Category Archives: Paris photos

Paris In Winter

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Well bonjour!! Thanks for taking my call after I so rudely ghosted you. I seem to be spending a lot more time on Instagram (@maihem)  than I do on this blog, which I suppose is a sign of the times. However, my husband asked that I post about our recent week in Paris, and it seemed the least I could do. This one’s for you, mon amour!

Paris calls to me in all seasons, but I have a particular weakness for her in winter, when the days and queues are short. The light, though elusive, is especially golden, and reveals the silhouettes of the trees normally clothed in foliage. The beauty is more austere than in other seasons, but no less compelling.

When I lived in Paris, the one inquiry I dreaded from friends was where they should stay. I was ill-equipped to answer, as we spent very few nights in hotels  before we moved into  our apartment. I have returned several times since we moved, however, and can now recommend several hotels, all of which I have stayed on more than one occasion and found to be consistently good.

The Marriott Renaissance Arc de Triomphe is short on atmosphere but was a great hotel for us the times we were there on business. It is surrounded by fun shops and is conveniently located in the 16th.

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I have loved Hotel Le Saint both times I stayed there. This is a small boutique hotel located in the swank neighborhood of Saint -Germain -Des -Pres in the 7th. The quiet street is a short walk from the lively Boulevard St. Germain, lined with stores and cafes and bars. The rooms are generously sized and very comfortable.

Who wouldn’t love staying in a boutique hotel just off of the picture-perfect Place des Voges in the Marais? La Pavillon de la Reine is a lovely 17th century building with fifty-six rooms, a quiet bar, and an enchanting terrace perfect for tea or cocktails. I love the calm, unstuffy elegance of this place. An added bonus is that you will never have trouble  finding your way back to the hotel because of the frequent signs pointing to the famous Place des Voges.

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This was taken when I was there in August- not quite as verdant in winter!

None of these hotels are inexpensive; however, we were always able to use credit card points or to find special deals on travel sites. Obviously there are many less- spendy places to stay in Paris- I am just sharing my experiences, which were all wonderful.

It’s always tempting to return to old favorite restaurants in Paris, but this time we made a concerted effort to try some new (or new to us) places to eat. Our favorite discovery was Le Rigmarole, a tiny place in the 11th opened in October by a French-American chef. The tasting menu was original and vibrant and crazy delicious. I am sure it will quickly get harder to book, and will also become more expensive than the reasonable 49 euros currently charged for the tasting menu. Go toute suite!

Another exciting find was Le Grand Bain, tucked away in the (sort of) gritty Belleville neighborhood. Despite our early 8:00 reservation, the place was packed with (mostly French) people enjoying the creative small plates. Two dishes we wanted were already sold out, which happens in these small restaurants that cook their food fresh and in limited quantities. Our waiter was most helpful in steering us toward other choices, and we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.

For some reason we rarely ate Asian food when we lived in Paris, despite the abundance of good Asian offerings. This time we popped into a very popular Japanese restaurant in Saint Germain called Ippudo. Ramen and pork buns were the perfect antidote to the cold weather and to our empty bellies.

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I was even able to find a spicy one, which is not easy to do in Paris!

We did make the required return visit to one of our enduring favorites, Ellsworth, where we have dined many times and never been disappointed. Americans Braden Perkins and his wife Laura Adrian moved to Paris in 2007 and soon opened Verjus (another of our darlings) and then Ellsworth, both of which were received  with much approval by Parisians and tourists alike. The Ellsworth menu is shared plates from a fairly limited menu that packs a lot of flavor and food into a small space. The only savory to remain a constant on the changing menu is the fried chicken with pickles, and we wouldn’t dream of not ordering it. This time the raw scallops made my eyes roll back in my head.

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Hey- looks aren’t everything.

The malt ice cream with crispy bits is a regular among the desserts and for good reason.

I understand that the owners are in the process of opening a third restaurant, so we will have another place to add to our rotation. This reporter looks forward to giving you the scoop on it as soon as she possibly can. I’m here for you. mes amis.

We only had six days, but we hit several museums, a few parks, walked our Fit Bits into ecstasy, saw some old friends, and drank way too much vin rouge. It was glorious.

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Don’t go changin’, Paris. I”ll be back.

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Filed under Arc de Triomphe, Belleville, Paris, Paris dining, Paris hotels, Paris in winter, Paris photos, Place de Vosges, Saint Germain des Pres, Uncategorized

Bonne Année!

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Happy New Year to all!

I am so proud to report that I didn’t fall asleep before midnight!’ At 11:30 we joined the crowds and walked to the  Arc de Triomphe. We were expecting a laser light show on the Arc, similar to what we saw for the Tour de France, and we got one at 11:45. We were so surprised, however, when fireworks started at the stroke of midnight! Paris NEVER does fireworks on New Year’s Eve (much to the disappointment of throngs of tourists every year), but this year she pulled out the stops and put on a show.

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What an auspicious beginning for the new year!

Cheers to 2015, and cheers to all of you!

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Filed under Arc de Triomphe, champagne, Champs Elysees, New Year's Eve, Paris photos, Tour de France, Uncategorized

Evening stroll from Notre Dame

Mark is in Houston, and I find myself wanting to take long walks during the time I am ordinarily in the kitchen fixing our dinner.  The other night I rode the metro to Chatelet,  walked to Notre Dame, and then home.  It wasn’t a particularly pretty night, but Paris was winsome, nonetheless.  So put on your walking shoes, and let’s go!

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And then I was home again.  And happy.

Now don’t you feel better, after that long walk?

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Filed under Notre Dame, Paris, Paris outings, Paris photos, Seine, Uncategorized

Saint- Germain- des -Pres

On my last visit to Paris I met a friend for lunch in St.- Germain- des -Pres.  I had some time to kill before she arrived, so I wandered around taking pictures.  I made a special effort to see the neighborhood through the eyes of a tourist, and to notice the beauty that sometimes fades to the background when I see it every day.

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I love the little sign on the top left, advertising that this modern hotel had the convenience of gas on every floor!

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If you think this bakery is cute, check out their delivery bike!

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Mark and I  ate at this restaurant, Fish La Boissonnerie, on the trendy Rue de Seine, and loved it.  Check it out if you are in the hood.

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Such a fun morning in one of my very favorite neighborhoods in Paris.

My friend and I decided we would lunch at the Cafe de Flore.  Because we could.  And we did.

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Filed under Paris outings, Paris photos, Saint Germain des Pres, Uncategorized

Bonjour Y’all!

Paris has welcomed me home with open arms and uncharacteristically gorgeous weather.  I think she is as glad to have me back as I am to be here.

I arrived on Friday morning, and as soon as I awoke from my nap and figured out where I was, I  walked to Parc Monceau to see if my favorite friends were on their bench.  How happy I was to see that they were indeed there.  The reader was thoroughly enjoying the day’s text, which was not the usual newspaper but a comic type book .  He was laughing so hard he had to pause a few times to compose himself.  It made me happy just to listen to him.

That evening Mark and I walked to the river and were rewarded with a glorious sunset and the appearance of the blue moon (the second full moon in a month).

The next morning we had breakfast at Cafe Marly, on a terrace overlooking the Louvre pyramid and grounds.

We walked home through the Tuileries, which was full of people soaking up the sun from their green chairs.

Hang with me, friends, and we’ll share another beautiful fall in the City of Light!

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Paris Blues

Bonjour and Happy Monday!

I began this little photo montage in the early days of my stay in Paris, having convinced myself that at some point I was bound to get really sick of Paris and really homesick for Texas.  Guess what?  That never happened!  I’m sure it was in part because the winter was not nearly as treacherous as I had imagined it would be.  Also, I had a steady stream of visitors to bring me tidings (and food) from home.  Whatever the reasons, I am grateful that I never got the Paris Blues.  I hope that watching this slideshow gives you a little lift.

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More Paris eye-candy

I have just opened a bottle of wine (it’s Friday, you know) and put my feet up, to think about what a wonderful day I had, all by myself.  I had fully intended to stay close to home and tend the hearth, as  we have a somewhat hectic weekend coming up.  However, once I saw how beautiful the day was shaping up to be (after several grey days in a row) , I quickly recovered my senses and made a new plan.  Mama didn’t raise no fool.

I took the metro to Notre-Dame, enjoyed having the cathedral to myself  (here’s a little secret- there are very few tourists here  in January!), and then wandered the neighborhood in a general direction  toward home.  I took lots of pictures for you, so sit back and relax and pretend you are in Paris.  Feel free to go get a glass of champagne to sip while you enjoy the day- I’ll wait.

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Au revoir and bon weekend!

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Filed under Notre Dame, Paris photos, Uncategorized