Monday, February 1, 2016

I went to Paris...

This year's annual girls' trip took us to Paris.  Meema was on her way to Asia anyway, so she just made an extended layover in Paris and flew me over with her.  We were scheduled to fly out on Saturday, January 23rd, but that week, the weather reports became dire, and we changed our departure to Thursday the 21st.  I had a full week in Paris, and it just flew by.  I missed my husband and my babies, but they survived just fine without me, and things have returned to normal immediately upon my return.

My sister joined us as well, and the three of us had a wonderful time.  We share vacation priorities: 1) eat 2) shop.  It was the season of sales in Paris, so we scored many great deals- and hurray for the strong dollar!

Thursday the 21st:
Bright eyed and bushy tailed when we got on the plane, before I slept 0 minutes on our "overnight" flight
 Friday the 22nd we took naps and then went shopping in the afternoon/evening.  We got some great deals at the department store closest to the house, then went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant (don't we all want Italian when we go to Paris?) and drank wine.

Saturday the 23rd:
As the snow began at home, we walked the streets of Paris toward the Bon Marche department store.  We stopped for lunch at Avant Comptoir:
There was pork on the menu and as well as the wall. 
More wine! We are French, wine at lunch.
My sister and I walked home, and stopped for pictures on what was once the bridge with all the locks. No more locks.

 We had a quiet dinner at home, and as I was turning out the lights to go to bed, I noticed the view from our balcony:
 On Sunday we went to the market at Richard Le Noir- my mom's favorite Paris ritual.  We had to pace the market before buying anything, but then got cold and impatient and ended up buying some things willy-nilly, which was not the plan.  My feet were frozen (I had worn flats and we were on cold cement) so we had to rush home to defrost before going out again later.
Fish so fresh it doesn't smell fishy 

 I took a picture of this at a café:
Big warning that "smoking kills" on an empty pack of cigarettes. The French don't seem to care.
That night we had dinner at a restaurant on the Ile St Louis, and the city looked beautiful both coming and going.
The Seine, with Notre Dame in the background 
On the Ile, with an almost-full moon overhead

Elana and Mom by the Seine
 Monday was our one and only sunny day (although I can't really complain, the weather was mild and we were able to be outside comfortably the whole visit, aside from our market trip).
View from the apartment
Café time- more coffee! 
We went to see the special exhibits at the Pompidou Center- Wifred Lam and Anself Kiefer. The Kiefer exhibit was dreadfully dark and depressing. Both Elana and my mom came out the door saying, "Now there is someone who really needs therapy!"
At the top of the Pompidou Center

We left the Pompidou Center to have lunch- crepes!- and do some more shopping. I got watches for the boys that are on slap bands, they are in love with them and Asher said it is the best gift he ever got. Then Elana and I went back to the Pompidou to see some of their regular exhibits.  That night we hosted our cousins Charlotte and Henri and Henri's girlfriend for dinner.  Fanny doesn't speak English and I don't speak great French, but we made it work and had a great time.

On Tuesday we kind of wandered out and around.  We had a disastrous time trying to get lunch, we couldn't find a café or restaurant anywhere that had food we wanted to eat, and when we did find one, they had nowhere to seat us. We ended up at a mediocre and overpriced place where the waitress ignored us and it took over 30 minutes to get 2 salads (that included only uncooked ingredients). We became hysterical with hunger and impatience and were laughing, which surely made us even more unwelcome.  

At the end of the day, we went to the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, but their regular collection of art nouveau was closed, so that was depressing. Not a great visit in terms of culture, I have to say!  After the museum we walked through the Tuileries and up to the Louvre before finding a wine bar to rest our feet before dinner.
a panaromic I took of the Tuileries
Sunset from the apartment
 On Thursday, my last day in Paris, we visited the Jewish museum, and then went toward Montmartre to shop with cousin Charlotte.
Elana and Charlotte. After my mom spilled my latte all over Charlotte's new suede boots.
View uphill with Sacre Coeur in the distance
I was ultimately unsuccessful in my search for a "manteau," a winter coat that isn't puffy down and that might give me a more sophisticated look.  But we wandered a new neighborhood and enjoyed Charlotte's company.  We remarked on how many stores there are in Paris that sell a little of everything, none of it useful.  

I had my final dinner at Les Enfants Rouge, which got very hot and crowded. After we left I took this picture, and you can see the windows are all steamed up.
Friday morning I flew home by myself.  I had an obstacle-free journey and watched 3 movies on the plane, in addition to napping.  As soon as I got home, it was back to real life- I worked, went for a run, and we had dinner with friends.  It almost feels like it all never happened!  I can't wait to see where our next girls' trip takes us.

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