Introducing: The Paris Print Shop!

Friends, I’m excited (and nervous!) to announce some very special news:


I’ve received a multitude of requests, through comments here and email, to make prints of my photographs from Paris available for sale. (Now that I think about it, I hope you weren’t all just being nice when you asked.) I’ve been working behind the scenes for a while now to make it a reality, and I’m ecstatic to introduce The Paris Print Shop. No middle man, no clicking elsewhere: you can now buy prints directly from my blog.

This is a big step for me, as it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted to sell my work. But I was doing more than writing in Paris; I was putting my Photojournalism degree to use, and I’ve been so grateful to have a platform to share my photos with you all. In sorting through the thousands of images that I have to print and frame for my own house, it struck me that now is as good a time as any to take a leap of faith and try this little endeavor. The same leap of faith got me to Paris in the first place.

And so, with my wedding just days away, why not add a bit more excitement to the mix? As a thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of this blog the past few years, and of my other creative pursuits, I’m offering a 20% discount on all prints through September 20th. Just use the code WEDDING at checkout.

I’d love to hear what you think! Happy shopping, kiddos!

Friday Five

What a week. Our officiant cancelled on us on Sunday…only to quickly find a wonderful replacement for us. I woke up to her email that morning, and you’d think that something that starts with, “Please try not be too alarmed to hear that I have some disappointing news to share with you,” from the person legitimizing your marriage would send me into a blind panic, but honestly? I was out of effs to give at that point. And plus, her backup is a fantastic and warm woman who immediately put us at ease. Crisis averted. Now we’re just tying up loose ends like getting place cards printed (“Wait, how many chicken dishes are at Table 4?” “Table 2.” “Table 4.” “What?” “CHICKENS. TABLE FOUR.”), wrapping presents for our bridal party, and generally trying not to let the stress get to us. One week from tomorrow! Holy crap, time flies.

Keeping with the theme of time as an elusive speed-demon, I’ve also officially been back from Paris longer than the amount of time I was in Paris, and that, my friends, is BONKERS. But if you thought that just because I’ve been home eight weeks that means I’m out of photos of my favorite place on earth, you are mistaken.

1. The metro station at Place de la Concorde:

I am a confident public transit commuter regardless of the city, but the metro in Paris has to be the easiest system to navigate. The trains come quickly, switching lines is a breeze, and the majority of the stations are photogenic (think: the iconic pale green, wrought iron archways and Art Nouveau font). I was walking around Place de la Concorde one night and loved the way the light was hitting the stone banister.

2. Evening light in the Jardin des Tuileries:
Jardin des Tuileries

Not pictured: the fearless rat I watched run to that trash can, crawl in, fish something out, and scamper away again. Paris!

3. A little wine bar next to Pont Neuf:
Rue Dauphine

I only went to one bar by myself while I was in Paris, and it ended with a man in sunglasses asking to buy me a glass of Rosé, so needless to say it was a one-time deal. I went back to drinking wine on my terrace out of a juice glass, instead of at bars, but this charming little spot on Rue Dauphine was extremely tempting.

4. More temptation in Place de Furstenberg:
Rue de Furstenberg

Behold my restraint: I stumbled accidentally on a petit patisserie that specialized in cream puffs…and I didn’t buy any! Behold my regret: massive. I’ve heard they are delicious. Place de Furstenberg is a hidden gem in Saint-Germain, and I sat for a bit just people watching, drooling over les choux in the window.

5. But really, the sunsets:
Avenue de l'Opera

Because they were so beautiful, and so consistent, that you’d think I’d’ve become immune to them by the end of my trip, but non. C’est impossible.

Something Old

Daddy's Watch

Daddy's Watch

No, not wedding related, though I am getting married in 10 days (10 days!). No, this is a long overdue fix I finally attended to. When my dad died eight years ago, among the things I took with me from his apartment (a favorite sweater, a reading lamp, his old drafting table) before putting the rest in storage, was this watch. I don’t remember seeing him wear it –he had a pocket watch (repeat: a pocket watch) for much of my life– but I loved it immediately. There is a dial for the day of the week, one for the date of the month. The battery was dead, probably had been for years before I found it, and the leather strap was dry and brittle. None of that mattered. I wore it every day for years, even though it never told time. (The old adage about even broken clocks being right twice a day is applicable.) I wore it with the face on the underside of my wrist, wanting to feel it against my pulse. It never occurred to me in all those years to get the battery replaced; I wasn’t wearing it to tell time, I was wearing it because it was my dad’s.

Until this past weekend, when, upon realizing another of my watches had died, and so had Jamal’s, there seemed to be no better time to take all three in for repair. What had taken me so long? The whole affair took less than ten minutes, at one of those ubiquitous, unremarkable jewelry shops, where they buzz you in at the front door. A new battery and a new leather strap, and a new life given to an old watch.

I turned the watch over in my hands when we got outside, sort of like I was seeing it for the first time. And in the most fittingly obvious coincidence, guess where the strap was manufactured?

Go on, guess.

Paris. Of course, Paris.

Last Love


I watched a wonderful movie the other day, and was shocked that I hadn’t heard of it before Netflix suggested it as something I might like. “Last Love,” starring the incomparable Michael Caine as a windowed American professor living in Paris, was released last fall and somehow escaped my radar of all-things-Paris. I don’t want to tell you too much about it, because it’s a really beautiful, sad film, and it’s worth seeing if you can. Clémence Poésy is in it, too, flawless and charming and divinely Clémence Poésy-ish as usual. But without giving away the plot, I did want to share some of the interior sets, because, obsessed as I am with Parisian real estate, the sets were so perfectly designed I found myself distracted by the details in the background, a stack of old newspapers, the herringbone wood floors. The film is set in Paris in the late fall/early winter, and the light that diffuses every room and scene ranges from dusty blue to pale golden. It was visually stunning.






Have you seen it? If so, what did you think? I can’t believe I missed it when it was first released!

Librarie (And an Excerpt From the First Draft)

Librarie des Alpes

“What are you going to read now?”

“Something with words,” Mirette said, smiling.

“Can you imagine if that’s how discerning I was in selecting art? ‘Something with paint.’ Though to be honest I think that’s how some galleries are doing it these days,” Sylvie said, sipping at her coffee. Her lipstick left a red semi-circle on the outside of the cup. “Why are you walking all that way? There are bookshops on this side of the river. Christ, there’s one next door.”

There was, it was true, no shortage of bookstores of varying sizes and inventories closer than crossing a bridge, into a different neighborhood[…]The bookshop a few doors away was painted a brilliant shade of blue, narrow inside, with books stacked to the ceiling in teetering, uneven stacks, with no immediately identifiable system of organization. The owner was a sweet older man who wore big sweaters and kept the door open year round (there seemed to be a cause and effect at play there), and had a sleeping cat in the window –it might have been taxidermied, Mirette thought one day; she’d never seen it move. Tiny bookstores and the challenges they presented –if she happened to be searching for a specific title and not just browsing for the sake of it, content to soak up the dusty, old book smell and the hushed, contemplative quiet that was inevitably shoved into the back corners of each small shop– were one of her greatest joys. Like museums, bookstores were reverential, a place of endless promise and potential, only they had the added benefit of rarely being crowded with tourists wielding giant cameras. She also appreciated that in bookstores, touching wasn’t against the rules. There were no shin-height barriers keeping you away from the books, no guards finger-wagging at you when you leaned too close; you were encouraged to pick up, to touch, to flip through (to sniff, even, as Mirette loved to do in the used bookstores. The smoky paper smell was almost too heady for her to take in without feeling dizzy and nostalgic for every place that particular volume had traveled, how many bedside tables it had rested on, how many shelves). It was a deliciously tactile and sensory event for her, going to bookstores, and she knew how strange that must make her seem.

I’m writing a novel. You can read more about that here.

Private Courtyards

Somewhere in Paris

Interior Courtyards

Somewhere in Paris

Interior Courtyards

Private Courtyard

Many of the buildings in Paris are built around an open-air interior courtyard, so the doors lead out to a small garden rather than a foyer with a stairwell or elevator to the apartments above. The Haussmann reconstruction deliberately designed these little courtyards for better air circulation; previously, the buildings were tiny tenements without plumbing or proper ventilation. Nowadays, one or both of the front doors is left open if there is a gallery or store on the ground floor inside, inviting anyone to come in. True, these courtyards aren’t entirely “private” in those cases. The open ones made me a bit too comfortable with the idea of exploring these little spaces and caused me to wander past doors that were left open by the concierge (caretaker) of a residential building or two, into a courtyard that wasn’t meant to be wandered into. L’oops. I just had to know what goes on in there! Behind every door was an opportunity for wonder: were there plants? Cobblestones? Laundry strung up on lines? I never got caught (I am very, very sneaky) which only served to reinforce my curiosity. There is something fantastic and strange about seeing a beautiful staircase outside, snaking up to apartments inside. I drew the line at going inside; even I have limits, and I didn’t want to get arrested. Something tells me there aren’t macarons in French prisons.

Friday Five

Some wedding talk: Today I am going back to the seamstress for my third dressing fitting. My second fitting was Monday afternoon and, well…there were tears. Panic. Frantic searching for a backup dress all week. I love my wedding dress, I’ve loved it since the moment I saw it. But since it was a final sale item, I ordered almost two sizes bigger than I wear so they had enough to work with, figuring they can always take fabric away, they can’t add fabric to it, right? Unfortunately, despite extensive alterations, it just doesn’t lay right at the top and I don’t know what else the seamstress is going to be able to do. We’re going to try taking the shoulders up and stitching the v-neck closed; if I put my shoulders down or relax for even a second, the front buckles open and voila! You can see my bra. I might be an anti-bride, but I still have my modesty. Wish me luck! I don’t have a ton of options with three weeks to go, so it’s either this dress or sweatpants!

Let’s look at some photos of Paris to distract me from my anxiety, shall we?

1. These really crooked doors in Montmartre:
Crooked doors, Montmartre

I wasn’t kidding when I said they are everywhere. This one in particular seems like it’s straight out of a fairytale.

2. My cozy, sun-streaked bed:

I was worried going into the trip about my apartment not having air conditioning (like most, if not all, Parisian apartments). But with the windows open, it was cool and breezy the entire time, except for a few days near the end of June, when I would wake up baking like a burrito in the bright morning sunlight that fell precisely over the bed. I still wouldn’t have changed a thing.

3. Flowers for sale at the Ternes metro station:
Peonies at Ternes metro

Because really, if the metros didn’t have enough charm on their own (okay, okay, not the actual underground portion itself, which regularly smells like urine and has camps of homeless people living in them) why not add a giant flower stall to the entrance. This neighborhood is a favorite of mine; down the street is Mariage Frères in one direction, the Arc de Triomphe in another, and it’s where we stayed the first time we came to the city together.

4. These funky paint splatters all around Saint-Germain:
Rue Jacques Callot

I never figured out if these were indicative of a larger street-art campaign or what, but I noticed these splatters frequently throughout the 6eme. Saint-Germain is where a majority of the art galleries are in Paris, so if this was perhaps the work of a quirky graffiti artist, at least it was well placed.

5. The giant clock at the Musée d’Orsay:
Musée d'Orsay

So iconic, it never gets old.

Blue Skies, Smiling at Me

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

According to my camera, the timestamps on the first photo from Monday’s post and the first photo in this post are only 27 minutes apart. 27 minutes! I’ve seen stormy weather move in quickly, the skies darkening as if someone shut off a light, but before this day I’d never seen it in reverse. It was almost bizarre to witness. I don’t know if it was the juxtaposition of blue skies pushing out the gray, or whether the sky really was so vibrant, but I’d experienced my fair share of beautiful weather in Paris in those eight weeks and those 27 minutes put all other days to shame. Maybe it was because it was my last day and I was feeling extra sensitive and sensory, and this is just an average sunny day. Who knows. I’ll forever be grateful to whatever meteorological forces were at play that Sunday morning.

Sous la Pluie

Rue du Général Camou

Eiffel Tower reflection

Actually, Paris is most beautiful in the rain.

This is what my last day in Paris looked like. The morning started off gray and rainy, as I made my way down to the Champs de Mars to say goodbye to my girlfriend. Parisians are insouciant when it comes to the rain; I’d say only half of them carry umbrellas (always black), the others turn their collars up and continue about their day. Some wear hats, or if it is a truly heavy downpour, they’ll take refuge under a shop awning until it passes. It always passes. It’s just a little rain, after all. And if meteorological events elsewhere had the added effect of making everything look even more beautiful and charming, I dare say a lot more people would stop griping every time it drizzles.

The most magical thing happened on that particular Sunday morning though: within minutes –literally, minutes– of arriving at the Tower, the sky changed to the most radiant and blinding blue I’d ever seen. Big, fluffy white clouds rolled in, and the sun reappeared. It was almost as if the weather gods knew it was my last full day there and wanted to make it special. It was disarming. I’ll share pictures on Wednesday so you can see, but here is an Instagram I snapped no more than fifteen minutes after the above photos.

I bid a teary farewell to my sweet Iron lady, and walked to Rue des Ecoles to meet Süsk & Banoo for a date at Breakfast in America, an American owned and operated diner with two locations in Paris. There are posters for “Friends” and “Goodfellas” on the wall, free refills on coffee, and, most importantly, breakfast is served all day. The owner has my dream job! We then walked the entire city, ending with a tour of Montmartre and a coffee at our favorite Marcel, before they headed back to their beautiful apartment near Ternes, and I finished some last minute packing. I flew out the next morning.

It was a bizarre and backwards feeling, that last night in my apartment, and I think I’m still sorting through my emotions about the trip as a whole. I love Paris in the rain and the sun, and getting to have both on my last day (and pancakes!) was so special. It was a satisfying, if bittersweet, send-off.

Friday Five

1. Take a seat at a corner brasserie in Saint-Germain:
Le Bonaparte

Even though the food was lackluster and overpriced, the atmosphere really is adorable.

2. This Ladurée shop window:
Ladurée? Oui!

Macarons, you say? Oui! Bien sûr! (No, but seriously. Please?)

3. An empty bench in the Jardin des Tuileries:
Jardin des Tuileries

Face forward, and you can see the Eiffel Tower and the Place de la Concorde. Turn around, and you’re looking straight at the Louvre. This might be the best seat in all of Paris (except, perhaps, for a table at Le Jules Verne, the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower).

4. Crooked doors in Montmartre:
Crooked doors, Montmartre

Signs of Montmartre’s age are apparent in little ways all around the neighborhood; the little village has more cottages and typical artist lofts than the classical Haussmann buildings found elsewhere in Paris, and that’s just one of the many, many reasons I love the 18eme.

5. The lunch crowd on Cité Berryer:
Cité Berryer

Proof that Paris isn’t as empty as I like to make it seem. People! I wrote a quick, short little piece based on this photograph, about a woman meeting her husband for lunch, just as an exercise to keep my brain in shape. Here is the opening:

“I read somewhere once that the Native Americans, standing there at Plymouth Rock hundreds of years ago, might not have actually seen the Pilgrim’s boats approaching on the water, so strange and overwhelming must the sight have been for them. Some historian argued that the concept of a ship was so foreign and inconceivable to their primitive way of life that they likely only saw water and the uninterrupted horizon, that their brains couldn’t process the big, floating, wooden structures, and instead saw through them as if they weren’t there at all, until the Pilgrims marched onto the shore and interrupted everything about their life to that point.

That’s what this affair has felt like. I didn’t see it approaching until it was right at my feet, and by then it was too late. A surprise massacre I should have seen coming but didn’t know what to look for.

I’m thinking about this as I’m waiting for him. I’d picked this spot because it was halfway between our two offices, but also because of the crowd; it would be impossible, for either of us, to cause a scene if we couldn’t move our elbows without bumping someone’s bread basket off their table.”