I owe Paris a thank you note!

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i owe paris a thank you note.

Showing me what a real chocolate croissant was all about.
Women smelling irresistible.
Saying bonjour madame, bonsoir, and merci beaucoup endlessly.
The shoes!


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Tasting nectar of the gods some call fruit.
The FASHION! Understated? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
For a self realization. But not while I was there as I expected!
The comfort of a “bise” cheek kiss.

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Men aged 15 to 89 years old giving lingering looks at women in adoration.
Busy streets of fading french passing by.
Did I mention the shoes?!
Your pharmacies are a conversation starter. Beauty products to die for.

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Every door being like a modern version of the secret garden.
Referencing things as a box in english.
Being stimulated by the mystery of Paris.
The quietness of Parisians. Americans are kinda loud people.

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The crimes I committed indulging in french salted butter and decadent pastries daily.
No reason at all to drink champagne!
Children riding scooters through the city with their scarfs wafting in the wind as if they were just born this way!
Sugar packaged as “sucre en poudre” translation “sugar daddy” I love you for that.

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I felt right at home in Paris.

“What did you think?” and “How was it?”
I keep trying to find the word. The perfect way to express three weeks of constant sensory overload.

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Neither Nate nor I speak much french. We carried our way with the basics and learned very quickly how to charm our way around as humble eager travelers.

It’s been a week since we left France and I am still ruminating on “oh, remember that nutella crepe I devoured on the way to the Seine, the sugary smell of that dark brunette with a fabulous black hat, or walking side by side with my love both intoxicated with what we were seeing and re-learning parts of each other!”

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We were in France a couple days shy of 3 weeks and lucky enough to be in Paris for 8 nights. We rented two apartments in different arrondissements and pretty much walked the entire city while we were there. Some days 8 to 10 miles.

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We had a few suggestions of what to see and experience while we were there. Naturally, most of it was what to eat and where to shop. This time we didn’t go into one museum or monument. (next up on the kids trip) We both wanted to stay clear of lines and hours of waiting. For us it was about the culture and soaking in the city.

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So basically we ate our way through the city, shopped, people watched to no end, wandered, and enjoyed beautiful visits with Parisian and American ex-pat friends.


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Side note: the french were lovely and very gracious to us.

I love recommendations when I travel so I thought I would offer some for you my friends:

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Cafe de Flore Oh so charming art-deco and nostalgia for days. Café de Flore has been the stomping grounds for many an intellectual from Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to Pablo Picasso and Albert Camus. Steep prices but super chic. Tops for people watching here. Dining patrons and passersby’s alike.

Les Deux Magots Same same as Cafe de Flore with an alternative view a few doors down.

Cafe Charlot On a nice day you will wait for a table. The French darlings aren’t shy about sticking around for a while.

Le Perle We were recommended this place by one of our friends. It’s hip, dress code is unreal and you never know who you will see there. Drinks were a bargain as they weren’t $25 for A cocktail. Yay!

Cafe Pinson Is charming and reminded me of a Seattle cafe with French decor.

Chocolate croissant/
Ble Sucre This deserves it’s own category as I have never tasted something so decadent in my entire life. Game changer.

Claus Was our agreed upon best proper breakfast experience. The whole experience was top shelf. The food and presentation was equally on par with the decor and atmosphere.

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Broken Arm Relaxed and hip artsy shop with a cafe inside. All boutique French designers. Very friendly and eager to chat. Not really my taste in style but has a cool vibe about it.

Bonton Best childrens store I have ever stepped into. Imagine a sweet delicate nursery with a whimsical spell over it. It’s everything you imagine as an adult what your childhood dreams are about. They carry clothing, books and toys. Really wonderful.

Merci A favorite among places to see in Paris. This little haven has a bit for all. Mens, womens, householdry, parfumerie and jewelry. French/ Japanese design, genius concept, and hip selection. More enjoyable is the cafe and bookstore downstairs. Comparable to a library coffee shop. Tres cool.

Le 29 Photo design dream paradise.

Nose Spectacular parfumerie that carries mostly French perfume. Only ze best.

Pierre Herme A better macroon. Rises above the rest. Trust me.

I couldn’t leave out some vintage goodness as well now could I? So…

Pretty Box Carries a variety of gems. Many high end designers. So high end some I have never heard of. Mixed in with some unknown french designers. All a great selection.

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Things to see even if you don’t want to go on tours/
Le Comptoir General/ Ghetto Museum This place is real special. It’s a secret to most travelers but known by the locals. It’s near Canal St Martin. Walking in you feel like you transported in time to 1976 Berlin boho chic.

Canal St Martin A nice escape from the tourist scene. On a warm day in Paris all the lovers and friends are out picnicking along the canal. Perfect postcard view.

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Gardens and parks are endless. I enjoyed the hiding ones you stumbled across while walking in the different arrondissements.

There are many places I still have on my list we weren’t able to see. Timing is a huge thing in Paris. Don’t forget they are real serious about lunch time and days off. Usually Sundays, Mondays and possibly Tuesdays.

My best advice is invest in some sturdy shoes you love (no sneakers, ever) (or three as I did) and get out there and lose your mind wandering in the city of dreams.

If you are curious to see more candids from our travels on instagram. Find me here nicolejfirestone

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Up next my favorite St Tropez…