Friday, April 4, 2008

Paris a la Beth

My husband Raoul and I returned home Tuesday from a grand two week adventure to Paris and Provence. We had spent 10 days in Paris two years ago, and were ready to revisit some of our favorite spots, seek out new places and buy vintage treasures for ourselves and the studio. I’ll save the wonderful details of the Provence leg of our journey for a second blog entry.

The Rue Cler neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower was our Paris hotel location. We stayed at the Hotel Beaugency and would stay there again with its convenient location. After dropping off our suitcases, our first objective was to hit a Tabac (no cigarettes for us, but an easy place to buy the weekly Metro pass). With your orange card, you can hop on and off the subways to your heart’s content for a whole week. I was lost a good part of this trip, but I can read a Metro map with the best of them!

Raoul’s two requests for our Paris stay were to visit L’Orangerie to see Monet’s Water Lilies – immense beautiful paintings in a setting designed just for them, and to spend time at the Marmottan Museum housing the best collection of works by Claude Monet. We enjoyed each immensely and discovered new neighborhoods where each museum was situated.

With that fine dose of culture, I was ready to do some vintage shopping! First up a charming, hidden brocante (which can be the equivalent of an antique store or be a collection of vendors selling vintage collectibles and antiques). The owner of this brocante also is the chef for his adjoining restaurant. How perfect is that! Unfortunately, we didn’t stay for lunch as we were headed to another arrondissement (neighborhood) to have tea with our blogging friend, Tara Bradford of Paris Parfait.

Tara was the first person to comment on our new blog, and I have enjoyed reading her blog for the past year or so. We shared a lovely cup of tea near the Notre Dame Cathedral. Afterwards, Tara guided us to some fascinating streets, and we popped in a few shops. Some red holiday lights strung over a doorway on a side street caught our eyes, and we went in to investigate. Before we knew it, Tara was the proud owner of this gorgeous Art Nouveau glass piece and also a splendid antique beaded purse. It was a really special afternoon.

The best vintage shopping was my favorite flea market from our first visit, Puces de Vanves. It is just my speed – sidewalks crammed with canopies, umbrellas and card tables overflowing with vintage French stuff galore! The button guy from two years ago was in the same spot with an eye popping array of buttons. We loaded up. Our picture taking at this flea market was limited by the weather – boy, it was darn nippy. And to be honest, I was totally distracted with looking and digging for loot.

Our five days in Paris passed in a flash. We spent our last day there taking it easy and exploring the Montparnasse neighborhood where we spotted these amazing doors. The next day we would head to Provence on the TGV – the bullet train - for an incredible week! More Provence tidbits in the next blog entry. --Beth


Deb said...

You're just making me want to follow in your footsteps! But why not offer us locals days of following you around Seattle as you go exploring/buying???? Paris ala Seattle?

Hey, you guys should also link to the website on the blog! :)

Looking forward to my next class/visit!! Deb

paris parfait said...

It was so much fun spending time with you and Raoul! Glad you found some great things, practically everywhere you went! (And glad I wasn't carrying your luggage home!) :) xo