Monday, September 24, 2012

"Paris is always a good idea." Audrey Hepburn

We're back from France!
Bonjour, mes amis. Richard and I are back from a simply fabulous trip to France. And I want to tell you all about it. By all measures, the trip was great. Nearly perfect hotels, warm, sunny weather in both Paris and Nice and good people experiences. (OK, the shopping was pretty good too.)
Me in my new Cerise sur le chapeau hat in front of our Paris hotel.

We left on September 3rd and arrived in Paris on Labor Day. We flew British Airways' Open Skies in Biz Bed class. I managed to get in forty winks over the Atlantic on the flat bed, but Richard just could not get comfortable and sat up for the whole flight.
 Leaving the Lower East Side in Manhattan with 
our Delancey Car Service driver loading our bags.
We travel lite, folks.
 The British Airways lounge at Newark Airport.
 Richard wears white socks despite their 
being practically illegal in Paris.
The Biz Bed. You get a mattress and a duvet for the flight.
Open Skies flies to Orly in Paris, a smaller, more convenient
airport than Charles de Gaulle.
Classic Charm in the 6th
We stayed in our favorite arrondissement, Saint-Germain des Près, at the Hôtel de l'Abbaye on rue Cassette. It's a peaceful and classic hotel near the Jardins du Luxembourg. 
 The entrance to the hotel.
The courtyard off the street in the entrance to the hotel.

The hotel's public sitting areas are softly lit with 

fresh floral arrangements, oil paintings and chic upholstery. 

The garden. In-the-know Parisiens
may stop by for a cocktail.
The hotel's garden area is surrounded
by ivy-covered walls.
Our room was on the first floor off the garden.
We had a little glass-enclosed annex and an outdoor terrace.
I had to crawl under this desk to plug in my IPhone
which I could only use for the Internet and
messages. The Verizon phone service did not work.
Two ladies walking down rue Cassette.
 A building on our street.
 We were near rue Madame.
There just happened to be a hat shop across the street ....

I tried to act nonchalant when we saw this shop directly across the street from the hotel. But in fact, I knew all about it from my pre-trip research. I cannot tell a lie, or at least I'm not very good at it. Thus, having checked into the hotel, we crossed the street to La cerise sur le chapeau (The cherry on the hat).
The concept behind La cerise sur le chapeau is choice. You choose either a straw or felt hat. Then you choose the band colors. One color for the band surrounding the crown, and one for the little vertical band. You feel like quite the designer. Just be adventurous!

A chic Parisienne trying on a pink felt.

It's a pretty shop.
This little boy was shopping with his mother.
In training for enfant terrible.
My hat was delivered to our room that same afternoon.
Voilà. Mon nouveau chapeau.
A walk in the garden and dinner
Hôtel de l'Abbaye is a 5-minute walk to the Jardins du Luxembourg. 
 Richard sitting in the warm, afternoon sun.
Lining up for ice cream.
The first night in Paris, we had dinner at Le Rostand, 
a brasserie on the edge 
of the Jardins du Luxembourg. The merits of a brasserie are that one can eat at all hours and one does not need a reservation.

 Did somebody say candy? After dinner we stopped at 
Dalloyau for a box of chocolates and ice cream.
These would be Richard's two enduring themes in France,
along with oysters and park benches.
Our first day in Paris comes to an end.

Still to come, more from our wonderful trip to Paris and Nice.
À bientôt!