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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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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chasse au trésor

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Each time I go to Paris, there are certain things I just must do. A picnic along the Canal, a nap in Place de Vosges, un tradition from my favorite bakery. I thought I’d share a few of them here with you, starting with a trove of treasures that was new to me this time around…

If you should find yourself with nothing to do on a Sunday in Paris, put on some walking shoes and make your way over to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen to peruse one of the city’s most bountiful flea markets. If you push past hoards of folks peddling dress shirts wrapped in plastic and “designer” sunglasses for €10, your persistence will be rewarded with a enclave of antique gems and oddities, ripe for the cherishing.

Practice your french bartering with sellers for a pair of tiny tin soldiers to bring home for your brother. Pick up an antique Dijon container to fill with flowers back in Providence. Fall in love with a random, romantic napkin ring- of all things- boasting your mother’s first initial elegantly scripted in metallic. Remember the sound of the Edith Piaf crooner in the lively restaurant sinking into the market’s mid-section, savor the smell of a dusty summer in the city.

*Pro tip: Stop by the hip commune-style café La Recyclerie to fuel up on fresh assiettes du jour, homemade in an eco-forward oasis of a cafeteria. Again, not for the timid traveler, but fully worth the one-of-a-kind experience and healthy helping of trendy french fair.

 

un rêve à retenir

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greeted by her eiffel highness
midnight mark
historic park
rumbling, rolling, romantic, righteous

bite for bite on a sweet, cheap crêpe
across the seine
sneaking then
to a quiet bench, we two escape

noses close, we chat and laugh
minutes pass
french rats dash
la lune illume on your cheeks abash

with a tuck and a roll, you’re on one knee
brown eyes wide
some dreamy ride
I watch my body float up over the trees

madame Tour winks and twinkles on repeat
hands clasped
running fast
we rush to recieve her blissful bonne nuit

along the river, smiles bloom and steep
bartered bubbles
foreign doubles
who look like us, but with a promise to keep

strolling towards “home” in the middle of the night
this living love
hovering above
the greatest hour of my favorite flight.

11:04 pm — on a rainy porch in providence, one week later.

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feast or famine (& other food stories)

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Before climbing La Tour Eiffel on our final day in Paris, we stopped in at Cotume Café for some caffeine.  It had been a long morning of museums- from Musée d’Orsay to l’Orangerie- and we were hungry.  What we were truly hankering for was a good, sticky, banana-nutella crêpe, but with no venders en route and a failed attempt at visiting Blé Sucré (beware of the Parisian holiday!), we were unable to resist the exquisite bowl of yogurt behind the glass at Cotume.

As we noshed on the tangy greek yogurt, scooping bits of passion fruit and popping red currants up like we hadn’t seen food in weeks, we realized something.  Our trip had been a consistent rotation of feast or famine.  This small snack at Cotume notwithstanding (it was, after all, rather spontaneous), every meal had been one of abundance following hours of drought.  Feast or famine.  Starved or stuffed.

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The young midwestern American couple next to us (who struck up a conversation regarding the truly artistic yogurt bowl we’d since turned into a bit of a Jackson Pollack) had coined their own term for the feeling of unbalance.  They’d been experiencing a similar rhythm, and likened the state of being to that of a child after a long day at the zoo; They’ve walked their tired bones all around the grounds, waving at elephants, dancing for monkeys, and singing that one song from the Jungle Book too many times.  The sun is hot, their feet are tired.  They are zoo-zonked.  Yes.  It couldn’t have been a more accurate description.  That slap-happy exhausted feeling which stems from too much of an enviable activity.  There is only one cure for zoo-zonked individuals, and that involves a seat and a meal.

There were so many interesting food encounters during our stay…an inordinate amount of moules frites, the perfect picnic at Canal St. Martin, a Norman café owner inhaling fist-sized hunks of baguette steeped in brie, multiple iterations of our new favorite salad (the chevre chaud), the most delicious pesto-smothered escargot in Monmartre, a truly memorable omelette in Oberkampf, rows of vendors offering slices of abricot et tomate at the Bastille Marchée, flaky pastries at Du Pain et Des Idées, giant macarons and calvados-filled candies in Bayeux, rhubarb tartelettes in Pont L’Évêque, a fun cheese plate at the bar I was too shy to visit during my last trip to Paris, and striking vegetarian gold at Bob’s Kitchen.

One thing remained a constant, though; Nothing- not broken jaw bridge nor angry English coffee snob- could keep us from our daily baguette.  It was a ritual we took to with stunning fervor.  We learned early to order la tradición (the baguette’s more rustic counterpart) and found a certain pride in comparing the chewiness of this morning’s to the crunchiness of last night’s.  Of course, this amount of carb consumption does appear to negate any possibility of “famine” from our days.  Enter the subcondition of zoo-zonked: a state of possibly artificial hunger pangs induced by an insane amount of walking and/or photographing architecture.

Call us cliché, but we’d prefer culturally cloudy and zoo-zonked, if you don’t mind.

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