Monday, January 8, 2018


The Holiday lights of the city are set to dim tonight.
The needleless pine trees of Christmas have begun to show up on the sidewalks of Paris' famous streets but Paris is still a city whose brightness shines through even on the grayest of days.
New lights have been added to the city since our last trip compensating for the way winter can make things seem a bit dimmer.
Even the French skies chipped in for some amazing winter sunsets casting a hue of pastels over the ancient bricks and stones of the city. I think we've all become a little travel weary. The zippers on our suitcases are in peril of bursting. We're ready to return to a place where clean clothes aren't a luxury, where the refrigerator is where we go for dinner, and "Will and Grace" is on TV at nine o'clock on Thursday evenings.
But I'll turn on the lights of Paris one more time before we leave.

I have a romantic relationship with the Art Nouveau period in architecture. Fortunately for all of us, this period in architecture coincided with the development of Paris' metro system and an architect, Hector Guimard. The entrances he created are unmistakable and totally Parisian.
Everyone wants to board Paris' carousel of design making Paris one of the most elegant cities in the world.
Even a simple puppet shop draws you in with its whimsy and joy of just being a part of a little side street in Paris.
Paris can also travel from the whimsical to the formal
and have the two touch shoulders in a Paris of complementary approaches to design.
Once again nothing is too lowly to acquire an importance due to its design if not its function.
Window guards become more than a means of keeping its tenants safe but they're the accessory that completes an architectural ensemble.
Color is celebrated in bright hues in wild splashes of primary pigments brushed on with precision
or left to weather in exquisite patinas of layer after layer of washed and rubbed paint
Then again it explodes as a riot of playfulness so enthusiastic you'd have to be Scrooge to not fall back into a childhood filled with candy colors.
Paris is fashion. Whether it's in the clothes the Parisians wear walking down the streets or in the accessories they carry there's a look of sophistication you won't find anywhere else in the world.
Even a tailor's little shop tucked in on a side street with little foot traffic other than the people who live nearby is dressed in perfect fitted window appeal.
Attention is given to their smallest of details. Where else can you find an entire store devoted to watch bands, walls of them in the most popular leathers, fabrics and exotic skins? Our regret is we didn't have any of our antique timepieces with us and they won't sell you a band if they can't fit it exactly to the precise width of your watches' side frames
We couldn't resist walking into MarceletMarcel in the Jewish sector of the Marais, our favorite area to troll for fashion in Paris.
It's where we met the vivacious owner, designer and lifelong resident of the Marais. Some people have a panache and salesmanship that gives them the ability to sell shampoo to a bald man. She had all that and the most stylish men's clothes to back it up. We did not get back out unscathed or as thick in the wallet as when we came in.
Not even children were immune to the fashion bug with shop after shop displaying handmade and one-of-a-kind items you could only purchase in Paris.
Everywhere you looked, every boutique
and every window you passed displayed fashion way beyond the inventiveness of even my dear New York.
If Paris is nothing else it is food. From the neighborhood pizzeria
to the more established and elegant cafes of the Place des Vosges.
The food sometimes simple as in these Eggs Benedict
or more sophisticated as in this poached pear in a sauce of Roquefort cheese and chorizos where the pear has been expertly splayed and cored leaving only the soft sweet fruit to drizzle down your chin.
We went back to a few old favorites. At Au Pied de Cochon, an all-night restaurant formerly serving a working class clientele who toiled at the food markets that used to surround it
they still serve their famous onion soup alongside a $200 plate of seafood accompanied by a $400 magnum of wine. We settled for the soup and cappuccino.
Specialty shops abound on every street offering biscuits wrapped in cellophane and
ice cream in a cornucopia of flavors both exotic and traditional piled into sweet waffle cones.
The more famous stores like the Mariage Freres that has been in business since 1854 selling teas has now expanded to several locations around the city. Their expert staff will blend specifically for you your own tea blend from the hundreds of varieties they stock in beautiful black tins that line the walls of their shop.
There are shops where pastries displayed on marble countertops with crystal chandeliers hanging overhead are an art.
We even had one dinner where the hostess was this diminutive Yorkie that followed you to your table to make sure you enjoyed your meal.
But the last thing we did before our final closing of our luggage was to pack on as many calories as we could find before our return to a month of salads and sprouts.

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