the best of…Paris!

by Holly on November 21, 2011

in family,French,rambling,travel

Let me remind you that I hated Paris the first time I traveled there.

It downpoured for three days straight. The Euro to dollar conversion rate was ungodly hard to swallow. I was poor. My friend + I managed to run into the rudest of the rude in Paris.  Not to mention, the two of us had just almost died hiking the Austrian Alps in Salzburg the day before we arrived at Paris’ Gare du Nord station and were practically assaulted by gypsies.

In short, morale was low.

But because I’m really competitive, I wasn’t quite ready to give up on Paris yet.

And I’m glad I didn’t.

Because then I wouldn’t have been able to perfect my bonjour and gain the satisfaction of having multiple French people stop to ask me – an “obnoxious, gregarious American” – for directions.

I wouldn’t have been able to drink a glass of wine with lunch and not feel like a boozy lush or enjoy the best roasted chicken and frites of my Everythingtarian life.

I wouldn’t have enjoyed real French macarons at Laduree.

I also wouldn’t have been able to hang out with Mama + Daddy E for four whole days enjoying this historically-rich city with a set of fresh new eyes.

I wouldn’t have been able to see my mother practically make out with a creepy street performer or have my father help me pose to recreate a random statue on the grounds of Marie Antoinette’s estate (or see my mother planking there, for that matter).

I wouldn’t have had this amazing meal or the unique experience of not knowing exactly what I ordered until it was set before me on the table (Googling “French food translations” helps).

My mother and I wouldn’t have been able to buy my father a trendy, tres chic sweater + scarf.

I wouldn’t have been able to marvel at all the churches…Saint Sulpice…Basilique du Sacre Coeur…Notre Dame…or Saint Chapelle, my favorite, where the stained glass mosaics of Bible stories were far too intricate, beautiful and detailed to ever put into words.

I wouldn’t have been able to witness Mama E – the most passive, non-combative person I know – become absolutely livid with our bitchy waitress (pardon my French?) after she condescendingly made us repeat, “Creeeppppeeee!” five times before accepting our simple order of one caramel + one chocolate banana crepe.

We wanted to crepe in her face…if you know what I mean.

Mama E, Daddy E and I wouldn’t have been able to spend a leisurely half day walking the grounds of Chateau de Versailles – King Louis XIV’s palacial estate located 20 kilometers outside of Paris. Most definitely of the highlights of our trip.

And while there, I wouldn’t have been able to feed my odd obsession with painted ceilings.

I wouldn’t have lost my temper with my parents (more than once…eep!).

I wouldn’t have discovered an appreciation for black espresso.

I wouldn’t have been able to eat one of the most amazing meals of my life at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Montmartre – red wine, balsamic toasted foie gras, rabbit braised in herbs and garlic, fresh vegetables and a caramelized pear tart tatin. All of which went unphotographed, all of which was promptly devoured alongside exceedingly enjoyable company.

Most importantly, I wouldn’t have been able to eat a second nutella + banana crepe.

So while I may not love Paris, I like it now…just enough to go back for a third.


Angie November 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm

NUTELLA CREPES-Je les aime beaucoup! I’m glad you gave Paris another chance. ;)

Allison's Delicious Life November 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Ahh I loved reading this post! I am going to travel Europe this summer and it is ALL that I can think about! I can’t wait to experience everything, especially the food and the culture…because food + culture go hand in hand. And I really enjoy eating food. ;)

I’ve been looking for a cross body purse to travel with, and I really like that black one you have! Where did you get it/do you have any tips on what kinds of purses are best for traveling? Did you carry a water bottle in your purse?

Linds November 22, 2011 at 12:38 am

Glad your stop in Paris wasn’t all rude waiters and rain! Sounds like you and your parents experienced the real deal City of Light and had a great time exploring the city!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 22, 2011 at 1:15 am

Oh fabulous post.

I’ve never been to Paris but the allure of Chanel, LV, French food, brie, champagne, and everything else makes me want to get there, asap!

Lyn @ FueledBySalad November 22, 2011 at 1:21 am

Your trip sounds amazing!

Kathryn November 22, 2011 at 3:52 am

I think you have to be in the right mood to enjoy Paris. It’s certainly not my favourite city in the world but it does have its charm.

Megan November 22, 2011 at 4:43 am

Round two sounds so much better than round one.. did you stay in a hotel that you did not have to “jump into an ambigious hole in the wall” to get in to, and solely being in paris without the stench of our terribly smelly hiking shoes had to make it all that much better! So gald you were able to return, I still strongly dislike paris, but am so excited that you have moved it into the “like” range. see you saturday my love!

Katie November 22, 2011 at 5:57 am

i think its so cool you got to go there with your mom and dad! What a trip to remember, and you your parents are so cute!

I want to go to Paris one day!

KaraHadley November 22, 2011 at 7:03 am

Pairs was always on my list of places that I didn’t want to visit…until I did. Then the cute and clean streets, the abundance of pomme frites and goat cheese and crepes of all sorts, the history, and the parks won me over in a heartbeat. I can’t wait to go back!

mammaeverythingtarian November 22, 2011 at 7:20 am

I adored Paris-(maybe not as much as London) there is so much beauty to be explored there!!! Holly is an amazing tour guide and can be hired for a rather large sum but worth the investment. to hire contact MammaE :)

Gillian November 22, 2011 at 7:35 am

Can third time be with me for an official food tour? Looks so lovely, I’ve had my highs and lows in Paris so I’m glad you got your Hugh and crepe (crrrreepe… I hate being corrected by Parisian waiters). You look gorgeous and very Parisian and Mama E is a stunner as well (no surprise)!

Gillian November 22, 2011 at 7:36 am

And by Hugh I meant 2nd trip but autocorrect has a mind of his own. Or maybe it knows something happened with you and Hugh Grant in London?

Evan November 22, 2011 at 7:49 am

LOVE your style – foie gras, braised rabbit, nutella crepes, and red wine? Hello, gourmet soulmate :)

This just about sums up the way I feel about Paris…and how I think many people feel about New York. It’s an abusive place and it’s a bit much to handle, but there’s this magnetism and awesomeness about it that keeps you coming back. Not to mention the history, the food, the painted ceilings…ah, Paris.

Also, I love your honesty. I lose my temper with the ‘rents far too often…and vise versa. ESPECIALLY when traveling!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 22, 2011 at 8:18 am

That conversion rate is a biyatch!

So jealous of Versailles and the hole-in-the-wall meal. Looks like an awesome (crepe-filled) stop.

Emily November 22, 2011 at 8:32 am

Ohhh Paris looks lovely! I’ve only been once, when I was younger, to Disneyland… not quite the same cultural and culinary experience as yours :)

Charlotte November 22, 2011 at 8:32 am

I am so glad that I am not the only one who did not like Paris on their first trip. Even though I went with very fun people, I think it was a combination of high expectations and rude Parisians that ruined it for me. However, I would love to give it a second go and you have given me some optimism. :-)

Looks like you had a wonderful European vaca!

sofia November 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

duck confit and cote du rhone? fab. i want duck and wine every day. again and again. paris sounds nice too. bring it.

glad you had such a fab time! your mom seems awesomely-spunky-cool.

Katie November 22, 2011 at 8:58 am

Oh, Paris Paris Paris… when I was studying abroad there, I found that, like New York, having a place to call “home” (even if it’s just a host home with strange family members) makes all the difference. The city can swallow you up if you let it, yo! I’ve been back to France, but not to Paris. I need to go. I crave travel. ONE DAY we are going to take a trip together. Because seriously, lady, at this point there is NO place I don’t want to go.

Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

Sounds like an amazing trip! and Versailles! I took french for years, but I’ve never been! Haha so jealous, glad you had a great trip!

Kailey (SnackFace) November 22, 2011 at 9:23 am

JUST AMAZING!!!! I can’t even be articulate about this. Also, your pops is SO CUTE! I love that you and mom dolled him up. I don’t think MamaJ and I could ever get my dad to wear a scarf…

Allison R. November 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

That nutellla crepe looks unreal.

emily (a nutritionist eats) November 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

I hope you frame that top picture, it is PERFECT!!!

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List November 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

I was kinda reading this outloud and read Ratatouille. Little Henry kinda loves you now. But was wondering where the pictures of rats were?

brandi November 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

ugh…so jealous :) sounds like the BEST trip!!

Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel November 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

Mama E is really starting to seem like one of the most fun moms around. And I can totally see where you get your humor from!

Side note: crepes should be on ever street corner in the world. Nuff said.

Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile November 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Love this! I have always wanted to visit Paris. I would be all over those crepes!

Hillary November 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I’ll be happy to tag along if you need a companion. I don’t speak a word of French, but I do love me some Nutella and croissants. Helpful travel companion, right here!

Molly November 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm

OMG- the first time someone asked me for directions to the Metro in Paris I almost peed myself with happiness.
I’m sure I scared the poor woman by going into a spiel (in French) about how I was american, but the metro was to the left on that street, and merci beaucoup beaucoup beaucoup for asking haha.

Megan (Braise the Roof) November 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I’m glad you had a better experience this time! I think for magic #3 you need to see Paris with ME, since I can show you all the hidden hot spots. ;) Nutella crepes make dreams come true, by the way.

Christine November 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm

So glad you gave it another shot! Paris is completely different from France, if that makes any sense. I’ve lived in two regions of France other than Paris and the people are nothing like Parisians. And that crêpe, yuuummmm. Have you ever been to Bradbury’s in Madison? Closest thing to Paris.

Jen@FoodFamilyFitness November 23, 2011 at 6:09 am

So jealous of your amazing trip!!!! Love the pictures :)

Mackenzie @ Whatever, Gatsby November 23, 2011 at 7:04 am

your shoes in that picture?! FIERCE?! your mama’s sass?! AMAZING! you showed paris who’s boss! xo

Sarah@The Flying ONION November 23, 2011 at 7:17 am

I have dreamed of going to Paris for as long as I can remember…so I am living vicariously through you until that day finally arrives. ;)

And the story of the crepe…lol. I would have been so upset too. Especially since I’m pretty sure the said waitress would have had me repeating it all day. I can’t say crepe without some strange accent, so I’m sure they’d have no idea what I was talking about. ;)

Clair November 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

Wow…this might be one of the first times I’ve seen pics of you and your rents without silly faces…you’re all so beautiful!

Jenn November 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I’m so jealous, looks like such a wonderful trip!

Susan November 27, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I’m loving these recaps. What I wouldn’t give to explore Versailles. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette is one of my favorite movies ever.

Brenna November 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I’m so glad you went back to Paris :)

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