armchair travel: Paris.

02 June 2013
photo source unknown.

When I lived in Paris, my teeny tiny walk up was in the 11th arrondissement. In the early morning hours, the street cleaners would wash away the grime of the city's streets and then the recycling trucks would come and lift the massive glass bottle containers high into the sky for emptying. In the evening hours, I'd push open the old floor to ceiling french windows, a glass of Cotes du Rhone in hand and take in the action on the street below. Beyond the window boxes that I had planted, a bakery sat to my left and just down the block, to the right, Rue Oberkampf intersected my street.

Rue Oberkampf is dotted with creperies and panini places and great tucked away restaurants. One of the best places to go for an atmospheric "un cafe" is located here-- Cafe Charbon. Today, my mouth salivates for a sip or two of their espresso and I got to thinking. If I had one day in Paris-- today-- what would it look like? So, on this early Summer morning, grab your handbag, your children by the hand (or in an insanely stylish baby sling-- whatever you prefer!) and let's take a stroll all together.

If I was in Paris today, I'd wear this adorable denim wrap-it-up dress (from Kate Spade's new line) that would take me from a morning hopping on and off the metro with the kids to an afternoon browsing Rodin's gardens.
photo from Kate Spade Saturday
To ward off the early spring morning chill, I'd pop a navy and white polka dot cardigan over it, a lightweight scarf (after all, Paris equals scarves, no matter the season!) and an arm full of these amazing thick bracelets. And, then, I'd grab my kids' hands and immediately head for the Eiffel Tower. It stars in one of their favorite movies (Ratatouille) and has been the site seeing talk of their lives for years now. (And, every plugged in parent on the planet knows that it's smart to please the kids first to ensure a great day of seeing the sites.) We'd wait in the long lines, climb the Tower (most likely by stair since my daughter isn't fond of elevators!) and see the sights. Then, we'd enjoy an early Summer picnic lunch of baguette, chocolate (that counts as a lunch item when you're in Paris--- promise!) and some fresh berries.

Next, we'd head for the Rodin Museum's Gardens-- because it is an amazing place. We'd stroll a bit, see the art and the kids would love to inspect the wildlife outside.  

photo from Musee Rodin
After that, we'd head to the Tuileries Gardens to enjoy a bit of play and stretch out legs-- spin around on the carousel, push the boats around on the water pond and run through the red crushed rock pathways. 

After all of the kids' sillies were out, we'd head for Le Bazaar de l'Hotel de Ville (BHV) on Rue de Rivoli where I could indulge the designer side of myself and pick up a few enamelled door labels. (Secret: I don't have a cat, probably never will, and would still like to own one of the enamelled french signs that says 'Attention Chat Lunatique'. Honestly, doesn't that just make you smile?! Oh, okay, maybe I'm a bit weird. I've loved that enamelled plaque since the first time I visited BHV years and years and years ago!)

And, as I started this post hankering for a sip of Cafe Charbon's espresso, that's where I'd head to close out the day. I'd order a doppio espresso, per usual. My kids would adore the little panini stand next door and probably order a jambon et gruyere panini.

photo from Timeout Paris
And, after that, we'd probably retreat to a tiny hotel room and all crash in an exhausted, happy pile that occurs after a day of seeing the sites in a foreign city. It should be noted that when I was dreaming about my day in Paris, I asked my daughter, "What would you do if you were to land in Paris right now?" Her response-- "Eat bread, mama. Eat lots and lots of bread." So, I guess before we closed out the day, we'd stop in at yet another bakery and tuck a baguette under each of our arms as we strolled back to the hotel.

Thanks for joining me. Where shall we go next?


Dana said...

Looks like a great day! I want to come!

Kayla said...

I've been to Cafe Charbon too. My mouth dropped open when I saw your recommendation because I thought "WOW! I'm cooler than I thought since I've been there too!" :-0

Dani said...

I love your blog and the new design looks great! I look forward to reading more.

Julie S. said...

I love Rodin's Gardens! Thanks for featuring them. You reminded me of my last trip to Paris (15 years ago!!!!).

Margaret said...

Your trip to Paris sounds FORMIDABLE! I love everything about it--such an eclectic mix of activities. Must have that coffee time!

Lisa said...

I love this post! I vote for a trip to your home in Bangkok, Shelby!

Stephanie said...

You're making me miss our time in Paris Shelby! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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