K Travels…The High 5 of Paris

Paris' Latin Quarter


Saint Julian wandered the land, and upon returning home failed to recognize his own family and mistakenly murdered them. His penance? To open up a hospice and transport travelers across the river. The faithful believe that one day he mistakenly transported Jesus incarnate, who provided forgiveness for his horrific act. Saint Julian now validates the sacred process of wandering.

The emblem was thought to be carved over 400 years ago above a storefront, now a popular cinema in the Latin Quarter. The strange thing about coming to Paris a second or third time, a traveler permits herself more time to absorb such philosophy. That people who feel lost, or uprooted, often flock to large cities…in order to discover something familiar, in order to nab a little bit of home.

My usual over-achieving approach to European traveling, “how much can I squeeze into these 36 hours in Paris” wasn’t going to pass the mustard here. After tromping around Portugal, Belgium, Provence and Stockholm, I craved wandering. And a bit of home. Sounds like opposites, but I bet Julian knew what the feeling was like.

#2 The Eiffel Tower

Go IPHONE Joggin' Pic!

Sometimes I pride myself on refuting the “big touristy” traps. But man, I still get weakly and weepy seeing this baby. When we arrived well past 9:30, I squealed at my hotel score…with a night view of the Tower from the sidewalk. SPECTACULAR!  Not far from the Tower, two blocks from a Metro stop, but away from all the hustle and bustle, The hotel, Val Girard felt PERFECT. Affordable, free breakfast, and excellent customer service.  I digress (surprise, surprise). One of the highlight of this excursions came Saturday morning, as I jogged through the Eiffel Tower’s Legs right at 7am. AH! Pure adrenaline “I AM JOGGING UNDER THE EIFFLE TOWER” it felt as a remembering moment…the whole jog did, because I got lost and ended up finally back at the hotel at 8:25! I don’t wear any tracking device on me when I jog, but this was a time I thought “hey, if I can jog this long lost in Paris, I bet I could do a half marathon…

#3 Checking out Daniel Rose’s new boutique Spring, as well as his restaurant….see a separate post dedicated to reviewing them. Suffice it to say. THE BEST FRIES ON EARTH ARE MADE BY AN AMERICAN IN PARIS…and drinking, um….lots of wine. This bottle was the most memorable.

#4 Discover Walks, Free Walking Tour in Paris

I LOVE walking tours. I turn into a little student again (HAVE to be the teacher’s pet) asking question after question after question. And the guides love me. The other guests? Sometimes not so much.  But if you don’t ask, you may never know some of the most sensational details of the city you are visiting. This was an awesome tour of the Latin Quarter, completed by a Parisian… Here are some of my questions and answers:

Who lives above the famous bookstore, Shakespeare’s?

The owner of the building allows residents longing to be writers to live free….if they agree to read a book a day.

I WANT that job one day.

Who is this cutesy statue of?

Montaigne…the famous French philosopher. The statue is right by the famous Sorbonne. If you touch his foot, legend has it you’ll pass your test. Also…did you know that the College of Paris doesn’t require a degree to get in (no high school diploma) and doesn’t grant one? It retains some of the most well respected members in the field and is FREE.

What is that?

The emblem of Saint Julian (see #1!)…

#5:  To Market, To Market, To Market!

Initially arriving at Rue Clear on Sunday morning, I was expecting stalls and a “normal” farmer’s market, and to tell the truth, I felt dismayed. But then, I began walking INTO the stores. My top three…

New and Strange Produce, Fresh Dates…and this nut?….WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THESE? I had to google them later………..FRESH HAZELNUTS. This is the birthplace of NUTELLA!

My belly STILL aches from all the cheese I ate, and brought back with me (a quarter walnut goat cheese and half a pound of 3 month aged orange something hardish…for a single gal that’s a lot!) But I think I loved this French patron more!

Yep, that’s me. In a meat market, where at the BACK of the store, I found this FRENCH BAKEWARE for….Drum roll……………..1 EURO! Can you BELIEVE IT??

I used to say “I am not that big of a fan of Paris.” This trip changed my mind. Anyone want to stroll and wander with me? I am up for the 2 hour train ride any weekend.

Have you ever LOVED something more the second time around?

Every one rushes elsewhere and into the future, because no one wants to face one’s own inner self.
Michel de Montaigne


6 thoughts on “K Travels…The High 5 of Paris

  1. Awesome, we stayed basically on the Rue Cler and the first thing we did was check out all the little markets, the produce and the cheese. I loved having a view too of the Eiffel from our hotel. We also stopped in to Shakespeare’s as we were walking by and just could not resist. We also did a night time river cruise, which was great. Last night we watched the movie An Education and it films some in Paris and we were so excited because we were like “hey, I was just there” because we were totally in that exact spot by Notre Dame. Looks like you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    As for Istanbul, I am totally interested, I just need to figure out how to make it work. Let me know when you were thinking to go.

  2. I detested Paris on my first trip there, which was on my honeymoon. But on my second, third, and fourth trip I loved it! I think the older I get, the more I can appreciate the quirks of the city – the sometimes rude people, the amazing food, all the walking.

    I would love to move there. I can read a book a day easily! So now that I have a place to stay maybe a move is actually a possibility?? 🙂

  3. I have to say, the eiffel tower just takes my breath away. It is so beautiful!
    I love that you ask tons of questions! I am the same way.
    I actually went to France in high school. It was such a great experience but I think I would appreciate it more now that I am older.

  4. Guess what?? My friend Claire from high school lived in that bookstore!!! Yep, she is so amazing and she has told me wonderful stories about living there, and all the wonderful people she lived with.

    You sound very much like me (and many people I’m sure) when you say you try to squeeze so much in in so little time. Nick and I did that in NYC, for our ONE DAY we were there. It was tiring, but we got to see and do so much, it was completely worth it.

    I’m glad you enjoyed PARIS!!! Thanks for sharing your fabulous stories and pics.

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