession. I love going to church in Paris.

I was also obsessed with this sculpture!

And once again we were off.  We played a visit to Bonaparte’s cousin, Hugo at his office and did more rummaging around.

Bonaparte’s cousin Hugo — always a pleasure to stop by the office to say hello!

At this point the rain subsided but it was still gray.  Which, I might add, makes it great for walking around.  And since it was our Non-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, we decided to take in the decorative windows at Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann.  This year’s decorations were great. The theme was bees.  And I tried my best to get good photos but those little French kids were in my way!

The Galeries Lafayette Christmas tree is quite floral this year. Must be because of the bee theme!

I’m always fascinated by the domed roof!

I did a thing.  I bought a coat.  And the coat was just the kind I was looking for.  Straight and camel toned.  The price was right because on this day, the stores were having pre-Black Friday sales.  Yes.  Black Friday is now a “thing” in France—at least in Paris it is.

Yes. I bought a coat. Good thing too. It was getting cold!  Check out the husband’s expression!  Honesty, I LOVE this coat so much!

I’m sticking this random photo of Christmas cheeses because I didn’t eat any cheese whilst in Paris. I’m a bit shocked at myself but I just didn’t!

More walking around, more errands and back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner.

A quick change of clothing and hair and we are off for our Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving Dinner was no disappointment.  We dined at our favorite local haunt—Restaurant Paul on Place Dauphine.  As usual, the husband didn’t stray too far from beef.  I went in a different direction.  I started out with Bone Marrow and went with Tete de Veau, Veal head and brains with sweetbreads on the side.  Why not?  It was different than Turkey and I figured if I ate brains, then perhaps I would become a bit more intelligent.

We started with Kirs

and some olives…

I tell you, the husband does not stray far from his usual selections.  Escargot. Again.

I started off with bone marrow…

And like a rabid dog gnawing on a bone. I ate every last morsel!

Some wine if you will..

Beef for the husband…

Veal head complete with brains AND crispy sweetbreads surrounded by carrots and parsnips!  YUM!  

Um…that didn’t happen.  How was my meal?  The bone marrow was great.  The other?  It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great, the texture wasn’t as solid as I thought it would be.  I’m glad I tried it though.

To end this feast, Paris Brest!  

A nice picturesque stroll back to the hotel ended our Thanksgiving and it was off to slumber for the next day, we had a car and would drive out of Paris…

Now and Seine you need a stroll after dinner!

Stay tuned for Part Two!

See you tomorrow!

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Thank You For Your Condolences, Prayers and Comforting Thoughts

The past few weeks have been difficult and I’ve been on a hiatus from basically everything.  But at some point, the pieces need to be gathered and put back together with spiritual glue and that’s what I’m doing.

I want to thank you all for your condolences and I’m overwhelmed at the lovely emails and messages received.  They meant the world to me.  And I’m grateful and appreciative.

Bitmoji Image

Thank you so much. You’ve definitely lifted my spirits!

There’s a lot to do in order to get ready for Christmas and I’m getting back to the blog, Instagram and YouTube.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a little slideshow about my brother that my niece, Mary, created. It’s absolutely beautiful and showcases the wonderful life my brother had.  It’s a wonderful tribute to him and I do hope you enjoy!

All my love,  Cathe

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The Loss of a Sibling

I honestly do not know where to begin with this post.  Rather, I’ll tell you there’s a reason that I haven’t been posting over the past week.

My baby brother passed away.

My baby brother.  Peter Michael Wynne. And yes, the entire family, cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles always referred to him as “The Baby”.  Maybe it’s an Irish thing….

It’s as simple as that.  He is gone.  I will never see him again and I’ll never speak to him again.  We will never butt heads over politics.  We will never see him at family weddings nor will we ever hear from him during the Holidays.

This is my favorite photo of us.  It was taken back in 1991 at Tice’s Farm in New Jersey. He was visiting us before Halloween.  See his hand on my shoulder?  I love that little nuance.

He has ceased to exist and I am sad, and angry AF and broken.

My brother, Pete and his wife’s family were enjoying a mini-vacation in Vegas. He felt ill. Nausea.  And went to an urgent care center.  He passed out. Cardiac Arrest.  Same as my dad.

And that was it.

I am so grateful that we got to spend time together during Oona’s wedding week.  Here’s Roman with Pete at the Red’s game. It was fun sitting behind him because he kept feeding me!

At 51 years young, this shouldn’t have happened.  He loved life too much.  He was one of the kindest and generous men on earth.

One of his favorite life moments–being on the field at Notre Dame after a football win.  This photo says it all.  He loved life!

Here is his obituary. It is beautifully written and describes him perfectly.

Wynne, Peter Michael of San Antonio, Texas formerly of Port Richey, Florida died suddenly on November 15, 2019 at the age of 51. Pete was preceded in death by his father and mother, Thomas and Germaine Wynne and Father-in-Law, Raul Torres. Beloved husband of Yanela Wynne. Loving father of Jasmine (fiancé Sam Kazarian) and Isis Wynne. Adored son-in-law of Aida Torres. Cherished brother and brother in law of Cathy Latrigue (Vincent), Theresa Cseh, Thomas Wynne (Beth), Germaine Baker (Charles), Raul (Monique), Ruben, Rene (Carmen) Torres. Pete was uncle to 15 nieces and nephews and great uncle to 5 nieces and 2 nephews. Pete was a Faithful man of God as a Fourth Degree Knight.

Pete was with the United States Air Force for 29 years. He retired in 2009 after 21 years of service. He was proud to have served in both the United States Air Force Presidential Honor Guard and Security Forces. During his active duty he spent time at Bolling AFB, D.C, from 1988-1992 as an Honor Guard member; performed military ceremonies and provided presidential security. He was at Osan AB, South Korea from 1992-1995 as Law Enforcement patrolman and town patrol. He was stationed in Minot AFB, North Dakota from 2001-2003 as a Security Forces Flight Chief and he finished his active duty career at Lackland AFB as a Security Forces 7 Level, Combat Arms and Advanced Officer Instructor in the 342nd Training Squadron in 2009. After retirement he went back to school and finished his Master’s degree while staying home with his beautiful newborn baby girl, Isis. In 2013 after completing his Masters and perfecting parenthood, he returned to Lackland AFB in the 802 Security Forces Squadron as a Civilian DAF Police Supervisor. In 2015 he was promoted to Assistant Operations Officer, the title he held until his recent passing.

Pete’s love for his country came first, Notre Dame Football was second until he met his wife Yanela in late 2006. In May of 2008 they married and he was able to spend the rest of his beautiful life with her and their two beautiful daughters Jasmine and Isis. He was not only an exceptional Airman; he was a dedicated, loving and devoted husband, father, brother and friend. He lit up so many people’s lives. He was a happy and selfless man, a true angel on Earth. An outpouring of love and kind words have been shared since his passing, a true testament on what a wonderful soul he was. He leaves this world with a lot of broken hearts, but his memory will continue to live in everyone.

Pete will be missed tremendously by his family, friends and his faithful pets.

The family will receive friends for visitation from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church on Thursday, December 5, 2019.

What makes matters even sadder is that his body had to stay in Vegas for a week until it was released to fly home to San Antonio.  And due to the Thanksgiving travel, his funeral service is delayed until December 5.  I cannot imagine the heartbreak of my Sister-in-law and my nieces.

With Roman..you can see how happy he is to be with Uncle Pete…

Jake with a very young “Uncle Pete” on one of our visits to Florida.  

…and with Oona.  My God, he was the favorite uncle of all my kids and they won’t have him anymore..

It’s difficult to function right now.  The Frenchman and I leave for Paris on Tuesday.  I haven’t even packed yet.  And if you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I pack weeks in advance!  And the day after we return, I will be getting on a plane to head to Pete’s service.

He loved and served his country so very much. A perfect example of a PATRIOTIC and TRUE American.  He was an enlisted man!

Everyone has their personal coping mechanisms.  For me, I’m ok one minute and the next, I start to just cry.  It’s so random.  To make things a bit festive, I started decorating the bannisters for Christmas.   It wasn’t a happy moment.

A man of  deep Catholic faith, I remember how proud he was when Jake asked him to be his sponsor for Confirmation.

He was my brother Tom’s, Best Man.  Actually, Pete was best man to everyone!

The photo is a bit fuzzy, but this was taken at Disney World when he was just a kid!

I just want my brother back.  I can hear his voice.  I can visualize his animation when he gets excited.  And nothing will bring him back.

Back in his “single” days, he was often at our home for Christmas.  This is one of Oona’s favorite photos.  She’s so tired and out of it but Pete was there to carry her down the stairs to Santa’s gifts!

You got siblings?  Give them a random call if you haven’t seen them in a while.  Are you on the outs?  Fuck it.  Put the outs to the side and reach out.  My siblings and I don’t agree politically.  I’m the Independent of the family and it’s put a dent in our relationships.  With my brother’s passing, politics no longer matter.  It’s family that does.

My cubicle at work.  I just want Pete next to me!

There’s not much more to say in the post because I certainly don’t want to come across as morose and a downer.  I’m taking a little break for a week or so until this pass.

I love you baby brother!

And then I’ll be back with my sense of humor.

Love and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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