When Janice, Pat and I were in Wyoming last summer, I had a chance to introduce them to Karen Berg Brigham, who invited
us all to visit her in Paris before she sold her apartment. When the Bataclan Theatre and other places were attacked in
November, Janice texted that we need to go to Paris ASAP.
Of course, I said yes. It's Paris.
So we went for five days in February. We'd both been to places like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, but I hadn't been in the
last thirty years, and Janice had never been to the top of either. I wanted to see the Catacombs and said that I wanted to
have a Bloody Mary at Harry's Bar, where they were invented. Karen wanted to introduce us to some of her friends and show
us some parts of the city that were new to us.
There was lots of this...
Way too much of this...
Let's say you've written a book that
has a famous Paris landmark on the
cover. When Karen first saw the cover
of City of the Saints, she said, "that
fountain is across the street from my
office." It was literally the first thing
that Janice and I saw when we came
out of the Metro station when we went
to Hotel Dieu to pick up the apartment
key from Karen.
|Our first stop after getting cleaned up,
of course, was the Eiffel Tower, which
did not disappoint. We were so happy
to have survived the lines that we were
happy to pay the 23 euros for a glass
of champagne when we got to the top.
|That evening, Karen invited a
couple dozen of her adorable
friends and brilliant co-workers to
meet us for drinks at the Bistrot des
Artistes on the Left Bank.
Karen had promised that the BDA
would become our new favorite dive
bar. While it didn't quite steal our
hearts from Dornan's in Moose, it
does now have a solid hold on
Somehow, Saturday acquired a "death and dying" theme. We went to Pere Lachaise cemetery, the
Catacombs and the Bataclan Theatre.
On Sunday, Janice's friend from Atlanta, Cece, met us and we went to
Harry's Bar, birthplace of the Bloody Mary and the sidecar. If you believe
the hype, Cole Porter wrote the score for An American in Paris in the
After I pointed out that Ole Miss and Tulane both had TWO pennants
hanging the bar, Janice finally found a dinky little one for South Carolina.
Then we were off to tour the Opera Garnier. The Paris Opera may have
moved on to new and bigger quarters--but it's certainly not as
We even saw the Phantom! He looks like...never mind.
|...and of course you recognize that Karen, Cece and I
are posing at upper right with the bust of
Charles-Camille Saint-Saens in lobby. (The bust is
located at the far end of the room on the right.)
Here's an "Only in Paris" story.
Karen had called one of favorite restaurants to make a
reservation for dinner. Whoever answered the phone took
the reservation, said he looked forward to seeing us and
even sent a confirming email.
When we got to the restaurant, it was closed.
Happily for us, there was a terrific place just down the
street called Le Caveau du Palais.
The restaurant was in a square on the Ile de la Cite where
Simone Signoret and Yves Montand used to live, and the
owner says they ate there regularly. We even got to sit at
their favorite table (above) as Janice and Karen enjoyed
some sort of disgusting looking turbo with squid ink risotto
and I had a terrific braised ox cheek with "sauce of
It's a wonderful little restaurant in a perfect location. I
recommend it highly to you on your next visit.
|I didn't even know that Tristan and Isolde were real people until I saw their tomb at Pere Lachaise (below left).
Paris's newest and saddest "tourist attraction" is the Bataclan Theatre (below) where 89 people were killed by terrorist in November.
Folks from around the world have left memorials in the interim. My favorite is below right.
I was so happy that there was at least
one place in Paris that I'd seen that
Janice hadn't that I couldn't wait to take
her to see the amazing stained glass
at Sainte-Chapelle (left).
The good news is that she claimed to
be suitably impressed. The bad news
is that there is now NOWHERE on the
planet that I've been and she hasn't.
I would go on to see parts of the Louvre and do some shopping, but
Janice's last stop in Paris was Notre-Dame. We'd promised ourselves
that we'd climb the 387 steps to the top of the bell tower, but I think we'd
both secretly dreaded the experience.
But first, isn't the photo of the altar
that Janice took (left) terrific?
|As you can see above, we made it. Janice looked a
little out of breath at the top (below). I was all to
happy to get to the bottom again (right).
And that was that. Five days in Paris with two of my favorite people.
Thanks to both of you for making it so special.