Hello on this Autumnal day to anyone finding themselves here at my blog. I’ve lived just outside Geneva for a year now and only a few weeks ago did get the opportunity to visit Paris. Ah, Paris. The sound of that name just evokes a sense of romance in one’s mind and the city doesn’t fail to deliver.
To me, it has become my favorite city ever to visit., as it fed my imagination with stories long lived and created in me a sense of wanting to be fabulous and broody and complex and smart and brilliant all at the same time, as I’m sure it does to everyone. () I feel the City aches to breed creativity and beauty, and although I would not want to live there, I would absolutely enjoy owning an apartment with the high ceilings and long windows the architecture is known for….and I can imagine writing a novel or acting in a tragic comedy. 🙂 Of course. 🙂 I often notice, and perhaps have spoken on the difference I feel here as opposed to NYC. While NY will always hold a slice of my heart, as I discovered something about myself there, to me, it lacks a sense of a connection to the past. The buildings are so imposing and the pulse is too quick, I always felt everyone a bit more self involved than any other place……everyone racing along thinking ME.. ME.. NOW.. NOW..
While that’s what makes it great, I enjoy being in a city like Paris which forces you to think on the past. As you walk down the cobble streets and you look in the old windows, I find that it’s impossible not to get swept up into a time past; it is a city haunted by the wonderful and tragic events that have happened. Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote, “Beauty will save the world”, and I believe the Parisians took note.
Let’s all let out a wistful sigh…….:-)
Anyway, Dragan was in Brussels for work and we decided to meet in Paris for his birthday. We stayed at a cute boutique hotel near The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile and arrived late on Friday, just in time to enjoy a wonderful dinner. I was told we were meeting our friend Christian for a casual dinner and not to dress up, so OF COURSE we were taken to a chic restuarant full of beautiful people wearing what I would have liked to be wearing…5 inch heels, rather than the old flats I had thrown on. We were taken to a lovely spot called The Hotel Costes Bar and Lounge. The Costes is a five-star hotel, bar and lounge which opened in 1991 under the direction of designer Jacques Garcia and it is graciously opulent. Situated right in the heart of the Rue Saint Honoré fashion district, the Costes seems to be frequented by wealthy jet setters and those curious to get a glimpse of the elite lifestyle……great. An Hervé Léger dress and heels would be more appropriate to the capris, tank and flats I was wearing. I’m learning when Dragan tells me casual…I need to start overdressing. 🙂
It was lovely though and with the terra cotta walls, statues and luscious greenery, I decided to not focus on my drab attire but smile and be fabulous. Just believe you are the person you want to be, right, and the world will follow in their belief. You can visit the website here: http://www.hotelcostes.com
The next day was PERFECT PERFECT weather and after sleeping in, lazing about reading and then having a workout, we went out for a romantic brunch followed by some sightseeing. Wasn’t our hotel room just ideal for a lazy morning of reading and drinking coffee? Side note: I was reading “The Paris Architect” which was fitting and very good for those of you looking for a new book!
So, I put on my favorite DVF dress, and out we went to explore and eat.
If you are in Paris, really try the restuarant at the Hotel Amour, where we enjoyed a serene brunch. You feel like you are dining perfectly manicured forest swamped by old historic buildings. It’s just great. Next to burn off our brunch-French fries for every meal anyone?-we walked up to the Sacre Coeur Basilica. It was jaw dropping and we took a moment to pray, remember and light candles for both my brother, Ryan, and Dragan’s parents. Even thought I’m not Catholic, I found this ritual gave me a sense of solidarity and reflection that I appreciated.
We then got caught in a fantastic storm where we couldn’t find a cab, so we found a pastry and some wine instead!
After getting back to the hotel, we had a wonderful dinner with a view at Les Ombres. I highly recommend this restaurant, as the whole place consists of windows and the Eiffel Tower is RIGHT THERE.
We walked over the Sienne and took pictures, as you do, and that night we met Christian again for Dragan’s night out! Christian is a former French soccer player, and a bit of a celebrity, so it’s fun to be around him and to watch the women hover…..plus we get in to the best places. We went to Chez Raspoutine, one of those exclusive Russian style hot spots where you order endless bottles of Dom Perignon and strawberries and attempt to keep conversation, although really you just want to stare at everyone else. At least that’s what I find myself doing. I still don’t care for clubs but this was at least fancy and we were sitting and drinking champagne and I find French women fascinating so I was transfixed all night. Plus Dragan danced, and when you see him dance, you are transfixed as he is quite good and surprisingly light on his feet……it’s hilarious and astonishing……..like a Bear ballerina.
Please forgive the length of this post, as I have not yet even told my highlights, which were…….going to the Moulin Rouge and our last day of shopping. I know, I know, Get ON with it. In the future I think I’ll post a little each day!
So, the next night, we went to The Moulin Rouge. If you know me at all, you know that I’ve always been an actress, and a bit of a dreamer, and this was such a wonderful treat for me.
I felt we were truly going back in time. I kept saying how much I would love to bring my mom, until the show started and I realized, that no matter the costume……no matter how fantastical and elaborate and full and glorious they were made to be…..all women’s breasts were out in their full glory the entire night, which I do NOT think my mom would appreciate as much! Duh, Sarah, everyone else probably knows this. Regardless, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. A more elaborate and risque and illustrious version of the Rockettes I suppose. In addition to the costumes, dancing and singing, there was also a ventriloquist, a woman swimming in a giant tank with Boa Constrictors the size of your house (unless you live in Texas, haha) gymnastics, live animals and more. The was a couple on skates that did the craziest act I’ve ever scene. It was so good, I found myself holding hands with the Spanish woman next to me shrieking in absolute horrror and joy, She in Spanish and me in Franglais, as we were afraid they would kill themselves!! . A bit of, “Golly! Did you see that?? C’est incroyable! Magnifique! I can’t watch! Oh….Oh…..I love it! J’adore!”
It was the kind of show that brings people together…..a show that is so pleasing to the eye I personally left wanting to become a gypsy. I give it an absolute 5 Stars as it is truly fantastical and imaginative and all that you would expect at Le Moulin Rouge. Do the dinner and the show. It’s worth it.
I will finish this post stating that our last day was great. We walked L’avenue des Champs-Élysées, we shopped and we had a great lunch at Cafe Paris London, that I recommend as the view is great and the food is better.
Get a burger, a glass of Rose, dessert and all the people watching you could ask for.
The day was perfect and as you can see below, the leaves were beginning to change. I felt I could exist forever in the moment. Walking down the gently curved streets, as the air turned crisp, a pumpkin spice latte (I’m such an American) in my hand, holding hands, taking a deep intake of air, I felt alive and the struggle of living as an expat, felt just a little smaller. 🙂
To anyone wanting to visit, I will happily take the 2.5 hour train from my house with you to Paris, and enjoy it all over again.