Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Paris 1.2 (AKA, Monday the 14th, Part Deux)

After a whopping 4-hour slumber, I awoke around 8PM Paris time.  My husband was fretting that I'd end up sleeping through the prime walkabout hours, so he was relieved to see me up and ready to wander out in time for dinner.  Yes, my ability to motivate really does revolve around meals, sometimes.  That and shopping.  Of the few phrases I learned in French, one was, "Je voudrais acheter ces chaussures, s'il vous plait! Je voudrais encore un verre de vin, s'il vous plait!"  As a friend remarked upon reading this, "Hey, shoes and wine, what more could you want?"  True dat.  Well, maybe some macarons, too.

Since our bodies were still ruled by Midwestern time, it wasn't a late night.  We headed over to the Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement, admiring the idyllic café scenes that played out on either side of the street.  Although the markets that make this area lively and well-known had already closed for the day, many people were still out and about, congregated at little tables.  Chatting, drinking, sharing a bite.  And smoking (more on that later).  Even as we stood surrounded by what you'd see in a tourist brochure, it was hard to believe we were truly in Paris.  These are a few of the photos we took on that crisp Spring eve:

Look who's peeking over the lane of grey concrete to say hello.  Reminds me of the constant photobombing committed by the Empire State Building in my NYC posts.  Awww...

After my dinner of salad and a glass of rosé, we ended up stopping into Carrefour, a French hypermarket (or general retailer) akin to Target or Tesco.  Actually, this particular store was scaled down for its urban surroundings (again, similar to what Target is doing in select large cities).  Browsing the aisles, we came across - why, American Sauce!  I'm guessing it tastes like Thousand Island dressing.  Someone needs to let me know if that's the case.

We hit the hay around midnight or so, in keeping with our new local time.  As most international travelers will advise, it's best to adjust the body clock as soon as possible.  With so much to see and do (and eat, drink, and shop), we needed to be well-rested for tomorrow's adventures.

Images:  my own

Monday, May 28, 2012

Back! (AKA, Paris 1.1)

The whirlwind known as early Spring is finally winding down.  I hope.  April and May felt more like half a year than a couple of months.  And I'd have sworn our trip to Paris lasted at least 3 weeks, instead of the 7 days spent wandering, shopping, eating, and drinking.

Now that I'm back on the radar, it's time to share some of my favorite images!  For both your and my sanity, it will not be like the overwhelming posts of trips past (what, your eyeballs can't deal with 100 photos in a row?).  While in Paris, I was able to get free Wi-Fi in the evening and spent that small window of internet access posting 3 pictures per night.

So, I'll do the same here, expanding to no more than 5 images per post.  We'll start chronologically for the first few rounds and see how that goes.  While this blog is typically shopping-focused, it feels impossible to convey my time in the City of Light without including the full array of activities, so you'll see some food, architecture, and general street scenes.  And yes, I did snap pics of various stores (when I could, with Colette being the exception - boy, were they on top of shutting down the shutterbugs, security men lining the floors and all).

Feel free to comment on what you see - maybe you walked along the same quai, sipped a glass of rosé in that very comptoir, or just like the darn photo.

Let our edited journey begin...  :)

We have a tradition of kicking off each vacation with a nice cocktail from Surdyk's Flights, oh so conveniently located at MSP airport.

It's amazing how the architecture alone can tell you that you're in a different country.  Here, we're fresh out of the airport and in line for a weeklong Metro pass (as in the Paris subway system, which we used countless times and enjoyed immensely).  I had to snap the apartment that towered above us like a big concrete linebacker.

After navigating through the RER and Metro, pulling our luggage up and down escalators and stairs (note to my architecture pals, Paris - and I suspect most of Europe - is an ADA nightmare), we popped out of our subway stop to be enveloped in brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and the new, melodic trill of the French language.  This is the view from our apartment.  J'aime!

Another view down the street.  

We were fairly jetlagged by the time we reached our destination, a very lovely apartment shared with my parents in the 7th arrondissement (district).  After a decidedly heavy lunch of boeuf and red wine at a nearby restaurant, I needed a rare nap, thanks to my failure in getting any sleep on the plane and a body clock that had been catapulted from the middle of the night to noon.

Nap time is a good place to stop for now.  I'll be back shortly with some images from our first evening in Paris.

Au revoir!

Images:  my own

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Tale of Two Parises

Hello, all!

I'm back from the dead.  OK, not really.  But I am back from a 4-day trip to Vegas, and there were a couple of times when I thought all the blinky lights, bloopy carnival sounds from the casinos, and the sheer amount of food and drink consumed might indeed kill me.  While I did not step inside the Strip's version of Paris, I did walk by the looming replica of the Eiffel Tower, looking awkward as most of the overblown architecture does there.

Alas - I survived.  And, yep, I shopped.  My friend Ana, who patiently waited for me as I chatted up salespeople and tried on all sorts of goodies, can attest to that (thank you, lady!).

I'll post excerpts from the trip in the next week.  Upon getting welcome feedback from friends regarding how much I covered on past trips (see my NYC and Denver posts for reference), I've decided to skip the blow-by-blow account of each and every detail.  Instead, I'll focus on the shopping and a couple other random morsels.

For now, I'll cap this post with a few images to whet your retail appetite.

But before I sign off...  as if Vegas wasn't a great enough mini-vacay, I'm off to Paris (France, not Texas) shortly.  I lived in Germany back in college, and I've been fortunate enough to hit such great cities as London, Madrid, Avignon, Budapest, Prague, and Antwerp.  But Paris - save for traveling by Metro from one train station to another - has eluded me.  Til now.

If you know Paris well, I would LOVE some recommendations for restaurants, bars, bistros...  and shopping!  I already intend to stop by Colette.  Please, please feel free to share your favorites with me!

Til the next post (think Tory Burch, DVF, and...  Chloé, yeeeee!), enjoy these few photos and share the Paris amour, s'il vous plaît!  (And if someone knows whether there is a grammatically correct way to express 2 of Paris, let me know that, too ;)


Images:  my own