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Postcards from Paris

August 4, 2010

It’s been said that Paris is a city you can discover over and over again. A place to relearn and return to.

It reminds me of that famous Ernest Hemingway quote:

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

I dream of Paris’s feast.

Until then, we get a glimpse of its charm through my friend Emily’s eyes. She’s made the return, after going in college some years ago. This time though, while in the midst of some life changes, she and a girlfriend bought the tickets on a whim with the hope that the Parisian art, food, and culture would refresh their perspectives—and so they took the ride.

This week’s travel piece is a postcard from the City of Light.


We arrive to find the view from our hotel in the 5th District foreshadows the old yet chic urban beauty we will see for the next several days.

Breakfast our first day leaves nothing to be desired—why don’t my tomato, ham, and cheese omelets come out like this?

We venture out on foot (miles every day!) to “bump” into this view of Notre Dame across the Seine. My travel companion, who has never visited France, finds any American cynicism about the beauty of Paris (not that she had much) is hard to hold on to.

We run into a neighborhood park. The city is indeed “used”—it is so alive. And we are surrounded by public displays of affection, which add to the romance of the architecture, food, and art to be found there.

Just your typical neighborhood boulangerie—or bread and sandwich shop.

The first day we hit the premier shopping area on the Champs Elysees, if only to window shop after waiting in line to get into the original Louis Vuitton to see $20,000 purses.

Subsequent days we hopped le Metro for easy access to everything we wanted to see. Even the sign for the subway is pretty. Behind is the ferris wheel in the Tuilleries (sculpture gardens behind the Louvre).

The Tuilleries—and an oh-so-convenient view down to the Arc de Triomphe too.

Small children push miniature sailboats around the water in the Tuilleries. I had to be dragged away to go look at some incredible art indoors.

Outside the Louvre—a combination of the famous glass pyramids and the enormous classical building surrounding them, housing more great art than you could see in a week.

And don’t be afraid to dangle your toes in the pools on a hot day. Paris takes the concept of a city being “user-friendly” to another level.

Napoleon’s dining room, at the Louvre. The French know how to entertain.

This lovely statue of Psyche and Amour at the Louvre will make you miss your significant other.

My old boyfriend modeled for this. He was kinda outdoorsy, but away too much to make it work.

Enjoying the sunset outside the Louvre while the locals picnic.

A Van Gogh at the Musee D’Orsay. The colors are so vibrant and visceral in person, I get butterflies.

The Rodin Museum is also full of art that makes you sigh.

Dessert the last night, in Montparnasse. Crème brulée the size of my head. Our brief trip was crammed full of sweet things to feed the soul.