Robert Frost

The best way out is always through.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ahh, Paris

I thankfully and wholeheartedly agree with the Jane Austen quote above (yeah, she's my girl).  But when I think of Paris, I sigh. 
Even now, I have to confess, that if I ever get the chance to see dear Pah-ree again,
I would still be giddy with delight. 

I have no doubt of how Paris romanced me and won me over....

and for those of you who have visited the City of Lights or have simply dreamed of her from afar you may understand. 

The other night was a slow quiet night so my hubby and I indulged in two movies on TV, while we pattered about with work and home cares.  Now, we had seen these movies before and even own them: Julie & Julia

and Amelie

Oh, boy...this was not what I needed.  Seeing Paris dance before my eyes in the way it won over Julia Child and the whimsy and magic of Amelie, brought back sweet, sweet memories. 

Montmatre photo courtesy of Centrury 21, naw, it's mine, just a bad angle

When I first went to Paris (also my first trip "abroad"...sounds so fancy-schmancy said that way) in 1993, I was college-age and stayed there for 9 weeks in the summer (my heart flutters to remember it) with a missions group.  I was the perfect picture of a fish out of water....small town Texas born and raised, just a year of High School French under my belt, and all I knew of Paris went like this: Eiffel Tower,

Hunchback of Notre Dame,

Phantom of the Opera,



and Monet.  

But boy, the experience changed me.  No, not as a whole new person but it awoke my wonder with new tastes, cultures (as we met people from so many different places) and history.  I came away from that summer wanting to know Paris more and with an understanding of Gertrude Stein's quote: "America is my country but Paris is my hometown."  I surprisingly felt at home.

My very first experience in Paris knocked my senses silly.  You see, in order to help keep jet lag at bay and orient us to our new surroundings, our group gathered together for a briefing picnic in the local park (the elegant, green and underrated Parc Montsouris). 

And as I felt the soft grass beneath me, I found I could barely concentrate of the info.  My taste buds were being barraged by the best bread ever (baguettes), REAL butter, flavorful jams, wonderful chocolates, crisp tasty market bought veggies, and creamy cheeses. 

I remember hearing my teammates "yumming" themselves silly too, with each new bite.  Then the cooling breezes wafting about us, on the sunny summer day, the hum of the visitors in the park chatting, children playing, the distant din of the traffic in the busy city around us....DING DONG! my senses told me, you are truly in PARIS. 

So, here is an eclectic assortment of Paris moments from me to you, should you choose to enjoy, reminisce, and daydream. ......there are only 5, 6, okay, 7 things to picture:

1. Carry a Baguette: 
If I could, I would add smell-o-vision to this photo
Though the "idea" of fast food is looked down on by the French (cuz, see it is an American invention), it is a common sight to see Parisians carrying along a "snack" baguette freshly purchased from a boulangerie (bread makers) or patisserie (pastry shop) found on almost every block in Paris.  I remember carrying an armload of early morning, warm, tender crisp, and deliciously fragrant baguette loaves in my arms for our mission group's jam and butter breakfast at our dorm (Cite Universitaire).  Now that sense memory most decidedly walloped me, and screams "Paris!" to me.

2.  Have a picnic:     as often as possible, take your food to a spot, make it your spot.  Grab a suitable grocery/market collection of cheese, sausage, fruit, bread, and juice/water and don't forget a pastry treat. 

Feast in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, enjoy your Gyros along the banks of the Seine,

devour an ice cream in the leisure of one of Paris's famous Jardins (gardens/parks),
indulge in a sweet or savory crepe from a street stall (I never had a bad one) whilst sitting on one of Paris pedestrian bridges overlooking the Seine...take it in. My favorite spots: Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc des Buttes Charmont, and Parc Montsouris....my goodness almost anywhere will do, you're in Paris! 

3. Enjoy Paris from a rooftop/view:   Of course the Eiffel Tower is a must,

the top of L'Arc de Triomphe, the steps of Sacre Coeur cathedral, from the roof of Notre Dame, or even the Cafe top of the dazzling Galleries Lafayette. 
Go ahead pinch yourself, you're really there. I pinched myself silly and would do it all over again, aahhh:

4. Wander....here is where the magic is.  My first true wandering in a neighborhood was through La Marais, along the narrow cobblestone rues, with artisan shops and quiet cafes, to the lovely and well known Place des Vosges...with its neatly situated open square with trickling fountain. 

5.  Sit at a cafe...yeah, I did it; even ordered a coffee (uh, 'scuse me, cafe viennoise) and I didn't even like coffee at the time..It was of course somehow better in Paris, and I did the "Sabrina"-thing and wrote in my journal....it was lovely. 

6.  Shop....I never had the nerve or proper attire ("money") to saunter into any high end shop, but each time I have been to Paris I have purchased either a scarf, inexpensive accessory,
Cheesey, cute, cheap and all mine, and yep, I got them in Paris
or print and keep it on display as a cheering reminder of my visit.  No matter where you go, to say that you went "shopping in Paris" has a sophisticated ring to it, N'est-ce pas.

7. Ahh, museums galore...just sit and ponder a work of art:  The first time I visited the Musee D'Orsay I was taken aback by the elegant interior...the former train station turned museum, all grand and wowza,

is bathed in the proper natural light to gaze dreamily at world renowned impressionist art, and I recall that the main entrance hall of sculptures, though stone-still (heehee) seemed to have movement when I first caught sight of them.   Paris is stuffed silly with museums and though time in Paris should be enjoyed out of doors as much as possible, she has so much to offer within.

::sigh:: There are so many more....but I have got to stop now, for your sake and mine......thanks for joining me....Any special moments you would like to share? Please do!

I am linked over at Les Chateau des Fleurs by Frenchy for her monthy French Obsession link party and giveaway in case you want to have more of a taste of France...

Au Revoir mes amies,

In Christ,


Victoria said...

That was such a wonderful post! I really enjoyed it and the pictures also:) I've never been to France but sometimes I go to Google maps and 'walk' along the streets of Paris:)

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Such a lovely post Jenny, it's always great to see Paris through the eyes of somebody else who loves the city. Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog, I really appreciate every single lovely wish and comment. Lots of Love from London xo

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

What fun! I also had a semester abroad in France! I have since been blessed to return and even live in France for a year. It never gets old! Love your list of must-do's! I am taking my 10 year old grandson this summer and most of them are on our must-do list, too! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

You made me feel giddy with excitement Jenny .. we both have the same feeling for Paris .. I remember the first time I went , seeing the Eiffel tower too.. Ah the Marais .. the little streets .. need I say anymore .. Thank you so much for your fabulous tour .. I am sure you will get back there one day .. Happy Weekend .. ♥

sweet european dreams said...

hi Jenny. I found you on Frenchy's page today. I also met my husband later-in-life. GREAT things come to those who wait! I adore your little path through Paris. In several weeks I will post my Paris shopping tips for REAL folks. In other words, Paris shopping for frugal mamas! -diane

Jenny said...

Hello! I am pretty dorky and get so excited to have visitors at all and especially to have anyone new stop by...welcome!

Victoria, thank you and I am glad you enjoyed it. You are a woman after my own heart...I still google maps Paris and find small rue and neighborhoods to learn and hopefully one day again personally roam...here's to sweet dreams.

Carol...you too are very kind. I so enjoy your blog and am glad to get to know you some more. Thank you for your thoughtful words and visiting.

Debbie, hello! thank you for stopping by and commenting. I am so excited for you and your grandson. my love for Paris has rubbed off on my 4 yo who now exclaims "Paris!" anytime she sees the Eiffel Tower, be it on TV, shirts, home decor and such. I hope you and your grandson have a safe and happy tour.

Diane! what a treat to have your follow and thank you for commenting and visiting. I love your blog and you're a Texas girl too?! We drive thru New Braunfels on our way to San Antonio so I will have to make a stop at your shop some time soon! How fun...can't wait for your tips and your upcomming trip....bon voyage.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh ma chère Jenny, Paris, JE T'AIME! Being a French teacher, I have been to France and have visited many parts. Each and every location, I found magic. But no other place is like PARIS, where 8 days was NOT ENOUGH time for Ruben and I to savor all the sights, the colors and textures, the tastes and sounds. FOOD is TDF, the sights, UNBELIEVABLE....you think yourself to be in the book, MADELINE..and the language..well, I just chattered away with some really nice people. I am glad you love Paris. It is truly a fabulous city. We celebrated our 20th anniversary in France. Here we are on our 29th...it is time to go back.

Thank you dearest for visiting me yesterday; we were out all day and are planning to go out again today to celebrate God's gift of love to us...peace, Anita

Jenny said...

Anne, I knew you would understand and I truly appreciate you stopping by and always am thankful for your kind comments. You would be one of the first to know if I ever get the chance to head back to Paris.

Anita! Hello and I knew you would also have an understanding for the draw of this romantic city. Again, happy anniversary to you and Ruben and sounds like year 30 will call for another round of sweet Paris celebrations.

Frenchy said...

Thank you so much for linking up to the French Obsession party !
Come back on April 1st for another party !

Amazing post !!!

Frenchy said...

Talking about you on my blog.
Email me isafrenchy@gmail.com

Girl Meets Paris said...

This post is amazing and took me back to my favorite place in the world. Your pictures were perfect for each thing or place you mentioned.

Here's the funny thing...I didn't buy any Eiffel Tower jewelry in all the years I went there. But the other day at Forever 21 at the mall, I couldnt resist buying an Eiffel Tower necklace, and I wear it everyday :). I guess it my way of keeping Paris near me until I get back there someday.


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