we’re gonna live
I’m on it
The city of lights. The city of cheese and champagne. Where shop fronts lure you in with the most amazing bread, pastries, crepes, macarons, marshmallows and of course, the infamous croissant. Where you can smoke almost anywhere. Where dog poop lays deserted on the footpath. A city famous for fashion, sights and cuisine. The most romantic city in the world. More people are engaged in Paris than any other city on earth, I should know, I was one of them.
Way back when in 2002, my “boyfriend” popped the question on a quiet lawn by the River Seine, right behind Ill St Louis and Notre Dame. It was adorable and sweet and the whole experience was so corny, I’m surprised I didn’t need salsa to wash it all down.
We stayed in Paris for 2 weeks in a privately owned family apartment that we leased through a boutique rental company named One Fine Stay. The apartment was huge, on the top floor of an old building in district 16. We had 2 living areas, a study, kitchen with walk in pantry and dining table. The balconies along the front of the building all had views of the Eiffel Tower much to our delight when we checked in.
James and I had a lovely master bedroom at the end of the apartment with views of the Eiffel Tower from our bed. The kids were in the next bedroom in double bunks which they loved. Such a novelty climbing a ladder to hop into bed every night. The little boy who resided in that room was named Paul and he had many toys and books, all in French of course.
In the next bedroom, Harriet slept in a gorgeous timber cot with cute toys, and baby supplies.
Marlee was in a separate wing of the apartment near the living area. She had her own master bathroom too.
The weather over our 14 day stay was unpredictable and kept it interesting while dressing every morning. With the school holidays still on in Paris, many shops and cafes were closed in August which was rather annoying. We walked to many cute boutiques in the St Germain area only to find they were closed and wouldn’t re-open for weeks after our departure.
Our favourite place to shop for gourmet edibles was Le Bon Marche in the St Germain area. This gorgeous high end department store was truly Parisian in every way. Luxury goods, impeccable service and all out fancy in every way. Next door to the department store, another old building hosted the Le Bon Marche Food Hall which was mind blowing. Food from all over the world, in different sections to ponder over. We bought hard to find items like curry paste, pop tarts, bagels and more. The prices were absolute outrageous, not the place you would do your weekly shop but rather, a special occasion or when you were in need of multicultural foods. Many people perusing the aisles were Asian, American or British.
On our quaint street, we had many little parks that would predominately entertain the local children in neighbouring streets. Marlee would often take the kids there in the morning while Harriet was having her morning nap or James and I were working together.
We decided to cap our sights to just a few so we could enjoy more time living like locals and visit the areas that aren’t as popular on the tourist trail.
The Musee D’Orsay is one of my favourite places in the world. I could sit in there for hours at a time, and just absorb the ambience and beauty of it all. The kids were very well behaved during our time there and loved seeing the Van Gogh exhibition. We were directed into the VIP / family line at the entrance by a lovely security guard which meant we could queue jump and save time lining up outside.
After our dreamy visit to the Orsay, we walked over to the Jardin des Tuileries which was hosting a fun fair / carnival for the month of August. I had read many positive reviews about the fair but was quite disappointed when we walked over. Carnival folk are the same in every country it seems, and were doing the usual job of touting their crap and offering scams on rides and games. We had promised the children they could ride on 1 ride and they picked the most hideous looking contraption in the entire fair. Marlee, James and I laughed on the sidelines as the kids enjoyed the ride.
James and I enjoyed a truly magical day together as we ventured out to and shopped the quaint streets. We had an early lunch at a hipster pop-up burger bar with clientele sporting tattoos, beards and bros. A nearby adorable bakery offered the most delicious treats and together we sampled hot pink raspberry marshmallows and perused stationary and homeware stores all through the Marais district.
Next stop was a late lunch. Long lines form in front of a tiny, dark green storefront, where tourists and locals alike await for what just may be the world famous felafel at L’As Du Fallafel’. What you’ll get is a pita stuffed to the brim (cue forks and lots of napkins) with garlicky chickpea fritters, creamy hummus, pickled red cabbage, salted cucumbers, fried eggplant and just-hot-enough harissa.
We spotted the Channel Nine ‘Getaway” TV crew there filming an Australian family. We wiped our faces clean and continued to walk along the Rue de Rivoli before grabbing an Uber home. The Uber service in Paris was fantastic.
An old friend of mine was staying out in the country, not too far from Paris and headed into town to meet us for lunch and a play. Her son Tom is 6 as well, just a week younger than Abi. We invited them to our apartment before lunch and Jen and I managed to catch up properly while the kids enjoyed the playroom. Hungry tummies beckoned, so we shared an Uber over to the Marais district and introduced them to the famous felafel shop, L’As Du Fallafel. Jen was beside herself with her tasty treats!
We sat in a nearby park and let the kids run wild in the garden while Jen, James and I had a lovely chat in the sunshine. It was so delightful, and I really enjoyed having some face to face time with a girlfriend.
More to come in Part II