I asked Judith to write her thoughts about our Paris adventure so far….here is what she had to say:
First of all, tired. I mean, bone tired. As in leg bones, arm bones. The trip here was a short 8 hours – as compared to last years 11 hours. However, the aircraft was a tad bit smaller than I remember from last year. We were squeezed into what felt like a padded, 20×20 inch chair with steel arms and only a child’s width between my head and the seat in front.
I drank water, ate almonds,drank more water, chomped on fruit bars and crackers, and finally, opted for Jack Daniels and Ibuprofen to quiet my screaming legs just aching to stretch…s t r e t c h…. I’m not complaining though. It’s kind of like a small-space panic for a time and then, YES ,YES, the world opens up and you are free – all discomfort seems a blurred distant memory that you could not imagine trading for this present reality on a distant ocean shore called Paris. At 9:30 a.m. we walked out of the blue steel travel machine and into sunny, calm blue skies and 70 degrees of Heaven.
We took a cab to our apartment – as yet unseen – and I was really hoping for something old and cozy and very French. I was not disappointed. Sandy did a great job of finding this quaint home away from home. The building has to be at least 100 years old. You enter from the street on Rue Dauphine situated right in the heart of the Latin Quarter. The large, wooden and iron door opens with a code and you walk into an open-air ground-floor room that is the center of the building with 6-or 7 apartments on all sides extending up 5 floors. Windows from each apartment overlook this age-old cobblestone-floor atrium. You walk across the atrium to another door, enter the code and proceed up the winding, wood and tile staircase to the 4th floor apartment. We walked into the apartment and into a cozy living and dining room with dark tile floors and large double windows on each wall that open to the atrium below.
The kitchen is very compact and perfectly efficient; you go up the open staircase of of the living room and there is a porcelain and tile modernized bath at the top; and on up another set of stairs is a loft bedroom with 2 windows. Old wooden beams hold up the ceiling and line the corners of each room. Next door to the apartment building is a bakery. The people who own the bakery live in our building. At 5:00 this morning I woke up to the smell of baking bread. Really. It was a bit surreal. On the narrow and winding maze of streets that surround Rue Dauphine and our apartment building there are boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bistros, and bakeries of every kind. Honestly, I just love walking out the front door and into the world.
OK, so that said, today we were a bit lazy and didn’t get out of the apartment until around 1:00 when we were rested and hungry. We went to Glaces Berthillon – a corner bistro. We sat outside (facing the street of course) and had smoked salmon on toast with a salad of goat cheese and greens and of course, cappuccinos. We left and walked for blocks in all directions hitting many of the boutiques, and of course, Starbucks. (OK, I am taking orders for the Paris Starbucks coffee thermos…let me know!)
We visited one of our favorite places – the Fountain at St. Michel. This is the hub of the Latin Quarter and a place where you are sure to see love in action! More on that later…
Sandy bought a fabulous Eiffel Tower t-shit, a couple of scarves, and a necklace. I bought shoes – could not believe I found them – Doc Martin’s – low ankle, patent leather lace-ups. Love, love! And, a ring and two scarves. At the end of the day we went to Le Conti – another corner bistro and had the same thing – smoked salmon with greens, except this time we added a salad of tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese, with wine and bread. Yummy. We met Giorgio – an older Italian gentlemen who has lived here in Paris for 24 years and is a journalist. He writes about politics, economics and culture. He said, “what else is there?” He was quite the guy and we are to have dinner with him again this week.
Here are a few things I have observed or thought about today:
The people we have met here in Paris are very friendly and helpful. Sandy and I attempt to use the tiny bit of French that we know and inevitably go on to say, “I’m sorry that my French is so bad,” and without fail, the Parisians we engage will try to help us. They laugh with us, and do their best to teach us how to say the words by speaking to us in French and English. Also, and close to my heart, people take their dogs everywhere and they are welcomed (yea Harry!) even in restaurants. Lastly – and this one is really good – I saw no less than 4 couples in warm embraces on the street – I mean, the man, taking the woman in his arms and kissing her for, you know, long enough to make an American really uncomfortable. So, gals back home, how long has it been since your man has turned and looked at you, taken you up in his arms, feet off the floor, and kissed you passionately in front of anyone? Let’s show some love people….
NOTE: To all the girls – DO NOT MISS TOMORROW’s post, we are starting a very special project for American women that was inspired by “La beauté de paris”.
From the two sisters in Paris…