After the epic adventure in Iceland, I packed my bags and caught a red-eye from Reykjavik to Paris. There is a 2-hour difference between the countries, so I ended up sleeping maybe 2 hours on the plane. Nevertheless, I was all alert for landing in Charles de Gaule airport, so as to take the right RER into the city, and make all the transfers to the Metro and end up in my AirBnb without resorting to a cab….which I successfully did. Hooray!
But going from the Abbess Metro station to my flat on top of the hill (seriously, like the highest point in Paris) next to the Sacre-Coeur, while dragging my suitcase full of Icelandic chocolate, took so much energy out of me. I was sweating bullets in my hat and sweaters–not warm enough for Iceland, too warm for Paris. And no cafe had decaf for this weary American. Fortunately, I used my brains and figured trusty old Le Pain Quotidien would carry decaf–and voila! they did. I also bought a ficelle (a smaller, skinnier version of a baguette) and carried it up with me to the top.
Once I found my flat, I sat on a little stool (not sure what it is–def not a fire hydrant, nor a bench) in front of it and broke my fast looking at…the Eiffel Tower!! Ah, Paris.
With a bit more energy, I dragged my suitcase to Sacre-Coeur–probably my very favorite place in all of Paris. Because of views like this:
The famous gray light of Paris is so exquisitely beautiful from up top. Morning, afternoon, twilight, night–it’s all enchanting.
Since I’d already extensively explored Paris when I stayed for 12 days in 2014, this time I just wanted to do the things I’d do if I truly lived in Paris. And that is exactly what I did! Iceland was so much excitement, adventure, fun. Paris was all about restoration and pleasure and enjoying myself at a slower pace. Here are my favorite ways I lived like a Parisienne–not all of these are replicable in NYC, but one can always dream. 😉
1. Eat lovingly prepared foods made from fresh, local ingredients.
Every day, I picked up groceries from the little local epicerie (grocery store) and boulangerie (bakery). Parisienne tip 1: Always shop with a cloth bag. They don’t offer plastic bags unless you ask since most people bring their cloth bags…and they charge for plastic! (I was so mad I didn’t have my million tote bags in NYC). Anyway, it’s so fun buying what you’ll eat that night for dinner, maybe the next morning’s breakfast…and nothing more.
Ta-da! I had been dreaming about this olive tofu since 2014. Sauteed with some mushrooms, tomato, and kale in really good olive oil, flavored with excellent sea salt and pepper only, it’s so incredibly delicious. Parisienne tip 2: Everything you cook tastes so phenomenal if you just use very high-quality salt and oil. It may seem extravagant, but you are worth it. Try to get a real salt cellar (not a shaker) with a tiny little scoop, if you want to take it to the next level of Parisienne-ness. You’ll feel so chic (like a vegan Parisienne Giada or something) when you cook with a cellar!! Parisienne tip 3: Really take a break from everything else, and eat facing an open window, maybe a little music in the background… You deserve it!
2. Indulge in whatever food you like, as long as it’s high quality and fresh.
As you can see, I ate bread every single day in Paris, with ample amount of jam and/or olive oil. I also ate dark chocolate every single day, and fresh grapes, figs, and sweetened (!) organic soy milk. It was so truly satisfying!
Parisienne tip 4: Eating what tastes wonderful, in good spirits, is great for your body and soul. I didn’t feel heavy or bloated, because 1) every time I ate, it was joyfully taken, not stressfully crammed down and 2) I got my exercise. Which brings us to…