going to: paris

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I’m leaving in a few days for Paris! It’s a weekend trip but there is a lot I hope to fit in. As usual, I made a Paris map using the map feature within my Google Drive. It’s super easy to use – basically you can drop a pin anywhere – for your hotel, restaurants you want to try, sightseeing activities, bars… You can get as specific as you like. I alternate between color coding the pins and using the little icons shaped like coffee cups or martini glasses to signify a cafe, cocktail bar, and so on.

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Deciding what I want to put on the map is the hard part, but I love travel planning and have developed a system. If you tell me you’re going somewhere, chances are I’ll research the city and, just for kicks, email you an invitation to collaborate on a Google Map outlining what I think you should do on your trip. I tend to vascillate between Instagram, Afar Magazine, blogs, and The New York Times for recommendations. If both David Lebovitz and Lindsey Tramuta from Lost In Cheeseland fame are excited about a restaurant or coffee shop, I consider that pretty fool-proof and put it on my list. Afar and Travel & Leisure both give me good ideas for hotels and some insight into what a particular neighborhood is like. And I like the “36 Hours In…” articles from the Times. While I might not follow their suggestions to the letter, I get a sense of how to pace my day.

Here’s what I’m excited for on this trip:

Visiting the Musée Picasso. It was closed for renovations the last two times I was in Paris. I just missed the reopening last summer so I am bound and determined to go this time. (That means I’ve bought tickets online already.)

Eating lunch at Septime and dinner at Le Gabriel. And dinner at Richer or Ellsworth or Verjus and maybe a breakfast at Buvette if there is time for all that food!

Coffee at Hexagone Cafe and Lockwood and Ten Belles.

Also: doing something different this time. Staying in an airbnb! Hotels in Paris tend to be expensive and rather small, and this airbnb comes with terraces so I’m psyched.

photos: laurakinsey for bklynprairie.

wanderings: south of france

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Better late than never, I suppose. I’m finally paying some attention to photos i took in the south of France back in June of 2013. I spent a few days in Paris (see more about that here) before heading to Cannes for a week and taking a couple solo day trips. One was to Grasse, where I wandered the town and took a tour of legendary perfumery Fragonard. I’m still hooked on their Etoile scent. Another morning, I took a spur of the moment train ride to Antibes (I think it took all of 9 minutes) and walked by the water, peeked around the small but lovely Musée Picasso, (lots of Picasso’s food illustrations!) and had a croque-monsieur to die for before heading back to Cannes and its famed croisette. The day before coming home, we took a  ride over the border to a seaside town in Italy for lunch. Wait, did that all really happen? It’s nice to dust off these old photos and recall memories from this trip – hope you enjoy them, too.

photos 1-7: grasse  |  8-11: antibes  |  12-14: bordighera, italy

explore: paris, part one

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so finally… some paris photos! i love taking photos, i just hate dealing with them once they’re uploaded. this part always takes me a while.

in june i spent three glorious days in paris before heading south to cannes for one week. it was my first trip to france since 1999, and so much was different. last time, i was about a year out of school. i stayed with my sister, who was there as a student and had way too many roommates in a strange apartment filled with inflatable furniture. it was still great, but… this time i was with mk, we stayed in the marais (here; see photos from the neighborhood above) and my goal was simply to eat eat eat, shop a bit, and relax.

well, we were super successful at eating. (and the other stuff!) but mostly at the eating. i’m talking gold medal. (translation: i made myself borderline ill.) it was totally worth it.

i’m not super at-ease, though, taking photos with my big camera in restaurants. it seems so obtrusive to me…plus there is the small fact that i’m really a hobbyist when it comes to photography, not a professional. i like to experiment and learn about my camera outside, where i’m not bothering anybody, but inside… i know i don’t have the right equipment and i’m guessing at the settings more often than not. so i stick to my iphone and instagram for those moments in a restaurant when i just absolutely have to get a photo, and have re-capped some of the food centric pics below. (and you can always follow me on instagram for more…)

as for where we ate? i’m really proud of what we fit into three days… it started with a stunning lunch at Le 6 Paul Bert, (chosen after reading this) after which i decided i really needed to get four eclair from L’Eclair de Genie. not one, to just savor and enjoy. four. a sampling, if you will. i took a bite of each back at the hotel room, decided i might die, and took a nap.

later we found ourselves at the wine bar of Frenchie, drinking a great white wine and holding out for a table, which we finally got! (at the wine bar, not at the restaurant itself – another time.) tip: get there around 7pm, and you might only wait around 90 minutes for a table. but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable wait! our table ended up having a view into the kitchen, and the food was excellent.

another day, another lunch… at Le Meurice, located within the very fancy Hotel Meurice. this was a three-star Michelin meal, and in a word, superb. the kind of meal that makes all subsequent meals suck. this three-hour affair involved duck, foie gras, pasta, octopus, a fried oyster…. and a lot more. needless to say, dinner at the very lovely Spring restaurant underwhelmed – but simply because it followed Le Meurice! judged on it’s own merits, it’s excellent. i believe this day also involved a chocolate pistachio croissant from Du Pains et Des Idees, the best cappiccino of the trip at Ten Belles, and ice cream from Amorino. i also believe this is the day i started to feel like i might be overdoing it. no wonder i could barely eat by the time we got to spring…

i don’t want to make this post too long so i’ll save shopping bits for another time. i also, for the first time ever, created a google map specifically for the trip. i’m obsessed with making maps now, and might post it here if anyone is interested…? there’s a lot of stuff on there i didn’t have time for, so it’s kind of a wishlist in a way, but i love looking at it.

paris_food_IGrow 1: the meal and the scene at Le 6 Paul bert

row 2: snippits from Le Meurice… how amazing is that “apple” dessert?

row 3: inside L’Eclair de Genie, the Frenchie bar menu, and a huge line of people outside a falafel shop in the marais. i was tempted.

row 4: snaps from the newly redone food hall at Le Bon Marche

row 5: pistachio chocolate croissant, the best cappuccino, and great packaging at one of the many sweet shops i poked into.

 

(all photos by laura kinsey for bklynprairie.com)