Under Paris Skies

Gabe on the Seine

There probably aren’t many adventures that are better than Paris, except Paris with your kid. And this week, I’m in Paris with my (grown up) kid. Heaven!

Gabe and I are staying in Le Marais, which we love. Once the Jewish Quarter, it’s become trendy and quirky with a little bit of everything and everybody. There are falafel joints and traditional French cafes, and stores that sell couture next to shoe repair shops and organic produce markets. Quel dommage, we don’t like our Airbnb apartment. Gabe describes it as “a perfectly fine party house for a bunch of college guys.” But oh well, we are out most of the time anyway.

So far, every day has been full of the city’s deliciousness. On our first morning, we headed to the Eiffel Tower with tickets to the top. We were a teensy bit disappointed that the line was two hours long, so we skipped the climb and walked through the Champs de Mars to gawk at a rainbow hovering over the tower’s breathtaking presence. Afterward, we walked to St. Germaine (also the name of the Paris soccer team, as I learned) for lunch at Les Deux Magots. Many years ago, when the neighborhood wasn’t so tony, Les Deux Magots was a hang out for struggling intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, and James Baldwin. Every tourist knows this and Les Deux Magots knows every tourist knows this. Gabe had a roast beef sandwich and I had a salad. The bill was like $100. But worth it!

On the way home, we stopped at St. Chappelle, the wonderful church of 700 year old stained glass windows.

And then we stopped outside Notre Dame, which looks good from the front after 2 years of work to repair the damage from the 2019 fire. It was heartbreaking to see how much had been damaged, and the restoration will take years to complete. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/france-approves-controversial-updates-to-notre-dame-cathedral-180979214/

Yesterday, we hit the highlights at the Louvre — Winged Victory, Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and brief stops at 50 or 60 other classics.

On the way home, we had dinner at a little French cafe near our apartment, which is currently a four-day old tradition.

I eat everything I order and Gabe brings home doggie bags so…..

Today, we visited the Musee D’Orsay, home to many of the world’s best impressionist and post-impressionist art. This one feels very personal:

“In Bed” — Edouard Vuillard, 1891

Of course, La Pandemie has changed the way we all travel, with special rules and precautions and paper work. France requires “health passports” (proof of vaccination) to enter any government or commercial building and apparently we will need to take three Covid tests next week. The good news is there aren’t the usual throngs of tourists here, and Parisians eat outside in winter anyway.

More important, the weather has been almost perfect, Parisians have been friendly, and Gabe is learning a little French. Best quote so far: “The rue is acting crazy.”

Tonight we are ringing in the New Year in our little party house, and hoping 2022 is full of even more love and kindness. Bonne Annee to you!

30 comments

  1. The last time we saw Paris was about 15 years ago. We stayed in a basement apartment under a shul in Le Marais (yeah, a shul complete with bearded rabbi traffic). From the street, we entered through what looked like a door to a carriage house. As you opened the same door from the inside, the first thing you saw was the kosher sushi shop across the street. My favorite tale is when I asked the manager of the famous kosher restaurant (whose name escapes me now) two blocks away whether the mashed potatoes were made with chicken fat, he acted insulted and said, “Oh non, monsieur, goose butter.”

  2. My experience of Paris was similar, food, museums and more food. Gift to have your kid along. Happy New Year. Love the video.

  3. Bold and determined travel in these pandemic times, per your usual. Glad Gabe could join you there. Enjoy and Happy New Year.

  4. The tales of your travels grace us with knowledge, truth, joy. Wishing you and everyone you love all the best there can be.

  5. I knew I was going to enjoy this post from the very first sentence: “There probably aren’t many adventures that are better than Paris, except Paris with your kid.” So true! I took my son to London and Paris for his 14th birthday ten years ago and we are both still in love with the memories. To do it again with him all grown up would be heaven, just as you said. We did most of the same things, including Le Deux Magots, LOL. Thanks for this lovely travelogue; you’ve made me even more anxious to get back to Paris after a two-year pandemic-driven hiatus. (My company has a big office there – I’m so lucky!) Happy new year and I look forward to more of your stories.

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