Tag Archives: Paris

Paris: Fried Foods and Fine Leather Goods

Bonjour from Texas, my friends! We have been home five days and I have spent most of them in Austin, enjoying my family and tending to our sadly neglected lake house. We missed the bumper crop of Texas wild flowers, but the jasmine is still blooming large on our fence, perfuming the house through open windows (for a few more days, anyway). It’s good to be home.

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Yes, we still have no lake, but my sister’s house is on a part of Lake Travis that is still a little wet. We had a nice family dinner on the deck Saturday night.

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Notice how much nicer docks look when floating on water than when perched precariously on rocks as in the photo from our house.

Not so long ago Mark and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a new restaurant in Paris called Ellsworth. The newest offering by the darling couple who owns one of our favorite special restaurants, Verjus, Ellsworth is more casual, serving tapas seven days a week. Here were a few of our favorites.

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These were not your freezer’s corn dogs, my friends. The tender cornbread wrapper concealed duck sausage, and arrived with pickled mustard seeds and strong French mustard for dipping.

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These flaky, golden scoops of goodness were fried chicken atop a slightly spicy slaw. Fried chicken is not easy to find in Paris, and this is the best we have ever discovered.

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Dessert was apple fritters and cinnamon cream sauce. Oh my. I wish I could conjure some right now. They were so good.

of course there was some of this, too

of course there was some of this, too

Both Verjus and Ellsworth are centrally located near the Palais-Royale. Check them out the next time you are in the hood. Tell them Mark and Kate sent you.

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After all those fried calories, we opted to walk home that evening. Our route took us right by the Hermes store, which provided me the opportunity to photograph the windows without the glare of daylight. I didn’t love them, but preferred them to the previous windows, which were just weird.

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Thanks for stopping by Paris via Texas!

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Filed under Austin, fashion, Hermes, Lake Travis, Paris, Paris dining

Some Ugly At Last

Just in time, Paris provided the perfect antidote to my overriding blog theme of “ain’t life grand in Paris”, a theme which was bordering on insufferable. You know you have thought it at least a time or two.

Last week, on the first full day of my friend Martha’s visit, we set off for Montmartre, which always sparkles extra brightly when the sun is shining through azure sky. We took the bus a few stops and then began walking, enjoying the quiet streets and congratulating ourselves on avoiding the crush of tourists and tacky souvenir shops that fill the main street leading to Sacre Coeur. I was mapping our way on my phone, carrying it until I saw a sign for “Place du Tertre”, at which point I stuck the phone in my purse and soon began following Martha up some steps. Approximately two minutes later I reached back into my purse to retrieve my phone so I could photograph an artist with his easel who had begun climbing the steps in front of us. I fumbled for my phone in my small bag all the way up the stairs, only to discover at the top that my phone had disappeared. Apparently someone had seen me carrying it and began following me, closely and quietly, until I put it in my purse and he/she was able to snatch it. Martha was in front of me during our walk and climb, so she would not have noticed anyone tailing me. I suppose I had felt so safe that I did not zip my purse back up, knowing I would be pulling the phone back out momentarily. I cannot describe how confused and disbelieving I was when I realized my phone was missing. It was the oddest feeling, and not a good one. The lesson, my friends, is never to let down your guard when on the streets of Paris, even when you do not feel the least vulnerable.

I was able to shake it off and not allow my day to be spoiled, but I am still pretty bitter about it. But hey- I needed some Paris Ugly, and she provided it. At least now my content is more fair and balanced. But man I miss my phone.

On a more positive note, we thoroughly enjoyed a Bonnard exhibit at the Musee d’Orsay.

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doesn't the woman on the right look as though she is in the painting?

doesn’t the woman on the right look as though she is in the painting?

We also paid a visit to Merci, which finally had its newest installation complete. It appears to be a laundry theme, like the one frequently installed at my house.

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The sun is still shining here, and the trees and flowers are in full splendor. We are spending a lot of time outside and have enjoyed more than one glass of bubbly “au terrasse”. Life is good, but it’s even better with a phone.

Stay vigilant, mes amis, and keep all your zippers zipped.

And if you play Words With Friends or Scramble with me, now you know why I haven’t taken a turn in ten days.

The world can be ugly, but you, little nugget, are precious.

The world can be ugly, but you, little nugget, are precious.

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Filed under Montmartre, Paris, shopping, springtime in Paris, Uncategorized

Yesterday’s Walk In The Park

The weather in Paris has not been great since my return from vacation. Tuesday was unusually windy, and yesterday only slightly better. When the sun began teasing us in the afternoon I zipped up my jacket and walked around Parc Monceau. I had both my umbrella and my book in my purse, hoping to be prepared for whatever turn the weather took. Turned out I didn’t need the umbrella, but I wasn’t warm enough to sit on a bench with my book.

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I loved how her yellow shoes looked with the flowers.

I loved how her yellow shoes looked with the flowers.

It pains me to say that I have not seen our two old friends at the park in a long time. I never stop looking for them, though. We have seen this couple before. Do you remember them? They always walk like this.

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This plane tree is over 200 years old. I just love it.

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The birds were so happy. They must know that spring is on its way.

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Filed under Parc Monceau, springtime in Paris

Girl Time In Paris

When I came back to Paris this time I was lucky enough to be joined first by one daughter, and then the other, and THEN three of her friends from Texas. Do I even need to tell you how wonderful it was having 4/5 of my family here? Pret-ty darn fabulous. We missed our son/brother, bien sûr, but sent him pics until he begged us to stop.

My two daughters were here together for a few days. We did some shopping and some dining, and enjoyed Paris at Christmas time.

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Then Martha’s three friends/roommates arrived, and the apartment quickly overflowed with girls and boots and good smells and laughter. I was one very content mama, I can tell you.

The girls made the most of their six-day stay, and were admired by many a man about town. They may not have noticed, but I was behind them, picking up the rear, and I can assure you that they never went unnoticed. But I guess they are used to that. Ah, youth.

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

I can't remember where this one was taken.

I can’t remember where this one was taken.

on the one sunny day....

on the one sunny day….

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That same sunny day they also had a pricey drink at the top of the Pompidou, followed by gelato at Amorino.

 

Martha and I shared the tour guide umbrella. One day I took them to Saint-Germain because, you know, j’adore.

bus stop beauties

bus stop beauties

We went to Luxembourg Gardens, which was pretty empty on a cold winter’s day.

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We also visited Au Bon Marche, Cire Trudon, Coton Deux (we love their pajamas), Hermes, Rue de Buci, and finished at Cafe de Flore for hot chocolate and wine (for moi).

Another day we went to the fun and feisty Marche d’Aligre, where the girls got A LOT of appreciation from the spirited vendors.

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We had fun looking at all the produce and enjoying many juicy citrus samples. The small flea market just behind the outdoor market revealed treasures to be explored. One friend bargained hard and bought this framed pencil sketch for her mom. I think she ended up getting it for 1/2 of the first price he quoted her. The girl’s got skills.

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From the flea market we entered the old covered market, which was still festive with Christmas decorations and lights.

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I loved having these girls in Paris with us. They were perfect guests. They were super enthusiastic about everything, even through jet lag and winter grey. They were all adventurous eaters, which automatically earned my badge of approval. No one needed lots of primping time, so they were able to get out of the apartment early each morning, making their tour guide very happy. They helped in the kitchen and cleaned up after themselves, and they even let Mark and me hang out on the couches with them. And did I mention that they loved to eat??? Gold stars all around!

It sure has been nice living in a city that people want to visit. Mark and I have had such fun entertaining guests during our time here. It’s hard not to have a good time in Paris. We miss our family, and we miss our friends, but sometimes they meet us in Paris, which is always a good idea.

Merci, girls, for making Paris just a little more sparkly for a week.

Now get to work. And Hook ‘Em Horns!

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Filed under Cire Trudon, Eiffel Tower, family, flea market, flowers, food markets, gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Montmartre, Paris, Paris in winter, Sacre-Coeur, Uncategorized

For All The Things

The Monday after Thanksgiving is always a little sobering. The turkey holiday flew by too fast and involved too much food and drink. Family has dispersed to their respective towns and states. And worst of all, there is no denying that Christmas is making a full-court press. Isn’t it too bad that these two big holidays are bumped up against each other the way they are? A little time and space between them would be so much nicer. When I was in college in Virginia and couldn’t always make it home for Thanksgiving, my family celebrated a few “Thanksgiving in July” feast days. That was a great idea, Mom. I wish we could have made it stick.

Perhaps in a pathetic attempt to avoid focusing on the December calendar, I am still lingering with Thanksgiving today. Give me just a few more hours to savor the memories of a long weekend with family and the beautiful place we gathered, which was San Diego, California. Allow me also to continue nurturing my feelings of gratitude, a practice I need to engage more regularly.

For the beauty of this world.

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For my children, who have survived their mushy-brained adolescence and somehow lived to tell about it (but not too much, please), and who actually like being with each other and with us.

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For my selfless and forgiving husband, who both lifts me up and keeps me grounded.

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For our own parents and siblings, who started us on our journeys with love and images of family that shaped our own.

For old friends who stick with us, even as we stumble and crumble and lose sight of the world’s goodness.

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For literature and poetry possessing the power to tenderize our hearts to each other and to the world around us.

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Thank you for this moment of quiet. Now go forth into the madness that can be December with a grateful heart and the fortitude required to listen to Christmas carols pumped into every building you enter for the next 25 days. Good luck!

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Filed under family, gratitude, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

Day Trippin’

My mother and her sister had both been to Paris several times before their trip to see me in September. Because they had the luxury of staying almost two weeks, we decided to spend one day in Bruges, Belgium. I found this tour on-line, and thought it would be a fun day trip for us. And that is how we came to be out and about at the Tuileries very early one morning. We caught a large tour bus and settled in for a comfortable three-hour ride with occasional commentary by our tour guide. When we arrived in Bruges, our guide walked us around the city for a couple of hours and then gave us a few hours to explore the place on our own. Bruges is a charming little canal town with some beautiful churches and several small museums. I highly recommend it for a day trip. You can also get there from Paris by train, but I think it requires a change.

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We said no merci to the boat ride

 

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lunch! a bowl of mussels!

love the mermaid!

love the mermaid

I so wanted to purchase this little nun in the window, but the shop was fermé.

I so wanted to purchase this little nun in the window, but the shop was fermé.

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Our bus pulled back into Paris by 9:00 that evening, and we went to bed tired and happy.

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Filed under Bruges, Paris, Paris outings, travel, Uncategorized

Moonstruck in Texas and Remembering Paris

photo courtesy of Getty Images

First, can we all just take a minute to acknowledge the amazing performance of the moon this week? Wow. And not just when she was all dressed up in red, but even the nights just before and after- simply breathtaking. Thank you, awesome moon.

I have been doing my moon-gazing in Texas, having arrived home a week ago and hardly stopped moving since. My long list of To-Do’s is a bit daunting, full of words like “organize”, “Goodwill”, “repair”, “pay”, and “appointment”. Not the stuff of Made For HBO Movies, to be sure, but somehow strangely gratifying after months of champagne, cheese, and chocolate. It’s always good to return to Real Life, as unglamorous as it may be, if for no other reason than my jeans are getting tight. But there are lots of other reasons, like family, friends, Wonder Chien, and margaritas.

Fortunately, I have lots of memories of Paris to share with you, because I think I would lose all my followers if I spent much time talking about my trips to Target and the dry cleaners.  So let’s go back to Paris, shall we?

The first Sunday that The Ladies were in Paris coincided with “Heritage Days” in France, the one weekend a year that a variety of well known but usually out of bounds historical monuments are open to the public. We rode the bus to Madeleine and then walked over to the “Hotel de Tallyrand”, which sits in a prime spot just off the Place de la Concorde. This gorgeous townhouse was built in 1767-1769 for a close friend of King Louis XV. It was purchased by the Rothschild family in 1838, was requisitioned by the Vichy government and then the Nazis, and then was sold to the U.S. Department of State in 1950. The mansion was the home of the administration of the Marshall Plan and is still owned by the U.S. State Department.  The home underwent a major restoration from 2000-2010, and is a glittering example of neo-classicism.

These two jaunty gentlemen greeted us at the door. The period costumes were gorgeous.

These two jaunty gentlemen greeted us at the door. The period costumes were gorgeous.

Remember to always look up when you are in Paris.

Remember to always look up when you are in Paris.

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Next door to the Hotel Crillon and just across the street from the Place de la Concorde- pretty sweet address.

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Home was just a stroll through the Tuileries away.

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So that was a really nice afternoon in Paris. Beautifully restored 16th century architecture makes for nice outings, yes?

I’ll be back soon with more memories of Paris for you. Just let me check a few more things off my list first.

To tide you over, I leave you with this parting moon shot from the Rodin Gardens.

Rodin didn't do this, but it's not half bad.

Rodin didn’t do this, but it’s not half bad.

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Filed under Heritage Days, Hotel de Tallyrand, nice buns