Jamie and I sadly left Capri and flew from Napoli to Paris. This was a very nerve-racking flight for us as we heard so many rumors about the baggage weight restrictions these smaller airlines enforced. (We were flying Meridiana.) So the night before we were throwing out every fool thing we could. I was dumping excess Listerine - she was giving up on random papers and toiletries. Jamie was intent on wearing every piece of jewelry and every heavy jacket and sweater she owned. I wish I had taken a picture in the taxi in Napoli… it was hilarious. She looked like one of those crazy bling-blanged women you see at casinos in Vegas.
And, of course, when we finally got to the airport, the girl who checked us in didn’t even bother to weigh our bags! All of that stress for nothing! This then liberated me to buy the one thing I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get before leaving Italy - Montenegro! Fortunately the duty free shop had some so I’m all good!
When we got in to Paris we were starving. We ordered up room service and two bottles of wine. Dave arrived (he came down from London) and helped us finish it off. Then those two slackers passed out! We’d all just arrived in Paris and they were already looking defeated. So sad!
I forced the crew to rally around 9 to go to dinner at Closerie des Lilas. This is the restaurant where Hemingway wrote “For Whom the Bells Tolls” and is my favorite restaurant in Paris. Just imagining him and George Orwell and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among so many others, sitting there chatting, thinking and writing is pretty awesome to me. Of course, with such fame comes high prices. We had a bottle of Chambertin - which we now know was Napolean’s favorite wine - some plates of cheese, crepes, soups, and salads. (And, yes, we had the obligatory vegetable plate which is all that the French seem to think vegetarians want to eat for dinner!) After stealing three ash trays, one for each of us, we were off and all ready to totally pass out for the night!
The next day we got up and headed out to Versailles. We’d have a lot more pictures for you except the damn buildling was largely under renovation so it really didn’t look as spectacular as it normally would. This is Jamie’s luck - every place she goes is covered in scaffolding!
Inside we did get to see the infamous Hall of Mirrors which is pretty amazing. Took some pictures, fought off the mobs of tourists and listened to the long-winded guided tour. Those recordings make a point of identifying every painting and piece of furniture in a room. When you’re talking almost 30 rooms, you’re going cross-eyed from all the references… And, thus, you tend to start skipping the audio guide and just taking pictures instead.
The weather in Paris has been complete crap for our entire trip. When we first arrived it was chilly and rainy and prompted a shopping spree for warmer attire. This return leg of our trip was no different. Rainy and cold - every day! That also make Versailles a little less spectacular - and inviting. I know from past experience that wandering the gardens of Versailles can be as interesting as taking the building tour, but with the cold and wind and drizzle, we cut that part short. Above are a few pictures we managed to squeeze in.
After Versailles we headed back to Paris to have snacks and wine with my friend Maina. She and I met at Coachella this past spring and so I had to make a point of seeing my only truly French friend in Paris while here. She was a wonderful hostess! She made us the most delicious sweet tart, bought a bunch of typical Parisian desserts and cheeses and we drank a bottle of sweet sparkling traditional wine and then a bottle of Bordeaux. All very fun!
After recovering from the Maina feast, we tool a long stroll from our hotel in St. Germain des Pres up to the Seine and then all the way down to the Eiffel Tower. We figured this would work up our appetites for dinner. The rain stopped for our walk and we got a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Seine.
After taking our obligatory Eiffel Tower pictures we strolled around the right bank looking for a creperie for dinner. We managed to find one and we stuffed ourselves on crepes dinners and desserts and wine. A very happy (and fattening) end to our long day!
For our last full official day in Paris, we went to the Musee d’Orsay - Jamie’s favorite museum. Because the tourists are everywhere, we sent Dave on ahead to get us tickets so we could skip the horrible lines. That worked brilliantly. We saw the Renoir, Cezanne and Picasso special exhibit and then strolled through the rest of the impressionist rooms. At the end we settled in to my favorite part - the fancy museum restaurant - for some wine and cheese.
This is Jamie and Dave at the restaurant. Jamie celebrates more great French white wine while Dave contemplates all the great artists he’s just seen.
After a quick bite we wandered over to Notre Dame - the last stop on Dave’s trip with us. Raining again, we stopped for a quick picture, went inside to take it all in and then grabbed more crepes and headed back to the hotel in the rain. There we saw Dave off and back to London.
One of my favorite parts of Paris is Sacre Coure. This church is absolutely breath-taking. I remember a few years ago when I went in spring and the steps up the hill to the church were lined with all different colored tulips. I went inside and French nuns were singing hymns and they sounded like angels!
This trip to Sacre Coure was not quite as nice. We took the metro and battled our way up approximately 10 flights of steps to get out of the metro. (En route I tripped and bashed my knee - the first and only official fall for me on this trip! Of course it was kind enough to wait until the last day!)
We got to the top and went inside. Very beautiful - but very hot. Outside is cold and raining and inside you are wet and humid and surrounded by a zillion tourists. Sacre Coure was a short visit for us - and then we were on our way to walk down through Montmatre to Boulevard Haussman for a bit more shopping.
After shopping we headed over to the Arc d’Triomphe for dinner at a cafe on the Champs Elysees. We found a great spot that had vegetarian French onion soup - a favorite for me! Had sandwiches and St Emillion Grand Cru to celebrate our last meal on vacation! Too much wine made us giddy and we had a fun and goofy stroll on the Champs Elysees!
So that’s the end of our combined tour! Jamie was trying to show leg and hail us a taxi in that picture but it actually looks more like she’s waving goodbye to Paris!
Now it is Friday morning - day sixteen for me - and I have a few hours to go tour the Louvre before heading to the airport. Jamie has a quicker flight home while I have a long layover in New York City tonight. Going to Mexican Radio in Soho and going to catch some sleep at a hotel downtown before I fly back to Los Angeles - and back to the real world!