travel: the city of lights…finally

it took me more than 19 years to get to paris. the dream started here, if you remember.


if you also remember, it was my goal to drop some poundage before i went.  and that didn’t go quite as planned, but i’m not beating myself up.  after all, i went to paris and nothing was going to get me down.

this trip for me, was one of my dreams come true.  and it didn’t disappoint.

to start with, i really wanted to go to paris with someone i loved and who loved me.  my dad wanted to take me at once point in my life which was nice.  it would have been a blast.  but for some reason – because this wasn’t an ordinary trip – i wanted the dream to include this aspect.  a man.  my man.  in fact, ROF didn’t want to go to paris at all.  not even a smidge.  but i think he had fun.


i wanted to do a day by day breakdown of my trip, but i don’t have it in me.  it was a lot.  we used a fantastic travel agent whom i would vouch for 100%.  when you hear people talk about paris – it all sounds kind of fluffy, doesn’t it?  oh…. the wine.  oh….the food.   oh the sites….  i was a bit worried that perhaps i’ve built it up too much over the past 19 years! but the minute we got out of our car in front of our hotel, i knew that paris would not disappoint.  it was real.  i was here.  the twinkly lights, the beautiful people, the buildings and streets and different culture swirled around us.

some of the best advice came from rick steves.  he’s hands down the very best travel writer.  he said that the goal when visiting paris is to try live like a parisian.  not as an american visiting paris.  go with that attitude.  what that means is just fold yourself into the city.  don’t complain because your water doesn’t have ice in it.  or that service is slow and things aren’t rush rush rush.  paris is a huge city but it is not rush rush rush.  unless you are in an uber car like we were a couple times.  then you could die. driving there is unlike anything i’ve ever seen.  but we walked around most places anyway.

another piece of good advice came from our friend demain. and that was to just get out and explore.  we planned activities, but we also just hit the streets and we came upon so many sweet experiences.  here are some we had and some pictures.

1. the lovely, older lady in le bon marche who didn’t speak any english who helped me buy two scarves.  i spoke limited french but could understand what she was trying to say to me.  i could say “noir et blanc” and point at the black and white scarf and she would wrap it around me and suggest another scarf that went better with my “cheveux” or hair.  she taught me a couple of different ways to tie one too.  this whole experience was one i was actively seeking.  looks like i just needed to be brave enough to walk into a very high scale french department store and shop.  <read = shopping is the universal language!>

2. exploring the oldest flea markets in the world with a 23 year old tour guide all to ourselves!  i got some heavy, silver, vintage soup spoons that i regret not getting 6 or 8 instead of 4!

3. the cheese and wine tasting we did here was OUT OF THIS WORLD.  best ever.  nothing like 2 tons of cheese and wine for an afternoon lunch.  yum-o.  oh, and we learned a lot.  like how to read a french wine bottle.  why it is hard to try a wine and find it later in a store.  the five things that a sommelier would use to describe a wine and much much more.

4. that the musee d’orsay is way more fun than the louvre.  <hush your mouth! did you just say that?>  if you’re one who likes to look slowly at art while being trampled by a million kindergarteners and foreigners, then this is your place.  but it would take you 25 days and 25 nights to view each piece for 60 seconds each.  we had to go and the building was enough!  unbelievable!  beautiful.  but then we walked across the bridge to the d’orsay and had a blast in this old train station turned art museum.  ROF particularly liked <read: hated> the exhibit that was there.  we walked <read: ran> through this exhibit that was, how do you say, very forthcoming.

5. ate at a proper french restaurant with a michelin star: pur.  i have never in my life seen service like this.  it was like a magnificent show!  lucky ROF got to stare at the wall and me while dining, but i got to watch 9 or so waiters help us and do so seamlessly and without talking to each other.  the bread woman, the wine man, the main waiter, the table cleaner, the first course deliverer, the second course deliverer.  omg as the kids say…omg.  check out this beautiful, intimate restaurant here!

6. experienced the beautiful and entrancing rue montorgueil.  a must see if you’re in paris.

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