Paris, Je t’aime

My being belongs to New York.  My soul belongs to London.  But my heart.  My heart belongs to Paris.  And I have been lucky enough to have spent the last 4 days in the city of my heart.  Thanks to my dad AND sister having to do business there, my mom and I packed our bags and tagged along for the ride.  Even though this was my 5th trip to the city of lights, it was no less magical or magnifique than the first time!

People seem to give Parisians (and the French people as a whole) a bad rap.  They think they are rude and snobby.  They dress in all black and aren’t nice to tourists.  But hey…the same could be said about New Yorkers!!  Nothing, in my eyes, could ever make me hate France.  Well, I will admit that I did go into a minor rage attack on the French when my luggage was lost for 20 minutes at Charles de Gaulle Airport.  That’s why I carry on only!  I digress.  How can you not love this city?!?!? Each neighborhood tells a unique story.  Each building is rich with history.  You never know what there is to discover around each corner.  The air is literally thick with love. **My cousin actually proposed to his now wife during a trip to Paris**

I know I am a hopeless romantic and still tending to a bruised heart, but seriously every where I looked in Paris there were people in love.  Couples looking longingly at each other as they ride the metro. Walking with their arms around each other down Boulevard St. Germain.  Men are more than happy to hold the shopping bags of their lady’s as they shop through Bon Marche.  There was even a couple next to us at dinner one night who held hands across the table through their entire  meal! Even though it nauseated my family beyond words, I was incredibly touched.  Ok, yes, maybe when they were actually eating they could have let go, but they seemed to be so enraptured in their love not to care that they couldn’t properly use their utensils with only one hand.

And speaking of dinner, the food in Paris…mon dieu!! The best part about eating in Paris is that you don’t have to go to the fancy shmancy restaurants to have an out of this world meal.  In fact, one of  my favorite meals of the trip was at an itsy bitsy falafel restaurant in the Le  Marais neighborhood.  Food in France isn’t just about eating.  Every chef, from the Michelin starred to the crepe vendor on the street, creates their food to entice all of the senses. At our last dinner (which I voted as my favorite “full meal”.  We like to rank everything we eat in different categories), the chef only offered one menu and the restaurant only had 29 seats.  This allowed the chef the luxury to give a certain attention to detail to each and every dish he sent out that most chef’s don’t.  The flavor combinations were something I had never tasted before and each plate was as if it were a work of art that came straight from the Louvre.  I have to admit, that I may have been drunk with love (and champagne) at this dinner.  The chef, who worked in a kitchen that was open to the restaurant floor, was adorable, from New York, and a college basketball fan.  Seriously, if I had another glass of champagne, I would have proposed to him.

Below are some pictures of my favorite dishes from the trip.  In no particular order:

And even though through the pictures it looks like all we did was eat (which would not have been a bad thing), we did some touring and shopping as well.  Though it may have been my 5th time in Paris, there were so many things I was able to experience for the first time.  No, I didn’t wait in line to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I did get to see it lit up and sparkling for the first time.  No, I didn’t go to the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa, but I did go to the Musee D’Orsay to see the impressionist paintings of Monet, Degas, and Renoir (my favorite artists).  But the creme de la creme of the “first time Parisian experiences” and the real reason we took this trip, was that we were able to attend the Valentino show for Paris Fashion Week.  This was the “overseas business” that I had mentioned my sister had.  The show was full of energy and the clothes were as breathtaking as the pieces of art that I had seen earlier that day.

At the beginning of my trip I had said that the next time I travel to France, I was not going to come to Paris because there was so much more of the country that I wanted to discover.  Bordeaux, Normandy, Provence, Nice…all places on my travel bucket list.  I had exhausted these cobble stoned streets and it was time to see more.  But, on our last night as our cab drove through the Place de la Concorde, passed the Eiffel Tower, and up the Champs Elysee my heart began to ache.  How could I turn my back on my love? So for now, I’ll  say à bientôt, Paris!  Je t’aime.

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