It's February! Valentine's Day! Time for romance and love and roses and champagne. And what could be more romantic than... PARIS?
Last month, I was fortunate to zip across the Atlantic and spend a few days with my sister who, until two weeks ago, had called Paris her home for over two years.
I was also able to visit her last year, and as this was my third trip to Paris, this visit wasn't as much about the sightseeing and touristy to-dos as it was chilling with my sister, shopping, strolling, and eating.
Each time I've gone to Paris, it's been in January, during the Soldes, the twice-yearly fortnight where every single store has some kind of sale going on. This is a good strategy for all budget-minded ladies. Tickets to Paris are pretty much as cheap as they're going to get in January and then when you get there, everything is on sale! Ok, not everything. But a lot. Even...
Yeah. There is an actual Hermes sale. We went my first day there, I was still dressed in my airplane-grubby comfiness and we were there for at least four hours. (I say at least, because I was a little confused on what day and time it was). It was like Luxury Disneyworld. You stand in line to get into the sale (with some fabulous people watching all around you, of course). Then you stand in line to check your coat. Then you are checked by security who log onto a form (that you must carry around) what Hermes items you are wearing into the sale. (The answer for me, naturally, was zero. See, above, airplane grubbiness). THEN you stand in line inside the sale for different sets of items. A line for silk scarves, a line for wool scarves, a line for enamel jewelry, etc.
There were no purses or wallets. But there were shoes! And ties! And amazing Hermes bathing suits that belong in Megan Mulry's Roulette
. And yes, I made a small purchase. How could I not?
There were so many other busy,pushy stores. Some of the Soldes experience is just the browsing and people watching and elbowing.
And of course, I made several stops at French pharmacies, including the famous Citipharma
. Something about a French pharmacy makes even muscle relaxer gel seem so glamorous.
Since I was lucky enough to stay with my sister, she cooked me several lovely meals and we ate out at some new and old favorites.
is one of my hands down- must-eat recs in Paris. Four years ago I walked straight in, but today you'll need a reservation. It's known for crepes and artisanal ciders. I dream of this place when I'm back in Dallas. Delicious.
Another favorite meal of mine is eating falafel in the Marais. I've been to L'As du Falafel several times but this time we tried the spot across the street, Mi Va Mi, which was just as delicious and ate a la Parisienne, by the trash cans. It's a sisterly tradition.
As I visited just after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, you could definitely feel a difference in the Marais, which was traditionally the Jewish Quarter, where soldiers with machine guns were stationed. But there also signs like these posted everywhere.
As I said, I didn't visit all the must-see sights this time. The one time I saw the Eiffel Tower, I was on a train and hurried to grab this shot, French Kiss style.
Of course I've been to the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay but I'd never been able to see the Picasso Museum
until this visit, as it has recently reopened after a massive multi-year renovation.
I would definitely recommend this compact yet thought-provoking museum (buy advance tickets! I'm so glad my sister did or we would have had a 1+ hour wait to get in).
The museum is organized thematically, not chronologically, and really helps you see the depth and breadth of Picasso's works.
This was one of my favorites, a painting of his studio, Blank Space. To me, it said so much about the creative mind: "Here's my work. Here's what I'm going to create next. And it could be anything."
Just being in Paris is the best part of being in Paris. It's romantic, it's spontaneous. It's the type of place where you may walk by the neighborhood wine bar and be pulled in for several hours of sampling bubbly wine and enjoying charming French/Swiss/German men's company. Hypothetically.
The city is also exhausting and overwhelming and historic and very now. It's one of my favorite places in the world and I'm so blessed that I was able to spend some time there with one of my favorite people. It's every writer's dream to have an apartment in Paris and for a few days, I could pretend that I did.
And yes, I was inspired while I was there. I had a kernel of a book idea and my sister helped me plot it out. Let's just say one day there could be a book featuring a sexy wine seller, a widowed chef and mistaken identities on the Left Bank.
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and I'll include insider pics of my sister's amazing flat on the Left Bank.