Tales from three short but fabulous days in a city I’d gladly stay in for three years and more.
In a fortuitous synchronicity (lots of big words…) our trip to Paris overlapped with the birthday celebration of Michael, Jeff’s dear childhood friend. So we made a brief stop at our apartment in Paris (second time ever doing Airbnb, worked out well, was great to do laundry even if French washing machines take over an hour per load…), then nearly ran across town to meet Michael and several of his devoted friends. Enjoyed a delicious and entertaining dinner at Les Bouquinistes, complete with great conversation and lots of laughs.
Next day we could barely make it down those same streets, Rue Oberkampf and Filles du Calvaire, as I stopped every other door giving entry to yet another beautiful shop filled with great clothes, housewares, jewelry, etc. Here were a few of my favorites:
Kate Mack (Kate Mack, her Facebook page is also worth seeing) – Made-to-measure clothes in rich colors and textures. A tagline from one of her cards is “Don’t Take Yourself too Seriously… Have a Chic and Funky Attitude!” A jewel box of a store with clothes that reflect that saying. Elegant, fun, daring but wearable. The owner/designer was working in the store that day and seemed as vibrant as her creations.
onze. A seemingly small and intimate store that continues to wind around and around in a very pleasant and open maze of shoes, clothes and accessories. Beautiful prints and colors. Was especially tempted by scarves made in Normandy, different colors/patterns stitched together with embroidery thread.
Nils Avril. Delicate jewelry with a range of colors, almost like pulling open a drawer of pastel crayons in an art store. Especially loved the pieces for hair.
Looked for boots up and down those streets unfortunately without success. Later in the Sixth Arrondisement found “Coup 2 Cour” when we were trying to find a restaurant we’d eaten in years ago (sadly gone). Jeff was fortunately distracted by the resident cat. I found fashionable yet comfortable small black boots to take on the rest of the travels (the larger ones from the garage sale will sadly need to stay here, too big and not the best for walking all day). No website but found at 4 rue Clément, 75006 Paris.
The greatest disappointment in Paris… Years ago I read a novel about Émilie du Châtelet, full name Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet. Sadly if she is known at all it is as Voltaire’s lover. She was an 18th Century physicist and mathematician who translated Newton’s Principia Mathematica (not only from Latin, but apparently from Newton’s purposely obtuse original) and researched the properties of light, among other subjects. She owned a home at the tip of Île Saint-Louis, which I tried to visit in 2006. It was then under restoration, to be completed in 2014. Got there towards the end of 2015 to find this sign… Guess I’ll need to return to Paris in 2018.
Consolation is that we did find our favorite “tarte au citron” (lemon tart). Mmm.
Plus a beautiful stroll through Jardin du Luxembourg.
The best part of Paris… connecting with friends. Sunday we had a long, delicious and enjoyable lunch with a family I’ve known for nearly 25 years. Everything was tasty, and they always spoil me with a great plate of cheeses and superb wine. The Canal St. Martin is one of the most trendy parts of Paris now, and we walked there in the afternoon with the kids biking on closed-to-car streets. Interesting to see it so lively as I used to come here to meet this friend 25 years ago (she worked nearby), and I think she might have been one of about 10 Parisians to ever walk there.
Also had a fantastic time reconnecting with Josep and Geoffrey. Josep’s black patent leather bag that I bought in 2009 (?) in Brussels may well have inspired this venture I’m undertaking (this site, the concept of Art as Artifat). There will be an entire post about him, his store with Geoffrey, and the intersection of crafting beautiful objects without being subsumed by commerce. For now, some pictures of their new Paris store, Amen, his latest creations and their smiling faces.
And that in a nutshell was Paris. Left saying I wish we had had one more day, probably something I’ll say for just about every place we go.
Oh, one final comment. Couldn’t help but notice all the cigarettes, and the butts just thrown everywhere. Talked to our friend about it who said the city has just started a new campaign, fining people who toss out their butts. Not an hour later we see this sign on a dump truck. 350 tons, that is a lot.
OK, a final, final comment. Best almond croissant in Paris. Perhaps ever. On Rue de Saintonge. Better final image…