Category Archives: France

Le Gai Paris: a whirlwind weekend with bons amis

We flew away from Barcelona sad to leave Neil, but thrilled to catch up with two of my favs from my HRC staff days.

Britt et Erin!

Right before our trip they had happily announced their engagement (har har: I mean I knew that a proposal was going to happen and got some dirt in advance) so this trip was extra celebratory.

Britt and Erin have been to Paris more than we had (Britt lived there for two years) and they were awesome guides!  Every time we are in Paris we take the express train. It’s always a whirlwind 36 hours of getting lost, butter, wine, map problems, sore feet, and generally feeling chilly.  With Britt showing us the way everything was easy and more butter-centric– the way Paris should be!

They also let us crash their romantic getaway by squeezing us into their adorable apartment. The neighborhood was amazing:

Look left


Look right


But first, we needed to take care of business. Britt and Erin had a lock to put on the Pont de l’Archeveche.

Britt et Erin

Britt et Erin

As per (new) tradition, you affix the lock to the bridge and throw the keys in the Seine to symbolize your love.



I immediately got bossy with a photo shoot (hold the keys like this! smooch! Pretend to throw them! OK! REALLY THROW THEM!).

Then the tables were turned:



We had a fortifying snack:



Strolled through the city:






Took a moderately successful jumping picture that I love so, so much:


Took pictures of the amazing street art:

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and then it was off to a lovely bistro dinner.  I had steak frites and again was just blown away that STEAK FRITES EXIST.

We got up early the next day and finagled ourselves a car. They first gave us a mini van which we rejected and we got upgraded to a pretty sweet car. Thanks Britt-Mommy for driving! Erin and I sat in the back and misbehaved in a surprise to no one.

yeah!!!! hot car!

yeah!!!! hot car!

Once we arrived in Giverny we had a picnic lunch full of delicious cheese, bread, olives and the MOST AMAZING TOMATO CAVIAR EVER overlooking the Seine and the famous bridge.

said caviar

said caviar

best. olives. of. my. life.

best. olives. of. my. life.

DK thrilled with the cheese

DK thrilled with the cheese

Firme la bouche sparkling cider

Firme la bouche sparkling cider

our lunch view

our lunch view


Then it was off to Monet’s home, gardens and grave. I had a field day with our camera. The one that we bought after our other camera “broke” but then decided to work again.  It had fun effects and I ran around like a Japanese tourist trying to take ALL the pictures.


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We drove back to Paris a bit tired but game for a Paris experience:Le Refuge des Fondues.

i.e. “that place where we ate fondue and drank really cheap wine out of baby bottles which was super fun”


Britt had warned us about the place — generally the ladies are sent walking over the tables to sit on the long banquet seating. You rub elbows with your neighbors and chat (we sat next to a lovely couple from Houston who were super fun! Hi guys!).  And we played my favorite “we’ve been drinking a little” game with the camera. You act out the following scenario.

“You’re at a party… ”

(participant looks around feeling hot to trot and dancing in seat)

“… and you’re having the best time…”

(participant hams it up, dancing in seat, pointing at the crowd, laughing)

“… when all of a sudden…”

(participant braces for it)

you name the most filthy, horrible thing you can think of. I am not giving an example.

And then you take a picture of their horrified reaction.

Try it out. It’s fun. I promise. The photos are a riot but I need friends when I move back home so I am not posting them here.


So by this time we are a wee bit over-served but still with our wits about us. And then buying a bottle of wine for a last drink at home at some weird slightly shady off-license, Erin befriends/chastises a fellow intoxicated guy in Mandinka and then we went home and had another drink and then all fell face first into bed. Night = a success!


The next day we woke up later, strolled around the beautiful city once more

ate more things

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posed by the Louvre because HOW COULD I NOT


and then Dave and I said goodbye to our friends and were off on the train for Amsterdam to see Neil in his non-native current habitat: The Netherlands!