My cankles are throbbing. My glands are slightly swollen, and that weird little cough I get when I’m exhausted and have been drinking too much coffee and wine is back. I might have taken 4 naps today. But to my advantage, I did also do some leg lifts and swam about 4 laps in my tiny complex pool. That’s something, right? Lying here on my sofa, back home after a one-and-a-half week journey to New York and Paris, I’m not only wondering what day it is and if 7:30pm is too early to go to bed, but also, “did I feel like this when I was younger after returning from an overseas trip?” I don’t think so. Maybe I’m just more prone to complaining now? Or maybe I just have to face the fact that my body is sick of being tossed about like a rag doll and just wants a bleedin’ nap once in a while. Silly bod.
I don’t like being a tourist. When I travel, I prefer to go somewhere for a month or two, feel like I live there, have time to visit with friends AND see and do a lot of other things, even if it’s only sitting in a park and people watching. This was not one of those trips. It was way too fast, although great fun. So much fun that I stopped paying attention to the news, stayed up playing nearly every night until the wee hours and spent money as if I had some. Getting back home, my magic carriage turned back into a pumpkin (i.e. a stack of bills, laundry, a friend who’s ill, the greedy-angry-disgusting news and that blasted kitchen light that needs flicking just so to get it to turn on). Add to that the fact that I went on the trip knowing I wouldn’t have work coming in for at least a week or two, and am now stressed it might not come in at all, and I will once again have to face the job market after seven comfortable/fortunate/lazy years of a blessed flexible freelance job that began as a three-month contract. They say that more companies are going remote these days, but it all looks very techie/SEO/social media-driven. Either that, or they’re looking for unpaid interns right out of university. Then there’s the town I live in, where there are no jobs that fit my skill set, and if there were they’d probably pay about $10/hour. Ugh, enough of all that. I’m way too exhausted to feel sorry for myself right now.
Besides, I was just in Paris and New York. #firstworldproblems? I may end up homeless, but at least I have some fun memories, photos and several tins of Comtesse du Barry pâté to tide me over for a while.
It was almost three weeks ago that while spending a leisurely getaway at my friend Emily’s place in New Orleans that she and I got a wild hair up our bum, found fairly inexpensive tickets, decided we both needed an escape and booked our trip. What the?! I think we were asking each other that same question, often with a glance, until the night we arrived back at her place in Nola, post-trip. We both had our reasons for saying yes to this adventure. And with everything falling into place, how could we say non?
I was in New York a little over a year ago, but it had been over six years since I’d been to Paris. Time really does fly, and I’m not fond of being away from my favorite city for such a long amount of time. However, life happens, and you don’t always get what you want. Needless to say, when your life changes completely, and you can’t seem to catch your breath, you begin to lose inspiration. Choosing to close my eyes for a week-and-a-half to the recent suicides, abominable politics and life’s worries, however, I found it here and there. Wanna see?
After a stopover in Atlanta and finally making it Brooklyn, we met up with beautiful friends over oysters and drinks at Smoking Monkey before heading to Sisters for more delicious dishes and libations.
NYC offers a range of top museums, but you can’t forget to look up, down and all around.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
There’s also some decent food, some better than others. Balthazar will always be my fave, although their soldiers egg was overcooked. Still ate it and went back the night after for martinis and steak tartare. And although the religieuse at Dominique Ansel was a little dry and too sweet, the cronut was well worth it. Sam Mason‘s chocolate chunk ice cream at Oddfellows is a stopover must on a sweltering day. Another fave is Café Gitane for tartine and this time watermelon juice. Hit the spot. And during one of our many walks through the city, we came upon the Elizabeth Street Garden where some young guides even picked us fresh berries. Please check out their site to help save their beautiful garden and attend Monday’s public hearing!!!
Not a happy part of our trip, but I’m glad I was there to see all of the beautiful notes for Anthony Bourdain. Still having a hard time with this one.
Feel like a trip to Paris right about now?
We left NYC around midnight and arrived in Paris at the decent hour of 1pm. We finally found our way around the airport and managed to catch the RER even during the strike, though the atmosphere was crazy. Even exiting the RER at Gare du Nord was an adventure. But thankfully we were able to plow through the agressive crowd and stash our bags at the consignes in order to stroll around Paris. We headed straight to the Canal St. Martin for a crêpe at Lulu la Nantaise, a quick browse around the hood and then drinks and dinner with Laurent at La Marine. At about that time, the jet lag set in, and our first night in Paree would come to an end.
After a whirlwind tour like ours, it’s hard to remember which fun and tasty thing came first, so I’ll just mix it up a bit. This was actually some of what happened on Day 2. A precious light breakfast and my favorite yogurt in the entire world. Why U.S. why don’t you sell Perle du Lait??? That’s probably a good thing. The day continued with welcome sightings of monuments, much-needed pause-cafés, drinks with beautiful friends on the péniche Le Marcounet, dinner at Le Marché (which used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Paris and is now an unfortunate tourist trap with mediocre food and service), and cocktails, shimmering Eiffel Tower views and fun friends atop BHV. The next morning was a little more difficult to get going. But we pulled through …
This is where things start to get a little muddled. One thing is for sure is that Paris has some spectacular graffiti art, most of this is from the Belleville/Canal St. Martin area.
And just like in NYC, there’s so much to see and so many places to go. I really should have bought the green Carolina Herrera dress and boots. Ahem.
In order to torture myself a little bit more with magical haute couture I wish I could wear (nearly) every day, I spent some time in the YSL Museum. Absolutely gorgeous and a reminder of how much I used to love buying high-end fashion magazines and watching Style with Elsa Klensch. Unfortunately, fashion hasn’t been the same since. But at least we have a place to dream.
That’s probably a good thing seeing as with all of the things I love to eat and drink, I’d never be able to fit into anything haute couture again. Still, I could try. A few of the hotspots to rush to in these pics include:Rosa Bonheur in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont; Akrame atop Printemps; Le Mary Celeste for one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time; Méert; some deliciously interesting pâté at Nicolas Duquenoy Traiteur Paris; Harry’s New York Bar; Hugo & Victor for their award-winning salted butter caramel ice cream; Le Traiteur Marocain at the Marché des Enfants Rouges; La Fontaine de Belleville; the famed Angelina’s; Coutume Café; and the classic Au Pied du Cochon.
A couple of unexpected surprises included a pop-up bike repair and shopping market with a beer stand. Then there was the time we found out a good friend of ours was touring with Joan Baez and we ended up at her beautiful and emotional concert and backstage party. O.M.G.
And of course our spontaneous trip would not have been the same without our gracious host, his beautiful pals and his wonderful home and garden. Merci, Laurent, Etienne et toute la bande!!! Until we all meet again …
Now it’s back to reality. Job-hunting, bills, loud neighbors, no Perle de Lait mixed with fun memories, yummy souvenirs, lovely friends at home and my beautiful Nana. Life could be much worse. Bon appétit.