After a rainy stroll through the Parque del Retiro and a cafe con leche at the top of the CaixaForum building, we left Madrid to head back to Paris on Friday.  Our time in Madrid had felt too short, and I had loved Portugal, but I was itching to get back to Paris.  And from the minute we popped up out of the Metro station and onto the sidewalks of the 3rd arrondisement, I was overjoyed.  So happy to hear the sound of French being spoken around me, so taken with the rooflines and wrought iron railings on the buildings facing the street, so drawn to those tiny tables on the sidewalks in front of the brasseries.  In a way, it felt like coming home, which was cool – it’s nice to know that nearly five years after living here, I still haven’t lost my knowledge of and my attachment to Paris.  We checked into our cute little room on Rue de Turbigo and then set out for dinner at Cafe Briezh – we’d been eyeing this place’s dinner crepes last week, but had never been able to get a table.  We had success at finding a spot this time and promptly ordered a buckwheat crepe with cheese, ham and mushrooms for myself and one filled with egg, cheese, and smoked filet mignon for Shane.  Paired with a pitcher of the special hard cider of the house, dinner was delicious.  We of course had left room for dessert, and ordered one crepe with bananas, caramel, and ice cream, and another with chocolate, pears, and whipped cream.  Heaven.


We spent the rest of the evening strolling through the Marais and along the Seine, stopping on Ile de la Cite to listen to the same sidewalk jazz band that we’d come across the Friday before.  We ended the night with a small carafe of wine from Les Philosophes and went to bed that night so thankful that we’d have one more day to soak in the richness of Paris.



We were thrilled to wake up to clear blue skies on Saturday morning.  The first order of business of the day was hopping on the Metro toward Montparnasse, as part of our continual quest for the perfect pain au chocolat.  Jack had read an article about a baker down there whose croissants had gotten rave reviews, and so we figured, “Why not?”  We picked up a couple of pastries and found a bench in a nearby park where we could sit and savor our buttery finds.  My pain au chocolat was pretty near perfect – crisp and flaky on the outside, soft and airy on the inside, and swirled with a ribbon of rich dark chocolate.  The breakfast of gods:


Next stop was the Fondation Cartier, a large art exhibition space and one of my favorite contemporary buildings in Paris.  I appreciate this place more and more each time I visit it – so simple, but so well-planned and special.  I noticed for the first time the amazing green wall that is growing over the entrance – nice!




We had dedicated the rest of the day to aimlessly wandering the city, lounging on park benches and sitting at cafe terraces.  And so we strolled over to the Jardin du Luxembourg to see how much blooming the flowers had done since we’d been there ten days ago.  The tulips were popping open in bright shades of orange and pink, and we grabbed a couple of chairs in front of the small pond to soak in the spring colors and watch the kids nearby push their little sailboats around in the water.




One hour, one baguette sandwich, and many rays of sun later, we were ready to peel ourselves from our lounge chairs and do some walking.  We ended up at the Jardin des Plantes, where we found more brightly blooming flowers and a park bench with our name on it.  And so we took a seat to for more people-watching, flower-gazing, and sun-soaking.  Saturday afternoons just don’t get any better than that.


And what better way to end a couple hours of park lounging than with a cold beer or a cup of espresso at a sidewalk cafe?  So we made another trip to Les Philosophes (our new favorite Marais bar) to have a drink and really “play Parisian”, as all of the terraces were crowded with French people enjoying their weekend.


For dinner that night, we checked out a cute little restaurant called Robert and Louise on Vielle du Temple.  Shane had both escargot and confit du canard for the first time, and loved them both.  The snails were smooth and buttery, and the duck leg was tender and fatty.  Mmmmm…  For dessert, we decided to head out and find a table on a sidewalk terrace.  We found such a table a couple blocks away and were soon sitting in front of a tasty little dish of creme brule, a cup of espresso, and a nice glass of Port.  We ate and drank as we watched the stylish passers-by, took in the view of the lovely Parisian streetfronts, and enjoyed the company of each other, so thankful for the memories that had been made over the past two weeks.  We ended the evening with a walk along the Seine, with its glittering reflections and beautiful bridges, and there on the Pont Neuf we said our good-byes to Paris, promising we would return again before too long.



In need of just one more chance to revel in Paris, I got up at 6 this morning to take a final walk through the city.  As I wandered the deserted streets, I was again so thankful for the chance to revisit what I have come to believe is one of the most beautiful places in the world.



We are on the plane back to Seattle now, and there were a few tears on the runway as it really sunk in that our long-anticipated trip is over, but there’s an ever-increasing part of me that is ready to be home.  I miss our house, our bed, our friends and neighbors, and my nightly cup of mint tea.  I am looking forward to seeing if our daffodils have bloomed, to cooking in our kitchen (you can only sustain a diet of pastries and cheese for so long…), and to being able to pick up the phone to call my family or my best friends without worrying about time changes or long distance charges.  Yes, on the flip side, there is a list of things I will miss about Europe as well: our morning runs to the boulangerie, speaking French (I made it through our entire time in Paris without having to use English with any French speakers!  I had forgotten how much I love that language…), having access to so much art right at my fingertips, fast and efficient public transportation, and tiny cups of espresso  But it is time to go home.  HOME.  That sounds nice.  And so, au revoir Paris…

One Comment

  1. Kacie says:

    It is truly amazing how another culture can just seep in and become a part of you. I appreciate the emotion in this post.