Entries in moving to paris (25)

Monday
Mar312014

The Left Bank at rest

It was a sleepy, spring-y Monday.

The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rules #1, 2, 4, 13.

P.S. Inspired by a suggestion from Kristin Appenbrink, I'm now including a short version of the Paris Plan in the sidebar on the right. Thanks, KApp!

Wednesday
Mar262014

Old friends and new cities

A new town can suddenly feel familiar once you have your first opportunity to show old friends around.

This week, two important people are here visiting: Sonal, one of my oldest friends, and Karen, my aunt. Although I've been to Paris on previous trips with both of these ladies, it's been a healthy exercise introducing them to the city I am getting to know as a resident. And I know more than I think I do: how to get to the Louvre, what to say-ish to waiter, which butter to buy at the grocer to try and stash home on the plane. They are insights I am starting to feel proud of, and these women are the right audience on which test out my new knowledge. They're supportive and encouraging and positive; I am free to just try with them cheerleading me on.

There is also a small sigh of relief that comes with having them here. There are instant shortcuts in coversations, inside jokes, and immediate understandings when I need to take time away to tackle various work assignments. (Much to my chagrin, I'm not the one on vacation in Paris, you know?) With them, just like that, home is here. As she would in New York, Sonal texts me at the end of the day from her hotel room, and we gossip about Gwyneth Paltrow and How I Met Your Mother and then plan our next dinner. As we all walked through the Musée d'Orsay today, Karen and I reminisced about the many art exhibitions we've attended together over the years, and then caught up on family gossip. (I know. That seems like a lot of gossiping. But like I said...old friends and everything.)

It all frankly has me wondering where or what or who "home" really is. I don't have an answer right now. I don't. Yet I think by having this safety net of dear, know-you-better-than-you-ever-even-realized-it friends who are encouraging me to try just try, I could eventually be on the right track.

The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rules #1, 2, and 4.

Tuesday
Mar252014

5 Paris restaurants worth a second visit

I can't stop eating. Here's why.

1. Frenchie To Go: First of all, there's the fact that the word "Frenchie" is part of its name. Yes. Second of all, it serves breakfast items all day. Yes, yes. Third of all, that breakfast includes granola and fromage blanc plus a bacon sandwich that will haunt your dreams. (Get the extra œuf and cheddar, if anything just for the fact that you will get to say "œuf.") (That's "egg" for you non-Frenchies, meaning mostly me.) Oui, oui, oui. 9 rue du Nil, in the 2nd

2. Gyoza Bar: This small, spare restaurant in a classic Parisian passage serves two things: gyoza dumplings stuffed with pork loin, and rice. The price is right, too--you'll get a perfectly portioned meal including a glass of wine for about $20 a person. The bar upstairs is fun, but ask to be seated downstairs at the large family-style table to feel like a super-cool insider. 56 Passage des Panoramas, in the 2nd

3. Le Mary Celeste: If Mary was a real person, I'd bend down on one knee and propose. The small-plates-focused restaurant in the Marais whips up one creative dish after the other (the menu changes daily). You must start with the deviled eggs. And then you will cry tears of joy, hopefully into one of their imported beers or handcrafted cocktails. 1 Rue Commines, in the 3rd

4. Al Taglio: They sell their pizza by weight. And they cut it with scissors. And it tastes really good. I am not sure who really needs more than that, you know? 2 Bis Rue Neuve Popincourt, in the 11th

5. Verjus Bar à Vins: I've been to this wine bar three times in three weeks. That is all you have to know. Now go. 52 Rue de Richelieu, in the 1st

For the record, these are all pretty affordable spots! To find restaurant recommendations, I first consult Lost in Cheeseland and then the New Food Lover's Guide to Paris app--which has been completely worth its $4.99 price tag.

The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Yeah. This is totally a rule #5 situation.

Monday
Mar242014

A tour of the Paris home office

When I was the editor of Lifework at Herman Miller, we did a ton of home-office tours. It was one of the most popular features on the blog--for some reason, folks really like to see where other folks work.

In that spirit, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of Obvious State headquarters, and the office Nichole and I share here in Paris. We're renting this flat, so it's furnished (smartly, sparingly) with pieces from IKEA, mostly. But the space itself is light, airy, and welcoming.

Though it's not really mine, I am starting to add personal touches to bring it to life. (I mean, hello, have we met? I can't resist styling it a LITTLE.) Mostly, I am displaying some flea-market finds from the several marchés I've been visiting. Nichole hasn't seen these yet, so I hope I get a little smile out of her when she gets back to the city later this week.

Speaking of my partner in crime, Nichole got me addicted to La Fermière yogurts on my very first day here. They come in terra cotta pots that I've repurposed as pen and pencil cups. The paper clip holder is also terra cotta--it contained a cheese I bought last week.

(Between us, the terra cotta pots are becoming a problem. I cannot throw them out...and I eat this stuff every day for breakfast. I am consuming the yogurt; it's cuteness is consuming me. But let's just agree not to discuss it right now, okay?)

And since writers need windows through which to gaze, dream, ponder, and whatever we do (spy...we clearly spy), this office provides the mother of all inspiration: two floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the glass-covered passage we live within. Can't you see yourself writing the Next Great Novel with this view from your office window? (That's the plan, y'all.)

 The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rules #1, 2, 5, 7, 11.

Sunday
Mar232014

Through a new lens

While awaiting the arrival of the replacement for my broken camera lens (which came yesterday along with my friend Sonal--huzzah!), I played around with a fancy 100mm lens that's been hiding in the apartment cabinet. It's new to me, and I've been slightly hesitant to break the sucker out. That's because it's substantial, this guy...the kind that sticks way out and hangs heavy around my neck, advertising to one and all that YES I AM PROBABLY A TOURIST PLEASE PICKPOCKET ME I'M TOO BUSY WITH MY HUMONGOUS CAMERA SITUATION TO NOTICE A FEW MISSING EURO OH MY GOD THIS THING IS MASSIVE RIGHT NO SERIOUSLY I TOTALLY KNOW.

Unlike my broken wider-angle lens, the 100mm, as I've now learned, lets me get alllll up in Paris' business. Like stalker-type levels of up. I walked around with the camera stuck on my face and pointing at the sky--up to the the rooftops, up into private conversations being had on balconies (not so private, sorry!), up into the realm of the blazing-gold statues holding court with masked, disembodied faces on top of the Palais Garnier opera house.

It's a powerful feeling, capturing sky-high parts of Paris I don't see when I play it safe behind my other lighter, more familiar lens. But I don't seem to be much about playing it safe lately. And for someone who makes, you know, giant lists of rules before she moves to a different country, that's pretty powerful, too.

 The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rules #1, 2, 4, 7, 13. And maybe #15?

Friday
Mar212014

Schooled

I'm in mega-learning mode right now, and I am so thankful for my teachers along the way: Lindsey on where to eat in Paris; Kasia on where to shop; Nichole on how to survive it all. And then there are the classes on the REALLY good stuff--French wine and macarons--taught in, le sigh, English. Since I've been here, I've sipped Champagne and Bourdeaux during a wine-tasting class from Wine Tasting in Paris and have learned to make macarons (!) at La Cuisine Paris.

And ooooh lordy. How I rejoiced in being able to understand every.single.word.

For the record, the wine-tasting class was on a boat on the Seine, and the macaron instructor sent us all home with at least a dozen holy-cow-did-we-actually-MAKE-these? treats. I know.

I keep pinching myself. And also the extra inch that may be slowly appearing around my belly. Rules number 5 and 6 in The Paris Plan: IN EFFECT.