Okay, I’m finally catching up on my posts here. I recently posted a very belated blurb about my trip to Toulouse in April…just a few months behind here. As I mentioned earlier I’ve been a bit preoccupied trying to organize my life for next year…more to come on that fun subject later.
After our lovely albeit cold jaunt to the South, Janese and I headed to Paris for her first visit to the City of Lights. We boarded a slow and shaky overnight train and settled in for a terrible night of sleep. Below my bunk was a smelly old man who snored. Happily for me, I found the ear plugs the train company supplied. Sadly for Janese, she never found these. She spent a much more restless night than I…Therefore her first sight of Paris was not so much romantic as it was sleepy. But she came to Europe for the European experience, and she got it. Rickety old staircases, minimal hot water, creaky overnight trains, deadly wafts of righteous B.O. and of course to balance all that out, insanely picturesque landscapes and epically delicious food.
We climbed up 6 flights of narrow stairs hauling Janese’s rather sizable suitcase between us to reach the tiny Marais studio we had rented. After a quick snooze, we set out to hit all the main sights. We only had 1 day before Janese’s return to the States, so we had to make it count. First we had some crazy good and much-needed coffee at Terres de Café, the coffee bar down the street before we headed out to explore the Marais and its’ many splendors…Rue des Rosiers, Place des Vosges, etc. From there we walked to the Notre Dame and explored the Saint-Michel and Saint-Germain des Prés neighborhoods. Next, we hopped on a metro to the Eiffel tower and then finally went to the Sacre Coeur and wandered down the crooked streets of Montmartre. Of course, there were so many other things I wanted to show Janese in my old city, but I think we did pretty good for 1 day.
That night, we headed to a Provençale restaurant in the Marais called Chez Janou. Oh my gosh. If you go to Paris, go to this restaurant. It is delicious, has an atmosphere which is simultaneously upbeat and casual and by Paris standards, is moderately priced. The baked clams that we had as a starter blew my socks off…they were so buttery and tangy. Thank you Emma for the recommendation!
The next day brought Janese’s departure and a few sniffles on my part. After I saw Janese off I had a day to explore Paris on my own before my sister and nephew arrived. I had my perfect Paris day…I took a nice long stroll along the Seine from the Marais up to the Louvre, ambled though the Jardin des Tuileries and then spent a whole afternoon in Musée L’Orangerie. On the walk back, I moseyed on through Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Ile de la Cité. Despite the cold, I was determined to get a cone of Berthillon Gelato, the God of all Gelato shops in France…but they were closed for remodeling. Sniff sniff. I cheered up with the thought that soon my lovely sister and adorable nephew would be rolling into town from New York.
The next day saw me impatiently awaiting at the Gare de Nord the arrival of my sister’s train from London. What a brave woman to travel across the Atlantic with her then 4-month-old son. They arrived exhausted and jet-lagged so we headed directly to the apartment to freshen up and then went to dinner at Chez Janou (again…I really like that place.) Once again, the meal was magnificent. While we worked on the mussels, prawns and the duck, Rowan worked on being so adorable that everyone in the restaurant had to stop and stare.
Sadly, we only had 1 day in Paris before we headed to Brittany. Well, I say sad for my sister who would’ve preferred to stay in Paris longer of course, but I was anxious to get back to Brittany and to continue showing people I love around the place I love most in France.
So, after a day exploring the Marais and its many shops, we packed our bags and hopped on a train to Rennes. I couldn’t wait for Maren to see my new home, to eat her first galette, to have her first real kouign amann (the one I made at Christmas a couple of years ago didn’t count…)