The Weekend Begins with Versailles

ATTN. All Readers:  I want to give a big “Thank You” for sticking with this blog throughout the past year or so.  My job is so emotionally stressful and so taxing that when I return home from work, I’m too mentally drained to do anything except go to bed.  Subscribers have left. Readership is down.  I’m in therapy.  It is so difficult for me to say  but this blog has always been my baby and I’ve been neglecting it.   Please bear with me for a while. I’m thinking about changes, hopefully for the better and for a better quality of life. As always, my husband is supportive and those who stick with me are supportive so I honestly thank you!! Now…back to Paris!

Saturday. November 27th.

Another early rise as we were headed to Versailles and our scheduled time for entrance was 9:30 AM.  Now. Here in the States, 9:30 AM isn’t all that early in the morning. In Paris, it’s a different thing. Parisiennes wake up later on the weekends.  This meant that the street was empty as we embarked upon our now regular routine of heading to Café de Paris for breakfast, then walking over to the garage at Marche St. Germain.

Another “Go-to” Breakfast at Cafe de Paris.  Those tartines are everything!

The gray morning lent itself well to beautiful lighting against the buildings as we headed to retrieve the vehicle. And with Passe Sanitaires in hand and masks on face, we were ready.   Although Versailles is accessible by train, I’ve only driven and the drive is a very pleasant one.

A cafe across the street from the Marche St. Germain–where we parked the car. You can see the wet sidewalk.

Another rainy morning–but it cleared up!

We arrived a few minutes before our scheduled time, parked the car on the cobblestone lot and headed into the magnificent palace of the Sun King.

After living in NYC for many, many years, parking is an obsession for me. We had great parking here!

Okay. So, before I go on with this post, there’s something you need to know.  I like Versailles. I’m not madly in love with it. I don’t even recommend to everyone headed to Paris that they need to go there. Don’t get me wrong—I am incredibly interested in the history of Versailles. But I think the palace is overrated.  Don’t hate me.  It’s just that I prefer a more intimate chateau such as Fontainebleau or Chantilly.

Oui. Oui. Oui. Versailles IS magnificent and that golden gate is worth much more than the Willy Wonka Golden ticket, but it’s just not my favorite place. And as the clouds made way for the sun, that entrance grew more spectacular by the minute.

However, The Frenchman is extremely fond of the Palace and all things Louis Quatorze. Besides, it isn’t as if he had to drag me there kicking and screaming.  Once I’m in the palace, I enjoy it. And it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Don’t get me wrong though. I still enjoyed being here. Gotta love that Sun King!

The grounds, as beautiful as they are in spring and summer, take on a completely different vibe during winter. Gone is the spectacular greenery. No flowers. No plants.  Its barren in a way that makes you yearn for warmer weather—even if you aren’t a fan of the summer.  There’s a monochromatic hue. It isn’t beautiful but at the same time, it’s not unattractive. It just is.

The sun went back into hiding and the winter gardens looked bare and bland..

But…there was still a lovely view of the greenery …

And all wasn’t lost!

I like the tiled look myself!

Call me jaded but the magnificence of the Hall of Mirrors wanes with multiple visits. I won’t lie. This Hall of Mirrors is spectacular and astounding but I’m just not that person who is bowled over by this during the third visit.  Perhaps if my husband and I were the only ones in the room I would feel differently. But with a crowd—something is lost. And although the Hall wasn’t as congested during this weekend as in the summer, it was still bothersome enough for me—especially given the steps taken with the Passe Sanitaire and being extra careful to comply with the masks and visits being scheduled.

That little guy on his cell-phone is about interested in the Hall of Mirrors as one would be after multiple visits.

This was in late November. Can you just imagine what June, July and August are like? (Caveat. In August the locals are in the South–but it’s still crowded)

What I absolutely loved was The Gallery of Great Battles.  This was my first time in this area of the palace and I was awestruck.  The paintings and sculptures and history were levels above on the ladder of interest.  This is where I could have spent hours upon hours upon hours. But we only had a certain amount of time to play around with. This, my friends, is the Gallery/Hall you want to visit when you head to Versailles.

Had we not had other commitments, I could have spent HOURS in this hall. The paintings were incredible and it was just so freaking interesting!

He gets a bad rep but Napoleon did a lot of good for the country. Sadly, he’s remembered only for his Waterloo!

The walls of the hall were chock-full of scenes like this..

…and busts like this..

and this.

Here are some shots of Versailles for your enjoyment.

Random chair..

…and a bedroom chandelier..

Ceiling overhead..

…and plumes on the bed!

Let us pray..

..we don’t get the guillotine today!

Overall, Versailles is a great half-day or day trip from Paris.  Best if you have a car but Versailles is easily accessible by train. I’m a fan of the smaller *cough* palaces such as Fontainebleau but that’s just me.

Time to go now but it was enjoyable!

After leaving Versailles, we drove to Rambouillet to visit my mother-in-law’s grave then it was on for our visit to La Moulin—the estate where The Frenchman’s aunt, Daniele and uncle, Yves retreated for weekend and holiday visits.

The rain returned as we left on our way to visit Evie’s grave.  But Christmas decorations adorned this overpass. It looks so pretty!

I always snap a pic of this little chapel at the cemetery..

There is something very calming about this little graveyard and the history.

..and we are ready to move on..

The estate brings back many fond memories for my husband.   He’s full of stories about visitors from the French acting and entertainment community that makes me wish I was there.  And it’s nice for me to see him with these wonderful memories.

This is the home that The Frenchman spent many weekends and summer visits.  It was filled with great times with various personalities of the French Cinema and writers and musicians.  He always speaks so fondly of it and it brings back great memories..

And I am always astounded by the natural beauty of the grounds!

It was a great day for driving around. The sky was on the gray side and bits of rain came and left. And when we arrived back in Paris, we had time to regroup before heading back to Restaurant Paul for a family dinner.  I didn’t take photographs of our dinner simply because we hadn’t seen these relatives for a long time and it was best enjoyed without taking the phone and photographing.

Another gray day in Paris..

But I really don’t mind!

As we headed to dinner, my husband, once again asked me if I was going to spend dinner with him or a stuffed bear!

Our trip would soon come to a close. And our last day turned out to be a comedy of errors—but mostly errors and not comedy…. stay tuned!

Greetings from Versailles….and our trip is almost finished!

Posted in Paris, Paris France, Paris Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 63 Comments

A Week Back in Paris—Part Quatre: The New Old Musee Carnavalet and Black Friday!

Back home in the States, the day after is filled with Black Friday sales, lines of vehicles wasting emissions to enter local malls and outlets.  Crowds of people stressing over what to get loved ones.

Black Friday Reaction GIF by Macy's

Even Santa gets a piece of Black Friday!

In Paris, however, we masked up, got into the car and headed to The Musee Carnavalet.  Just a bit of a background—this museum is centered around the City of Paris. It’s a great and interesting collection of artifacts, items and history dating way back. WAY. BACK!  It’s chock-full of wonder and had been closed for a few years while being renovated.

Paris's history updated for the present at the Musée Carnavalet | Financial Times

Renovated and in some ways restored with new items–it’s better than ever!

The first time I went was quite a few years back—and I loved it. This time, we entered into a brighter, lighter and more intensely curated treasure trove. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite museums ever!

We drove. Yes. We picked up the car and drove. Mainly because our day would be spent doing various things. But I’ll get to that later.

As usual, we headed to which is now deemed “our place’ for breakfast. Café de Paris. And, as usual, we enjoyed coffee, croissant and tartine.

And once again, we enjoyed our breakfast in the cozy little corner of Cafe de Paris, radiator to my side and enjoying coffee in the warmth of this little slice of heaven!

The weather continued to be on the damp and chilly side but to me, that’s never a big deal. To The Frenchman, it gives him the ultimate pleasure in complaining in his native language in his native home. He was so happy to be in this complaining frame of mind!

Bundled up in Beret, scarf and warm coat. I lived in this ensemble for the entire week! One photo for every day!

We headed to the Musee. Our scheduled time was 10:30 AM.   And you must remember that my husband grew up and spent a huge amount of his adulthood time back in Paris. This means he knows the city (except the 18th arrondissement—read part three) like the back of his hand. Sort of.  This time it wasn’t a loss of direction. He knew exactly where to drive. This time it was locating the nearest parking garage or parking space.  In the first place there is a ton of construction going on in Paris and many areas have limited street parking. This was a detriment.  We had no choice but to find a garage.  We did. And the space was so small that my hips were wider than most of the spots—I’ll return to this later on.

We arrived at the Musee, masks worn securely, and Passe Sanitaire at the ready and entered into a space, which, in my most humble opinion, is one of the greatest that Paris has to offer.  And rather than blah, blah blah—yada, yada to you, I’m posting pics for you to enjoy!

Here we are! The new and improved entrance into the Carnavalet. It’s so stinking airy and beautiful. I just love it. Check out The Frenchman at the window to the far left!

An expanse of an apothecary store front, and signs hanging from the ceiling. This is a virtual wonderland!

Visually fun!

I would love to have these hanging on my living room wall!

Full frontal of store front!

No my friends–I was not at the Catacombs. I was so cringed out by this until…

I read it was a fake skeleton.

Two parts saint is better than no saint at all.

I just liked this composition.

Jewish tombstones dating back to around Medieval times..

I would love to have a copy of this for my kitchen!

An homage to the Parisien brothers who created the hot air balloon!

Marcel Proust’s bedroom–and let me tell you, it looks so much better than it did before the renovation!

If you are fortunate enough to be visiting Paris between now and April 22, you HAVE to stop by the Carnavalet to check out the Prouse exhibit! I wanted to see this so badly!

Ugh. I can’t get away from Philadelphia. I found Benjamin Franklin staring down at me.

The iconic cat poster..

..and a cat on a moon..

..and one my favorite Parisian women–Juliette Greco with a rather large cat!

..and what’s a reminder of Paris without a Moulin Rouge poster?

We spent three and a half hours here, and quite honestly, could have spent more but we had an appointment at Zazi Films to visit with The Frenchman’s cousin, Hugo Gelin (Shameless plug. Hugo directed the last three episodes of Lupin on Netflix. And those last three episodes were the greatest! In addition, he got to direct the great Omar Sy- I wish I worked for Hugo).

Lupine on Netflix: his reunion with Omar Sy, freedom of tone ... director  Hugo Gélin tells part 2

Yes! Shameless plug!  The Frenchman’s cousin Hugo while directing Omar Sy in Lupin. Being as I can’t name drop in America..I may as well do it where nobody knows me!

But back to the parking garage.  I’m disappointed in myself for not taking photos of this space because it had to be seen to be believed.  I don’t even think a full fleet of Matchbox cars or trucks could fit comfortably.  One woman was having major issues getting out of her space while another truck was trying to get in at the same time. We were stuck.  The only thing left was to get my control freak on. I exited our car on the passenger side hoping my hips wouldn’t get bruised in the small space. I put my hand out—luckily the air was spacious. And…I started directing traffic.  I motioned for the truck to back up and out. Then directed the stressed-out woman to exit the parking garage in a safe manor by walking ahead of her car and hoping she wouldn’t step on the gas too hard.  Upon her exit I went back to the truck and motioned it into an empty space.  I got back into our car and we were on our way. Since it was a weekday, I asked my husband if we could stop at an employment agency so I could apply to be a traffic cop.  He didn’t do what I asked. I wonder why.

Cop Stop And Go GIF

Move over buddy, there’s a new traffic cop in town–but she directs in little, tiny French garages!

So, after a lively visit with The Frenchman’s cousin, we strolled the Champs Elysees.  It was now raining and shoppers scurried into nearest shops. We headed to a very convenient branch of Galeries Lafayette, all gloriously festooned with Christmas decorations and live music.  The French know how to do Black Friday!

Ahhh. Guerlain. I have such wonderful memories of shopping here with Daniele!

The Frenchman doesn’t look happy because he thinks I’m going to do a lot of shopping.

This “small” branch of Galeries Lafayette used to be the Virgin Records store–and it was great back then.

Do we REALLY need to be reminded to play?. Oh. Wait. I think the message is to play video games..

I’ll just find goodies to eat.

Since it was more of a lazier afternoon, we drove around a bit more, did some more shopping, dropped the car off and stayed “in” for dinner.

We did manage to spot a couple more bears. I almost joined this bad boy because I wanted his tartine!

More sights.

A lone cyclist. Let me tell you–my husband was soooooo ticked off by the bike lanes because it made the roads narrower and that meant more congested traffic. He was complaining like a Frenchman–oh–he IS a Frenchman!

We did takeout at a Middle Eastern place and I have to say. The food was okay. I’ve had much better in NYC and home in the Philly area—which proves that not all food in Paris is spectacular.

Another day done and tomorrow it is off to revisit Versailles and more adventures!

Stay tuned…………….

Posted in Paris, paris at christmas, Paris France, Paris Travel | Tagged | 9 Comments

A Week Back in Paris–Part Trois. Thanksgiving Day and a Cooking Class!

Okie Dokie. We are finally resuming my week in Paris—Christmas preparations got in the way here. It’s a whole ‘nother blog post and wait till you read about the debacle.  Regardless, let us continue on our Paris adventures………………

It’s early in the morning. Thanksgiving Day to be exact.  Whereas back home, kitchen lights have been turned on in the darkness before dawn.  As the sun is still sleeping, people are preparing the bird. The Turkey. Whether it is a small one—just enough for a small gathering, or a monstrous one, enough to feed a clan, everyone is doing the same thing.  They are patting the turkey dry. Stuffing or not stuffing the bird. Is it stuffed or will there be dressing on the side?  Potatoes both regular and sweet are being peeled, pre-boiled and will later be whipped with loads of butter and cream, or dotted with butter, brown sugar and marshmallows.  The iconic Green Bean casserole is being put together.

Although I love me a nice juicy Turkey thigh and stuffing,  our tradition over the past non-Covid years has been for different fare in Paris!

Baked goods have been made or purchased ahead. The table is set early with the command to not touch anything.

Yeah. I realize THIS is a traditional and beloved Thanksgiving visual. I find it offensive because it’s ageist. Not all grandmothers are matronly. Okay? There. I said it.

We, in Paris, are also up early. Very early. We need coffee. We need to head to the garage to get the car because I’ll be spending the morning in a kitchen as well.  But I won’t be preparing a bird or potatoes or green bean casserole. Instead, I’ll be attending a baking class.  At Cook’n With Class on the other side of Paris.

And while everyone else across the Atlantic was prepping the birds, I was learing the skill of laminated dough!

It’s an odd thing, it is.  My husband grew up in Paris.  Rode the bus to the various schools he attended. He visited friends and family throughout the snail-shaped habitat. Yet, there are arrondissements he just never became familiar with.  The 18th Arrondissement being one of them. This is where Cook’n With Class is located.  And it took us over an hour to arrive at my 9:00 in-the-morning baking class.

To the far left we have the elegantly dressed Frenchman as a small boy. He grew up in Paris and had never ventured in to the 18th.  I guess it’s like my friends who wouldn’t travel to the Upper West Side of Manhattan to visit me!

After driving in what seemed circles in the stomach of the snail-shaped area of the City, I had a rather pragmatic enlightenment.

How many times can we circle around here buddy? Let’s get to the 18th!

I suggested we hook my iPhone up to the car and use Google Maps. This, my friends, became a life-saver, a time-saver and made driving to parts unknowns more pleasurable than you could have possibly imagined. Especially given the fact that my driver was my …shall we say very stubborn Parisien who refuses to ask for directions, this little app with the friendly, computerized voice was a best friend!

My little Google Maps app got us to where we were going with extreme efficiency and I made it on time!

We arrived at the location, a quiet street and as I eagerly exited the car, I was hoping that I would learn how to master the most challenging of all things baked—the laminated dough.  The class was on the smaller size which was great, a family visiting Paris and a woman from Turkey living in London.  Who, btw was great and we are now Insta-friends!

Even for a seasoned baker, you can’t go wrong with a class. Next visit I plan on taking the baguette class!  

It’s a charming environment that teeters between homey, rustic and the kitchen you wish you had at home. With two “kitchens” two classes are being conducted at the same time.   I took the croissant class and our instructor Sarah was epic greatness.

I’m a sucker for all things le coq. And when I saw this display I felt like I was in my kitchen!

One of the kitchens. I want this. Seriously. I want this kitchen in my home.

She was in total command and was concise and precise with her instruction. In addition, her time management skills in baking were to be admired—and she stressed the importance of cleaning as we go along (which is something I’m still trying to master).  She has had a dream patisserie career and is one of those people that if you became an ex-pat, you want her to be your friend!

Chef Sarah taking our pain aux raisins out of the oven. 

Explaining how her kitchen works. Completely in charge and that’s a great quality in a teacher!

She was also upfront and explained that it takes practice and time and patience to get it right and she was so correct.  I learned some cutting tips, the importance of measuring and weighing and learned to make the laminated dough.

Everything is so neat and orderly and that brush was fantastic for getting rid of excess flour!

Laminated dough–such a thing of beauty and something that eluded me for so long! I thank The Frenchman for surprising me with this class!

Measuring out the cuts for the dough…

the importance of a ruler..

..those triangles of laminated dough..

..will be cut, slashed at the bottom and rolled

…as will the little rolls of pain aux chocolat!

I immediately put those learning skills to work when I arrived home and, although, I did a relatively decent job the first time, the croissants and pain aux chocolat turned out fantastic the second time. (The issue with the first go ‘round was that I didn’t used a rimmed sheet and butter leaked—the kitchen was a smoke house for a while—all fans were turned on and windows opened but, in the end, the product was delicious.

I put my skills learned to home-baking and even though the butter leaked..

..and my oven ended up smoking like a group of employees on a Paris smoking break..

…my croissants turned out to be quite impressive and, according to my husband, quite delicious and very authentic..

I was especially happy with the flaky pastry of the pain aux chocolat. 

The class ended at noon and I was fully loaded with goodies as I jumped into the car.  My husband’s mouth was watering and he agreed that the croissant, pain aux chocolat and pain aux raisins were delicious.

We had a couple of hours to kill after arriving back in the 6th and after dropping the car back at the garage walked around our familiar neighborhood before meeting one of my husband’s colleagues for a drink before we headed off for our version of Thanksgiving dinner.

Always a pleasure to walk around and admire the Holiday decor!

..and even on the chilly Thanksgiving day, a pleasure to sit outside to people-watch!

We headed back to Citadines to freshen up and headed for the quick walk across Pont Neuf to Restaurant Paul on Place Dauphine. This restaurant holds a plethora of memories for me.  Back in 2006, it was the first restaurant in Paris that I ever dined.  We went with my husband’s aunt; Daniele Delorme and it was the initial wonderful dinners enjoyed with Daniele.  I miss her so much and we always manage to have a toast in her honor when we dine there.

Paris Place Dauphine. Chez Paul Fun with Daniele and Andre! | Atypical 60

Not Thanksgiving but this was one of our last dinners with Daniele at Paul. We dined outside. That’s my husband’s cousin next to Daniele..back to Thanksgiving.

A regular neighborhood restaurant. The staff *under new management* was very pleasant!

…and look! What’s this?  …

..another Bear!  I “bearly” had time to notice –I was very hungry!

I started off with bone marrow. I can’t help it; the bone marrow was so remarkably smooth and lusciously fatty-I could have had a second helping.  Vincent started off with a pate that was equally delicious.

Behold this gorgeous bone marrow.  And I wonder why my pants don’t fit..

And how about this excellent pate?

Our main plates consisted of veal for me and lamb for him.

The veal dotted with wild mushrooms and resting on a cream sauce was heavenly..

I almost grabbed for the lamb shank!

Fully stuffed, we made our way back through Place Dauphine, over Pont Neuf and back for a cozy remainder of Thanksgiving 2021 by reminiscing of Thanksgivings past spent in this City of Lights before falling asleep and looking forward to the next day’s adventure at the Musee Carnavalet!

Bonne Nuit!

Next post will be about our fun-filled Friday at the Musee Carnavalet

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A Week Back in Paris—Part Deux- Dinner. A Car. And Other Things.

We last left off in our latest Paris visit with a discussion regarding our hotel room. It was, after all, the day we arrived and I wanted to get that out of the way.

As afternoon was leaving to bring on the evening, we did manage to go back to our hotel to rest.

Our first evening was dinner at 8. At Le Procope, one of the oldest, and quite charming cafés in Paris. A five-minute walk from where we stayed, the extra about having the restaurant so close is Paris at night is always beautiful. And walking through the neighborhood is always welcomed!

We’re back!  And on our way in to enjoy our first dinner!

This was the fourth time we visited Le Procope and it is becoming a favored restaurant for us.  I started off with the Dauphiné Ravioli literally smothered in a chive sprinkled cream sauce while The Frenchman opted for his usual escargot.

One of Paris’ oldest and beloved cafe’s and the food is very good!

For the main plate, my husband went with the Beef Tab and I had my beloved Veal Kidneys.  We skipped dessert because it was waiting for us back at the hotel.

While this starter might not look beautiful, it was the third time I’ve ordered this over the years and is absolutely delicious!

My husband enjoyed his escargots!

The Frenchman’s beef…

….and my veal kidneys. I swear I cannot get enough of these gems!

This time around we weren’t seated upstairs but were in a more intimate setting in a semi-private room. A young couple from Norway was seated next to us and they made for charming company!

Our little dining alcove!

Our dessert was waiting for us back at Citadines!

The Frenchman always knows what puts me to sleep and the wine we had, along with the fact that sleep was lacking put me into a deep sleep—which was well-needed.

Bonne Nuit!  It’s time for sleep!

Wednesday, November 24th

Bonjour Paris (I think this may have been taken later in the day–but maybe not) A vew from our hotel!

This morning we were up bright and as early as one can be while in Paris. Another breakfast at Café de Paris—which was our “regular” breakfast joint. There’s something just so incredibly homey and old-school-with-a-twisty-edge that we both love about this café. A seat next to the radiator gave me that comfy feeling and, from the large windows, watching the locals out and about and on their way to work was a pleasant observation.

I can’t help myself. Cafe de Paris is my favorite place for breakfast. It’s the coziest, comfiest cafe ever!

Another great breakfast!

It was cold but didn’t deter us from walking over to the market at St. Germain to get our rental car. There’s no way that I would attempt to get behind the steering wheel in Paris. New York City—I’m comfortable driving because the layout is on a grid making it very easy to get around. In Paris—that snail shaped map and the fact there are a plethora of little streets, passageways and tons of traffic is not for the faint of heart. But The Frenchman lives for it.

It was cold. I literally lived in this coat, scarf and beret. I’m in front of Daniele’s apartment building–just like old times!

We rented from a company I had never heard of: Sixt. And I can tell you we were extremely pleased with the service, the car and the whole shebang.

Sixt Car Rental was better than any other company we’ve used. The staff was great and I had no idea it was a world-wide company!

The Frenchman loves a big car—even though it may be cumbersome and difficult to maneuver on those skinny Parisian streets, and the Peugeot rented was big and comfortable and got us to where we needed to go!

Headed off on an early morning drive to the Fondation Louis Vuitton while enjoying views of Paris!

My favorite designer of all time! Courreges. Too bad I gained too much weight!

Enjoying the beauty of the buildings..

…and the views of that famous tower!

That place was the Fondation Louis Vuitton (which isn’t about handbags and luxury items).  This was the second time visiting this structural wonder cum museum. Because of the Covid thing, tickets had to be ordered in advance (as did tickets to the Musee Carnavalet and Versailles). We were given a specific time to arrive which, in my delusional mind, had me thinking we could just walk right in at our given time of 10:30 AM.

We passed the Louis Vuitton Flagship store on the Champs- Elysees.  While it wasn’t yet opened for the day, the guard as well as the line were already outside.

A surprise in the form of a very long line greeted us.   I don’t like waiting on a line. I don’t like waiting on a line in the cold. But given the circumstances and having no control, we complied.  Every visitor needed to show the Passe Sanitiare which displayed proof of vaccination. The line moved extremely quickly thanks to the efficiency of the staff and in no time,  I felt like I was back at the airport. Before entering the building, we had to take purses, coats and scarfs off as they went through the detector. And so did we. Masks also had to be worn.

The line at the OTHER LV-The Fondation Louis Vuitton. And it was well-worth the wait to get in!

The structure is modern..

…and quite magnificent!

Now. Before I go on, I need to say something about the mandatory mask-wearing.  It’s annoying for those of us who have absolutely no depth perception. Walking up and down stairs was nerve-wracking for me. I felt like a 90-year-old having to grasp the railings of stairways. I think my husband finally realized how bad the mask mars my vision when I wrapped my arm around the waist of a gentleman who was as tall as my husband and was wearing a similar overcoat. I was all set to give him a peck on the cheek when he turned around and I realized it was not the man I came to the museum with! Thankfully my Frenchman has a great sense of humor!

Memoirs of a French Whore - Wikipedia

I’m happy to report that the man who I approached did NOT think of me in this way and my husband thought it was very funny. Dr. my eyes!

Sometimes you stumble into a great exhibit and let me tell you, this was that sometimes! Two brothers from Russia, Mikhail and Ivan Morozov, were collectors of French and Russian modern art.  The collection of art these brothers collected was astounding and mind-blowing. It was like the Russian version of The Barnes Collection.  Honestly, I could write a ten-page post about this exhibit but I’ll post some photos instead.

Mikhail and Ivan Morozov. These brothers had a nose for great art. Their collection is absolutely astonishing!

Renoir..this is one of many..


This painting of Mila Morozov by Valentin Serov literally added a new favorite artist for me. Serov is an amazing painter that I never knew about. Now I want to learn everything about him!

What really blew my mind was the fact they owned a painting by Van Gogh (and Van Gogh has never been a favorite of mine–his work is just too disturbing). Prsioners Exercising. It was hung for this exhibit in a little alcove and it was quite an emotional moment to see this painting in real life!

This painting. I don’t even know what to say. It silenced me.

Here’s a link to the exhibit if you are interested:  Morozov Collection Fondation Louis Vuitton

Another Serov–Portrait of Evdokia Sergeevna Morozova–it’s so beautiful–isn’t it?

Since we had a good part of the day remaining, we drove to Bon Marche to do a bit of shopping in the Épicerie to bring goodies back for family and friends. The window decorations were also remarkable.

Bon Marche!  Very Elegant decorations..

The Christmas decorations were very chic and fun!

…and had an added touch of humor. Gingerbread CanCan dancers!

Look what we found!  And The Frenchman purchased the last copy! That’s his dad Dany on the cover!

My husband literally dragged me out of the ornament section!

Merry Christmas to you!

Our last stop of the afternoon was at Repetto.  My favorite ballet flats.  My husband sat himself in the double-parked car whilst I went into the shop and in my not-so-bad French was able to purchase a metallic pair of ballet flats.

My metallic Repetto Ballet Flats on the right!

Did I mention oversized, almost life-sized stuffed teddy bears are a thing in Paris?  Forget the Wallace Fountain spotting.  The newest scavenger hunt is tracking down these fun stuffed animals!

Bear spotting on Rue de Renne

A very productive day, we parked the car in the garage and made our way back to Citadines.

This evening’s dinner was at Allard. Literally around the corner from where we were staying. Because I had to wake up early the next morning to attend a baking class, we made reservations for 7 PM. This is pretty early by Paris standards and nonetheless, the time when the restaurant opens for dinner.

A place, a history | Allard

Allard is on our list of favorites  and rightly so!

We arrived at exactly seven o’clock but were politely turned away because the restaurant wasn’t ready. Now, you need to understand something.  Had this happened in the States, people would be going batshit crazy. Angry diners would be all over Yelp and the internet with a vengeance.

But this is France. Where food is respected. Where perfection is expected. And no eating establishment is going to open before they are ready.  We took a walk around the area and upon our return were greeted with open arms.

We were seated in a cozy banquette which lended itself well to take this photo.  I wish all restaurants looked like this.

Dinner, to say the least, was fantastic.  As far as ambiance goes, Allard has that old-school French charm.  You could be feasting in the early 1800’s.  You could be dining during the Belle Epoque era from the late 1800’s until the outbreak of WW1! It could be the 1920’s. Whenever. The restaurant just evokes a different, more refined time.

Part of the menu..

The food was wonderful as well.

The Frenchman, being -well, French—started off with Frog’s Legs. I chose the Foie Gras, which was just a great this time around as the last time we had dinner here.  The rest of our dinner was extremely enjoyable. A lively group of women were seating on one side of us and a family from Long Island on the other. And again, the service we received was stellar!

Little Frog’s Legs. My husband loves these. I think they are rather tasty too!

I started off with the Foie Gras with a grape confit and it was outstanding. My husband had the beef cheeks and I had the pollack. My apologies for not taking photos but I was drinking too much wine.

I did manage to take a pic of bread..

…and dessert. Guess who had the Creme Caramel. Hint–it was not me..

I had lemon sorbet–and it was refreshing and light!

Our pre-Thanksgiving dinner was delightful. And in my next post, I’ll tell you all about our Thanksgiving!


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A Week Back in Paris. Part Une—On Our Way and A Bit of the First Day!

We’re back from our week in Paris and there’s so much to talk about. It was great and there were some obstacles coming back—I’ll tell you about them later on. In fact, this will be a multi-part blog and I have no idea just how many “episodes” I’ll be writing.

But first things first. We’ll start at the beginning…

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Frenchman dropped Chippy off at the Vet, I did some last-minute checking of the luggage and we were on our way.  But first, I need to tell you about our VeriFly debacle.

VeriFLY: Fast Digital Identity - Apps on Google Play

This should be rebranded to “VeriFright”.

I’m obsessed with downloading my boarding pass to my iPhone. Seriously. I’m like a child who can’t wait for a birthday party when it comes to this. The second I receive the notification from the airlines, I’m happily and giddily adding that treasured travel document to my phone and I feel good for going paperless.

I live for putting my boarding pass on my phone. And I’ve got quite the story about how Verifly messed THIS return pass home!

And this time I was at a higher level of excitement because my boarding pass would be special—a long-awaited flight to Paris.  But something happened. American Airlines added the need for an APP that would *cough* *cough* make it easier and more efficient to begin the process of checking-in. On the phone.

American Airlines joined forces with VeriFly.  VeriFly has an App. This app (I’m just using lower-case letters because I have no idea of the proper “app” grammar) stores your personal information, information regarding your vaccinations and, when needed, your Covid-19 testing results.   And, as this is an app, that means there are no human beings to assist you in this process. In theory, it is a rather simple process but in real life, it basically sucks.  And I’m being kind.

Now, understand that American Airlines had both my husband and I as travel companions.  Under normal circumstances I should have been able to check both of us into my iPhone.  However, there were issues.

Having my Passe Sanitaire downloaded to my phone was easy. I should have stopped at that.

Positively awful. Awful. My trip expired so if I need to use this I have to sign up all over again. And there is no room for error because you can’t get in touch with anyone.  Holy $hit is all I can say.

I uploaded my photo to VeriFly.  Step done. My flight information automatically loaded into VeriFly’s app.  Another check.  Then the confusion set in. Instruction wasn’t concise. Vaccination information needed to be uploaded but the way it was requested had me trying to upload the code from my Passe Sanitaire.  After a couple of hours, I finally got it right and uploaded a photo of my vaccination card to VeriFly.  Next step was to wait. And wait. And wait until I received an approval that all was acceptable.

And after receiving the approval in the form of a green check, I was good to go. Only I still couldn’t upload my boarding pass simply because The Frenchman was my travel companion and I had to add his information onto the VeriFly app.

Did I mention that I am bi-lingual in cussing?  And particularly gifted in my bi-lingualness to utter the naughtiest curse words in both English and French.  I had extra practice with this app.

So now we’re in the car. On the way to JFK. On the Jersey Turnpike. And although this really wasn’t the time or the place to enter my husband’s information, I did.

Essentially it took until we were over the Verrazano Bridge and into Brooklyn when I figured the Verifly app out.

I snapped his photo while he was driving, uploaded it, squirmed my way to climb over the top of my seat into the back of the car where his carry-on was and opened his documents to snap a photo of his vaccination card.  Seconds before parking at the airport, he received his approval and I was, at long last, able to check into the American Airlines site on my phone and upload our boarding passes.

In the meantime, my husband had everything on paper simply because he is old-school and does not trust the iPhone. My husband is a very, very smart man. Smarter than my smartphone.

Thanks to an American Airlines employee we were able to work this app but on the way home it was a different story. A complete disaster–stay tuned!

Lucky for us, and even though Thanksgiving was only days away, the airport wasn’t incredibly crowded.  We made our way to the kiosk to check in and we had issues with scanning information from VeriFly. Again, luck was on our side in the form of Josephine, a wonderful airline employee who helped us with everything.  Luggage tagged all we had to do was check the luggage and head to TSA.  Despite the trouble we had, VeriFly worked but it took a seasoned airline employee to make it work.  (Wait till the end of our trip. VeriFly was a nightmare).

Our airbound vehicle was waiting for us!

Going through TSA took less than five minutes. I was remarkably surprised at how quick it was.

We had a nice view of the NYC Skyline from our terminal. I was so excited to finally be on the way!

At 2:15 we arrived at Gate 4, Terminal 8.  We had three hours to kill but used it wisely by reading and chatting.  Over time, the gate area became crowded. The flight was a full one.  And all I cared about was getting space for my carry-on.  I’m a rather simple being, I am.  And I am akin to a rabid dog when it comes to ensuring overhead space.

Helpful Tip:  Hover around the entrance to the plane—make sure you are inching your way to the front when the group before you are called.

We were Group Five. We sat in the back and I can assure you, I was the first person in my group to get onto that plane with my husband following close by.   It doesn’t matter how uncomfortable the seating is. I don’t care how cold the plane is. I care only about ample space for my carry one and we had it.

The plane was filled to capacity. We actually took off on time and I ended up watching three movies.

Crazy Rich Asians, which I loved—it was just as good as the book.  Then I watched French Exit, a movie starting the great Michelle Pfeiffer—the movie was awful.  And I ended up watching Cruella.  I couldn’t believe how much I loved Cruella—I’m no fan of Emma Stone but she was fantastic!

Poster of: Cruella

Surprisingly I LOVED this movie.  I was even able to tolerate Emma Stone!

Entract Films

And this movie was a dud. Quite possibly one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. The talented actors couldn’t save it. And there weren’t even good scenes of Paris!

A bit of sleep, more reading and before I knew it, we were making our descent.  I thought we were in slight trouble though because it was one of the bumpiest landings I’ve ever experienced.

Going through customs took minutes. I think our plane was the only one that landed.  Getting our luggage that was checked in was easy and within moments we were in a cab on the way to Paris Centre! The early morning darkness was beginning to fade into a muted light. Traffic, as is usual on early weekday mornings, was pretty bad. It took a while to get to the city from the airport. But there was another surprise when we arrived in the heart of Paris.

 Early morning in Paris.  And although there’s minimal traffic here it wasn’t like this throughout the city!

Mayor Anne Hidalgo, decided that the residents who ride their bikes to work are far more important than those who drive. Actually, in the practice of being green and wanting less emissions from automobiles, there are now designated bike lanes throughout Paris.  In theory this is a great thing. In real life it is not a great thing.  Parisians are not happy about this and quite frankly, neither is this visitor. What you have are bike lanes with a handful of people using them and less car lanes not only with more congested traffic, but with vehicles that are standing still and blasting emissions for all to breath in. There are actually more emissions.

Paris Mayor and Socialist presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo has announced a '100 percent bikeable Paris' plan in a bid to boost her green credentials ahead of next year's election. Paris Mayor and Socialist presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo has announced a '100 percent bikeable Paris' plan in a bid to boost her green credentials ahead of next year's election. Municipal: have traffic and traffic jams really dropped in Paris? - Archyde

Yeah. Traffic was really bad in certain areas!

We arrived at Citadines on Rue des Grands Augustins figuring that we would drop our luggage off, have breakfast and walk around until check-in time. Fortunately, the room was ready and we were not only able to drop our stuff off but we were able to freshen up a bit.  We were tired but hungry so we ventured out for breakfast on Rue de Buci—at Café de Paris.  Trust me on this one. After having horrific airline coffee, it was beyond pleasurable to take that first sip of real coffee—and excellent at that.  It was an enjoyable first breakfast and being on Rue de Buci was like a homecoming of sorts.  Everything looked unchanged après pandemic—Nicolas, the wine store; Carrfour, the grocery store; the souvenir shop across from the café—all remained the same.  Sometimes no change is greatness.

Me in all my after-flight glory. I’m tired. Makeup faded. But I didn’t care. I was just happy to be in Paris!  It was cold so I changed my hair and put a pair of boots on!

And our first breakfast back was outstanding!

The caffeine did its job of waking us up so after breakfast we decided to take a walk around “the neighborhood”.  We headed up to Blvd. St. Germain and stopped at Fragonard to get a small gift for Vincent’s granddaughter.

We walked around the neighborhood that was so familiar to us.

A couple of flaneurs just wating for the next adventure!

And then…it happened.   Allow me to explain before going further with this post.

For quite some time, I’ve been eyeing the Louis Vuitton Petit Noé bag. This bag is a relaxed bucket bag and very-much along the style that I love.  In stalking perusing the LV website for months and months, this elusive bag has been sold out, not just online but in many stores as well.  My shopping goal was to track this beauty down and if I didn’t have luck, Plan B was to head to Goyard in pursuit of the Artois bag.   I had my list of every Louis Vuitton shop in Paris but truthfully, I didn’t want to spend my entire week searching for the bag.

Here’s the side of the store that faces Eglise St. Germain de Pres

Anyway, there is a Louis Vuitton shop with its main entrance on Blvd. St. Germain.  A little after 11 AM, after stopping at Fragonard, the Vuitton shop was open. There was no line to get in. We walked right in. We were asked if we needed help. After a few minutes we met with a sales assistant, I showed her exactly what I was looking for because I had a screenshot on my phone. I also had a screenshot of the Graceful bag which I was mulling over.

That iconic monogram on that iconic bucket bag made my heart all aflutter.

The first bag I was shown was the Graceful—and I liked it but it wasn’t Noe. Then, before my eyes, she went into a huge drawer. She pulled out …the Petit Noé.  And as The Frenchman paid for it, I was thrilled. Thrilled because I was able to snag that bag on the first try. Thrilled because I didn’t have to scour the city in search of it. Thrilled because I didn’t have to wait on any lines.  And the assistance we received was stellar.

And all wrapped up in holiday ribbon!  Reiko, the LV SA was on loan from the Flagship store where she normally works. If you are going to be in Paris and want Reiko’s information, PM me and I’ll give it to you!

Back to Citadines to drop off the treasures and out and about for more walking.

Time to drop off the goods and head on our merry way–with no sleep!

We stopped into the recently-reopened Samaritiane Department store. Having closed back in 2005, it remained a ghost of a structure until a few months ago.  In the time I’ve been traveling to Paris, which was a year after the store closed, most of the rumors I had heard over the years was that the building would be turned into luxury apartments.  I guess that thought didn’t fly too well.

We were steps away from Pont Neuf so walking to Samaritaine took minutes.

And there she is.  It was the first time since 2006 that I had seen this building not boarded up or being worked on!

My thoughts on the store are somewhat mixed.  Visually, Samaritaine is stunning—it really is.  Incredibly posh and well-thought out, it is gorgeous. However, I wonder if this store can compete with Bon Marché, the other Parisian luxury department store.  The wares here are very upscale.  In fact, the only items that were truly affordable were the desserts from Dalloyau, which has a little counter area for take-out and enjoying in-store.  The store was extremely crowded, but mostly with onlookers and window shoppers. I didn’t see many people actually shopping.

The interior of Samaritaine is absolutely stunning..

It is beautiful and well-thought out..

The floor plans aren’t fussy either..

Understated Christmas decor.

We decide to pick up a couple of pastries for the night’s dessert. Dinner that first night was at Le Procope, a favorite restaurant of both of us.

Our big purchase. You’ll see what’s in the bag in the next post!

But wait. I’m getting slightly ahead of myself here.

After exploring Samaritiane, we headed back to Citadines for some well-needed rest. Between the flight and walking around a good part of the day, we were starting to become tired.

Citadines St Germain des Pres Paris- First Class Paris, France Hotels- GDS  Reservation Codes: Travel Weekly

Almost two weeks later and I’m STILL pondering how I feel about this Apart Hotel!

Now here’s where I need to discuss Citadines.  Not really a hotel per se but not quite in the category of efficiency apartments, it’s unusual for me to pinpoint this place down.  It’s advertised as an “Apart Hotel” so that’s where I’ll stay. The location we stayed in was literally two doors down from where Vincent’s aunt Daniele lived.  And it was so great to be staying back so close to where we spent quite a number of visits over the years.

I couldn’t resist posing in front of Daniele’s old apartment building. Boy do we miss this place!

We’ve previously stayed at the Hôtel Prince de Conti. The rooms are very small and the lighting not that great but the price is right and it’s a charming place.

And Citadines was so weird to me because it was great and not great at the same time.  Allow me to explain—and this is to help you in case you might be pondering a stay here.

The Good:

The rooms were spacious. We basically had a living room, a small kitchen, a bathroom with a tub and a bedroom.

The bedroom was quite large for Paris standards.  The bed was ridiculously comfortable..

…there was ample space for our stuff. There was a window in the bedroom with really no view to speak of but plenty of light came in, which was good.

The tub was well appreciated since I love a good soak..

Who doesn’t love a towel heater?  This was another good thing.

We moved chairs around to admire the view. This is part of the living room.

Here’s The Frenchman charging his phone. I will talk about the state of this sofa in a little while. 

The kitchen was a great little size. We didn’t use the appliances but did use the tableware twice.

The view was incredible. We were on the fifth floor, facing the Seine. The view was so wonderful. From morning to late evening, the view was the money.

The view from our “living room” faced the river and from morning until late evening that view never failed to please.

The security. The building had great security.  You needed to swipe your room keycard to get into the building, the elevator and, of course, your room. The staff.  The staff was amiable and helpful and very willing to answer any questions.

The kitchen was well-stocked with silverware and dishes and glasses.  It was equipped with a dishwasher and microwave. A kitchen towel, dish soap and a sponge were also included.

Toaster. Microwave. The kitchen was well-stocked..

And if you wanted to cook there were pans.  If you are planning a longer stay, the kitchen is perfect!

The lighting was good too—in fact, in a stroke of pragmatism, the lights went on after you placed your room keycard in a slot by the door (inside the room). There was no losing your card! And the closet space was excellent too!

Two closets with ample space, an ironing board and iron–just in case!

The Not So Good:

Here’s where it gets weird.  The furnishings were so ridiculously outdated, I couldn’t get past it. There was no cohesiveness in the décor. This bothered me to no end.  It was furnished from Le Goodwill circa 1976 your grandmere’s basement. The sink in the bathroom was updated but nothing else was.

This TV stand looks like it came out of the AV department at a middle school.

Where’s the Parisian charm?

The sofa in the living room had a huge stain on the cushion. I couldn’t sit on it because it grossed me out. The stain was huge. I have absolutely no idea how it came to be and, trust me, I don’t even want to know.  There were random stains on the carpeting too. Now—I can’t stand carpeting to begin with.  Clean carpeting bothers me so you can imagine what stained carpeting does to my mental state of mine. Especially since I love to run around barefoot.

This stain on the sofa. All I could think of was the Jerry Seinfeld episode where Poppi had an accident on Jerry’s new sofa. I also thought of something much,much worse that had to do with the singer Rod Stewart’s manhood. There was no way I was going to rest my precious behind on that cushion.

And then there were random stains all over the carpeting.  I just can’t wrap my head around the decor, furnishings and carpeting.

Bear with me if you will. Although the kitchen was well-stocked, there were no paper towels. In this time of everyone having to wear a mask in all public places, and being extra germophobe, one would expect at the least a roll of paper towels in the kitchen as opposed to a fabric towel.  The other thing that was overlooked was a draining rack to dry the dishes.

The small kitchen sink sufficed well for our needs. The water was hot but there was no dish rack to drain the dishes….

And despite notices like this, and being extra-cautious to make masks mandatory, one would think that the addition of paper towels would add to keeping things clean and germ-free!

The table. There was no table. Well, there was a “sort of” table. It was one of those things with wheels that you see in hospitals and assisted living dwellings.  It wheels over the were bed so you can sit up and eat.  And as I get closer to that assisted living age, I really didn’t want to be reminded of my future as I sat in our Paris room eating from this “not-really-a-table”.   It was very strange.

This was the “table”.  I seriously don’t need a reminder that some day I’ll be hanging out at the piano room in an assisted living dwelling. This is a total WTF item!

Last of all, breakfast is served daily at 7:00 AM.  But the room where breakfast is served is like a school cafeteria. There’s no ambiance whatsoever.  We opted to walk over to Café de Paris for our daily breakfast.

Amenity | Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris | English

This is the breakfast area (I did not take this photo, I copied it off the website). I’m in Paris.  I”m making sure that my first meal of the day is in a cafe and not here.

I’m being as honest as I can here. For the $400 a night, the location, the view was fine. But, man oh man, the stained furniture and carpeting and that assisted living table just completely turned me off.

Amy Poehler Reaction GIF

I said this quite a few times during our stay at Citadines.

My guess is Citadines does a great business with corporate short-stays.  We didn’t dislike the place but we weren’t completely sold on it for the next time.  My train of thought is that we will probably return to the Prince de Conti.  Or not.  I honestly just don’t know..

I’m ending this post now and will continue with our dinner at Le Procope. I don’t want to bore you so I’ll leave you wondering what our dinner was like!


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Off to Paris—And Here’s a Fun Treat!

Okay. So, maybe it isn’t exactly a treat—but…. I thought I would do something fun.

I’m linking the posts to our last visit to Paris—before the lockdown.  It’ll be a comparison read for when we come back Stateside.  And there’s a reason for this.

Posts from our last visit to Paris in 2019:

Some things never change. Every year I take a photo of this place and every year it’s the same shot. And yes. I’m going to take a picture this year as well!

Thanksgiving in Paris The 2019 Edition Part One

Thanksgiving in Paris The 2019 Edition Part Two

Thanksgiving in Paris The 2019 Edition Part Three

In the past, since we’ve been traveling to France together since 2006, we’ve never really planned out our itineraries on a day-to-day basis.   Don’t get me wrong.  We planned flights; we budgeted our funds very pragmatically.  However, since we’ve always stayed with The Frenchman’s Aunt, other than making dinner reservations, we really didn’t plan much else.

My journal is complete with every location of every Vuitton Boutique in Paris and the one customer services number for all. I also have the Goyard information!  Oh yeah, and our itinerary for the week!

We were a couple of true flaneurs and hit museums and other places of interest in a very chill manner.

…and at night, we wander the streets and saunter  by the edge of the Seine

Then Daniele passed away and we added the planning of staying at a hotel.  Still, when we arrived in Paris, we basically planned by what was opened on any particular day.

This time around it’s different.

Our masks are at the ready.

Paris Makes Masks Mandatory Outdoors Amid Virus Surge France–Here Are The  Rules

Not only will I be masked, but I’ll be wearing clothing too!

Our Passe Sanitaires are stored both in my phone and we have paper copies as well.  We also have our vaccination and booster cards just in case. You never know when you’ll have to give more proof.

France deploys the COVID certificate | Campus France

My iPhone literally now holds my life. And my passe!

And this time around, due to the Covid issue at hand and the extra precautions, we’re on a schedule to see sites. We have our time and dates to go to Versailles, Musee Carnavalet, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and a few other places.

Musée Carnavalet reopens, discover our pictures -

This place. Musee Carnavalet. I’ve been waiting a few years to get back here because it was closed FOREVER due to renovations.  Hands down, this is one of my favorite places in Paris. I like it better than Versailles–yes, I wrote that!

Since my husband loves to plan in advance, he’s okay with this—although not 100 percent. I, on the other hand, cannot stand to be on a placed schedule. I’m fine with the fact I have to be at my cooking class early in the morning.  I’m also fine with dinner reservations. I’m not fine with having to be at a museum or other sight at a specific time. needs to be done so I’m certainly going to comply.

I bought this book to read on the flight. I LOVED Bourdain and this is going to get me through the seven-hour flight because I cannot sleep on planes.

Besides, we are spending a week which means we’ll definitely have downtime to explore the Christmas Markets that are already up and running!

Giant ferris wheel at Tuileries Chrismas Market

We’ll be headed to the Christmas Marche at The Tuileries because it’s opened now! Let’s hope Paris Discovery Guide doesn’t sue me for posting their pic.

So that’s it. As we get ready to leave, I checked the weather in New York for tomorrow, and, as usual, it’s going to rain. I have never and I mean never since 2006 left either New York or Philadelphia for Paris when it wasn’t raining.

My outfit for the plane has been planned. As I write this the jeans are drying. The shoes at the ready and I’m thinking of  my new moniker: Fattest in Paris! Due to the pandemic weight that’s not left yet!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Have a safe and wonderful one.  Be careful shopping on Black Friday and let’s welcome the official start of the Holiday Season of 2021!

And a Happy Thanksgiving from my little ishkabibble who now thinks he is French!

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A Week In Paris with A Carry On. And More Randomness.

Next week we leave for Paris.  A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post on how I’m preparing. To refresh your memory, have a look at that post:  We’re Headed Back to Paris—How I’m Preparing.  It’ll give you a more in-depth view of the clothing I’m taking.  And I have to say, I stayed pretty close to my original pack list.

Headed back. Maybe this year I’ll actually get out of the car to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower.

I changed up a couple of things.  I decided against the black turtleneck in favor for a black cashmere crewneck by Quince.  I’m leaving the camel Quince sweater at home.

Staying home. I’ve replaced with the same Quince cashmere sweater in black. I live dangerously.

I omitted the black suede heels.  They would be worn only in the evening when headed out to dinner. Since we are within walking distance to all the restaurants we’ll be dining at, and I’ll have wine. And I’ll get wobbly. And there’s a good chance I’ll fall. So, I’ll stick to either the black boots or ballet flats.

Allow me to ‘splain. These ballet flats are NOT Repetto’s nor are they my favorite J. Crew Ballet flats. These are J. Crew Made-in-Italy flats but they are heavier with a more solid leather sole and heel. I wear these ONLY with tights. Tights need a heavier ballet flat and these are the ones I’ll being simply because I wear tights with short skirts in the cold weather. It’s weird. I know. But it’s how I think!

Besides, the black heels were suede and last visit to the City of Lights it was more like the City of Downpour and I nearly ruined my favorite suede flats. Suede will stay home.

I’m also on the fence about the black sweater dress but chances are, it’s going to be a last-minute pack.

I didn’t pack this but the more I think about it, the more I think I’ll sqeeze it into the bag.

All I need to do is throw some makeup into my Neverfull, which is aptly named and decide which hair I’ll bring. It’s all done.

I gotta break this stack down to four items..

Atypical 60 | A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With  An Atypical Twist!

I’m bringing this MOB Beauty Palette..

Atypical 60's Best of Beauty 2020! | Atypical 60

And this mini-travel kit from Trestique. All three will fit into my Neverfull!

My Favorite and Best Wigs of 2019! | Atypical 60

Surprisingly, choosing which hair to bring is worse then thinking about what clothes to bring!!!

And yes. You can pack a week’s worth of clothing into a carryon. You just need to think pragmatically. It’s all going into what is probably the greatest bargain I’ve ever purchased at CDG Airport.  This Longchamp weekender for 41 Euros. It’s got to be almost ten years ago and I use it more than any piece of luggage I have.

Opened up, it doesn’t look like much but this thing carries a ton!

I packed as though my bag is either a multi-layered cake or a seven-layer salad (why do I constantly revolve my life around food?). On the bottom layer is the faux-suede skirt that I’ll get a lot of use out of. It’s easier for me to run around in short skirts.

Nice and flat this skirt is. And the weight of the other clothing will iron this for me!

I laid a plastic trash bag over it and then started with the next layer of a black and white checked skirt and two pair of J. Crew pixie pants from the year of the flood. They held up extremely well so there’s no need to not bring them. They are comfortable and, well, black goes with everything.

Another layer, I turned this skirt inside out. Don’t ask me why because there is no logical reason.

Next layer was the black cashmere sweater, a black J. Crew Tippi Sweater, two black tee’s and two white tee shirts as well as a navy sweater.  The next layer is underwear and toiletries. The final layer will be hair.  Shoes are in shoe bags and stuffed into the sides.

I’ll put the hair in plastic gallon-sized freezer bags and suck the air out of them for easy packing. I’m so undecided on the hair.

And that’s it.

Yesterday I did a little load of wash which was air dried. I’m also on the fence about bringing a pair of jeans.  Regardless, it’s important to get this packing business out of the way sooner rather than later.  With good reason.

I. Can’t. Stand. Drying. My. Clothes. In. The. Dryer. I prefer to air dry. In fact, if it was up to me, only towels would be dried in the dryer. And NO fabric softener. Not now, not ever. Never. I also prefer my clothing crispy!

It’s my job. There are three administrative assistants handling the work of seemingly over 100 people. It’s an atrocity. The company refuses to hire another admin and our workload is becoming increasingly larger and more annoying.   It is also the end of the year. And all three of us admins prefer to take our time off during this time of year. We also can only have one admin out at a time. It sucks. I’m not going to even sugar coat this shit. It sucks big time.  And I’m not going anywhere else to work at my age because nobody else will hire me. Besides—I’ve now accumulated good time off. I’m stuck.

Yeah. This is basically me at work. Post-it notes all over. Too much to do. I’m lucky I get to empty my bladder.

And that means working overtime for this next week as one of the admins is off on Monday and another is off on Thursday and Friday.  Actually, I don’t mind going in to the office super early. Knowing I’m packed and basically ready-to-go, I’m okay with it.  My gripe is working for a company that refuses to hire additional help.

Sorry not sorry. I’m leaving for a well-deserved trip away from work!!!!!

So, with the majority of my preparations done, it frees up next weekend to get a pedicure and manicure—get my lip waxed, and just relax before heading off.

Wait!! I forgot to add, my husband was so disgusted by my filthy, dough-hardened rings that he dragged me to the jeweler yesterday to have them cleaned.  They look spanking new now. But next weekend the nails will be done!

Another thing is The Frenchman is bringing a huge suitcase. Naturally, we’ll be shopping and his suitcase allows us to store our treasures in there. And that’s were my boots, my blazer and the very large and secure yellow bag I purchased as Sophie Sacs will go.  My husband, for obvious reasons, isn’t comfortable with the idea of me traipsing the streets of his home city with a very open Neverfull. This yellow bag is more secure.

This yellow bag will be packed into my husbands big suitcase, as well as this blazer I’ve decided on bringing and…

..these black boots. See how secure the bag is with the zippers. I really need to carry this more.

And speaking of shopping, I’ll definitely make it a must-do to stop at City Pharma to load up on my skin-care products.

Paris. Sign. City Pharma. Best beauty shop ever! | Atypical 60

My first shopping stop in Paris is ALWAYS City Pharma. If I lived there, the entire staff would know me by name!

Other shopping is for a couple of things for Owen. I do have strict instructions from Oona to not get him a lot of clothes because she has her taste and it’s more baby-hipster. The days of Eton Suits and smocked one-piece rompers are over.

children's department

I’m pretty sure I can find baby hipster clothing at Galeries Lafayette!

I’m also at a consumer conundrum –whether to purchase a beloved Louis Vuitton Petit Noe bag or whether to head over to Goyard on Rue St. Honoré to purchase an Artois bag.  Both are equally pricey. Both are beautiful. Both are a helluva lot less expensive in Paris than in the States and both allow me for a VAT refund.

The beloved and now elusive LV Noe Bag. I’ve coveted this for years. And now it’s so difficult to track down that I’m getting tired and fed up. It’s a same because now…

..because now, I’m seriously considering the Goyard Artois bag. A stronger and more secure version of the St. Louis tote. Thanks to ExtraPetite for creating this comparison. Check out her blog post.  The fact that the Artois won’t be as recognizable is more appealing to me but I love me a good bucket bag. 

The issue at hand is acquiring a Noe bag. It’s sold out online. You can’t get it. And not every LV Boutique in Paris sells this particular bag.  My husband called customer service, luckily he speaks the LV language, and we were told to call certain stores upon arrival.  My thing is I don’t want to wait on a long line.