Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We'll Always Have Paris

Mon Mari and I got a great Christmas present--two nights in Paris, sans enfants. As the days of Grand-mere's visit dwindle we took the rare opportunity to get the heck out of town. And when you live in the South of France, why not have 'out of town' be Paris?
Hi!, we're in Paris taking up close phone photos!!

We left early Tuesday morning rolling our bags down our residential streets on the way to the train station. It took us less than 30 minutes to reach the Gare de Lyon in Montpellier and then we were off. No airport security or long lines, just time enough to grab a warm croissant and jump on the train that would speed us to the City of Lights in three and a half hours. The time it would take me to drive from Austin to North Dallas. Sweet.

Our first stop was the hotel Observatoire Luxembourg just across from the Luxembourg Gardens and a short Metro from the Gare de Lyon. Then we were off on what would be an unencumbered stroll around Paris. For three perfect days.

there it is
For lunch that first day we ate at Les Relais de l'EntrecĂ´te in the 6th. If you've never heard of it, it's a Texan's dream. A place where all they serve is salad, steak and fries. And desserts you can't even imagine.
Your only choices are: how would you like your meat cooked (rare, please),what you'd like to drink (red, please) and which dessert you can still manage to stuff in after two servings of steak and fries. The waitresses wear black and white French uniforms with their hair pulled back into buns and buzz around smiling and efficiently serving up plate after plate of perfect steak happily bathing in a delicious sauce.

Sacre Coeur
After this we emerged, blinking into the cloudy Parisian day, satisfied and ready for more strolling. We walked and walked and walked. In a way you can't do with children. Or with jet lag.
cool horses

You name it, we walked by it.
St Michel fountain
The Pantheon, The Sorbonne, the St Michel fountain, St Germain des Pres & the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville, the Louvre, Musee D'Orsay, Place de la Concorde, Grand Palais, Champs Elysee, George V, Montmarte & Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower hiding behind the clouds, the George Pompidou Center.
Louvre at night

Eiffel Tower being coy
We went to an exhibit of the Stein collection (as in Gertrude and her brothers) at the Grand Palais which featured Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso. Gertrude's sister-in-law Sarah was a special friend to Matisse and his family and as he's my favorite of the three artists featured in the collection I was happy to see so many of his drawings and paintings. Imagine having your son's portrait painted by Henri Matisse. It was first shown in San Fransisco last year and moves to the Met in NYC in February after an extended stay in Paris through January 22nd.

After all my talk of the egg from my Bestie trip last year I had to take Mon Mari to Cafe Constant so he could taste the real deal for himself. And when he did I have to tell you that he closed his eyes. I ordered a crab and parsley starter that made me want to close mine too and we both ate more meat for our mains...this time veal with white beans and garlic that fueled another afternoon of walking.

We went to Gilbert Joseph, a bookstore extraordinaire dotting Blvd St Michel with its varying storefronts selling paper, textbooks, art supplies, calendars, games, and used books spilling out onto the sidewalk in racks and on tables for you to run a gloved finger over as you pass. Inside, the English section made me feel giddy. I haven't seen that many books in English in two years. I was overwhelmed by choice, blissful choice and just stood there taking it all in before I could even begin to focus. I did okay in the end, spending 60 euro on a bag of used and new books to hold and stack up on my bedside table.

coming home, refreshed
Stopping off for vin chaud, coffee, a flight of wine at O'Chateau's new wine bar and a Starbucks chai tea latte whenever the mood struck was probably the best part.
The freedom of being in a big city, holding hands, window shopping and strolling along together was the most perfect Christmas gift ever.


  1. That is the most perfect experience I have ever heard of! Hooray for you!

    Happy New Year!
    xx! Cat

  2. So glad you had a great time in Paris, we have been lucky enough to have a few weekends there without Ed and we walk and walk too, bliss!

  3. Happy New Year Aidan! It seems you did very well during your short stay in Paris! You did, indeed, "hit" most of the classics. I was pleased to see you stopped by the wonderful Gibert Jeune, where I (and a lot of Parisian college students) used to purchase all my textbooks. I still go now, looking for new materials for my French students. I am glad you had so much fun! Sometimes, busy moms (and dads) need to take time away from their families to regroup and feel "refreshed." -- Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    To make it up to me, feel free to pass on any of those books resting on your nightstand when you've finished with them. That'll due. x

  5. Yes, visiting Starbucks in any country's capital has become my new favorite pastime. I'm so jealous you can get to Paris by train in only 3 hours, it takes us over 5 =( Happy New Year & Happy Reading!

  6. Sounds like such a nice 3 days Aidan! I love Les Relais and have been frequently O Chateau more and more lately. I'll have to try Cafe Constant though! P.S. I'm making my husband your creme de marrons bread pudding this weekend--he requested it specifically after enjoying it so much the 1st time I made. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. It's a Christmas Miracle ... of sorts.
    This sounds all kinds of perfect.

    We also loved the meaty goodness of Les Relais de l'Entrecote, that sauce is delish!

    Glad you and P-Daddy continue to act like teenagers in love. You two make me so happy.

    Miss you. xxx

  8. How romantic, I never went to Paris with a lover (or a husband), maybe it is not too late!

  9. You guys are soooo cute. Can't wait to see your cuteness in person soon!


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