We had an overnight flight directly from Detroit to Paris, departing Thursday evening and arriving around noon the next day. To prepare, we studied a few different books and magazine features to lay out a rough sketch of destinations. Restaurants, chocolatiers, boulangeries, patisseries, markets and museums too good to be missed. Excitement spoiled my plan to catch a solid nap.
We rented an apartment in Montmartre just a few steps behind the Sacre Coeur. Though pretty musty, it served it’s purpose and it was great to be in a neighborhood. I would strongly recommend visiting in early November. Very few crowds, temperate weather and not a trace of the infamous French attitude. The people were lovely. Often when we sat down to order at cafes, we were treated to little impromptu French lessons by our waiter or waitress. We spent our days wandering the streets, sampling cheeses with crusty hunks of fresh bread, marveling at the architecture and restraining me from falling to my knees in reverence outside of each and every chocolatier.
We had gotten the 6 day museum pass which allowed access to most every museum in Paris. It was nice because we didn’t feel compelled to wring ourselves out getting our “moneys worth” at any particular place since we could always revisit later. My limit is right around 3-4 hours for any one museum anyway. It’s like smelling perfume, after the first 5 sniffs your senses are dulled and all subtleties are lost. Best to return with a clear head later. Having said that, we visited the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle cathedral, Musee de l’ Orangerie, the Rodin Museum, the Pompidou Centre, and Versailles. Whew… centuries of culture packed into 10 measly days. Faves: Pompidou, l’Orangerie, and the Rodin. Almost forgot- the Paris Sewer tours were included on our pass. One guess who couldn’t pass on that “opportunity”.
Ahhh…and then there was the food. The Food… Friends who have already seen our pictures said, “why do you take so many pictures of food?” And to that I say, “because food is what forms the backbone of all cultures, it gives structure to our travels, and our lives. ” And come to think of it, our actual backbones. We’d plan each day starting with where we’d eat later that night. Spend the day sightseeing, eating pastries, touring, window shopping, until 7-8-9 o’clock rolled around and then the fun really began. Time to sit down (finally) to enjoy an apertif while pondering the menu and wine list. So many possibilities. Menues written with careful consideration for seasonal ingredients and just the right amount of creativity. Never inaccessable nor predictable. Oh dear god, and the cheese course. Just when you don’t think things can get any better you’re offered some gorgeous small batch family-made sheep’s cheese from the Pyrenees drizzled with a little lavendar honey. Such perfect contentment at the end of each meal. Then a chilly stroll back to our little Parisian apartment, bellies full and backbones amply fortified, certain that this was the first of many visits to come.