Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sunny in Paris

We toured most of Paris today with many thanks to Raphael. We started as early as possible to the Eiffel Tower and it was absolutely breathtaking. I had been to the Eiffel Tower before on my honeymoon but we had to watch our francs at the time and decided against paying to go to the top. This time, I was sure to make it there.

Raphi and the kid actually climbed the stairs to the second level--which to this moment amazes me. Ooooof! I stood in line, but not for over 45 minutes, to get tickets to ride the elevator to the top.

Did I mention that I have a terrible fear of heights? Each time I do something "stupid" like this, I could just kick myself. But I put my fears behind me and I was actually ok on the lower levels. I suppose I knew it would be the pièce de résistance to make it to the tippy top. Perhaps it was the German lady who met me as she came down the stairs. She stopped dead on and refused to move from about three steps above me. and said "Marissa?" I looked at her like a deer in the headlights. "Marissa!" I finally said "No." "Marissa!!" "Sorry, No." I suppose that was when she decided I wasn't Marissa and all and said a very embarrassed "Pardon." ha. They say we all have a twin somewhere. Suppose mine is in Germany, perhaps?

These were the only two pictures I could muster up. I practically held on to the inside wall as I made my way back to the down staircase to the enclosed area. Well, in actuality, I truly did. Geesh. The kid said my eyes were as large as silver dollars! hehe. But, yay, I did it! Now, I can enjoy the view, from way down here.

Of course I have lots more to share--we walked over to the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs-Élysées for some window shopping then back to the hotel. It was an absolutely beautiful day in Paris. We ended with a delightful dinner at Carre des Feullants with nightcaps at The Ritz. Doesn't get much better.

We have an early morning planned and then we are off by train to Rennes. Will have to fill you in with beautiful photos at a later time. Must hit the sack before it's time to rise!

Bonsoir.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Rainy Day in Paris

The kid and I missed out on our breakfast by ten minutes so we settled in the parlor for hot cocoa, cafe American and a croissant to suffice. Good enough.

Well, of course it was better than good enough if only because we're in Paris. This is the atrium where we had our morning fill.Then it was back out into the streets. Finally found Old England which was literally a stone's throw outside the hotel's front entrance. Go figure. Found my Penhaligon's but not my Kenneth Turner--not bad. Then we headed back to Galleries Lafayette since we basically only hit the food hall yesterday. I am so happy that we went into one of the other buildings. The first picture above is the center of the store. How exquisite. Now this is what I call shopping in style!

These are from the rooftop terrace. I spy the Eiffel Tower!

Can you tell it's rainy? Yuk. We kept trudging on in spite of it.

We met up with Raphael back at our hotel and then were off again. Phew!

Took a long leisurely stroll to the Louve only to find it is closed on Tuesdays!

What are the chances?! ha.

We saw some sort of movie being filmed in front which was kind of neat. I love these two gents. The one on the left reminded me a tad of my dad--well, the mustache did anyway.

We then found a cafe for lunch (at 3:30) and headed to Notre Dame. By this time it was pouring down rain and I felt like a wet rat. But we persevered and walked on anyway. It was worth it because after taking in the breathtaking architecture of Notre Dame, we found another cafe and ordered crepes. Yum. It's always about the food, isn't it?

The River Seine--which is just about how I felt at the time!

I was drowning by this point so we jumped on the metro and headed back to the hotel and had afternoon tea in the room. It was just what the doctor ordered. Before we knew it, it was time to eat dinner about 9 p.m. but I was still waterlogged so we stayed in the hotel. It was a very traditional French dinner--I had the veal (sorry little baby cows), Raphael had the steak tartar and the kid had sole.

We finished with a traditional millefeuille which was out of this world.

We came back to the room, Raphi headed back to his friend's flat and the kid and I watched a thunderstorm that was a lot of fun. We're beat!

Sorry to put this in so quickly, and I'm sure there are typos abound; but I am fading fast and I wanted to get it all down before I forget about everything!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Grey's Anatomy in French

video

Thought you'd get a kick out of this little clip from our TV.

A Room with a View--Paris


Aw, springtime in Paris. It doesn't get much better than this. Our room overlooks the quaintest courtyard in all the city.

Take a good look at the topiary pianist! Sweet!

It seemed to take forever to get here. The flight was long and tight--I think the seats are getting smaller and smaller going overseas. It drives us batty! I know I'm not a small person, but the kid--who is small--even commented on how tight these seats were. Of course, I didn't sleep a wink. We both got giddy towards the end and probably woke a few people up with our outbursts of uncontrolled laugher. We finally arrived in Paris ll:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. Nashville time) and boy did it take a long time to get around Charles Degaulle Airport. I'll take little old Nashville's airport any day! I have to admit that we weren't as loopy as we have been in past trips over here. Just tired. And we finally did make it out of there after holding our own with some pushy travelers!

We laid down and got a couple of hours' shut-eye and then hit the streets of gay Pari. We had to hit the local druggist as the kid forgot his shaving kit--including his tooth paste and brush, deodorant, etc. There I also found some of my favorite perfume Roger & Gallet's Jean Marie Farina. At 10 Euros, it was a bargain!

(Two of my French purchases today--perfume and mustard!)

After grabbing our necessities, we headed up towards the Opera House
which Raphael said was a must. No pictures of that, yet. It is absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately, by the time we had our naps and did our drug store shopping, it had started to rain. Never puts a damper on us. We whipped out our umbrellas and made our way to the nearest little cafe where we sat under the awning, ordered two jambon et fromage on baguettes and watched the hustle and bustle of the Paris streets. Aw, it doesn't get much better than that.

After a wonderful amount of chatting, eating and people watching, we figured it was time to get up and move around. I was in search of the Old England shop which was in our vicinity to pick up some of my old standbys like my Penhaligons perfume and hopefully some Kenneth Turner Blue Tangerine candles and room spray which I cannot find in the States. Never did run into that shop but did make a beeline into the Galleries Lafayette conglomeration of stores. Oh my, Harrod's, watch out! I was hoping to find a pair of socks because the ones I had brought are ribbed and were giving me fits. Instead we found the food hall and walked around there for a couple of hours. There is just something about grocers in different parts of the world that whets the appetite. I can spend days exploring different spices and condiments--not to mention meats, fruits and veggies.

These are Sadahaur Aoki chocolates. They are are as good to the taste buds as they are pleasing to the eye. They are exactly the size of small pastels. How fun.

We also picked up a tiny bag of her bite-sized sweet breads to "test." (Ya wonder why I'm so heavy!)

We also put two pain au chocolat in our basket to have later. Yum.

Look at this open air spice collection. The smells were intoxicating! I almost want to go back and get some just to I can "play" in a pile of curry! This is probably a fifth of the entire display.

Is there anything better to give you a little kick when you're jet lagged and tired that a good old fashioned coca cola? Nope. Nothing quite fills the void no matter where you are in the world.

Room service brought this little information card up tonight along with a flashlight and a note explaining the electricity was going to be off between 3-4 a.m. How considerate is that? Hopefully I won't need the flashlight at that time.

The tub is calling my name but I think I will crawl into bed and wait for it to call me in the morning. Yawn. Bonne nuit.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Paris or Bust

This photo is by Raphael who will be meeting us in Paris on Tuesday--which leaves all of Monday for the kid and I to be Americans in Paris. Oh, we'll be fine once Raphi arrives, but I can see us now with my tiny dog-eared American/French translator. "Pardon?" a million times. Hehe. We'll muddle through just fine, I am sure. How much trouble can we get into? As long as we don't meet up with some crazy rapper or famous person in the elevator, we should be just fine. (See New Orleans Post here and you'll soon see how I can easily get us into trouble at any given time.) I promise to be on my best behavior. Promise. It is Paris after all.

The bags are packed and I'm ready to go. I am actually beginning to look forward to the time away. Of course, I will worry about mom; but I must learn how not to, that's all there is to it. I am the first to say worrying will get you nowhere. But now that mom is in this new phase, I hardly do anything but. In actuality, these past few days, I have been coping a little better and learning to go with the flow--momma's flow, that is. When she is at the front door waiting for Regis Philbin to come and pick her up, I just go on about my business and do whatever it is that I am doing. I think my asking questions and getting all up in her face about it was upsetting her (and me too, come to think of it). Now she waits for a time and then heads back downstairs. Good stuff. So, yes, I am getting better at this, day by day. If I need to come back early then I need to come back early. C'est la vie.

The teenager and some of his friends are heading to Amsterdam for the week. Hmmmm, I wonder why? So, that leaves the hub here to fend for himself. I'm sure he is counting the hours until this crazy crew is out of the house. Lord have mercy. We've all been fighting over the washing machine today. Even had to have the hub run out to get some more detergent! Geesh.

So, at this time I will say au revoir. I hope to post while away but no promises. So all I can say is stay tuned!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Swaps and So Much More

Here is my sweet little magnolia in bloom. The blooms have the faintest scent of summer in the South.

In contrast, here are my neglected peonies. Every day I told myself to go out and cut some for the house. Did I ever cut any? I always got sidetracked once inside and never cut any, not a one. What a shame. They were brilliant in their day.

The prize chocolates have come and gone.

Robin and Betty have both received their champagne truffles.

We have one small box left of the macaroons/luxemburgerli (not like American macaroons, I guarantee!). These tiny cream filled confections are anything but. The kid nicknamed them little burgers when we were in Zurich and stumbled upon them. Oh my. They are just heavenly but way too delicate to mail, I'm afraid. I wish I could share them with all of you.

The hub has also brought some special chocolates back made from Sprungli's made of cocoa beans from around the world. They were a tad strong for my liking but fun testing just the same.

As I was talking to my friend Pam, who is celebrating her birthday today, the door bell rang. It was a box. I wondered what on earth I had ordered now. But it wasn't that at all. It was a huge box from Monica of M&Co. who I had done a magazine swap with. Well, once I opened it, and as you can see, it was much more than magazines. What a sweety! Thank you so much Monica! Wow! Tusen takk! Needless to say that some of these magazines will be coming with me to Paris! I actually look forward to an 8-hour plane ride with some peace of mind. Now, that's kinda sick, don't you think?

This book "Tildas Hus" is going to be one of my favorites, I can just feel it. So many lovely ideas, so little time. It's so reminiscent of a DIY Laura Ashley of the 80s and the Cath Kidston of today. Fun!

Take a look at this beautiful necklace she added. I had just purchased a little silk jacket for Paris; and will you take a look at the color coordinating going on! Amazing!!

And speaking of matching, I have had this Mary Frances handbag collecting dust for several years. I have worn it only once, in Bermuda. Look, again, at how well it matches. I knew I bought it for a reason! Paris! Right? Ok, back to my other goodies.

And home-made seed packets. I can't wait to get back and plant them. Yay! Again, thank you so very much Monica. You were more than generous.

I am finished running errands, getting everything ready for the trip, so I can sit back and relax a little this afternoon. I'll take it.

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