This American in Paris

As a fitting segue from yesterday’s Dance Movie Monday into sharing a bit of our European trip, here’s a quick recap of our own trip to Paris….

I’ve only been to Paris once before, and that was about 10 years ago.  I was giddy with excitement at the chance to go back, and especially during the Spring, as opposed to the winter when Husband and I usual travel overseas. We basically tacked on a few days in France to our trip to England,  The latter of which was mostly in the vein of visiting family.  An escape to France made this trip a bit more of an adventure (and an excuse to stay longer!)
We took the Euro-Star (also known as the Chunnel) from St. Pancreas train station in the heart of London, to Gare du Nord train station which is in the heart of Paris.  I would recommend this mode of travel to anyone looking to visit both London and Paris.  It’s fast, low-stress, and brings you pretty much door to door in terms of where you want to be in both cities.  Plus, I love traveling by train in Europe.  It makes me feel like Meg Ryan in French Kiss.

Then, after a few Metro stops, we arrived at our Air B&B, just adjacent to one of the cutest streets I’ve ever seen in Paris.  Again, I would totally recommend staying at this particular Air B&B if you want to feel like a real Parisian.  It was at the top of a 6th floor walk up, with views of the Paris rooftops, and a window balcony.  It was snug, tiny in fact – Again just what you want from a Paris apartment!  It was totally reminiscent of Gene Kelly’s place in An American In Paris, so I was pretty much in heaven.  To get to the bedroom, you had to climb up some tight stairs through the ceiling… It was very La Boheme!

The first day we were there we did a bit of walking around and getting our bearings.  We ended the evening at a super cool rum bar called Mabel’s Cocktail Den & Rum Empire (not very parisian, but very trendy and very good.)  It was the kind of place where we could feel like in the know locals, rather than a couple of english-speaking fish out of water!

The second day was full with sight-seeing and brilliant meals, beginning with pastries from Stohrer – The oldest patisserie in Paris – which was literally down the street from our place.  We took our croissants and ate them at the park overlooking the Eiffel Tower.  We then took a tour of the Paris Opera house, which was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.  We even got to look in on a bit of rehearsal from the Paris Opera Ballet.  They were in the midst of a dress rehearsal of Manon, which they were performing that evening.

We hurried over to Le Marais to visit the Carna Valet museum, which was filled with beautiful paintings, antiques, and gorgeous decor from the Napoleonic era.  We then wandered around Montmartre, near the Sac du Coeur, working our way up the bevy of steps and strolling down the charming streets.

We dined that night at a simply delicious restaurant called Premices.  It was our “special-night-out-dinner” of the whole trip and it was divine!  I ate foie gras, and frog’s legs and beef confit.  We drank amazing wines, and finished the meal with a yummy coconut dessert.  
As if that wasn’t enough, we grabbed the Metro and raced over to Notre Dame, to visit the famous Shakespeare & Co Book Store before it closed at 11pm.  It was worth the rush.  They don’t allow photos inside, but trust me when I say that the interior of this bookshop (frequented by Ernest Hemingway) is delightful.  The place seems whimsically made of books.  We even came across a large cat sitting at a typewriter when we ventured upstairs.  He seemed like he was in charge!  After closing, we wandered past the cathedral and walked back to our place in the light of the Paris moon.

In addition to all this, we did a bit of shopping and a lot of walking around.  Paris is one of those cities that seems unreal in it’s charm and beauty.  It’s unlike any other place on earth.  The next morning we packed up, checked out and headed to the Louvre to collect our rental car.  The road trip portion of our French adventure was about to begin!  
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