As we left Paris for several days in the Netherlands before returning home, we were already filled with an overload of warm memories and the assault on the senses that only traveling to a place so different from your own could bring.
We knew we would miss Jerry's beautiful apartment in the Marais. This was our view each morning!
His style is so strong, his nose for antiques to sharp that there were beautiful vignettes throughout.
These are a couple of my favorites.
On the last night of our time in Paris, Jerry treated us to the dinner of a lifetime at the restaurant Verjus, located on Rue Richelieu, not far from either the Louvre or the Opera.
We started with a green gazpacho (cuke and green pepper) with mozzerella, chickpeas, sweet peas and an awesome garlic crouton.
That was followed by a poached egg salad with hummus, frissee, fingerling potatoes, green goddess dressing and fava beans.
Next we enjoyed several main courses, including skillet cooked hake...
...grilled milk fed veal with asparagus, chilipeppers, radish salad and ricotta andpan seared duck breast (tasted Rick's!).
There were cheeses and our choice of two amazing desserts. Wine was plentiful, and while the courses were small, our three-hour dinner left us most satisfied and ready for a nighttime walk home.
It was a glorious introduction to France for Rick and a wonderful visit for me! Here are a few of my parting tips!
1) Enjoy Paris at night. They don't call it the City of Lights for nothing!
2) Get a good guidebook or map that you can take with you. I'll post something soon on Chopsticks and Strings on guidebooks. We liked a small one by Knopf called "Paris" which was divided into neighborhood sections. It was small enough to fit in my purse and offered spots to eat, shop or visit in each section. The maps unfolded into a tidy and manageable size and it was extremely easy to use.
3) Backpack or purse -- you will want one large enough to include an umbrella (and you might want to consider taking one even when the day begins just fine, unless it's a drought period!), your guidebook, camera, etc. Mine was a little big but there were only a few times I regretted it. CARRY SNACKS.
4) Plan and Don't Plan -- by this I mean you need to have the main things under control -- like your tickets or reservations. But be flexible. Some of our best experiences came from things not working out quite as we planned. Good prep before you leaving can help you with your decisions.
5) About wardrobe -- Europe tends to be dressier than the U.S., at least in the cities. Long ago Tara Bradford suggested no big white tennies! I was lucky this time to find some black Mary Jane style tennies by Propet that took me everywhere with a minimum of pain. And a nice scarf or two can make it seem you have a whole new wardrobe.
6) Managing the metro is pretty simple -- you buy a ticket. You can also buy an extended pass for a week (least expensive option) or a carnet -- a group of 10 tickets. Don't be caught without a ticket. And remember, you need to hold it till you leave the train as they may check it.
7) A language class helps.And by this, I mean a basic conversational French class. I took one at Evening College last year -- ten weeks and we learned the basics. It's fun to try and speak (though people are very kind about assisting you!) and it helped me tremendously in reading the French-only explanations at museums.
8) Shopping. Of course you want to shop, so budget for it. Things to remember -- prices are what they say they are; tax is included. If you spend a great deal in one place you may be able to get some of that tax back. There are many department stores in Paris -- I must show you Gallerie Lafayette.
Take a look at that Tiffany ceiling! It was truly the most elegant store I've ever visited (with prices to match.)
It's near the Opera Garnier and if you go, take the time to go to the roof where you have a magnificent view of Paris!
9) Museums. At the end of the vacation posts, I will do a bit on small museums that might not otherwise be noticed and that may be worth your while. Do check out the museum pass. They can be purchased for several days if your feet and brain will handle all your museum visiting in that time!
10) Don't overprogram yourself. It's easy to say that -- harder to do, when you know you may not be back soon. Overprogramming leads to sore feet, overload and exhaustion. Find the little ways to relax and still enjoy without a timetable.
11) Go Parking. Sit in a park. Maybe with lunch, maybe for a break. You may get to see a wild and crazy ping pong game!
12) Turn left when you meant to turn right. If you get lost, don't panic. Look around. You may find things you never expected that will enchant and delight you!
13) Be aware of recycling. The streets of Paris are remarkably clean for such a large city. Treat it kindly.
14) Taste new things! Eat off the street. Savor!
15) Enjoy every second!
(We'll visit the Netherlands soon, but take a brief break to post on some fun things happening in my world here! Remember, all these posts count for a prize drawing!)