ninety degrees in the eternal city

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The weather has been…well, sweaty here in Providence, and it’s bringing back sweet, sticky memories of hot, hot Roma. I suppose it’s about time I got down to sharing my Italy photo diary, so here goes Day 1.

Four days in Rome. A claustrophobic climb to the top of St. Paul’s Basilica rewarded us with a stunning terra cotta panoramic of the city, Rome reflecting the sun with its warm, glowing tettos. The Sistine Chapel, The Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps…no historic stone unturned, I assure you.

Days of sweaty sight-seeing in Cathedral-appropriate attire spilled into cold showers, apertivo, and cobblestone strolls to this piazza or that. Many a family dinner, with 2 pizzas for the table, vino flowing from one end of the table to the other and back again, children’s choirs spontaneously rising behind us, a lone cellist filling the hour with that warm, sweeping sound.

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last 3 photos by Michael Collins.

the day we got engaged(!!!)

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The morning began with a walk to one of our favorite coffee shops, Fragments, with two of our best friends.

Then off to Marchée Bastille to share a crêpe and do some people-watching. You insisted on buying me a bundle of lavender…

Off to discover a new-to-me Parisian path- La Promenade Plantée. Serenity in a french highline, walking eye-to-eye with the most romantic rooftops in the world.

Then on to another new discovery, Village St-Paul, where we snuck through the block, to the inner layer of hidden shops brimming with antiques and the curiosities of yesteryear.

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A short walk to Le Marais for some famous falafel. A circle around a pop-up artisan market to remind us of Providence. A quick “bonjour!” to our friends at Place des Vosges.

Home for a shower and suspicious phone home.

On to Les Enfants Perdue for “no salades!” dinner.

A walk to the Green Linnet for “no wine!” Gypsy Jazz.

A quick whisk into a slow über to arrive at La Tour Eiffel, exactly at 12:01, minuit.

A “no fruit!” nutella crêpe, a walk to Trocadero, a seat on a bench, a conversation about bunions, babies, some bravery, and…

A question.

A “YES!”

A clock striking the first hour of the new day in the form of a glittering tower.

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an ode to parisian doors

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Over a few glasses of red wine tucked away in Saint Martin one night, a french friend pondered out loud, “What is zees fascination with doors you all have?” to which we all responded with an audible swoon.

There’s something inexplicably sentimental about those gorgeous mammoth doors that line the streets of Paris. I won’t try to explain exactly what it is I love about them, but I will leave you with this mini series of impromptu door portraits and our running joke that each night, special workers were tasked with the honor of freshly painting the doors of Paris solely to impress tourists as they roam the city. Seriously, those things always look bright and clean!

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museums in paris that aren’t the louvre

  1. La Musée de la Chasse et de la NatureIMG_7598

Nestled amongst beautiful shops and famous falafel in the heart of Le Marais, La Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is almost eerily quiet. The lesser-known museum offers a quiet respite from the bustling streets of the busy Marais, where one can explore the extravagant structure that is home to antique armament and taxidermy beasts of all shapes and kinds.

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2. La Musée RodinIMG_5477

The diverse and serene Musée Rodin is an immersive experience, delighting its visitors with a multitude of scenery. From the outdoor gardens featuring the super famous “Thinker” and “Gates of Hell” to the softer interior works elegantly showcased by stately wooden architecture, Musée Rodin offers the exquisite art of a world class museum without the selfie-stick-clad crowd armed and ready to ruin your day. Highly recommend!

*Pro Tip: Stop at Café Coutume for a spring toast and some caffeine, post-museum.

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3. Le Musée d’OrsayIMG_7618

Okay, so it’s not exactly a “hidden gem”, but this quiet(er) museum boasts an impressive collection of masterpieces from the likes of Degas, Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Lautrec, and Rodin, to name a few. Second only to the artwork, the beauty of the building itself-  an ornate old train station- is breathtaking. If you have time, get lost in the adjacent Musée de l’Orangerie, home to Monet’s epic waterlilies. It’s my number one must-see for the Paris traveler who is “not a museum person”. Must see!

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au pique-nique

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With its picturesque parks and emphasis on apéro, Paris may just be the picnic capital of the world. But there’s one alfresco dining location that will always have my heart…

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Whether it be a quiet morning croissant or a much-needed apératif spread, Le Canal Saint Martin reigns king among Parisian picnic places. Attracting young families, locals, and artists to its banks, the Canal captures all that is cool. Its mirrored green surface reflects the thriving trees and distinct architecture of the trendy neighborhood, showing pedestrians the fluttering, introspective Paris of the moment.

*Pro Tip: Grab un tradition at Du Pain et Des Idées and a coffee at Ten Belles in the morning, or a hummus toast at Caoua, a yummy salad at Myrthe and a bottle of wine in the afternoon, and get comfy. The people watching is unparalleled.

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the secret parisian candyland

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Keeping with the theme of introducing you to new-to-me treasures in the city of light, let’s take a walk down the most colorful street in Paris…

Voilà, Rue Crémieux. Famous for its candy-colored facades, this short passthrough abruptly begins, pulling you off of the already ravishing streets of paris and into the devastatingly charming- and refreshingly quiet- storybook street that is Rue Crémieux.

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Self-timed Instagram shots and portrait mode abusers (guilty) aside, there really is a rare peace to Rue Crémieux, its passengers stunned with a hushed tone as they perfect touristy stereotypes, take photos, and well, stop to smell the flowers. Its a lesser-known pin on the Parisian must-see map, and one I highly recommend exploring. Keep an eye open for cats jumping windows, painted plant life, and birds floating up toward the second story…

 

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