September 17, 2019

5 More Unbelievable Days in Paris

I don't know WHY every time I go to Paris, there is this unbelievable amount of magic - luck - serendipity - awesomeness!!! I just know there IS. So, I keep going back, and the craziest and best things keep happening. I wouldn't have it any other way. I still love Paris like I did before I ever went, and I only fall more deeply in love every time I go back. Favorite place on earth, and here are just a few more reasons why. (I have resisted from expanding these five incredible days into five separate posts!!!)

DAY 1  All Mine for Walking

I lose track of everything except my sense of direction when I'm walking Paris.

I wandered from Montmartre, down to the Opéra district, through Rue de Rivoli to Place de la Concorde, all the way to the Eiffel Tower, where I took a nap before it started raining.

I took cover in the Petit Palais museum, where I lost my umbrella in the men's bathroom (because the women's one was closed!), only to miraculously have it be turned in to the coat check an hour later when I finally realized it was missing.

I ended the "Day of Paris My Way" by heading through the Tuileries, paying homage to the injured Notre Dame, and finished in the Latin Quarter with a delicious dinner with music at Chez Papa Jazz. Yes. This was one day.

DAY 2  Unbelievable Reunion in Melun

Monique and I had are usual meet-up at the best crêperie in the world. I also met with Francis, a dear friend who is now in charge of managing the team at my former club, La Rochette. These meetings would have been plenty of happy reuniting, but there was a huge surprise that happened purely by accident.

The BEST fondant au chocolat chef in the world -- who I legitimately believed I would never see again after he left Melun in 2012, let alone have that incredible dessert -- was back in Melun. I saw him walking out of the door to his old restaurant and my jaw fell on the floor. I confirmed Fred's resurrection with Monique, and after we had crêpes, we had THAT fondant au chocolat and I actually cried. I'm not sorry if that makes me ridiculous, because if you think that, then you've just never eaten anything Fred has made before.

DAY 3  Canal, Cats, and Characters

I think the canals in Paris don't get nearly the attention they deserve. I spent the morning having my breakfast at the Bassin de la Villette and just enjoying doing nothing.

It was an important rest before I walked more of Paris to meet my first cat of the day, the bakery cat. I think the owner actually brings their cat to work everyday and it hangs out, playing with the glass door and the customers. I wandered around the Square du Temple and realized that this was the home neighborhood of my book character. May not seem very interesting at the moment, but it breathed so much life into my heroine and I am so excited to write about this quartier in my book!

Finally, I reached the Ateliers des Lumières, where I met up with Kathleen to watch the incredible art presentation on Van Gogh and Japanese paintings. I think we watched it three times!

Later, I took the train out to Saint-Maur-des-Fossés to see Amy and the second cat of the day. We had sushi, I scared the cat to death, and I got to see a few other French friends as well before heading back into Paris for the night.

DAY 4  Spontaneous Wedding

As if this trip wasn't full enough, earlier in the week I had contacted my friend Ciera to see if she would be in Paris at the same time. She said, "Yes, I'm here! And will you come to my wedding on Saturday?" OUI x MILLE. 

This was one of the most fun days EVER. It was the perfect mix of French and English, the perfect party size of about fifteen guests, and the perfect French appetizers, food, wine, champagne, desserts, you name it! Also, thanks to Kathleen for being nearly the same size as me and letting me borrow this entire outfit.

I had felt a little bit like I was crashing the party (as her former roommate's/best friend's (Alex) brother's (Marc) wife), but we came to realize that, aside from Ciera's parents, I had actually known Ciera the longest out of everyone else there!

Somehow, all of the bride's friends had also coincidentally worn navy, so we declared BRIDESMAIDS and had a smashing good time the entire day.

DAY 5  Volleyball, Soccer, and Dance

To complete this wild batch of days, I was able to join two of my French friends, Sana and Juliette, for a volleyball tournament in Saint-Cloud. The Saint-Cloud area of Paris that also happened to include the stadium Parc des Princes where the Women's World Cup just also happened to be going on the same week.

And, of course, the night before the USA/Chile match, my friend, Kathleen, was guiding one of her bike tours when a couple offered her an extra free ticket to the game that they couldn't use. Kathleen had already been gifted a free ticket from another friend who was visiting, so, lo and behold, this new free ticket ended up in my possession!

Going to see the USA Women's Soccer team play was an experience like no other. The stadium was electric, there was thousands of Americans everywhere, chanting, "U-S-A!" and we scored three goals to take the win, to boot! To top this trip off with the most hilarious evening, Kathleen and I had a delicious dinner before attempting to meet her friends along the Seine.

Instead of finding her friends, we were accosted by probably the funniest French guy ever, who proceeded to fall in love with Kathleen. His jokes were hysterical, his friends were nice, and he decided to dance with Kathleen along the river. I talked with an interesting Spanish girl while Gregoire gregariously romanced Kathleen, and it was nothing short of a miracle that we made it back to Kathleen's apartment unaccompanied. However, if they end up married someday, I was there when it all happened!

Do you have a place like this in your life?!
Where all the great things just fall into place?!