Books, schedules and clippings are all over the dining room table, the air is crisp, and we've made some (but not yet all) of our reservations. For a change, the trip will include Paris, and this time we'll be heading south from Paris, flying home from Nice. This is a great time of year for the Riviera - the sun is still shining, the summer vacationers are back at work or school, and the restaurants are still open.
Each time we plan a trip, I look at what I did right and what I missed on a few previous trips. Here are my notes from the trip this past June:
- as usual, allowed self to be misled by weather reports. The only accurate description for the weather in England and northern-central France is changeable, unless there are snowbanks or floods, when it is Gawd-awful. As opposed to eastern Europe, where there are two kinds of weather: gray, and not-so-gray, with a week or two of summer. So I should have followed my mother's universal advice: bring a sweater. Glad I had the raincoat.
- note to self: expect irrational weather, and pack accordingly.
- I stopped cooking with salt a long time ago on doctor's advice, and have found that real salt addicts add it at table anyway. Professional kitchens, of course, use lots of salt, and I remember to offset this by drinking lots of water. Nevertheless, it takes a toll on me. Thus, every time the tele-news reported on the suffering of French farmers under a terrible drought last June, I felt guilty for retaining so much water.
- note to self: bring a pair or two of pants one size up, in the hope that I won't notice the "retention" so much.
|concept bijoux at Colette|
- Unusually, while in Paris, we did not browse at Colette, which is the concept store of concept stores, and is enjoyable on many levels, even if you're not a shopper. Even himself enjoys the choice of vinyl records, odd books, jewelry for men your mother would faint at the thought of your knowing... and the women's things and the make-up room are TDF. This past June, however, the entire store seemed to be devoted to PENNY LOAFERS. Been there, done that, don't need the t-shirt. Authentic Bass, designer pale pink suede, whatever, all over, and we only had a few days in Paris. Came home to see gazillions of made-in-China copies of French copies of US originals. Please.
- note to self: Don't miss Colette!
|bread at Fauchon|
- We had, as previously posted, some extravagantly wonderful meals. Guess what: we're going to do it again! The rest of the time, we ate very modestly. There was an Eric Kayser bakery near our hotel -- these days Kayser's near most hotels, and where he isn't, Paul is -- and since our food budget was primarily dedicated to dinner! dinner! dinner!, our breakfasts were coffee and croissants or other breakfast rolls. Our lunches were baguette sandwiches, except for one day when we were feeling a bit tired and foie-gras-deprived, walked into Fauchon, bought a chunk of foie gras, a gorgeous baguette, and a bottle of chilled champagne and devoured same in our hotel room, simultaneously putting feet up for a well-deserved rest.
- note to self: more than one restaurant dress in case of attacks of sloppery.
- note to self: remember to bring bottle-opener!
- For the Riviera part of the trip - light jacket. For Paris (and there may be some time in Brussels again; working on that), raincoat and possibly a black cashmere Donna Karan wrap coat which weighs nothing and goes over everything.
- note to self: wonder if there'll be time to get to Loehmann's before trip. That coat was the find of the (last) century.
- note to self: get started on the find of this century!
|lovers celebrate their commitment|
by locking a lock onto a
bridge & throwing key into river
- What I missed in Paris: the bridges with the lovers' locks! This time I want (a) to get to one (b) when it's not raining and (c) get a kind tourist to take a picture of us on it. No matter how Himself cringes. I know he's really a romantic at heart.
- note to self: put on make-up every day, just in case, no matter how boring a chore it is.
- also, look for holiday cards at Louvre gift shop and cute graphic tees for littlest friends at Comédie Française gift shop - good quality, not all over the place, and do not develop holes.
More to come. Meanwhile, scouring Google for article on How to Pack for 3 or 4 Different Climates and Greatly Varying Events Without Layering Up to Resemble Michelin Man or Carrying Bag to Resemble Lost Backpacker. Real-life example: day begins with a live poultry market in the countryside followed a visit to a wonderful privately endowed museum followed by a stroll through pictureseque quarter followed by dinner at 3-star restaurant followed by checking in to v.elegant hotel that happened to be on our discount travel site.... would be haunted by female ancestors if wore jeans and cute leather jacket everywhere. Male ancestors, of course, wouldn't even notice.