Falling back into the Paris rhythm.
Bonjour les amis,
I’ve just returned from another whirlwind week in Paris.
Life gets busy enough in the French capital for visitors who try and tick off as many items as possible while also taking the time to savor life en terrasse like good Parisian flâneurs are supposed to.
What you find, even when living a short train ride away from Paris, is that time seems to fly faster once your TGV pulls into the train station. It’s not just my imagination. Local or not, people do speed up as soon as they set a foot on the platform, swiftly finding their place in the flow of commuters heading to the nearest exit or the transportation hub below.
Bienvenue dans la fourmilière. Welcome to the ant world.
No spreadsheet, but a pretty long list for me last week.
Content creation is what I do, and the fun never ends. I was intent on sharing what I saw with my online friends (as I like to call the France with Vero community.) So I did.
Touring season is about to start. There were new vendors to meet, new routes to plan before the first Rick Steves groups arrive in April.
Did I mention I had online French classes scheduled in the evening that week?
What about relatives and friends I wanted to catch up with?
I paused briefly before stepping off the train at la Gare Montparnasse early in the morning on Valentine’s Day and wondered if I’d be up to the challenge.
I needn’t have worried. As soon as I walked the streets, I realized there was no need to rush. Paris was still Paris: façades telling stories about the past, quaint yet hazardous cobbled streets, glorious landmarks from bygone eras, all waiting to get noticed.
In Paris, they say “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”
Pas toujours. Not always.
Things do change once in a while. Take the ubiquitous “terrasses” for example. They are as popular as ever. In fact, there are so many sprawling outdoor spaces in the city, locals complain they are now a threat to the very soul of some neighborhoods, bars and restaurants replacing old convenience stores and causing mayhem for les riverains (locals) until the wee hours.
Some devantures (store fronts) come with a colorful assortment of artificial flowers. I first thought café owners were trying to fight off the perpetual grisaille in Parisian skies, only to realize tourists loved capturing urban jungle sightings and sharing them on social media. Bonjour la pub ! What great publicity!
No more gas heaters outside? Pas de problème: Blankets provided by many establishments are at the ready. Did I spot some fur? Forget celebrities: You might get to sit next to the Sasquatch (the friendly giant I left behind in Washington state) on your next visit!
Paris is for special celebrations.
It wasn’t all work. There were delicious meals and drinks shared with friends including a memorable Valentine’s day celebration in my old 17th arrondissement haunts.
If you follow me on Facebook you’ve already heard all about Le Cyrano, a cool restaurant in a restored Belle Epoque café, or the evening I spent at the Théâtre du Palais Royal.
Catching up with local celebrities.
Touring season is around the corner.
What better place to brush up on French history than le Musée Carnavalet before big crowds descend upon Paris?
One morning, I left visitors behind and headed straight to my favorite floor (the French Revolution) and had it all to myself for 45 minutes. What luxury! The fascinating collections highlight what happens in this crazy city always so prompt to explode when her people get really unhappy.
A pair of earrings crafted in the 1880s reminds visitors of the fate of the king and queen who paid for the excesses of those who had preceded them. While looking at the two Phrygian hats, the guillotine blades and the royals’ (severed) heads, we marvel at the enduring hate that fueled the creation of such a unique fashion accessory 100 years after the French Revolution!
What you may have missed in February.
I embarked on a three-day road trip in the Anjou, the western part of the Loire Valley and shared major stops on social media. The virtual tour I ran in lovely Saumur, a beautiful town by the Loire river, was a hit with viewers.
While in Paris, my friend Oliver Gee and I (he is the creative mind behind the award-winning podcast the Earful Tower) took our patrons to la rue Montorgueil, an ancient market street, in a fun virtual tour filled with food sightings and lively conversation.
Later, we recorded a new episode of the podcast as we walked the entire length of the street. Read about our Parisian adventure and listen to the podcast here.
(Oliver and Véro captured by Augusta Sagnelli)
Time to wrap up.
I’ll be back in Paris in March for more adventures.
Un grand merci to all France with Vero patrons who support this small business and enable me to work full time as a content creator and virtual tour guide. Without you, this newsletter would have been a lot shorter.
If you enjoy discovering the French life I continue to share weekly on social media and my virtual tours, look up the rewards you’ll unlock when joining “la Bande de Véro” (500 members strong!) on Patreon.
A new one is the replay of our virtual stroll along la rue Montorgueil last week.
Another one is a 20-page PDF several patrons have already put to good use while planning their next France vacation.
See you next month!
Or click a link below to read the next (or previous) post...allons-y !