Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Paris this time around was wonderful. Traveling alone is the way to go: no pressure. It was a true vacation: woke up late, had coffee on the terrace of my dear friends P. and S. apartment, wandered all over at my own pace.

Had some good meals, ate and drank and talked with good friend and amazing woman (and now Parisian) E. for the last (late) night out, took a train to the mind-altering Chateau Versailles (wow, just, wow), caught a Calder/Kandinsky exhibit at Beaubourg, explored a new neighborhood (Bastille and north), bought tons of cool things (nothing terribly expensive), can say I've been to Dublin (the airport), flirted with one guy (I need the practice!), did not find mon amour and that's okay. Saw Victor Hugo's old place, drank too much wine and felt misérable until the sun came out and the sky turned a true French blue and the clouds were impossibly white and puffy and I thought, wow, I could totally live here.

Notes: There's as much bad fashion in Paris as in New York. Possibly more, given the Parisian : tourist ratio. Also, the French produce more over-the-top cuckamonga advertising than even America.

The French inexplicably drink instant coffee.

The French can be incredibly generous and good-humored.

May Day is to be avoided, unless you have something to celebrate or protest. Shops closed, museums closed. My favorite day. I spent it just walking with no agenda whatsoever. Thought about Sacre Coeur but... too far. Wound up having a phenomenal lunch north and west of the Louvre somewhere (salmon carpaccio and green salad). Discovered my new favorite designer-I-can't-afford: Anne Fontaine. In a funny coincidence, I just found her SoHo store today by accident.

Five years ago I bought my favorite earrings (green resin circles on pewter) in a tiny storefront in Paris somewhere near my all-time favorite department store, BHV. It's no longer there (the little store), not surprisingly. On my walking day (logged about six miles) this time I passed another tiny jewelry store in the Marais district and something caught my eye in the window and when I walked in I discovered it was the same store -- Tam Tam -- in a different place, still owned by the same woman). Sweet.

My French is infinitely better than I thought. One just has to pronounce properly, thoughtfully and con brio. It helps to sound a little desperate and exasperated.

Best area for last-minute gifts: Rue de Rivoli east of St. Paul metro stop on south side.

That's all for now. If you more details, you'll have to offer me a nice glass of Côtes du Rhône. Check back.. Flickring photos soon. A bientot.

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