Is there anything quite as nice as going on a trip?
The answer is yes: returning home!
I have been back for a week and apologize profusely for not checking in earlier.
I've been busy catching up on housework, writing, exercising and generally enjoying being home again.
I also had to immediately swap my summer clothing for its fall cousins; when I left on the 20th it was 24C, when I returned it was freezing! Now it seems to have settled into something in between.
I think it is hard to encapsulate a trip, and those of you who follow me on Instagram know I was a frequent picture taker (and an unabashed fan of the quality of the photos my Samsung smart phone took!).
you don't need an Instagram account to see these, just go to : https://instagram.com/wendymacknight/
Highlights for me?
Stopping for that first glass of rose at the St. Regis, our tradition.
Living in a Parisian neighbourhood for almost a week.
It is a completely different experience when you live in an apartment, go to the same Boulangerie each morning, the same marche, the same cafes. We stayed in the Marais arrondisement and found it absolutely delightful.
Our apartment was also topknotch. We originally found it through Air B&B, but what I liked was that the property was owned by a management company that had several lovely properties. It was clean, comfortable and quiet. And oh-so-charming!
|The view out our window into our charming Passage...|
|On more than one occasion on this trip I thought of chucking everything|
to move to Paris to run a flower shop!
|A garden in our neighbourhood|
A stumble-upon for us was a new restaurant right around the corner: Le Mazenay. Only open for four weeks, the food was amazing and the server, delightful. We had planned to go another night, but tourist things detained us. Very inexpensive and very good!
I also loved having lunch at Ralph Lauren's flagship store off St. Germain. It was as exquisite as it could be - food, service, atmosphere conspired to make you feel like Ralph's guest. I am sure he looked in the guest book for my name after I left...
Before we went to Ralph's we visited Ines de le Fressange's store. Charming, but way over-priced in my opinion...
We did little in the way of museums this time, but we did manage to hit the Pompidou finally. What a great space! So much to marvel at!!!
Mostly though, we walked. And walked. And walked. And then walked some more. I can happily report that those Naturalizer boots were the bomb. They saved me.
Funkiest place we visited? Deyrolles, home of all things taxidermy:
As for the rest of my packing. Sadly, I overpacked. Two of the three dresses and one skirt were never worn. It was simply freezing most evening and I had no desire to freeze my knickers! Live and learn I say....
Our shopping was somewhat limited by time, interest and money, but I did manage to find some fun shoes and boots for a cheap price that I loved, as well as a Stella Foret white silk-mohair pullover.
Next we headed to Bruges. I had driven through Belgium en route to Holland several years ago, but staying in Belgium was a treat. People were so friendly and the countryside was gorgeous! Bruges was like stepping out of the 21st century into the 15th. In fact, the hotel we stayed in, Martin's Relais, was originally five merchants' houses combined and it was exquisite.
They upgraded us to a suite at no extra charge (we did not ask for that) and our room overlooking the canal (and the swans, how I love swans) was movie-set worthy.
We walked the cobblestone streets, rode them in a horse and carriage and took a boat ride along the canals.
The food was good (though no France) and I would go there again in a heartbeat. My favourite tourist spot there was The Historium, which recreates the day in the life of a young man in 1435.
|Four hundred year old homes around every corner|
|And the canals...|
|In the Carriage. |
We couldn't stop saying "horses, horses, horses" as we clip-clopped our way through Bruges
|I expect heaven will look like Bruges, and be decorated by Ralph Lauren|
Back to Paris for one more night and one more hotel. Hotel Notre Dame is central, overlooking Notre Dame Cathedral, and whimsically decorated, but noisy, and the night we were there, the Brasserie below had a band, which made it difficult to sleep. So while I thought it lovely, I'd recommend this hotel only to deep and easy sleepers!
I never get tired of Paris...
Truly, it was a magical experience and a wonderful place to share our 30th wedding anniversary! We are already planning #35, which I think may be a Rhine River Cruise if we can ever get dear son through uni. Will keep you posted!!!!
How about you? Up to anything exciting?