Paris, je t’aime

Paris, je t’aime

Paris, the City of Light, is the only city I have visited more times than I can count and the city I have also called my home for 2 years. It is a place where I can be brought to tears by the pure beauty of the city. The food, the art, the culture, the streets, the people, the markets, the wine; it always excites me.

One of my favorite times in Paris is in the early morning. When I lived and worked there, I would take the Vélib to teach my first pilates client of the day. Riding to work in the mornings, I am virtually alone on the streets except for the street sweepers. Who, by the way, still open valves of water to clean the gutters with brooms! As I ride my bike, I am immersed by the smell of baking bread and the quiet expectation of a new day. I feel like the city is mine. My daily commute would take me along Canal Saint Martin past République, the Pompidou, Notre Dame and across the Seine to the 7th arrondissement. Definitely beats sitting in LA traffic.

 

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Paris always inspires me to take a moment to reflect on life and how one should be living it. The time spent with friends enjoying an apèro after work or visiting a new exhibition reminds you to live in the moment. There is also the joy of preparing for a summer holiday where people can actually take 3 weeks away. And the joy of having a 3 hour dinner where no one is on their phones or the hostess is not asking you to leave because they need to turn the table for the next reservation.

The French hold a special place in my heart – with all the good and the challenging. Believe me there were many days in Paris when I would have to suck in the tears or the frustration when dealing with them and not knowing the language. But I truly think those are the moments when you become more connected to a city and what it means to be a foreigner. A lesson many of us could use these days.

 

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Each time I visit I always want to explore something new. Paris is changing quite a bit right now and there is much to see. But rest assured I always stop by my favorite boulangerie – Du Pains et des Idées or the most amazing chocolatier – Jacques Genin. This past trip I tried several new restaurants that were superb. For a more rustic, off the beaten path, I tried Vivant Cave in the rejuvenated 10th arrondissement. It is an intimate space with just the chef, Pierre Touitou behind the bar and two servers offering delicious organic wine and “bar” food that blew me away. As we left the restaurant Pierre handed us some dark chocolate out of his pocket to take for the road. And just so you know, it was delicious!

The other notable meal was at Restaurant David Toutain. This young chef is unreal! He was awarded a Michelin star last fall and I have to agree the lunch was exquisite. The space is modern and clean and the service is unparalleled. The creativity of the food and the attention to detail without being fussy was perfect.

 

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For my trip to Paris this July, I was the travel concierge for two of my dear clients from NYC. They asked me to meet them in Paris and create an itinerary including lunch and dinner reservations, museum exhibitions and walks throughout the different neighborhoods. I took great pleasure in showing my Paris to them. It was a blast! They got to explore the city in a way that they never would have on their own.

 

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As you know, travel and discovering a new city gives me the greatest joy. With my fitness concierge service Jette Sette, I can not only provide you with all of your fitness needs, but I can also curate a trip full of adventure just for you. Reach out with any questions you have!

Challenge me to create the best trip for you!

à bientôt

 

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Saint-Sulpice

It was quite a snowy, wintery week and I was shocked to find that Paris is not equipped to handle such a huge snow storm. After living in NYC for 8 years I assumed that a big city like Paris would have the streets cleared and the sidewalks shoveled. But that was not the case. With Amy in town for a visit we trudged all over the city in the snow trying desperately not to fall down at every intersection. Despite the challenging walks Paris proves to be gorgeous at any time of year and the snow was a beautiful addition.

A November day in Paris

I have been behind on my blog posts due to the fact that Josh has been visiting for the month of November.  He is quite distracting ;).  Anyways, having him here provides me with an opportunity to be a tourist and get out of my teaching routine.

On one Friday in November we decided to visit the Palais Garnier which in all of my trips to Paris I have never been inside the actual opera house.  By the way it is phenomenal and as opulent as one can imagine!

We took ourselves on our own tour and wandered through the building imagining what it must have been like in the late 1800’s.

The building was built between 1861-1875 by the architect Charles Garnier who won an architectural design competition to create this opulent building for the Emperor Napoleon III.  It is also the opera house that inspired Gaston Leroux’ novel The Phantom of the Opera.  I would like to believe there really is a subterranean lake underneath the opera house…it makes the whole experience much more romantic.

There was a rehearsal happening during our visit so we were unable to sit in the theatre but could watch the rehearsal from a viewing area.  I could have stayed there watching the singers and orchestra all day.  The good news is this Saturday Dec 15th I will be seeing the Paris Opéra Ballet perform in this theatre and get the opportunity to see the gorgeous Marc Chagall ceiling in all of it’s glory.

As we walked outside onto the balcony we were serenaded by an amazing pianist playing below on the street.  He truly was brilliant and captured the mood of our visit.

As we left the opera house we decided to head to the Marais to the Breizh Cafe to get some of the best crepes and galettes in town.  I should also mention that Josh is obsessed with them so it really was a daily food occurrence but this cafe specializes in the Breton culinary traditions so how could we pass it up.

After dinner we wandered back to the left bank and headed toward the famous Shakespeare & Co bookstore where Josh had been dying to go.  As a writer and lover of books he could not miss it.  This store will make you spend money on books that you never even knew you had.  One could stay there forever…and it seems like people do.  This whole day really revolved around the fact that I had promised Josh we would go to a jazz club in the evening even though I had to work bright and early on Saturday morning.  I rallied because I wanted to go as well.

We headed toward Le Caveau de la Huchette one of the oldest jazz clubs in the city.  We were there early and got a great seat in the cellar for the first set.  My phone died so I was unable to take as many pictures as I would like so these are courtesy of Josh and an archaic blackberry.

The band was a mix of American musicians and a Brit who had come together for this show performing a mix of blues and swing.  Little did we know that Parisians swing dance.  Shocking – I know!  I mean I could not have been happier watching this older group of men and women dancing their butts off.

I wish these pictures could do them justice.  The band started and the dancers were at least all over 50 and SOOOOOO serious as the French can be.  I kept thinking how funny it is that they are swing dancing and not smiling – I mean isn’t it impossible not to smile while swing dancing?  Josh and I had names for all of the dancers…. ‘Suspenders’, ‘ the Don’, ‘Bobby Socks’, ‘Francois’, ‘The Black Widow’.  But as the dancers got into it, the crowd got larger and their smiles started emerge.  The music was awesome and some ancient guy who looked like he was about to break got onstage to join the band and sang an amazing blues song.  I wish we could have stayed all night!

These are the days that make me so happy for this adventure.

a bien tôt

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