A Whirlwind Paris Weekend

A Whirlwind Paris Weekend

August 8-10,2015
Paris, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

Just a weekend in Paris before heading south – with our grandaughter! How would you spend that time in the City of Lights? What would be your must-sees? Or must-tastes?
Our early morning flight from Dulles arrived even earlier than scheduled, so we were ready for breakfast as soon as we dropped off our luggage at  the hotel – 08071602 breakfastpain au chocolate was Cassidy’s choice, and then we hit the ground running, stopping first by Notre Dame,08071602 notredame then walking through the Louvre courtyard, staying outside to keep awake!08071602 the louvreThen back to the hotel, where our room was already prepared, nice and early, so we could change into lighter clothes as the temps rose in Paris. After more French tastes –  08071602 welcome changemoules-frites for this adventuresome eater- 08071602 x moules fritesfollowed by an Amorino gelato (yes, Italian tastes too!), 08071603 amorinowe crashed on our beds for a short nap.
Next Paris icon? Montmartre! 08071603 montmartreThose steps will wake us up again!08071603 montmartre after napHotel Welcome, our simple and comfortable lodging for the weekend, is in a terrific location – on Rue du Seine just off Rue de Buci, surrounded by some really good restaurants, cafes and bakeries. Cassidy wants to try a Savoy fondue place, so that’s our dinner, then we’re off to sleep early, almost before the sun sets (yes, that’s the Eiffel Tower, from our 5th floor window).08071603 to bed after early dinner tartifletteSunday morning calls for some good strong coffee to get us started, and Malongo is just down the street.08071701 breakfast malongo One of Paris’ best markets, Bastille, is on Sunday 08071701 market bastilleand we find some treasures to take home – marinieres (striped sailors tees) for us,08071701 market bastille marinieres a handcrafted tote for Cassidy. We’re offered lots of nibbles along the way too – sausage from one stall, nougat from another, a piece of ripe peach here, a crouton with tapenade there.
One of Paris’ most beautiful and historic squares is not too far away, the Place de Vosges, 08071701 vosgesand under the surrounding arches a very talented harpist stops us in our stroll. And soon we’re in the thick of the hopping Marais district, where Uniqlo has opened one of their newest locations in an historic Ash Factory (where cinders from jewelers waste were sifted through in search of gold generations ago). 08071702 uniqloI love how the Parisian team has designed the simple Uniqlo basics – such style!08071703 accessories from tees sweaters etcA peek into the courtyard of the Carnavalet museum, 08071702 carnavaletsome bulot (seasnails) for lunch, 08071703 seasnailsand more music on the streets – Dixieland08071702 dixieland video too hasn’t she got the moves?! On the way to our next Paris icon we pass a magnificent man in his flying machine – 08071703 the magnificent man in histhe Marais is full of interesting characters!
Have you guessed where we’re heading next? The Pompidou! 08071704 cassidys good at selfiesA stop at the quirky Stravinsky fountain,08071704 fountainthen a vintage shop,08071704 vintagethe Hôtel de Ville (town hall), where a serious game of beach volleyball is going on, 08071704 volley beachand we metro to dessert by the Tuileries. Any guesses?
The most luscious hot chocolate in the world, in my opinion –08071705 angelina dessert in the Belle Epoque beauty of Angelina!08071705 belle epoqueA stop next door, to goggle at the magnificent lobby of Hotel Meurice, 08071705 meuriceand Cassidy leaves her mark on the framed ice. 08071705 meurice c was hereA late afternoon break, then escargot and a croque monsieur for dinner08071705 snails and croque in the sunset,08071705 sunset and then  – can’t miss it! – the twinkling Eiffel Tower (it glitters like diamonds for 5 minutes on the hour after dark) before bed.08071705 twinkleWe fit in one more Paris favorite Monday morning before hopping on the train to Aix en Provence, the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens,08101501 garden summer plantings obviously well-watered even in the unprecedented heatwave of July and August. 08101501 plantingsWe take in today’s  regatta, going strong on the pond,08101501 regattaread and relax together, 08101501 wait and readthen head for the Gare de Lyon, home of the gorgeous Train Bleu restaurant,08101502 gare de lyon

where we board the TGV (FAST train) to Aix. She’s snoozing at 300 km/hr! Have we exhausted you too?!08101502 hurtlingWelcome to Aix – 08101502 to aixcan’t wait to share our home with the first family member to visit!




The Glories of Paris

The Glories of Paris

September 2014

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy

Journees de Patrimoine, Heritage Days, takes place every September, and after traveling back and forth to France for decades, we’re finally HERE on the weekend when historic properties, homes, gardens and more are open to the public for a few hours! We’ve planned our visits carefully before an important afternoon appointment, beginning in the 6th arrondissement (Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, spiraling out from number 1 in the old center), where we’re staying, with a return to the Luxembourg Gardens –

but INSIDE this time, as the Senat is open to visitors. An elegant marble staircase sweeps us up to the reception rooms for dignitaries, draped with priceless tapestries,

and through a resplendent dining salon, Baccarat chandelier glittering above a sample table. The floral arrangements throughout are provided by the extensive gardens and greenhouses surrounding the Palais Luxembourg.

A winter garden fills an interior courtyard,

and beyond are chambers of the senate, and their fabulous library,

looking out over those gardens right where we sat last night for our aperitif.

We’ve passed huge photos of the senate chamber in one office and hall after another, making us more and more eager to see the real thing…. and finally, here we are! As we gaze around the famed chamber we listen to senate proceedings broadcast through the room, reminding us of the important decisions made here through the centuries.

In an adjacent room is a wall-sized painting of Napoleon, beside a marble plaque, also wall-sized, with his decree to the senate. And beyond, a gilded jewel box of a reception room,

which just cries out for a double senate selfie 😉

What a stunner of a palace….after walking through the gardens for years, it’s a privilege to finally see the inside!
A favorite fountain, the Medici (this palace and gardens were designed to the specifications of Catherine de Medici when she married the king of France), doesn’t let us pass without a photo.

We’ve taken so long to see these marvelous rooms that we haven’t left time for the second planned visit to an historic property, and just have time for lunch before heading across the Seine to our afternoon appointment. Our neighbor in Aix, Jean Gabriel, is the President of the Syndicat des Antiquaires in France, and when we were together in Aix last month, he invited us to the Antiques Biennale in Paris – our main reason for coming here before going to Aix. It’s always in the Grand Palais… oh no, not this little gem, it’s just the PETIT Palais 😉

THIS is the GRAND Palais... tres grande, no?

Our invitations await at the entry, and J Gabriel says hi and gets us a map, marking the best dealers to visit, before getting a call to meet the Minister of Justice to show her around. 

The theme of this Biennale is the Gardens of Versailles,

with greenery and fountains leading to exquisite booths filled with treasures.

Top dealers have constructed entire rooms for the ten-day event,

where even the antique carved wooden walls are for sale!

Lines snake around the corner by Dior, Cartier, Graff and other big names. and hefty guards stand silently keeping watch over the glittering jewels. Recognize this gorgeous necklace? Part of Bulgari’s Heritage Collection, it formerly graced the throat of Elizabeth Taylor.

Eyes glazed with all the wonders we’ve seen, we walk out into the sunlight of a summery Paris day,

and across our favorite bridge, the Pont Alexandre III.

Obviously not just OUR favorite, it’s the perfect spot for wedding photos, the Eiffel Tower beyond… we see at least three bridal couples posing this afternoon.

Merci, Paris, for sharing your treasures, inside and out, with us!