Thursday, April 2, 2009

City of Lights

Sorry about not posting for awhile. I think I've been sulking. I suppose it's time to get off the bitter bus about the broken foot and back to the real world.

The trip to Paris was sorta spur of the moment. I had reached the point where everything was bugging me and I knew I needed to get away. I'm pretty sure the crew around here did the dance of joy when they found out I was going on vacation.

We thought about the beach, but once we got honest with ourselves we knew we wanted to go back to Paris. So I started looking into ways to make the trip feasible financially. I checked out how many airline miles we had and it turned out we had more than enough to get us both there. Yay!

Next up was lodging. I talked to my SIL and she recommended a site called Vacation Rentals by Owner. I was able to find a nice apartment for a fraction of what we'd pay for a hotel. Plus, we'd have a kitchen so we could save a little on meals too. We were good to go.

I wanted to really and truly disconnect on this trip. So I left my cell phone on the counter at home. Left the laptop at the office. No email, no tweeting, no Internet, no TV, nothing. It was wonderful. I have to admit to the tiniest bit of withdrawal, but I was fairly confident that the world would survive a week without me.

We didn't really have much planned for the trip. There was an exhibit at the Louvre on comic books that my husband wanted to see and we booked a couple of walking tours before we left, but the rest was left to chance.

The first few days were very similar to one another. We slept late, took long walks just drinking in the sights and sounds and smells of the city. I couldn't get enough. The weather was perfect for this time of year, about 60 degrees and sunny.
We visited Notre Dame, Palais Royal, Place Vendome, Places des Vosges, Isle St.Louis and some others. We sat in cafes, we picnicked. We chose restaurants for dinner because they looked interesting when we walked by rather than reading about them in guidebook.

Of course there were yarn stores. The first we stopped at was La Droguerie. I don't think you're allowed to be a yarnie in Paris without stopping in. It's a legendary shop with a house brand of yarn they display beautifully right as you walk in the door. There are alpaca, wool, silk and cotton yarns all hanging in hanks along with their swatches. They also have a splendid selection of buttons, beads and ribbon. It's the kind of place you could lose a day in if you aren't careful.

As enamored as I was of La Droguerie, I have to say I liked another shop I stumbled across even better, Entree des Fournisseurs. It was tucked back in a little courtyard on Rue de Francs Bourgeois very close to Place de Vosges. Instead of a house yarn line, they had more mainstream choices like Annie Blatt, Fonty and Bouton d'Or. So, from a yarn POV, La Droguerie was a clear winner. But, OMG, the ribbons and buttons here were out of this world! My normally ever-patient husband actually had to nudge me to bring me back to reality.

Both of these shops were really busy when we visited. Even in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. It was nice to see the craft world alive and well in the city of lights!
There was a soon-to-be yarn shop we stopped in as well called L'OisiveThe. It's a cute tea house in the 13th Arrondisement owned by an American expat from Kansas named Aimee. She's been doing knit nights there and is expanding to include a nice selection of U.S. yarns. She's going to be carrying Lorna's Laces. Whee!
I had hoped to check out the yarn selection at La Samaritaine but it was closed for renovations while we were there. The "incident" precluded a trip to Le Bon Marche. I was a little disappointed, but if I had to choose, I'm glad I saw the small shops rather than the yarn section at the deparments stores.

The day we lunched at L'OisiveThe, we went on one of the walking tours I mentioned earlier. It was of the Catacombs. I know tours like this are incredibly touristy things to do, but I thoroughly enjoyed them. We had great guides and I learned so much more than I would have if we'd just gone on our own.

The Catacombs are fascinating. Creepy too. First you have to climb down under the streets. Almost 20meters underground. That had me just a little queasy. Especially because the passageway at the beginning of the tour was very narrow and only a couple of inches taller than I am. Once you get inside there are over 700 years of bones piled up down there. They even think Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI are part of the crowd.

My knitting on this trip was pretty dismal. I worked on the Lyerka Scarf and started and frogged the same sock about a billion different times. I just couldn't make friends with any of the patterns I tried. What's up with that? I didn't even take pictures of many permutations of the miscreant sock. Bleh.

All in all, this was one of the nicest trips I can remember. I know it's a successful vacation if we are enjoying ourselves so much that we discuss the possiblity of moving there. This was absolutely one of those.

We even picked out our fantasy apartment. You are welcome to come visit.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Great pix! I went to the catacombs on my last trip (lo-o-ng time ago, sadly) -- it's morbid, yet fascinating. Don't suppose there is a Catacombs colorway in your future? (: