One of my mottos in traveling is that it’s okay not to see everything all at once. It frees me from the tyranny of the guidebook and allows me to see and do what seems right at the time. And if I don’t see “everything there is to see”, well, then that means I’ll have more to see when I come back.
Nowhere has this motto held me in better stead than in Paris. From the first time I visited nearly twenty years ago, I knew this would be a city I would return to again and again — so why rush? Every time I come back, I see some of the favorite old sights, and discover a few new ones. So it seemed only fitting that I do the same this weekend.
I spent yesterday out at Vaux le Vicomte. When I got back into town I went to the Marais to find some Israeli street food that had been highly recommended — and when I discovered the place was closed for the weekend, I grabbed a quick, consolatory “casse croute” in a nearby cafe . . .
. . . and then went shopping — which, I just have to say, was a lot of fun. I used to really like clothes and took care about how I dressed, but then I moved to Seattle and kind of lost the vision (my racks of beautiful suits sat unused and I sank into a sort of slovenly despair). Living in London I see well-dressed men every day and started to feel the itch to get back in the game, but I was intimidated (and besides it was more fun to shop for dishes instead) So this shopping in the Marais sort of snapped me out of that and reminded me just how much fun it could be . . . I’m kind of hoping the momentum will last long enough to bring my wardrobe a bit more up to date.
Then I ran past Notre Dame on the way back to the hotel to recharge my phone and call Justin . . .
. . . and then headed out for a late dinner. I was staying in the 17th Arrondissement, which was new to me and less full of restaurants than I was used to, but a friend had recommended Rue des Dames and Batignolles places to find good restaurants. I found a place called TonTon that served a tasty three-course menu of rabbit terrine, pork chest, and a re-invented lemon tarte (in which “re-invented” appeared to mean “dumped in a bowl).
Next morning I intended to get up early and go running, but instead I got up a bit later and went to eat a pastry . . .
. . . and then called an Uber to take me to Montmartre. I wanted finally to see the Sacre-Coeur Basilica and all of Paris in the sunny Sunday morning.
It was lovely but hazy and, though early, already mobbed with the tourists I had enjoyed not seeing at Vaux le Vicomte. I lingered for a while and then walked the long way back to the hotel to get my luggage. Along the way I unexpectedly passed another iconic site that I hadn’t seen before:
And then I ate another pastry, as one does.
Then it was time to go home. I collected my luggage from the hotel and headed to the Gare du Nord and ate lunch while waiting to board the Eurostar back to London. For some magical reason the business class ticket had been cheaper than the economy class, so I upgraded myself and had a most comfortable ride back across the Channel.
Can’t wait to go back again!