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Trip Report Just Call Me Madame...Blissful R&R in Paris

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Before the glow fades too much, I thought I'd write a quick trip report about my recent 10 days in Paris. Some of you have helped with my planning and others have helped me in the lounge with getting through some recent bumpy days. Either way, just wanted to share this wonderful trip with all of you and say thanks for your Fodoricious support!

WHY
I always say there is no problem that can't be made better by a trip to Paris.

After 4 years living in Switzerland we were somewhat abruptly transferred back to the US by my husband's company. I simultaneously got a new boss at my job who was a bit of a nightmare and held me to my 90 day contract termination which made the move and re-situating my family a wee bit STRESSFUL and unpleasant.

My sweet husband said that once the furniture was on the ship I should take a final lap around Europe to relax, reflect and regroup. He's a mensch, isn't he? Thanks dear mr. gruezi it was just what I needed. I thought about hitting a few unvisited cities but was so tired and weary (and frankly some days a bit sad) that the idea of planning a lot of logistics in unfamiliar places was just too much for me.

So, I went to Paris for the first 10 days of November. This was my 6th trip. My first trip there was solo (27 years ago) and this was solo as well. Not that I don't have travel companions, but I do treasure my alone time, and I definitely needed some of it before I headed back 'home.'

MY GOAL

To surround myself with beauty in all its forms - art, antiques, decorative arts, food, and most of all joie de vivre. Paris seemed the perfect place to do this and it did not disappoint.

When my soul is weary, I find such solace gazing into a beautiful work of art and then enjoying a glass of champagne and some foie gras in a lovely dining room, or strolling a charming street and looking at beautiful interior decorations in a window, or hunting down a lovely piece of linen for a gift for a dear friend. Paris offered me all this and more.

Where I Stayed

As I would be solo and don't usually dine out alone at night I decided to try an apartment instead of a hotel this trip. I used Guest Apartment Services and chose the I'le St. Louis. For details on the apartment, see the thread I started on it....

http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/recent-paris-apartment-experiences-looking-for-a-nice-place-in-november.cfm

To summarize: I LOVED this neighborhood and felt immediately at home. I felt safe and definitely not lonely and in a couple days was a regular at the local grocery, boulangerie, and cafe. The apartment had a lovely view of the Seine, Notre Dame and even the twinkling Eiffel tower in the evening and I liked being able to eat my little dinners in at night when I felt like it.

In the evenings, the strains of music from a saxophone or accordian could be heard on the tiny balcony. Some evenings I just enjoyed strolling in the neighborhood or having tea at Le Flore en I'le a friendly cafe just at the bridge that connects I'le Saint-Louis with I'le de la Cite (by Notre Dame).



Just Call Me Madame

I don't know if there was a sign on my forehead that said, "treat this woman with extra special care" but I can't say enough how embraced I felt by my favorite city. Everywhere I went I was treated with such care and friendliness and I felt so very welcome to sit in any restaurant alone for as long as I liked. I don't know why, but being called 'Madame' just made me smile every time.

Young french men are beyond charming and more than once I was told by a handsome one, "Madame, it has been a great pleasure to help you..." I was kissed on the hand and the cheek on a few occasions and it just warmed my heart. At my favorite Le Flore, the old waiter would take my face in both hands just to listen to my order of green tea and pain au chocolat. After the reserved people of Switzerland and my stressful few months it was beyond delightful and just what I needed to feel myself again.

So, Paris rolled out the red carpet and filled my glass to the brim and I sipped up every drop.

Next: What I Did followed by Where I Ate

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