Dreaming of France: Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

Our passports. His from the USA. Mine from the UK.
In the background, the new bag I bought for the trip.

Less than a month until we head across the pond. We’re beginning our 25th anniversary trip with a week in London and then we’re heading across the channel to Paris. I’ve double checked that our passports are up to date, we’ve booked our London lodgings and we’ve almost narrowed down which lightweight luggage to buy for the trip. I’ve bought a brand new bag to sling across my body. It’s large enough for my phone (camera), a small brush, lipstick (even though my hubby prefers me without) a little tube of sunscreen, a bottle of water, passport, moolah etc without weighing me down. 

(Note to self: remember to ask our son if he can give us a lift to the airport, or do we need to book a Lyft?

And we’ve finally pre-booked our Chunnel tickets on EuroStar. Fly or take the train, it took us ages to decide. Frankly, we were surprised to learn how inexpensive flying could be and from what we hear, we wouldn’t be missing much in terms of scenery by skipping the train ride. In the end we decided on the chunnel, mostly to avoid the hassle of airports, even more intense now with terrorism on everyone’s minds.

While Whilst our list of things to do in London is huge—overwhelming in fact—filled with literary must sees, the Royal sites, the ancient city, the pubs, boating on the Thames, the historic points of interest, all made more complicated by my desire to get in touch with my roots and see the house where I was born, we’ve only just begun to think about what to see and do in beautiful Paris.


29 Avenue Rapp via Wikipedia Commons

For those of you following Paulita’s Dreaming of France meme for awhile now, you may remember my Chapter1-Take1 post on the 12 Must See Movie Locations from Gigi . In addition to Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Monmarte, the Champs Elysees, the Left Bank, and the usual tourist attractions, we’ll want to put some of those on our list. Near the top is the glorious Art Nouveau door located at 29 Avenue Rapp.  Built in 1901 by architect Jules Lavirotte, the exterior serves as the home of Gigi’s Aunt Alicia. I love the movie connection but I’ve got a fondness for beautiful, quirky, interesting buildings, especially windows and doors so I’m looking forward to seeing this particular door for its own amazing architectural merits. I can’t wait to take my own photographs!

Au Vieux Paris 
Image Credit  Linda Mathieu on Instagram

I know that Paris is going to bombard me with all kinds of beautiful places to see but yesterday via Linda Pennington—Mathieu’s Instagram I discovered another must to add to my own list. Linda, an American living in France who I know by way Paulita Kincer’s Dreaming of France meme, shared her stunning photograph of Au Vieux Paris (In the Old Paris), a restaurant located at 24 Rue Chanoinesse, a couple of blocks from Notre Dame. I can only imagine the looks on the faces of the average unsuspecting tourist (like moi) should they stumble onto this cafe unprepared. My own jaw will be on the ground time and again. My husband has promised to watch out for me lest I get so distracted I fall. Not uncommon with me! Just my luck to be pointing at some cool little cafe and go tripping off the curb.

Naturally, seeing the tables, I have to google the locale and see what’s on the menu at Au Vieux Paris. The translated-from-French meal descriptions in the entree section—The 6 Rope Molds filled with Shell Butter—are a bit of a mystery and The 4 Mini Saint Jacques Farcies of Escargots more than a little frightening to my bland British-born palate but the desserts—Creme Brulee (to the real bourbon vanilla) and French Toast with Vanilla that they dub Childhood Memories—speak my language. 

When I contact Linda for permission to use her photograph she warns me that the one meal she ate there wasn’t that good. It’s okay Linda, I’m picturing sitting outside with my husband on a sunny spring day in May. It may not be April in Paris, the wisteria may have lost their bloom, the bells of Notre Dame may not peal while we sit there, but we’ll be sipping on cafe au lait and sharing a dish called Childhood Memories, celebrating our 25th anniversary in an outdoor cafe in the most beautiful city in the world. Trust me. It will be delicious. 

Follow Paulita’s Dreaming of Paris meme and check out Linda’s site at LindaMathieu.com

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