Paris On My Mind

In a couple of months, my parents are headed to Europe.  It will be my mom’s first time back since she was a little girl, and my dad’s first time ever.  They’re headed to Paris for a few days, then off on a cruise that departs from Barcelona and makes stops in Naples, Rome, Florence/Tuscany, Nice and Marseille.  I can’t even begin to describe how jealous I am – even though I was just in my beloved England a few months ago myself.  A few weeks ago the parental units visited and I was able to share some of my favorite places and activities in Paris and Provence (where they plan to day-trip).  I loaded them up with my Rick Steves guidebooks and French phrasebook, and I’ve been day-dreaming about Paris ever since.  And even though I have a different idea taking hold for 2012 travel, oh, how I would love to go back to Paris.

Favorite Paris moments and memories–

1.  “Rue Cler picnics” for breakfast under the Eiffel Tower – wedge of Brie, demi-baguette, pint of strawbs from Les Halles, cafe creme from Rousillon, blue skies overhead and green grass underfoot and La Tour casting its shadow over us.

2.  A French footballer dazzling the crowd with complicated tricks just outside Sacre-Cour, to the tune of… wait for it… French r&b.

3.  Sniffing tea leaves to my heart’s content while a dashing and patient Mariage Freres employee took box after box down from the wall in the awe-inspiring but cozy flagship store in the heart of the Marais.  He never mocked my broken French and he was able to decipher my incoherent mumblings to figure out the ultimate perfect tea for my tastes – Etoile de France.

4.  Shivering like a leaf in a September breeze but being unwilling to sacrifice even one drop of the remarkable salted caramel ice cream from Berthillon on Ile Saint-Louis.

5.  Breezing into Oliviers & Co. and tossing off a “Je regarde!” and then hiding my face so the clerk wouldn’t see how proud I was of my rudimentary French-speaking abilities.

6.  Cafe-sitting… cafe-sitting… cafe-sitting.  Le Petit Cler was our favorite.  We munched escargots, sipped kir royale, and debated whether we should try out the gelato shop next door (that was churning out dozens of happy customers with dripping cones) or track down a pint of Berthillon.

7.  Old men meandering down the street, snacking on the end of a fresh baguette in a paper sleeve.  Did their wives expect delivery of an unblemished loaf?  If so, they were sure to be disappointed.

8.  Monet paintings taking up my entire field of vision at the Musee l’Orangerie.

9.  The sounds and textures of the foods – crisp corners of flaky, buttery croissant and the snap-snap-snap of delicate macaron shells as I bit into them, ever anxious to get to the jammy middle layer.

10.  Ordering bottles of Chorey-les-Beaune and conjuring up vivid images of the village itself, which hubby and I had just biked through only days before.

Have you been to Paris?  What did you love most?

8 thoughts on “Paris On My Mind

  1. Paris is wonderful! I was there for 5 days with my parents. Your parents are gonna love it!
    When are they going to be in Florence? I’ll be happy to show them around! And, if I’m not here, I can definitely give some pointers as to where to go and what to visit!

    • I’m not sure what days they will be in Florence. I also don’t know if they are sticking around town either or heading out into Tuscany, but I know that at least one day they are planning to go wine-tasting at a Tuscan farmhouse. But I shall relay your offer to them! 🙂

      And I agree, Paris is wonderful. They are very excited!

  2. Sigh. I love Paris. So much.

    Favorite moments include: wandering the Musee d’Orsay alone, browsing at Shakespeare & Co, a Fat Tire Bike tour, climbing up to the top of Notre Dame with my dad, chocolat chaud at Cafe Panis with friends, falafel in the Marais, gelato across from the Centre Pompidou. Paris, je t’aime!

  3. Listening to a superb improvisation by Olivier Latry ( on the organ before mass at Notre Dame, then singing a solo during the prelude.
    Then, after the Dismissal, our choir of Men and Boys processing out to applause from the congregation of 2,000.
    Decent, (but just a bit weird with the applause).

    • Thanks! I think they’re really going to have a wonderful time. My mom has been dreaming of this trip for years!

      I loved Provence for the few days I was there and would be thrilled to go back for a longer period of time, and I too have never been to Tuscany but am dying to go! =)

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