Travel Photo of the Month: March 2015

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One of my favorite photographs is from a rainy Sunday afternoon visit to Paris’ Musée d’Orsay. My now-fiance’ Jacob and I were there early in our relationship, and while I’d been to Paris multiple times, I’d never explored this spot. The building that houses famous artwork is a work of art itself, as it was converted from a train station. I was fascinated by the clock faces on the top floor…the view from which one could catch a glimpse of the city beyond.

At one point during our tour, we found ourselves alone in a large, but unoccupied gallery. It had hardwood floors and high ceilings, and Jacob extended his arm and asked me to dance. We only did a very brief spin, but it was a very special moment–dancing alone in Paris. Seeing this picture reminds me of that drizzly but romantic day at the Orsay and brings a smile to my face.

Musée d'Orsay

Musée d’Orsay

Restaurant Recommendations in the City of Love

One of the most popular questions I am asked by friends and family about Paris is where to eat. Let today’s guide inspire you during your next visit to the City of Love, from the moderate to the exquisite…

In the 4th arrondissment of Paris, you have two beautiful options: Monjul and Cafe Louise. Monjul is an epicurean adventure that has really innovative food in a quaint spot in Les Marais. Cafe Louise is right across from the Centre Georges Pompidou, and when I was lucky enough to happen upon it, Louise herself recommended an incredible French dinner. It was a great experience, especially interacting with the cheerful owner.

If you head up near the Arc de Triomphe, which is where I usually am in the city, there are a couple of must-visit spots there. A very quick walk away from Etoile, Caius is so fantastic, I’ve been twice. The menus are only available in French, but the efficient servers were kind enough to translate the three-course feast options and make incredible recommendations. There are several more affordable options on Avenue Carnot, including the typical fare at Vin Coeur, which I visit each time I’m in the city, and a nearby wine bar.

Near the Arc, I also tried a Corsican place last time at the recommendation of a concierge, and it was an incredible mix between French and Italian fare. My friend and I shared the prosciutto starter, and my main course of duck was ah-mazing. The atmosphere was cozy and quaint. And lastly, for a drink, if you’re in the mood to drop 20-30 Euro for an exquisite view, go to the bar at the top floor of the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile (which was formerly called Concorde Lafayette.)

As you can see by the pictures, some of the best treats are found walking around, including happening upon a creperie during a nighttime stroll or having a glass of wine while visiting the Jardin des Tuileries. As the beloved Julia Childs would say, “Bon Appétit!”

I Hate Paris in the Springtime

I was recently in Paris for a business trip–as I often am–and I must say how little I have always liked the city. When I was growing up in my town of 300 people, France seemed like a marvelous dream land…that I never thought I–a mere mortal–would ever visit. Fast-forward two decades, and I seem to be in Paris at least five times a year.

La Vie En Rose

La Vie En Rose

Why do I hate the City of Love (aka City of Light?) More to come on that later, yet for now, I will tell you, dear reader, that I am trying to reconcile with Paris. Heck. I am listening to Louis Armstrong’s “La Vie en Rose” whilst typing this bloggery. Whilst I was dreading this particular traverse to France, my wise step-mum inquired as to why I hated Paris. Her sentiment seemed that I was, in fact, quite lucky. I tried to have this thought in my head during the whole trip. Transportation from the airport to my local office? No problem…hire a car. Long week of 10+ hour meetings? Make friends (of whom are lovely and from around the world. #dreamcometrue) and be charming. Jet-lagged dinner at hotel alone? Make friends with barman and surprisingly get a glass of Chablis on the house.

And if all else fails, be Julia Child. Besides the wonderful attitude adjustment, my stepmother loaned me her copy of “My Life in France” by Julia Child. Julia’s chicken was more “chickeny,” every challenge was an opportunity, and she literally went with the flow in every step of her life–from the US to France to post-WWII Germany, Norway, and home into our kitchens and hearts. Julia, you might have made me love France. And that is la vie en rose. Bon Appétit !