Last weekend I made my fourth trip to Paris. Girls weekend! My BFF and I do a city trip most years. There are two constants: first, the destinations is always a beautiful European city. Second, we don’t see any of it because we spend all of our time in clothing stores and cocktail bars.
But I’m always excited about Paris. I love going to its museums and historic neighborhoods, to analyze the architecture and just walk around for hours. There is just so much charm there and the food never disappoints.
Au pied de Cochon
My first time in Paris was with a film crew. I was 16 and we went there for a screening of my first movie. I felt très cool, especially when we dined at midnight in a traditional restaurant called Au Pied de Cochon (pig’s feet), which is a name I’ll probably remember until the day I die.
We did some other classics, like seeing the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame. We went to Musee D’Orsay. I didn’t understand why that was “so much better” than the Louvre but I was happy to finally see some Monet, Gaugin and Degas up close. For the rest I sat on terraces drinking pastis, listening to the crew complain about how blasé they were. Which I found very French.
No beer in de club
The second time I went to Paris was on the invitation of a boy. I’d met him on vacation in Greece. I wasn’t exactly serious about him, but he was sweet and I was curious about his Parisian life.
He made risotto with Coquilles Saint-Jacques for dinner, but unfortunately admitted it came from a bag in the supermarket’s frozen food section. We went to the theater. He showed me the nightlife, taking me to exactly the kinds of dark and exciting clubs a 20-year old wants to see. When I—basic Dutch girl that I am—tried ordering a beer in Barrio Latino he subtly convinced me a mixed drink would be more appropriate. (I dumped him a few weeks later in a hotel room in the even more romantic city of Bruges).
Paris with a baby
Paris hotels are notoriously expensive and the rooms are typically small and lack insulation. So I wasn’t real popular when I brought my baby to celebrate my 30th birthday in Paris. On the plus side, the hotel provided baby sitting services, so my husband’s and I could actually have a quiet dinner in Montmartre.
We stayed in Le Marais, the trendy shopping area near Place de Vosges, where we upgraded our wardrobes and I ate the most delicious steak tartare ever (after I convinced the waiter that yes, I knew the meat was raw, I wouldn’t be surprised like apparently many other tourists are). We also visited the Louvre, or I should say part of it. We crowded around the Mona Lisa, as one does. We also had a terrific nap in the Parc du Luxembourg—the only place in Paris that’s actually appropriate for babies.
Last week marked my BFF’s and mine 25th year of being besties. We met when we were twelve so you do the math. We’ve always considered ourselves attractive ladies and yet after all those years there’s hardly a decent photo of the two of us. We’re too busy for photo ops. We typically make a single selfie on the first night that’s hideous.
Needless to say we had tons of fun! We perused the Centre Pompidou, which has an incredible modern art collection, among other things. We went to the Picasso-Rodin museum and the Louvre. Culture: check!
And we ate, and ate, and ate. She was six months pregnant, so food was the magic word, four times a day. The weather was lovely, the shopping terrific. Even the hotel was lovely and downright affordable: Ibis Styles, located at 9 Rue Leon Jougaux.
Paris, à la prochaine..!