Sunday, December 10, 2017

Two Nights, One Day, in Paris. . . .

 The Wifi connection isn't stellar here, and I'm guarding my Paris time, but we're relaxing in our hotel room between meals, so I thought I'd post a few words and photos. Today's weather was splendid -- sunny, mild, and the rain that had been forecast held off until we were almost back from our day's meandering. (The destination was to the magical windows of the Grands Magasins on Boulevard Hausmann; I'll be sharing videos of those on Instagram as soon as I get a strong enough signal.)

The photos in this post are just a few of those I took yesterday evening, strolling in the neighbourhood after a much-needed nap. The flight had gone smoothly -- my seatmate was pleasant enough, not much more inclined to chat than I; we were 90 minutes late leaving, but only 45 arriving; I checked my carry-on case for a change, so I didn't have to worry about finding an empty overhead for it, although there was ample room when I boarded.  The lineup to go through the Border Police at CDG took about 25 minutes, so not too bad, and by the time I got through, my case was on the carousel. Almost no line-up to buy my RER ticket -- 10 Euros takes you to central Paris, and I was lucky to be on an Express with no stops until Gare du Nord, so in almost no time I was stepping out into sunshine right by Fontaine St. Michel, blinking at the bright day and getting my bearings for that sweet, sweet walk along St. Germain.
 I love being in Paris with Pater, and I was very glad he'd be joining me later, but I have to say there's something delicious about getting here on my own that makes all the trepidation worthwhile. Equally delicious is being recognised right away at the hotel, about having a favourite brasserie or two in the neighbourhood, and then strolling in a mantle of comfortable anonymity. Beyond basic civility, I have very few responsibilities in this city, and that strikes me as a welcome luxury for the moment.
 Pater, meanwhile, was taking a longer route, flying a different airline and stopping in Heathrow for several hours (his schedule requires an earlier return, so will be from a different city).  While he was enjoying a full English breakfast in the late English afternoon, I was peering into gorgeous windows and chuckling at toddlers howling wolf-style at cardboard foxes. . . .(this shop--a Chinese subsidiary, I believe, of Hermès, does the most exquisite windows -- I'll try to remember to show you more later).
 A closer view of the fox that invited the wolf howls from a very young passer-by, one of those delightful moments that serendipity delivers in this city.
 Given that I'd arrived mid-morning after a nine-hour flight on which I'd only managed a half-hour's sleep, I was quite content to spend my afternoon here strolling and then napping between meals. Lunch at Le Nemrod, a brasserie about 70 metres away, and dinner at Le Rousseau, a brasserie perhaps 20 metres further. Not particularly adventurous, but I felt modestly sophisticated, sitting on my own, looking out into a room of mainly French-speaking diners, and tucking into my Foie de Veau, with a side plate of haricots verts, and a very nice glass of Brouilly. Simple pleasures.
And then Pater arrived about 11 p.m. and the next thing we knew it was 10 this morning. A happy day of walking and looking at windows and having a very decent, rather traditional, very bon marché lunch at Bouillon Chartier. Again, simple pleasures. But what a splendid way to acclimate, to reset, after the unnatural dislocation of trans-continental air travel. We're off to dinner soon, and then an early night, so that we're ready for another day's travel tomorrow, this time at a considerably more human pace, by train.

Not sure whether I'll post again here before we get to Rome, but do check in on Instagram to see what city we land in tomorrow as well as to share in my admiration for Paris Christmas windows. And know that even if I don't find time to respond, as sometimes happens when I'm travelling, I'm reading and appreciating any comments you are kind enough to leave.  


  1. A good start to your adventures :) Enjoy your train travel. B x

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  3. This all looks so enchanting and sounds wonderful. Have a great trip!

  4. Looks and sounds lovely. That plane ride is so long; how delightful to have some relaxation at the end of it.

  5. What a lovely smooth entre to Paris! Will you share the name of your hotel?

  6. Just wanted to say hello, tell you I read and appreciated your piece with its beautiful photos, and wish you safe travels. x.

  7. A lovely start (beside the jet lag) ,everything nice and easy!
    Enjoy the train ride and all the beautiful sights

  8. Glad all went smoothly . The nap was a good idea , better than dashing straight out & getting tattered . Whenever I used to see foreign ladies travelling alone I tended to make up elaborate stories about them , lots of strange possibilities , but it’s not so unusual now . We’ve got braver . Have a safe journey & keep on with the little naps :)
    Wendy in York

  9. I recognised the feeling you describe at arriving in a city you know well: You know which trains or underground lines to take and where to get the ticket. You have a place to go to and know where to find nice food - a wonderful feeling of strength and self-reliance. It is like coming home and being on holiday at the same time. Or rather, being at home in more than one place.

  10. Isn't Paris a magic city in which to be alone? I enjoyed my Cherche-Midi apartment and Le Nemrod a lot. Eleonore has hit the nail on the head as far as strength and self-reliance. Enjoy your travel day!

  11. And so the adventure begins. How lovely to stroll along, alone, and savour these moments. And, how wonderful to see a familiar face. I'm glad your flight went well. Beautiful photos.

  12. Can't believe you found time to post this. Your dinner looks lovely... how great to have a familiar place to stay and dine in that wonderful city! Happy onward journey.

  13. Sounds as though your time in Paris, though short, has been perfect. What a lovely way to spend time alone ... but certainly not lonely! until Paul arrived.
    So much to look forward to ... Safe travels!

  14. Oh how fun. I think you are describing version of the life of a flâneur, if I have the word right:).

    1. I meant to write, "my version," as surely there are as many versions as the day is long.

  15. Glorious windows! Loved this little snippet of Paris at Christmastime... and look forward to the rest of the trip.

  16. I'm glad you enjoyed your short stay in Turin; I have friends there and is a city I am fond of. I think it isn't more popular as a tourist destination as it isn't "Italian" enough, though the unification of Italy started there. It does have French and Swiss elements, in the architecture, the cuisine and the language and accent. However "border" cities can be very intriguing; think of Strasbourg, or Trieste.

    And unlike most places in Italy, they make proper croissants.

  17. I know exactly where you are and adore that neighborhood. Being on one's own in Paris, even for an afternoon, is sweet pleasure. I'm glad you got to start your travels there. Thank you for making the time to post this Paris arrival and window pics postcard -- it brings me joy this morning. :)

    Ann in Missouri

    P.S. Your Instagram pix (and vids) are marvelous. Just followed you. Thanks for these, too. :)


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