January 5, 2014
“Because you literally went on a journey.” Quoth a good friend (and erstwhile namer of this blog) to me, about why 2013 deserves a reminiscent wrap-up post.
2013 felt like a growing year. I guess every year feels that way when you look back on it, but this is the first time ever that I’ve had an entire year’s worth of blog to look back on. In truth, the year started kind of miserably — I think I must have Seasonal Affective Disorder, the most appropriately-acronymed mood disorder — but it kept getting better and better as the year went on.
January brought snow to Paris. I have never had to live and function in a city that gets snow, so it was an entirely new and slippery experience. I am told that the snow hardly ever sticks like it did this year. I consider myself lucky to have seen the city with her winter coat on.
And of course, I ate. I visited Frenchie bar a vins for the first time, then the second, then the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, in quick succession. Then there was Bones, Vivant, Pierre Sang, Verjus… the list goes on.
I count myself lucky to have met a wonderful group of friends this year, many of them bloggers, many of them not. Whether we were meeting at someone’s place for an evening shindig (as we did for an improbable number of weekends in a row), or tasting way too many eclairs in one sitting, or hanging out in a new bar, or enjoying a golden picnic on the banks of the Seine, these hilarious, brilliant people are the reason that I love and miss Paris so much.
In the spring, I traveled. I spent one beautiful day in London. I spent a few days on an island paradise with some lovely girls, oggling chiseled Corsicans on the beach and getting very burnt indeed. And I visited Brittany with a native.
Spring was also the beginning of what I’ve pretentiously been calling my Montmartre period. I spent many a day at Soul Kitchen or Kooka Boora, click-clacking away at my computer and slowly, slowly making my way through lunch and multiple cafés, waiting for the evening to come, sure to bring another adventure with a lover or a friend. The flowers seemed to explode on the trees and everything was right with the world.
And then, suddenly, it was time to go. I packed up my four huge suitcases with everything I owned and flew back to my hometown. I settled in with my new roommate in our new apartment with our new kittens (one of whom has grown handsomely lanky, while the other has become an adorable chub-ball) and got to the business of rediscovering the city — its culture, and its food.
But I couldn’t stay away for long. I returned to Paris twice in the fall, purportedly to take some photos, but in reality mostly to drink. Have I mentioned how great it is having photo assignments in cocktail bars? And to have friends who rent party buses filled to the brim with joy and champagne?
Now I’m back at home, but still traveling. Up north to San Francisco a few more times (the latter of which I have yet to tell you about, shame on me), and planning next year’s adventures. There are whole other continents to see!
Thanks for sticking with me, friends. Here’s to more and better in 2014.
i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
when i was sixteen and
twenty-six and thirty-six
even thirty-six but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me
– Lucille Clifton
November 13, 2013
This blog is not real life. You know that, right reader?
I talk about this with les blogueuses sometimes. Our sites filter our lives through a hazy glow of food and fun and travel and beauty and all the good things in life. The truth is, of course, that I have a nine-to-five where I sit at a desk and type a lot. Most of the stuff that shows up here is squeezed around the demands of being a capable adult.
There are some times, though, when it feels like I’ve dropped out of real life and into some bizarre, richly-colored parody — a cross of Hollywood movie magic and the sparkling glamour of Paris. This was one of those nights.
There was a house party. There were two bars. There was a party bus, and a case of champagne that disappeared in half an hour, some of which was, of course, spilled and had to be mopped up with a silk scarf. There was singing of Queen and lots of blurry photos.
And, undoubtedly, there were hangovers and a hard return to reality the next day.
October 21, 2013
SoPi. South Pigalle.
One of the big things that I miss about Paris is how a tiny sliver of the city can have its own distinct personality, completely different from its surroundings. South Pigalle, with its good coffee and music shops and its seedy past has that hipstery aura of fetishizing authenticity without going too far into the too-expensive bobo territory of the NoMa.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Marais — some of my favorite places are there, and in a very real way, it’s still my neighborhood. But it’s places like Glass here in SoPi, with its classy-ass drinks and artsy installations smutted up with just enough grunge, that had me switching to the metro line 2.
The art installation is embedded in the floor, to be danced and spilled on, if that gives you any indication.
October 15, 2013
9th best bar in the world, and the best bar in Europe, according to World’s 50 Best Bars. You really can’t go wrong here.
One of the things I admire most here is the total lack of pretension. Despite the very serious cocktail program, and the incredible breadth and depth of knowledge the people behind the sticks have, it still manages to feel like a welcoming neighborhood bar — albeit welcoming in a dark and sexy way. Last time I visited, there were dudes in t-shirts and basketball shorts mingling with women in Chanel. Then again, it was fashion week.