Monday, October 29, 2012

Paris Diary: Day One

Barbara: For the next week, instead of our usual blog posts, I’ll be blogging from Paris! I’ll post my experiences and photos, and Deb will chat with you in the comments section below. I’ll catch up with the comments when I get back, but—if I can get to the comments while I’m here—I will happily take Paris recommendations from you! Not sure what time of day the posts will go up, but I will try and schedule them so they correspond with the usual 8am EST.

So, why am I in Paris, you ask? Well, some of you may remember that my newly-graduated fashion design daughter is doing an internship here. And one of the perks of having a husband who travels a lot: flight and hotel points! How could we miss the chance to see our girl in action in one of the most romantic cities in the world? Well, we couldn’t. So we decided to do what we’d never before imagined doing: going all the way to Europe … for only 5 days.

Jetlag be damned, we are having an adventure!

Okay, before I get to the juicy Paris stuff, can I just tell you how I totally “Barb-ed” my packing? (We’ve blogged here before about the verb Deb and I affectionately throw around—“to Barb something”, “you’ve really Barb-ed that”—which means, in a nutshell, you’ve done something in the most complicated, least logical way). So, inspired by Deb’s dedicated packing lessons and by the fact that my daughter is a fashionista and also that we’re going to Paris, baby, I decided to prepare what I was going to take on my trip, instead of throwing a bunch of clothes into my suitcase and hoping for the best. My choices would be important as I need to be comfortable for all the walking we’ll be doing, the weather is cool and damp, and I still want to look somewhat together. I took a page out of Deb’s pointer list and chose the outfits and photographed them ahead of time. How did I Barb it? Well, I tried to photograph the outfits ON ME, and without using the sensible girl’s tactic of photographing my reflection in the mirror (or asking someone else to do it), I balanced my iphone against the teakettle and tried to snap. This is me trying to get as much as I can into frame while still engaging the shutter button…

Silly, huh? It only took me SEVERAL DAYS OF CONTEMPLATION to realize that I could … lay the clothes on my bed and take the picture. This is especially Barb-idiculous given that DEB’S EXAMPLE IS WHAT INSPIRED ME—AND SHE LAID THE CLOTHES ON HER BED AND TOOK THE SHOTS (see our old post)!! Anyway, I figured it out.
Tuxedo-ish shirt. And, no, the jeans will not be unzipped...

Lapis necklaces from my grandparents.

Barb-reposterousness aside, I’ve never felt so prepared for a trip before. No more staring forlornly at my suitcase and wondering why I brought that stupid t-shirt when I really need a warm sweater!

So Phil and I land in the lovely country of France, in the unparalleled city of Paris, and of course, only have eyes for our beautiful daughter. Stefanie was able to get a few days off and has organized a full itinerary for us. Not that we need to follow it exactly, she was careful to point out, but Phil and I were really looking forward to seeing the city through her eyes.

So this is our Paris loveliness, Paris through our Stefanie, and Paris en famille!

Ahhh, the flowers and produce of the markets...

The beautiful shop windows of Paris!
This is a Paris must-see: Shakespeare and Company. Yes, famous for being a Hemingway hangout, featured lovingly in his marvelous "A Moveable Feast", but it's fantastic in its own right. A warreny, magical, mysterious bookshop, filled with the new and the very old. With little side-rooms dedicated to poetry (leave your own!), with scraps of paper tucked into books that you're encouraged to find and assemble into your own story, with a writer's room upstairs where a writer reads his work so fellow reader/writers can remark and give feedback, with an utterly knowledgeable staff, we couldn't get enough of it. We had to drag ourselves away, and left energized and inspired.

You're not supposed to take photos on the "first" floor (which is my "second"), but this was a sneak shot from
the inside of a writing booth. I figured since everyone else was taking shots,
and since this space is maintained by the public, I could sneak it.

Thousands of "love locks" on the bridge over the River Seine

Hotel de Ville

Art in Place Vendome

Us being "glamorous". Did we succeed?
This was an incredible first day. I was so worried about the jetlag, what with only 3 1/2 hours sleep on the plane and a 1 hour nap in the hotel, I was sure I would be dragging myself through the day. But I felt amazing! And then to top off our perfect first day, what better luck than to meet up with two of our dearest friends in the world (friends for over 30 years!) because they are in town to pack up their old apartment?! Meet Mike (far left) and Josée (left of Phil). Josée is the culinary genius behind Epicurious Generations (link here and on our sidebar). We had a final nightcap (after an "haute gastronomique" dinner) with them and their friends at our hotel before falling into bed at 1:30am! Divine, mmmmm....


  1. PARIS!!! Oh Barbara, you all look like you are having such a fantastic time! So happy for you. What fun you happy three had on your first day in Paris. Just wonderful.
    Love Shakespeare and Co. Would love to see that place first hand sometime. Sounds like my kind of hangout.
    Oh, and I love Stef's shoes! Love 'em!
    So glad you all are having fun. Keep it up! And all of the photos are lovely. And yes, you and Stef are very glamorous!

    1. Doesn't she look like she is having the best time!!! What an adventure! We went to Shakespeare and Co when we were in Paris but it was closed. When we go to a city we like to do the "walks" and we did Hemmingway's Paris and they took us to S and Co but sadly we just pressed our noses against the window. Thanks Barb for sneaking those interior shots!!! No harm done, that's what I say!

  2. What a great adventure. All of you look wonderful, happy and enjoying yourselves. Love the travelogue. Can't wait for day 2.

  3. What fun, I hope you all enjoy every last minute of it. Shakespeare and company!! Would love to see it in person.

  4. Paris! It looks like a fantastic first day! Hopefully, that jet-lag won't hit you at all.

  5. Barb I am glad you took a page from the Debbieanne school of packing! Looks like you NAILED IT! Fab, casual classic outfits perfect for touring Paris! Did you bring your new coat or is it too cold?

  6. ...Personally, I liked your 'propped on the tea kettle' method better...Made me laugh harder than doing it the practical way. Thanks Barb and Phil for the lovely gift of these lush visuals. Hope all five days are filled with the delight you can see in the photos! May it be the first of many trips reuqired on behalf of the wonderfully adventurous Stef! X0 Annette

  7. How exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your trip in the coming week. You look like you are having a fabulous time, and, may I say, your daughter is gorgeous.

  8. First Barb, you look like a teenager, so jet lag agrees with you. We are going to Paris for New Years with our boys, so I am excited to see what you recommend. I am trying to get a reservation at Frenchie. Heard it is amazing, maybe it will appeal to you and you can let me know. Bon Voyage!!

  9. Hi everyone, I was going to keep up with Barb's comments for this week but I realized of course that I really have nothing to say from her point of view. So keep posting and maybe she will get to them when she has a break in her day. That's what I did in London and I think that's what she intends! I am working all day today so I will check in tonight!!! Have a great day everyone!

  10. This is BARB-ADORABLE!!!!!!!! Gosh...LOVE.THE.PICTURES!!!! So glad you get to meet Stefanie and see Paris through her eyes. AWESOME!

    I love you Barb... you are sooo cute!!!! You didnt 'Barb' it in the way you guys mean Barbed it in a way I interpret it (to "Barb" something means, making it extremely adorable and cute which deserves atleast 5 "w"s in an "AWW" and 5 "!" after that from any normal human being and 10 "!" from ME....and a smiley face...and "xoxoxo")

    And Deb I just saw the packing lessons post....You are soo Clever, girl! I'm gonna use the lessons from now on...

    And Barb darling!!!! Cant wait for more pix and BARB-ADORABLE posts....I'm gonna say "BARB-ADORABLE" a lot!!!!!!! Lets make it a Word, right Deb?????

  11. Loving this travelicious entry, and coveting that orange and yellow sweater!

  12. Oh you guys look like you are having a bast. You may need to sleep for three days straight when you get back but it will be worth it!
    I am in New Jersey so we are in the middle of a hurricane!!!! So we may loose internet and far more important heat! So if I am absent in the comming days don't worry I may be a little wet but I will be back soon. So just in case I am throwing in some extra bits here to cover me through the week!
    -You guys look amazing!!
    -What beautiful colors and scenery!!
    -Aww adorable!
    - Have fun!!

    ok that should cover me for a bit :)
    Please be careful those in the path of the hurricane <3
    See you guys in a bit ; )

    1. Geez....I hope you are fine Kelly! I heard its bad there! xo

    2. Kelly I have been thinking about you guys. I hope everyone in your area is safe. You guys are sure getting nailed. Be careful. Sending love! Debxo

    3. Stay safe, Kelly!

    4. How's it going Kelly? I've been having a quick look at the Weather Channels Youtube Channel (live streaming)
      Obviously you can't answer if you've lost electricity (I think it's about 7M w/o at the moment) but I am keeping my fingers crossed that you will have some :)

  13. Yes, Kelly, please take care and everyone else in the path of Hurricane Sandy!

  14. Great timining with this post! I really needed the Deb's packing lessons as soon I will have to pack for the Forum. Today I received a recommended clothing from the organizators. We are all arctic countries, so the reminder for warm clothes was kind of not necessary, but I think it was very considerate of them to remind us that it might be cold around this time of the year :)) But yes, I will need to start thinking what to pack (something for outdoors and something business like) and the picture idea is just wonderful! Thank you!

  15. I am so envious, Barb! It looks like a wonderful trip, and how luxurious to be able to hop on a plane for a five-day Parisian getaway! You must be having a wonderful time with your daughter!
    I really like the way you did your outfits. Maybe I should play around with my clothes and make sure that what I'm taking on my trip will actually work as outfits. Of course, it's too cold here to really figure out the potential problems with my hot-weather outfits.
    I can't wait to see the rest of your trip, Barb! Have a wonderful time!

  16. Aaah, Paris looks beautiful (and so do you!!! And your daughter too!!!)


  17. Great to see Barb having a great time with her daughter! And what better place but Paris! Looking forward to more posts!

    But we still haven't heard any stories from Debs trip to the Yukon! Hopefully you fill us in on that Deb! And hopefully you had some time to take a few snap shots!

  18. I will! I meant to on Friday but I am having computer issues and my photos won't upload. Trying to fix and going to do the Yukon for sure! Thanks.

  19. Looks like you're having a wonderful time! Enjoy the rest of your trip, Barb!

  20. Only you guys would be able to meet up with friends for dinner ON ANOTHER CONTINENT. Looks like so much fun with your daughter! Must make a HUGE difference to wander around there with a NON-tourist. I want to go to that Shakespeare Shop someday. (Wish it was in London, though.)

    Continue to Enjoy!

  21. ok. I am UTTERLY living vicariously through these posts already (having read day 2 before Day 1.) I absolutely connect, having stood in exactly some of the same spots you are standing in just a few months earlier. a few things of note: really, Stefanie is just breathtaking. 2. you bring Paris alive with your photos and words. 3. shakespeare & co. I mean come on. really?! why aren't there bookstores like that there? there's another book store in montparnasse that my daughter and I were obsessed with--will look up the name for you.......... 4 don't miss the pompadeau (no doubt spelled wrong) museum. it's brilliant. if you're planning to go to the eiffel tower, (as Stefanie no doubt knows) get tickets ahead of time, or you will likely have too-long a wait to deal with. nothing wrong with just gazing up at it without going into it. 5. GREAT outfits. remind me to introduce you to packing cubes if Deb hasn't yet. it revolutionized my packing. much love, mon ami--

  22. of course, I meant why aren't there bookstores like shakepeare & co HERE. HERE--


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