Before you chastise me about the month it's been since I came back from my trip to France let me just remind you that your life is busy too! It's been a whirlwind of activity for everyone around the Nest and there just weren't enough hours in the day to fit in downloading my 200+ photos, pricing the wonderful buttons I brought back, or telling you all about it! So, I am dedicating an entire week to blogging about the trip...as well as finally getting the buttons priced, photographed, and out. (See! If you put it in writing then it must happen!)
To start, coincidentally, I had a customer come in right before I left who is French AND a knitter! We got to talking and she graciously offered to email a list of Parisian yarn stores my way. Not only did she make a list...she made a blog so that I would have access to it while in France via hotel internet or in what became the case, my iPhone. Am I lucky or what? Since my return she has updated the blog with suggestions from me, the silly American, who did not figure out until well into the trip what an "arrondissement" was and how it related to Paris (mind you, this was my second trip to France). Le Metro is still a mystery to me, but more on that later.
Armed with my list of yarn stores I arrived in Paris, surprisingly fresh after the 11 hour flight. I took a quick nap and with map in hand I set out to find dinner. My living-the-dream-in-the-South-of-France-friend, Kari, had booked a nice hotel in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés (or 6th arrondissement) which turned out to be a very quiet neighborhood despite the rest of the hustle and bustle of Paris. I set out and immediately realized that we were very near the Musée d'Orsay. If you can find the Seine River in Paris you can pretty much figure out where you are. The Louvre is on one side (the Right Bank), the Musée d'Orsay is on the other (the Left Bank), and the Eiffel Tower is at the end. Easy enough- right? I walked to the entrance of the Musée d'Orsay greeting my old friends: the Siene River, the Louvre, the antique shops, the thatched Parisian chairs, and I felt my shoulders relax. I was in Paris!
You want your first meal in a foreign city to be something special because in my mind it sets the mood of the trip. I found this very quaint Italian place (I know what you are thinking...Erin, really Italian in Paris? I just didn't want the same ol' same ol' Parisian cuisine and frankly, the French-Inspired Italian food is pretty good!) just blocks from the hotel. The place was candlelit and there were very few people in it which probably was in correlation with the few tables they had. I was handed the menu and quickly chose the one thing that would hold very few surprises...a small salad, risotto with truffle oil, and a glass of white wine from the Sancerre region of France. I proceeded to have the nicest dinner sans companionship. The French are different than Americans that way...they can enjoy a meal or a café without company, distraction, or entertainment. Being out in the world, enjoying something delicious becomes the entertainment. I wish I could completely *be* like that, but alas I had brought my book which I managed to read by candlelight.
Settling into my first night in Paris, with a tummy full of risotto, I walked back to the hotel finding that my sense of direction still worked after drinking wine. Kari would arrive to meet me the next afternoon. I knew that the flurry of activity and the excitement of seeing my friend after two years apart would mean sightseeing, playing tourists, navigating the city, and late nights. Tonight, I would relish the fact that I was alone in Paris...one of my favorite places in the world.
*Photo taken by Kari. My photos will start tomorrow!