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My Week in Paris

There are so many quotes out there about Paris, and you'll see a few more in this post, but the one below is the most accurate for my time spent there. From the moment I landed in to the early morning commute from Paris it was cold, damp and rainy. I spent all day Saturday inside a building, but still in my winter coat, gloves and mask (and the pandemic and flu were only part of the reason it was on my face-the heat it helped generate was the main reason). I spent all Sunday in bed; a little jet lag finally catching up with me mixed with Saturday's cold knocked me out.

Blurred picture of a person bundled up in the winter air walking along the bridge over the Seine River.
“It’s Paris. You don’t come here for the weather.”― Adrian Leeds

Before I even left Nashville I met a French woman by the name of Rose. She walked with me to get the correct train itinerary for my destination, she translated for me, she even paid for the ticket. Rose walked me to my train, gave me hand written directions for where I was going in case I forgot or got lost, she exchanged cell phone numbers with me and has been in communication even since. Rose commutes from France to Nashville frequently, as she has family in America and she has a non-profit for children in the Congo. She spoke of God's love and then showed me God's love in everything she did to help me. You have to understand, she doesn't live in Paris. In order to help me get where I needed to go, she wasn't able to make her own train from the airport; she missed her first train to help me. And she continued to check on me while I was in Paris.

 

The next morning I woke and scheduled an Uber to my Cheese-making class! This experience was so much fun. We made a Tomme style of cheese; this cheese is normally pressed for weeks or months to release the water and then aged for months before eating. However, we only had a two hour class, so while the milk (the good French milk!) was coming to the temperature we had a mini lesson on what makes a cheese and the different types of cheese. Then we strained/pressed out as much water as we could and formed a Tomme. We then took full fat cream and whipped it by hand until we made delicious butter, forming it in a butter mold. The best part of cooking classes to many is the end when you get to eat the spoils and eat them we did. My group-mates didn't want to take the butter with them, so I took the whole block. I had the store to wrap and vacuum seal it up for me, in case I didn't get around to eating it while I was in France. (You better believe I used that butter in as many meals I could when I got home!)


If you want to learn about what you can and can't (and how) bring back to America from another country, there are so many resources out there, but asking those in the country you are in will also be beneficial. For instance, an airline attendant was the one who told me that they always freeze the butter and bring back some when they are in France.



 
The Eiffel Tower, lit up in the Paris night.




Friday night I journeyed to the Eiffel Tower. Another night of cold winds and rain made the walk up the tower an even harder journey, but the view did make it worth it. Afterwards I walked around the base of the tower until I found a little cafe and took up a seat for a glass of wine and some food. In true fashion, I made friends with the girls at the table next to me and we talked until they had to leave.







Black and White photo of the walk way from the Eiffel Tower. The Tower is partially in the frame.


And let me tell you, while my whole trip was fabulous, I had the most movie picture perfect moment while walking from the Tower to the cafe. The walk was quiet, bathed in the lights from the Tower and the street lights along the way and it was beautiful, a couple, a little ways in front of me held hands as "Le Vie En Rose" played from an unseen performer.


If you know me personally you know that I love classic movies, Breakfast at Tiffany's & Casablanca being near the top of the list. I'm so happy to say that this is not made up, I stopped and just allowed the song to wash over me in the cold and beauty of the night. That couple, and many others will definitely have a "We'll always have Paris"(-Bogart, Casablanca) moment.



 

You have to understand, I've wanted to go to France for a long time, but it was my friends on Twitter going nuts one day in September that got the ball rolling. If you remember this post or have ventured over to my shop and noticed the fandom items there you'll know that when Richard Dean Anderson (RDA. AKA-MacGyver) had agreed to attended a fan convention with his wonderful co-star Amanda Tapping, it was a chance I couldn't pass up. RDA hadn't committed to conventions in a long time, while Amanda had still been doing them. Now I won't go into the ridiculousness of this convention, but it was and as a first time con goer, I am happy to have every veteran con goer I know tell me that what we experienced was not normal.

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyuver, Stargate SG1, etc), Christina (Me!) & Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG1, Supernatural, Motherland: Fort Salem, etc)

But on Saturday I got my picture and thanks to my Irish bestie (that's what you are now Jac, in case you didn't know) I got RDA's autograph on my team photo as well as Amanda's on a separate photo, Mark Williams' from Father Brown (And Harry Potter, apparently) and I got to meet so many of my Fandom Friends!



 
“Paris is a city where time is best to spend doing nothing.” ― Erich Maria Remarque

Sunday was spent doing exactly that; nothing. It was excellent; I spent the day sleeping, sketching, and ended it with a brisk walk around the block and back in the hotel cafe/bar talking with the front desk attendant about France, America, food & wine.

Also, side note; aren't those to go soy sauce bottle the cutest!?

 

I saw a quote, fact(?) since my trip saying that it could take you almost 200 days to see everything in the Louvre. I laughed and said, "I believe it! It took me a day just to get out of the Louvre!" While this is a bit of a joke, it's the honest truth!

After walking through a few areas and seeing the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, and so much other beautiful artwork, I could barely find my way out of the museum! It was a little more crowded than I expected and that only helped in my confusion. However, it is a beautiful museum and if you love art, you absolutely need to go. Just know that if you have trouble walking, please contact them ahead of time; there are escalators and elevators but once I was in the separate exhibits every elevator I saw was closed.

I did the bulk of my shopping at the Carousel mall located in the section of the Louvre where an admission ticket is not needed and then enjoyed the damp walk in the Jardin des Tuileries while heading toward the Place de la Concorde for my Uber to pick me up to take me to my hotel so I could get dressed for my diner reservation at Le Train Bleu.



Server at Le Train Bleu flambaying Crepes Suzette at the table.

Some say Le Train Bleu is overrated and not worth the time or money and they have a right to that opinion, however, I loved it. And after the day looking at the artwork in the Louvre, the atmosphere just added to my art viewing for the day! It was my one really fancy night out. I sat next to a couple, I could have sworn was going to get engaged by the end of the night-he even sang to her guys-we chatted and took each others pictures, he even offered me a bite of his food when I asked if it was good because I had considered that option. (I didn't accept). The meal, of duck foie gras en croute, roasted leg of lamb, dauphinoise potatoes, was incredible, just as all the food I had while in France was.

“Paris is so delicious they should call it the City of Bites.”

― Audrey Hepburn

Christina (Me) and Chef Sara standing behind the choix pastry treats the class made.

My last day in Paris saw me taking another cooking class. Trust me, I have a long list of things I will sign up for and do next time I'm there, classes are chief among them. Chef Sara at Cooking with Class, taught the small group of four how to make Choix pastry to then make chouquettes, eclairs and cream puffs. They have a multitude of classes in their schedule and I highly recommend them if you ever find yourselves there! I'll for sure be back as soon as I can!






 
Christina (Me) standing in the center of the aisle, Le Train Bleu's beauty behind me.





I could honestly talk forever about my trip but somethings I'm going to keep to myself or at least keep until I get the urge to write about it again, because if I didn't this post would take you about a week to read!


Was the trip perfect? No, nothing is. However, know matter the snafus that I encountered or the weather, I still had an incredible time. Did I send my mom messages and call her complaining about things? Yes, because I'm human. The trip was still amazing.


"And now I can say I was lucky most days, & throw a rose into the Seine "--Mary Chapin Carpenter "Mrs. Hemingway"











 



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