Thursday, June 19, 2008

French Connection

No matter how many times in my life I have been or will go to Paris, a certain few sights will always take my breath away.  And I'd be willing to bet that I'll photograph them every single visit.  They are, in no particular order:

The white domes of the Sacre Coeur

The Pont de Alexander

The vast courtyard of the Louvre

The bawdy lights of Bal du Moulin Rouge

l'Arche de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees

And, of course, the one and only La Tour Eiffel

And thus begins another trip to the most enchanting city in the world...

We arrived very late Friday evening a little slap happy.  The elevator at our hotel did nothing to diffuse the situation.  It was, quite literally, the smallest elevator I have ever seen.  We almost had to go up separately.  This is me with a limb on each wall of it.

Thankfully, the lift was not indicative of the room size.  We were so so so pleased with our little boutique hotel. (Elysees 123 - because the address is 123 Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, just off the Champs Elysees.  Clever, non?)  The room had exposed brick walls and fashion sketches for art work and was chic and cute and everything you want a Paris hotel to be.  

Saturday morning, we set off with one goal in mind:  to have no agenda whatsoever.  We just wanted to enjoy Paris the way it's meant to be enjoyed - strolling here and there, stopping for a cafe and a baguette every now and again, window shopping (or as the French call it, faire du lèche-vitrine - literally translated meaning "to lick the windows").  

And after a death-defying stint at Place de la Concorde (one of the largest open vehicular plazas in the world) where Jason sorely miscalculated the time it takes to run across the roundabout minus the speed of oncoming traffic and subsequently ushered me halfway through said roundabout before slingshotting me back towards the sidewalk, a citron slushee was certainly in order.  I think I look pretty calm considering I narrowly escaped death by vehicular impact, no?

You know what they say about citron slushees:  You don't buy them.  You just rent them.

My little da Vinci Code nerd had to inspect the pyramid.

On our way to lunch on the Left Bank, we passed by a Laduree and there was nothing coming between me and my macaroons.

Ahhhhh, dejeuner.  We had a life-changing meal at this souffle restaurant, Le Cigale, last time we were in Paris and we knew we had to go back.  So we had our hotel make us a reservation to be sure we wouldn't miss out.  You want to know what heaven is like?  Get yourself a Eurostar ticket and a reservation on Rue Recamier.  This lunch alone is worth the trip.

And don't even think about leaving before you've shared the chocolate fondue dessert souffle.

Lunch was so good, we needed a cafe break afterwards to recuperate.

And another of my favorite things about the City of Light - Paris's multitude of iconic Metro signs:

We spent the afternoon and evening in Montmartre, possibly my favorite part of the city.

The artists at Place du Tertre...

One of the quaint buildings on La Butte....

We loved this doggie.  It looked like a Chow and a Lab mixed.  "Garcon!  Mes kibble, sil vous plait.  Quoi?  Mais oui!  Maintenant!"

Un petite peek of Sacre Coeur...

Beth Nori and I have discussed our love of warning signs in foreign countries and we share this one from the Paris Metro among our favorites.  "Ne stick pas your le mains in la porte, or you will turn into un pink lapin in un yellow jumpsuit and then you will get la electrocution."

Sunday morning we left our hotel and rounded the corner to the Champs and saw that the whole thing was blocked off and there were Gendarmerie lining both sides.  Then it occurred to us what was going on.  Big G's European tour.  We were (un)lucky enough to be in Paris the same weekend as Dubya.  

Unfazed, we continued up the Champs until we arrived at Laduree for a spectacular breakfast.  

After which we took a spin around LV's flagship store.  There are worse ways to start a day, non?

Later, as we were walking up the Quai d'Orsay, we noticed the ever-growing presence of more Gendarmerie and barriers.  Which could only mean one thing.  The big cheese wasn't far away. Sure enough, a few minutes later he came barreling down the road in an armored limo and we actually caught a glimpse of him this time.  If Jason had snapped this about a half second later, we'd have had a lovely portrait for you to see.  He was doling out waves and thumbs ups like they were fresh baguettes.

Unfortunately, we had to leave Paris Sunday evening as the reason for the whole trip was that Jason had to be in a little town called Evreux for work on Monday.  Evreux, Evreux, Evreux. Where do I begin?  Let us just sum it up like this:  There is but one hotel in Evreux.  A little shit-hole the likes of which I had not set foot in since I was a poor spring breaker surviving on Taco Bell sauce packets.  It was so vile that I immediately burst into tears.  

Once I composed myself, I told Jason that we were going out to dinner and I was not coming back until I was sufficiently drunk enough to render my senses useless.  If it worked for spring break, it would not fail me now.  

So drink we did.  I was so happy by the time we got back to the shit-tel that we busted out the portable iPod dock and I put on a fashion show to the tunes of Fergie and Gwen Stefani (wearing my pajamas, a vintage jacket and every necklace I brought with me on the trip - and let me assure you that we are not talking about a small measure of accessory here) while we sipped a St. Emilion Bordeaux out of plastic cups.

There is only one problem with this.  While you may drink enough to dull the pain of going to sleep in such conditions, you subsequently have to wake up hungover in such conditions.  

It was still worth it.


Aisby said...

No pics from Evreux? You have me curious....

Anonymous said...

Love your scarf in the souffle pics... details, details!!

The Franco Fille said...

So beautiful. My favorite city in the world. And I love your scarf.

Heather said...

Thanks y'alls. It's Burberry :)

Anna said...

My elevator was like that...

Thanks for the pictures!

Suze - Manchester UK said...

Love the pics - especially the 'it's a fountain but it looks like I am taking a leak' shot. Classic.

Muz & Mo said...

Oh I LOVE those Metro signs too - so cute! That picture of you & Jason after your cafe break is FAB - you guys looks great:)