April 20, 2015

Ten Days in Paris

My husband and I don't get away together very often. I can pretty much count on one hand the times we have been away from home as a couple since becoming parents (and that includes weekends!). Last year we had hoped to go to Paris for our 20th wedding anniversary but it didn't happen due to a combination of timing, work and family responsibilities. This year, our youngest daughter Chloé was booked on a two-week European high school trip in April. Our eldest daughter Emma is living in residence at McGill University and is busy finishing up her first year. We realized that an empty house was providing a perfect opportunity to get away. Don't worry, we didn't leave Meeko on his own!

On our honeymoon almost 21 years ago, we flew to Paris (my first visit!) before renting a car and travelling to Provence. That time, we stayed in a B&B on the outskirts of Paris and took the train into the city. As we emerged from a subway exit beside La Seine and the gorgeous cream-coloured buildings that line it, I remember bursting into tears. I had dreamed of visiting Paris for so long and I was finally there, and it was even more beautiful than I had imagined. Each time we've revisited Paris, we've fallen in love with it more and more deeply. The last time we were in Paris was four years ago. That was a special trip because we introduced Emma and Chloé to the city.

This time, we rented an apartment on airbnb instead of staying in a hotel. The apartment was great and we loved the experience (imagining that we were Parisians) and would definitely do it again.

We decided not to visit museums and other indoor venues this time. The weather was glorious; we were told it was unseasonably warm for April. So basically our trip can be summed up in this way: we walked and walked and walked. Thank goodness we did because we also ate a lot of great food and drank fantastic wine. We saw old friends and made new friends.

I got to see my dear friend Lucile (lucileskitchenInstagram) again--actually twice. Yay! We went to Le Sennelier together to buy some art supplies and then on another day Jocelyn and I visited her in her apartment. I will post photos of her beautiful studio and kitchen later this week.

We spent a lot of time with our wonderful friend Laurent (in the photo on the left) and his adorable life and business partner Marie. We met Laurent, who is both a chef and sommelier, eleven years ago when we first discovered his restaurant Mémère Paulette

We ate copious quantities of delectable food while sitting at the front counter of Mémère Paulette. (I am still dreaming of the scrambled eggs with truffles that Laurent made for us as a special welcome.) We made new friends as we ate and talked with those seated beside us, our 'copains du comptoir'--Aymeric, Carine, Antoine and Thibault. We also sampled wonderful French wine from Laurent's cellar.

On a couple of afternoons, Laurent became our animated and passionate private tour guide, pointing out architectural details and providing historical facts as we walked through arrondissements. Better by far than any book.

One night, Laurent and Marie took us to their favourite cassoulet restaurant, Auberge Pyrénées-Cévennes. On our last day in Paris, they arranged for a tasting of amazingly wonderful éclairs. We had so much fun together.

L'éclair de génie
Jocelyn and I also visited the beautiful new location of Mémère au Piano--a restaurant that we had enjoyed on two previous trips. We think it's funny and interesting that we seem to gravitate towards restaurants with 'mémère' in the name! (Mémère is a French word for grandmother.) We had a lovely meal there and we were very happy to see Christophe, Valentin and their warm entourage again. (In the photo--Christophe, me, Valentin, Lablu, my husband Jocelyn and Johnny.)

When we left Montreal, it was cold and everything was still covered with snow. I can't tell you how happy I was to see all of the flowers in Paris. They were blooming in the public gardens. Trees along the streets were beginning to flower and leaf out. And, of course, there was the 'marché aux fleurs' on Île Saint-Louis. I took so many photos.

I decided to take a break from social media while we were away but a chance glance at Instagram showed me that two Etsy friends from Milan were in Paris at the same time. What luck to be able to meet up with Mirta of modernbotanics and Giulia from unpeusauvage for coffee and a walk. It's amazing to meet people who you already 'know' and 'like' from the internet and to find out that you really do like them! (In the photo from left to right: Giulia, Mirta, me.)

Chloé came home from her European trip on the same day as we did so we met up at the airport. The next day, I drove to Trois-Rivières to pick up Meeko from his 'vacation' with my husband's cousin. Emma came home for a visit on the weekend. Together again, we exchanged gifts and enjoyed telling each other about our experiences of the past two weeks.

Now my challenge is to resist the dreamy Parisian cloud that is still enveloping me and get back to my normal routine! Wish me luck!

❤  ❤  ❤  ❤  

If you are interested in seeing more photos from my trip, I posted some of them on Instagram: https://instagram.com/trowelandpaintbrush/


  1. What a fantastic visit to Paris you enjoyed, far better than any arranged guided tour, here this day, and do that, on the next day. You experienced seeing places & doing things that most visitors to Paris never get to see. The real Paris. Living in France I often laugh to myself when someone makes a post about French style decorating and French food., it's not like they think it is, in everyday French homes. You need to spend a day or more in a true French home with French people. Look forward to seeing more photos of your visit.

    1. It was really wonderful, Barbara, probably our favourite trip there so far because of how we spent our time. We met so many interesting people. For example, when we were walking in Montmartre, a 90-year-old woman stopped to talk to us and told us all about the neighbourhood and her life during the war. She had lived in the same place since 1933. It was an amazing experience listening to her. Very special.

  2. oh Kathleen, I love seeing all your beautiful photos of Paris! It was lovely to meet you and spend some time together! xo

    1. What an amazing, lucky thing to have been able to see you and Giulia in Paris without having planned it! I really loved meeting you too, Mirta. xo

  3. Aaaah you prett much summed up my feelings for Paris. I am so glad you enjoyed your time so much, and got nice weather !! And you got to meet so many people, how wonderful !
    I will be there next Tuesday, as a belated birthday treat !
    Loved your post !! oxox

    1. We were so lucky with the weather! And, yes, the people we spent our time with and met really made the trip. I am so envious that you are able to go there relatively often. Sounds like the perfect belated birthday treat! xo

  4. Anonymous8:31 AM EDT

    I enjoyed your post so much—beautiful photos, and the warmth of your friendships.


Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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