EuroVirgo Travel Diary: Exploring Le Marais & A Bout Of Bed-Jumping!
(A continuation of EuroVirgo Travel Diary: Arriving In Paris & Pringles For Dinner?!!)
After falling asleep at 6.30pm, waking up at midnight, & then waking up again at 4am, finally dragging ourselves out of bed at 9am was a little rough. Thankfully though, we were so excited that we didn’t mind much. We showered & got pretty before strolling around Le Marais in search of breakfast! We explored a supermarche where they were playing Marilyn Manson–it felt just like home!–& then found a boulangerie, where we snapped up a croissant & a pain au chocolat.
Even though we were in our “casual” breakfast-seeking attire, we were perhaps a little overdressed for the conservative Parisians. Living in New York, it’s easy to forget that you can’t get away with anything everywhere!
I guess we were quite a sight, me in my black faux fur & Nubby in bondage tights & sky-high wedges. Standing at one crossing, unable to avoid the fact that people were peering curiously at us, I turned to Nubby & said, “I feel like Michael Jackson in Iowa!”
After some pastry nibbling & Tropicana swilling, there was a knock at the door. It was Juliane Berry, an American photographer who now lives in Paris! We first connected when I saw an engagement shoot she did for Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride, & linked it in my Carousel. We started corresponding, & when she heard Nubby & I were coming to Paris, she told us she’d love to have a shoot! We couldn’t say no to that, of course!
After a brief discussion about where we’d be going & what we’d be doing, we soon set off for our photo adventure! We walked all around Le Marais, stopping at practically every brightly-coloured door we saw, & roamed around the Place des Vosges. Victor Hugo used to live there, & the area is practically untouched. I squinted my eyes to blur out the tourists, & imagined him walking around the square, thinking & scribbling notes about his work!
We also stumbled upon an open gate, which turned out to be the entrance to an immense, & incredibly beautiful estate, with immaculately-groomed gardens!
As we walked, we fell ever more in love with Paris. It is so, so, so beautiful, & spending our first full day with an American was great! We talked up a storm & Juliane was a fabulous host (as well as walking guide), explaining lots of things to us & telling us about Paris from her perspective.
We really enjoyed our time with her. It was fantastic to just stroll around & take pictures whenever we felt inspiration strike. I also think that kind of downtime is a rarity, even on holiday–you are usually running from one tourist attraction to the next, or trying to stick to some maddening agenda!
After a couple of hours in Le Marais, we went back to the hotel room, changed, & set off for the train. We ended up at a top secret location just outside of Paris, where we climbed signs, hid inside letters, & a helpful Frenchman lifted me several feet in the air! Before long, the drizzle got the better of us, so we got back on the train again.
We headed back to the hotel to make the most of its extreme interior. We shot in the lobby in front of library wallpaper, sprawled across the stairs covered in polka-dot carpet, in front of the heart mirror in our bathroom, & of course, we took some bed-jumping pictures…
When Juliane left late in the afternoon, the jet-lag quickly snuck up on us & bashed us over the head. Nubby & I fell asleep almost immediately. We didn’t stay asleep long, though; we were soon woken by ravenous hunger!
We got dressed into slightly more sane outfits, having realised that our vision of Parisian fashion was more like Parisian fashion in the distant, space-age future (!!!), & made our way down the road to this cute restaurant called Café Charlot.
We sat at a tiny table wedged between two groups of real! live! Parisians!, & shared a carafe of wine. Food was ordered, head-exploding mustard was consumed (so good), bread-baskets were spilled, & witty banter was swapped between our tables & the tables of real! live! Parisians!
The guys to our right asked us to go home with them, in a very straightforward kind of way. (Not like in America, where they dance around the subject & try to “warm you up” [aka talk a load of rubbish] first!) We politely declined! The table to our left spilled an enormous amount (like, gallons?!) of red wine, & then one of them produced a small dog from her purse?! Amazing.
Our meal was excellent & we really appreciated the nice, slow pace that it moved at. I always find that in America, their ultimate goal is to get you in & get you out again as quickly as possible. Maybe that’s because most wait-staff work on tips, so they have an incentive to serve as many customers as possible. It’s never very relaxing!
In France, after taking your order & serving your food, they just leave you alone. No lingering over the shoulder, no “how is everything?” (aka “when are you leaving?”), & no rush. It was so great. I think we took at least two hours at dinner, & even by the time we left, the people on either side of us–who had been there before we arrived–were still just hanging out. It’s definitely the way dinner should be!
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel room for more Fashion TV (“I Fashion TV!”), internet catch-ups & French vocabulary drills! (Nubby is practically a pro now! She can crow, “Parlez-vous anglais?” with the best of ’em!)
To be continued… !