Our first week in Paris!

Hello! Bonjour from Paris! We have been here one week now as the title of this post suggests and I couldn’t be happier to be writing it – except if that didn’t mean that we were one week down on our stay here already.

I love Paris. I have from my very first visit. Surprisingly (to me) I know many of my friends don’t feel that way. Many people find Paris to be too crowded and touristy and a bit dirty. Perhaps it is all of these things but it is also so much more. Many people I know prefer Lyon and I do like Lyon very much but for me there is nowhere like Paris. The beautiful Haussmann buildings, the bustle and life. Even the slight showiness of the tourist districts is charming to me and the way that you can turn a corner and find yourself in a quiet idyllic nook that feels like something out of a postcard.

Since arriving in Paris my mood has lifted just naturally and I feel much more active. I’ve been getting out and about with the Husband and Baby B quite a lot and we’ve already done his and hers shopping trips. I’ve also cooked happily every night and found it easy to whip up quick and fresh meals with the food from the little shops in our area and even from the mono prix. French food is all about freshness and what’s in season. We are enjoying plenty of the juiciest strawberries at the moment. Baby B just loves squishing them and smashing them into his chin.

I’m enjoying buying our food just for the next 2-3 days at a time and coming up with meal ideas in the supermarket as though I’m in a giant pantry. When the ingredients are fresh and delicious you don’t have to do much to them to have a lovely meal and when the quality of the ingredients is great it feels like an indulgence even though its just simple home cooking.

On our first day and for our first outing we went for a walk. Just a simple walk in the area around our Airbnb apartment. Our apartment is in the Marais which is a very central district of Paris and although it can be quite touristy, it is also full of character and with lots of attractions, heritage and great shopping. It was raining though so we didn’t venture too far. For me it was just lovely to retrace my steps and regather that familiarity I developed with the area last time we stayed.

On the second day I stepped out hoping to visit the St Eustache market to get some fresh produce for the week but it wasn’t running because of the rain so I made my way instead to the small pedestrian zone of Montorgueil which is just around the corner from us. It is full of great food shops including bakeries and 3 different cheese shops. I have only tried one so far but I intend to sample goods from all 3 during our stay. I’ve introduced a mini-cheese course after most meals which makes our little family dinners just a little more like a pleasurable evening ritual rather than necessary nourishment. Capping it off with those lovely strawberries is just the perfect way to finish the evening.

On the third day we went on ‘his’ shopping day to St Germain. The (notoriously fussy) Husband had found a big haul of good clothes last trip to France at a chain store called Father and Sons which unfortunately doesn’t ship to Australia. So we headed over there on the metro to see what we could find again. He didn’t clean up quite as much as last time but came away with jeans, trousers, a jumper and a new shirt and tie so it was a pretty successful trip. We had a quick lunch across the street while they tailored his purchases and then strolled home.

The next day I stayed in and studied while the Husband took Baby B on a big walk through Paris up to Montmartre. He didn’t realise that he was going that far but his GPS led him astray.

On Sunday we had ‘her’ shopping trip. For this I was happy to stick to the Marais as there are so many cute shops around here. At first I was worried as all the shops seemed to be closed. However, in the afternoon they opened up and there was plenty of browsing fun to be had. I didn’t buy much, only a top and a dress which I’ll put on instagram when I wear them in the next week or two. I am also considering a gorgeous coat at Gerard Darel but it’s a bit exxy and I’m just wondering if its worth it. Still, I’ve picked up a lot of fashion food for thought and will definitely be doing more shopping before our stay here is up.

Yesterday we walked over to Saint Chappelle on the Ille de la cite. The short wait in line was definitely worth it for one of the most stunning chapels I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely a must-see if you are in Paris and enjoy medieval buildings!

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Today I stayed in and studied yet again. There are going to be a few days like this now that I’m hitting the more important parts of my trip for research purposes. I’m not doing any case studies in Paris but I’m meeting with some key people including policy-makers and academics so I need to make sure I’m up to speed on their work and what I want to know from them.

Sometimes it’s difficult to concentrate when B and the Husband are playing. B is doing new and exciting things all the time so it’s hard to tune out. I’ve thought about taking my computer and going off somewhere to study but it’s nice to be on hand just in case and it’s easier to breastfeed then to get the pump out – although I’ll have to soon when I have my meetings.

Tomorrow we are going to go for a walk around Pere Lachaise cemetery. I’ve been there before but it’s an extremely interesting place. Last time I went there with a purpose, knowing whose graves I wanted to see, this time I’ll be more at leisure to see whatever we discover.

RM

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