Paris. What is there to say, really, that I haven’t already said before ad nauseam? By now, we’ve established how I feel when I’m there; there’s a deep sense of right and comfort the moment my feet hit the soil, like I’m not so much visiting but coming home. It’s a chemical, almost biological feeling of of solace that’s hard to articulate but so easy to get swept up in. Paris is home for me, in a way that’s matched only by my love of Philadelphia.
We landed mid-day on Thursday and flew out at the same time two days later, giving us a little over 48 hours to soak up every ounce of this city as I could. I did a lot of shopping, and lot of eating. We stayed in Montmartre, bien sûr, and even Jamal made mention of the fact that we just feel so comfortable there. We don’t need maps, we don’t need translations, we don’t even need good weather (but we had it in abundance; someone said last year that Paris really seems to “turn it on” for me whenever I’m there, and I can’t help but agree. This city knows how to woo you, and while it rains more in Paris than in London per year, historically, it seems to always be blue skies and sun for me.) We just need Paris.
We took a sneezy stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg, since Jamal had never been, and then wound our way back up through Saint-Germain (where I jettisoned my poor husband and ducked into City Pharma to load up on all the beauty products I’ll need until our next visit). We had drinks at a new bar in Montmartre, where they make their own juices and herbal, vegetable infusions for their cocktails, and I realized: my quaint little neighborhood is becoming cool. At some point, just like our gentrifying neighborhood in Philly, we’ll be priced out. Even the neighborhood near Rue des Martyrs, in the 9eme, has its own hip name now: SoPi, or South of Pigalle. An area once known for prostitutes and vagrants is now a trendy hotspot for les hipsters, or however you say it in French.
Speaking of French, a highlight for me this trip was that not one, not two, but three separate Parisians told me I speak excellent French. One even stopped me, as I switched to translating in English for Jamal, and asked, “Vous êtes Américaine? Vraiment?” To be mistaken for French by a Frenchman even for a brief moment, is something I’m going to put on my résumé under the ‘Special Skills’ section. Life goals: realized.
My favorite, and oft-recommended, “perfect Parisian morning” circuit is as follows: breakfast at Le Boulanger des Invalides Jocteur, flowers from Monceau Fleurs across the street, and then a morning at le Musée Rodin around the corner. That was a requirement on our second day there, and everything was as perfect as I remember, except the brioche aux pralines tasted even better than my memory accounted for.