Saturday, March 2, 2013

Suitcase Saturday Travel Score

Borrowed from Lisa Hoffman's Gypsy Bonfire

Green Awnings on Rue Moufftard -
 Elaine Moynihan Lisle

Paris. In the spring.  And on our honeymoon no less.  We stayed in the charming little hotel at the right side of the picture above.
The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame and, best of all, the shopping!   

Margot and scarf with Eifel Tower

We found a delicious little stall at the Place Monge Market with gorgeous silk and chiffon scarves for a few Euro each.  After the first purchase, Margot said to me “Let’s each buy a scarf everyday we’re here!”  

Nortre Dame

So we did; from outdoor markets in le quartier Latin, in the fabric district of Montmartre, at a chic little store under the Louvre, at the closet-sized shop of the Turkish trader on the Rue Mouffetard.  We came home with an entire wardrobe of scarves, to wear, to share, to decorate our new house by the sea in Morro Bay, California. (Note the scarves in several of the photos!)

Erin and scarf  with Eifel Tower

Ah, yes!  The upcoming decoration of our new house is what led us to our most amusing adventure in the City of Lights.  Well, I think it’s amusing.  My darling wife claims she still has sore feet from the experience. It started the day after we arrived – jet lag you say?  No, I never pay attention to jet lag.  Of course, I get it, but I just keep going.  I’m in Paris
and I’m going to waste time sleeping?

Wedding rings and Cafe au lait

 So, first we had breakfast, mmm… café au lait and warm croissants.  Then, on our way to the Metro, we passed the market and that scarf stall, for what turned out to be our first of many purchases there.  We took the Metro to the other side of the Seine way out to the 12th arrondissement  to the Transportation Headquarters.  For some unknown Parisian reason the museum passes that we had purchased on-line back home needed to be picked up there.  After a lengthy wait – also for some unknown Parisian reason- we had the passes in hand.

Margot and scarf at Montmartre carousel 
     A quick jambon et fromage crepe later we were back on the Metro and on our way to the Guimet Museum – full of glorious Asian art and wondrous Buddhas.  Then a bateau trip down the Seine to the Musee d'Orsay to drool over the Impressionists, including my favourite - Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe.

Erin and scarf at Shakespeare and Company

Well, after that Margot wanted to take a taxi to our next destination, the Bazaar Hotel de Ville (a fantastic department store that a friend had told us about, full of wonderful home decor) – but I said, “Are you kidding?  We’re in Paris, we’ll cross back over the river on the Pont de la Concorde and walk down the Rue di Rivoli, it can’t be that far.”

Margot and scarf on Japanese Bridge, Monet's Garden

 So, wanting to make me happy, tired as she was, she agreed and we started off.  We stopped at Angelina’s for their famous hot chocolate – so thick and rich it’s like drinking a melted chocolate bar. Each cup is served with a bowl full of whipped crème – to help cut the richness!  Thus revived, we began our trek.  

Erin and scarf at Monet's Garden
Wonderful shop windows to look in; jewelry stores, paper stores, bookstores, shoe stores.  As each block went by I’d say, “I’m sure it’s just ahead.”  But no.  Further we walked and no sight of the Bazaar Hotel de Ville.  And further…  finally there it was!  Voila!  All 5 glorious floors.  Margot headed to the fabric section and found some lovely burgundy embossed material to make kitchen curtains.

Erin and scarf with Venus at the Louvre

I found wonderful ceramic door handles and bought set after set in lime green, hot pink, blue and every other color to go with the Mexicolors we’d painted our new house.  We indulged in several drawer pulls and cabinet handles as well -  metal sculpted twigs and cunning mother of pearl shell shapes.  It was amazing how shopping made us forget that we were exhausted!

Tile Collection Board

On to the tile department.  I collect several tiles wherever I go (which I have since collaged onto a 2x4 foot board that graces our back deck).  Lots of lovelies here and added them to our stash.  By now, dusk was falling and we were more than ready to wend our way back to our little hotel on the Rue Mouffetard.

Rue Mouffetard leading into Place de la Contrescarpe
 The Metro was just across the street; with one transfer we could be a couple of blocks from the hotel.  Down the steps, caught the first train and sank gratefully into our seats-it doesn’t take long for ceramic door handles, drawer pulls and tile to be very heavy to carry around.  “Whew, I’m glad we’ll only have those two blocks to walk back to the hotel”, I said to Margot.  “Me too, remember? I was tired three hours ago,” she chuckled.

Parisienne Flower Market

 We pulled into the transfer station and found out it was one with a long, long walk to the other train we needed  - so long they had a moving sidewalk – that was out of order!  But that’s not the punch line.  When we got to the stair leading down to our train – it was blocked off.  That line stopped running at 9:00  and it was now 9:15!  So, we had to retrace our steps all that way back to the main part of the station and figure out a new route that eventually had us taking 2 trains and having a four block walk back to the hotel, carrying bags of heavy home decorating items!  But that’s not the punch line either.

The infamous handles - still unattached!

Back home, after four months, three locksmiths, and two handymen later, we were forced to give up on our dream of ceramic French door handles –apparently they take a completely different internal hardware system not available except in France and Sweden and couldn’t be re-tooled.  C’est la vie!


  1. Erin, I love your stories! Hope to get down soon so can meet up for an arty chat!

    1. Sharon - Yeah! It's been too long since last summer. Let me know when you're down my way.

  2. Your scarves and rings are tres chic!
    You could always mount the handles on a painted board and title it "What might have been..."

    1. Bobbie - We've thought about make a coat rack, lining them up on a board. I think somewhere in my fevered brain I still think I'll be able to get them on the doors somehow!

  3. Absolutely loved hearing about your trip. I'll be in Paris either June or July. Can't wait. My favorite city. But it's always a toss up as to whether I love Paris or the Paris country side more. Have a wonderful Spring.

  4. Diane - Bon Voyage! Hope you'll have some time to visit the Porte de Vanves flea market. It's my favourite and I've scored some beauties there!

  5. Okay, can we talk?!

    This is sweet and lovely and I am SO glad you posted it because I had never read it! WHAT great memories, oui!?

    1. Chris - Yes indeed. AS you know Paris is amazing and never to be forgotten.

  6. You're making me pine for Paris! Someday I'll find my way back!

    1. Jenny - I know you will and thank how much more fun it will be with Noah than Susan and me!