It has taken me a while to get back to the blog. We’re starting to settle into our new Parisien lifestyle, but it is with heavy hearts and watchful eyes. To say the war in the Ukraine is unsettling is an understatement. I’ve been labouring on how to write a silly blog about our adventure while the world has been thrust into such fear and uncertainty. The suffering in the Ukraine is devastating and is front of mind for us every day. We set the intention for peace and for the greater good of humankind to prevail. So please know and remember this as you read my posts, that we are not turning a blind eye to this on-going tragedy. Here, I’ll keep it light and (hopefully) funny because we all need to find some levity from time to time.
We have rented an apartment in the 2nd arrondissement, tucked into a small side street behind Blvd des Italiens and nestled between The Opera, The Bourse and Palais Royale. The apartment is on the 4th floor of a Haussmanian building with (thank Oprah!) an elevator. It’s a cute little elevator and it took us about 4 trips to get the aforementioned 11 pieces of luggage to our 4th floor enclave. The 5 flights up to our place is a bit of a workout, however it helps accommodate my pain au chocolat habit.
Monsieur and I made our first trip to the local grocery to stock up. Unlike our typical Vancouver shop with stops at the Whole Foods and the Shoppers and the Save On, we visited the local G20. A grocery store which is about 1/10th the size of our Whole Foods yet had just about everything we could need. No longer blessed with our SUV and easy underground parking, this new grocery experience would be an experiment in how much we could actually carry the 2 blocks back to our place and stuff into the teeny elevator.
Armed with a rolling basket, we started our shop. As the basket started to quickly fill I began to calculate the combined strength of Monsieur et moi. Guess what, it’s less than you think. And there, in the last aisle, le vendeur uttered the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard, “Un livraison, madame?” My jet-lagged, Canadian-self squeaked out a “Non, merci.” I’m delirious and overly polite not wanting to inconvenience this lovely French man, but I am clearly not very smart. And then, like a lighting bolt all my 12+ years of French education and 2 solid years of Duolingo came flooding back to me. Wait, what? Livraison = Delivery!!!! Here we are with all these groceries and 2 block walk and I’m saying “Non, merci” when the guy wants to deliver it to me? “Oui monsieur, un livraison s’il vous plaît.”
So we began our check out and my knight in shining armour started to pile the bags of groceries into a shopping cart. He then walked with us the two blocks back to our apartment and safely delivered us to the elevator door. What an angel, sent from the heaven of the G20 stockroom to help us in our hour of need. What a win!
As with most AirBnbs, there are always things we need to make it feel more like home. Like scissors. Why are there never any scissors in an Airbnb? Or just one cutting board and a frying pan with every layer of teflon scored away by lazy renters like us? I wish Paris had a Winners. Everybody loves a Winner! Or so they say. Being the noobs (ask a person under the age of 16 what this means if you don’t know) that we are, we headed to the kitchen department at Galleries Lafayette and paid through the nose for decent spatula and some tea towels. We also stumbled upon very mobile Granny Grocery cart, which I will argue is the best €80 I’ve ever spent.
On our continued mission of filling the fridge we spent a lovely morning on the Rue Montorgueil, an incredible market street with beautiful fruit stands, cheese shops and patisseries. One of which is Stohrer. A gilded beauty the size of a walk in closet that has stood in this exact spot since 1730. Nicolas Stohrer former pastry chef to the former King of Poland, was brought to Paris by Marie Leszczynska who married Louis XV, presumably when she couldn’t find a decent Rum Baba. We picked up some of my Monsieur’s favourite, Millefeuille. Verdict was a thumbs down when compared to the same from Cafe de Paris. You’d think that if they’ve been around since 1730, they’d have it nailed by now.
We also found a fantastic gluten free bakery called Copains just off the Rue Montorgueil at 60 Rue Tiquetonne. You’d never guess that every loaf and pastry in the place is sans gluten. We picked up some yummy babka and a boule with figs and walnuts that is killer.
The kids have been outfitted with some new clothes, mais bien sûr. The options just outside our door are endless as they find their feet in the fashion capitol of the world. Monsieur and I have also picked up some new comfy, yet stylish sneakers to accommodate the 12,000+ steps a day we seem to be clocking. Another excellent way to allow that addiction to pain au chocolat.
We’ve walked around The Louvre, through Place Vendome, up Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré past the Embassies and the Élysées Palace, down Avenue de L’Opera and along the Rue des Rosiers. We’ve eaten éclairs and croissants, croque monsieur and soupe a l’oignon, macarons and millefeuille, falafels and tagines and we’ve only just begun! Now that our blisters have healed and we’re managing our indigestion, we’re ready for many more great days in Paris!