April 14, 2024

Paris Life, A Two-Week Recap

Where I’m Staying

It’s been two weeks since I left my home in Vancouver for a six-week escape to Paris. I’m not here as a tourist, I’ve come to embrace life as a local. Testing the waters and doing a little research for our move in the fall.

I’m staying in the Marais, which offers a unique experience compared to my previous stays. The Marais, if you can believe it, exudes an older charm, with its less imposing architecture and narrow winding streets dotted with adorable cafes and shops. I appreciate the Marais for its location away from the bustling heart of Paris.

Parlez-Vous Français?

Everyone asks me, unfortunately, no, I don’t speak the language, which can be frustrating at times, especially when it feels like I’ve been studying French forever. It’s definitely not in my DNA. That said, I manage with the little I know, i.e., ordering food, basic directions, and a few niceties. Bonjour! Ca Va? While many people in Paris do speak English, there’s something special about making an effort to speak their language. After all, being in France means immersing yourself in the French language and culture.

What I’ve Been Up To

I hit the ground running and packed a lot into my first week. I was lucky enough to catch the last day of the Rothko exhibit at the Foundation Louis Vuitton. It was a fantastic experience, and I managed to kill two birds with one stone: enjoying the incredible artwork and marvelling at the stunning Frank Gehry architecture of the Louis Vuitton Foundation itself.

We celebrated my son’s birthday by indulging in a culinary adventure around the 11th arrondissement. Cafe de Coin treated us to a delightful set menu for lunch, featuring dishes like tuna tartare with roasted peppers, spinach, and feta, followed by white fish with asparagus, broccoli, and a heavenly brown butter sauce infused with condiment limequat. My son ordered the duck breast, with chickpeas, chard, pine nuts, and olives. I couldn’t resist sneaking a taste of his dish with my own fork. It’s safe to say I’ll be returning for more.

Later, we enjoyed drinks at Bar Principal and dined at Le Servan, where we savoured small plates bursting with flavour. From wontons filled with blood sausage to clams with Thai basil, every dish was a treat. And yes, I even tried sweetbreads for the first time – surprisingly delicious!

Per the birthday boy’s request, we ended our evening at a local pub, British-style, for a few pints of Guinness. Pinky’s up!

An Impromptu Visit From A Friend

My friend’s business trip from Northern France turned into a whirlwind few days in Paris! Lucky me! From cocktails and tapas at Mary Celeste to exploring art galleries and indulging in some serious retail therapy, we kept busy. And, of course, we couldn’t resist dressing up for dinner at the super trendy Hotel Costes, followed by champagne in the bar with their famous in-house DJ—no wonder I hit the pillow around 2:30 a.m.! Wait! Isn’t it still pacific standard time? 😉

The next day, we embarked on an amazing photo shoot (since she had her camera anyway) for a little project I’m working on… Thank you, Nikki!! xoxo

Dinner at Les Fous nestled on the îls-Saint-Louis, exudes charm, with its quintessential French bistro, ambiance, complete with a zinc bar. Offering an interesting array of fresh seafood and locally sourced produce, each dish was beautifully presented. We ordered the mackerel ceviche and the grilled octopus, which was perfectly done. In our attempt to cut back, “Let’s just have a glass of wine” turned into drinking the entire bottle (after all this is France, right?) and a leisurely walk home to burn off that enormous tart aux pommes.

Amazing Dior! If you haven’t watched “The New Look” on Apple TV, I highly recommend it. It delves into the rich history of the fashion house of Dior and its contemporaries such as Chanel, Balmain, Balenciaga, and Pierre Cardin, during World War II.

I visited the original Dior exhibit at the Musée des Art Décoratifs in 2017, but this experience was equally special. After spending a few hours there and enjoying a lovely lunch in their cafe, we were eager to explore 30 Montaigne. This is the big kahuna of stores. It felt like Dior on steroids—less like a boutique and more like a luxurious department store. And, of course, I couldn’t resist trying on several pairs of shoes. I left with a few great memories and a touch of anxiety over a particularly tempting pair.

It’s Sunday, and there are no dinner plans in sight

We stumbled on Robert et Louise, which just celebrated 65 years! We had no reservations, however, we managed to sweet-talk the adorable old guy at the bar into giving us a table: “We can squeeze in anywhere.” This is 100 percent carnivore. They serve a traditional full meat menu with the usual sides, roasted or mashed potatoes, green beans, or salad. Our steak was not only melt-in-your-mouth delicious but also enormous, easily satisfying a family of four! We took the leftovers home, and it was a yummy lunch for me and my son the next day.

Sorry Nikki, for pinching the last big corner of your lemon tart 🙂


Working out on a vacation isn’t my thing; obviously, it’s a vacation! However, they are when I’m home. Since I’m quasi-living here, I felt the need to stay active and avoid turning into a pot de crème. Enter Markus of Paris Personal Trainer. We met at a gazebo in a nearby park—no gym in sight. Pretty, right?! This was different already, and it was a fun intense hour, and I was pleasantly surprised by the difficulty of some of the movements. I suppose that’s the whole idea—giving the body a good shake-up.

Looking For A New Office

I’m in Paris to write, so a different environment is always welcome. If you’re looking for something on a grander scale, this should fit the bill: the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. It’s impressive and very popular, too. Get here at least 15 minutes before the doors open to get a seat and be inspired!

A Warm Sunny Day

I took a leisurely walk to the Tuileries Gardens, which took me around 46 minutes one way. As I approached, I noticed that there were more crowds, but I dodged them by heading towards the beautiful gardens. Once there, I found a peaceful spot where I could sit at a table tucked away in the shade. I requested a glass of rosé, “Un verre des rosè sil vous plait.” Not bad eh? I was ready to soak up the ambiance and write, hoping to be struck with inspiration.

Saturday Vibes

My son and his girlfriend planned our day, starting with a visit to Marche d’Aligre, a charming outdoor market in the 12th arrondissement. It’s a local favorite, so expect to find a very friendly atmosphere.

This was followed by a fabulous lunch at Chez Janou, a Provencal restaurant. Despite enduring an hour-and-a-half wait due to the crowds, any frustration was forgotten as soon as we were seated and greeted by a refreshing bottle of rosé.

But the food! We shared our starters, ratatouille with a poached egg, green asparagus with burrata, tomatoes and pesto. Our meals, Entrecote steak, roasted lamb and grilled tuna, were amazing!

Dessert was equally impressive: a bottomless pit of mousse au chocolat and, for me, one of my favourites, Ile flottante! Simply. Heaven. I finished every last bite.

Another Market Day

Sunday marks market day at the Marché Bastille, my absolute favourite! It’s not just the largest but also brimming with an astounding variety of fruits, vegetables, and gourmet delicacies that ignite the senses. Don’t even get me started on the cheese. The vibrant sellers never fail to entertain, adding an extra dash of excitement to the experience.

Oh! And I purchased a gorgeous bouquet of Lilacs, another favourite! They’re in season and they smell spectacular!

And there you have it! A two-week update, with just four weeks (don’t worry, Rob, it’ll fly by!) remaining of my adventure. What lies ahead? Well, a trip south to Beaune with my son (his birthday gift) awaits, where we’ll immerse ourselves in the culinary treasures of Burgundy at the Cook’s Atelier. Later in the month, I’ll be hopping on the Eurostar to Jolly Old England for three nights to visit with a friend (I can’t wait!). And of course, there will be more long walks, energizing workouts, more delicious food, and dedicated writing sessions, as I crack the whip to ensure my project reaches completion. Fingers crossed!

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