Breakfast in Chicago, Lunch in New York, Dinner in Paris

Monday 9 September 2005

Ah so much to say and not a good enough reason to spend time writing it all down here. I mean, we are in Paris. Seems like there isn’t much time to sit in the hotel room, which is beautiful by the way, overlooking a grove of trees and one of the many gardens in in this beautiful city.

Morgan and I have been using the “let’s walk in the direction” method to explore Paris and it has worked like a charm so far. We’ve accidentally stumbled onto an amazing array of sites, both the usual and the off the beaten path kind. Today for instance, after finding a Virgin Megastore to pick up a forgotten USB cable so we can load all of our photos to the computer, we headed back east on the right bank and found the Palais Royal Gardens. Just a stunning place. We took photographs. Watched the children play on the square and then put our feet up on the fountain in the center of it all. We’ve discovered how to live in Paris.

This morning while Morgan was getting ready I walked… west from the hotel… seemed like a good direction. Picked up a nice bottle of wine and a wine opener, some fruit, and some flowers and a vase for our room. We have two big beautiful windows that open overlooking the garden and the table now looks beautiful with some flowers on it.

Tonight we’re having dinner at Man Ray. It should be wonderful.

More to tell, but I’m not going to waste another minute writing about it. We’re going to go out and live it.

This is a photo Morgan took just over one of the beautiful bridges on the right bank looking back toward the Eiffel Tower. She’s becoming quite the photographer. I find myself picking up my camera less and less on this trip because she’s finding the photographs I would be taking. It’s been nice to have a new photographer to travel with.

Wednesday 10 September 2005

We have really dialed in to the Paris pace and lifestyle here… perhaps a little too well. You know you’re having a wonderful time when a great deal of the trip is discussing plans to come back here… forever.

This morning I’m writing in our little hotel courtyard, surrounded by beautiful flowers and white shuttered windows opened above me. There are birds speaking in bird French and I hear the occasional phone call from the hotel desk inside.

Man Ray on Monday night was one of the most incredible experiences I think I’ve ever had. I know Morgan would agree. It is a beautiful restaurant a little off the Champs-Elysees. We walked past the serious doorman who gave us a welcoming smile once we told him bonsoir , and we walked down a beautiful staircase. Our hotel had helped us make reservations so in short order our hostess led us down another beautiful staircase to the restaurant floor. I should mention that all this time, there is a 15 piece orchestra playing on a small stage. Beautiful live music- in a beautiful restaurant and we hadn’t even made it to our table yet.

I could write for a long time about Man Ray and perhaps I will another time. But I’ll mention the highlights. Soon the orchestra was joined by a man and a woman who began to sing selections from The Barber of Seville and the Marriage of Figaro among others. So beautiful. Everyone was so talented and enthusiastic about their performances. Morgan and I both sat there and soaked it all in. Beautiful opera performances at an amazing restaurant in the middle of Paris. What more can I say. Our waitress kept apologizing to us about the service because I guess one of the Saudi princes was also there that night and they were stretched a little thin. But we didn’t care. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was incredible and Morgan and I had another of our great conversation there as we always do and we pretty much closed the place. We’ve been doing that a lot in Paris. Mya, our waitress, gave us a few of her favorite places to try that are off the tourist guides and we walked out into the night.

We headed toward what we could no longer avoid after such a wonderful evening. The Eiffel Tower. I’ve mentioned before that part of the fun of being in Paris for the first time was walking down the street and all of a sudden glimpsing the top of the tower over a building or a garden or park. It’s really breathtaking to see something so familiar that you’ve never actually seen before with your own eyes. Ten years ago when I was here I just kept walking toward it until I was just across the Seine from it. Tonight as we walked toward it, Morgan was getting more and more excited with every glimpse. And of course our cameras would come out and we would spend 20 minutes or so bracing ourselves against whatever we could find so we could take long exposure photographs of it. I think Morgan took about 70 pictures and I probably did half as many. The Eiffel Tower was fairly well documented that night. Later we even found one of the corners that I took one of my favorite photos from back in ’94. And we found the carousel that ended up in so many of my pictures from that trip. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We got closer and closer. But this time Morgan’s feet had given out from her fabulous heels and she went barefoot, running across Avenue de New York as we finally reached the Seine. More pictures, more running closer until we finally were underneath it. The light show was changing all the time until finally… we closed the Eiffel Tower as well. But it was still beautiful in the darkness. We took a few more photographs until it started to feel a little bit like we should get going before someone decided to pick off the American tourists. Big city… you never know.

We woke up the next morning and headed over to the Paris Opera which we had been to yesterday but couldn’t get into the auditorium to see the Chagall ceiling because of a rehearsal. Still the same on this day, so we’ll keep trying until we get to see it. We’re really taking Paris in on foot. We’ve been on the Metro once. Beautifully clean, efficient and easy, but we can’t seem to stop exploring on foot, always looking to cross a the Seine on a bridge we haven’t been on before, always looking for a street we haven’t walked down.

We’ve made a lot of great discoveries that way. We found a parasol shop called Antione’s that has been in existence since 1754. I had to buy one that I fell in love with. Purple with black lace trim. I’m sure it will show up in a future photoshoot. We bought Morgan some new YSL sunglasses so she looks even more fabulous walking the streets Paris now. I’ll admit I’ve had to step it up here myself fashion-wise. Morgan is just too beautiful to be seen with an American in shorts. Nothing but pants, not jeans and button down shirts, sweaters and a jacket for me. i think we both did a little clothes shopping before we left last week.

Cafes and leisurely time drinking espressos, more exploring, finding a nice quite bench in a beautiful garden. So relaxing.

More later….

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