Many of you already know how much I love Paris. I especially love that I need only take a mere 2 ½ hour flight from Portugal to visit one of my very favorite cities in the world.
I had previously booked a trip in April because my dear friend Aubrey had a family vacation scheduled in the South of France. Before meeting her family, our plan was to have a mini-reunion: a long weekend in Paris. Alas, COVID-19 happened and we had to cancel all our flights. (I now have a voucher on TAP to use before the year is up.)
I was a little nervous about this trip because American citizens are forbidden from entering the EU right now. Ugh. Also, our Portuguese visas expired during COVID. We were supposed to renew them in May but the SEF offices were closed. The government issued a national mandate that automatically grants us residency until October 31st, but would the French government know this upon looking at our expired cards?
As luck would have it, we were able to automatically renew our residency online just days before our departure. Of course, I was still holding expired residency cards but at least the process was underway. Regardless, I took a folder with all our paperwork. Thankfully, all my worrying was pointless – even though France had set up border control between the two Schengen territories, all they cared about was that we were coming from Portugal. Whew!
Now that we were welcomed into France, I could finally enjoy a little summer vacation. I don’t know about you guys, but this pandemic has had me stir crazy! I hate feeling trapped in my home, and I missed traveling. It is so much fun to get on a plane and fly somewhere ELSE. And Paris is something else!
As you can imagine, since both American and Chinese citizens are in small quantity or next to none in Paris right now, this was a wonderful time to be visiting. We walked into the Picasso Museum without a reservation and the place was nearly empty. Jax and I had rooms all to ourselves – definitely a rarity! I’m sure the Louvre would have been similar, but we didn’t visit. We probably should have, given this unique situation, but I find the Louvre to be so overwhelming. I much prefer other Paris museums.
In terms of COVID precautions, Parisians are very good about wearing masks. Almost everyone I saw was wearing them walking on the streets, and of course, you cannot even enter the Metro without one.
As this was my 6th trip (and Jax’s 3rd!), with wonderful French friends (ex-Parisians) also in town, we had a more locals-feel trip. Also, we stayed in our friends’ same AirBNB in the Grands Boulevards area so we are now familiar with the neighborhood and many of the restaurants and great stores nearby. It was refreshing to have a more relaxed agenda.
Also, this trip, we were able to head to a Parisian suburb and have a wonderful family Sunday at our friend Angie’s family home in Noisy Le Sec. Now we really felt like locals, as Angie’s parents spoiled us like family, with wonderful food and their warm hospitality all day.
All in all, it was the re-energizing trip I needed after enduring these COVID isolation months. Sadly, Jax and I were both melancholy the next day after we returned because we were no longer in Paris. Ah, how we love it so.
I guess we will have to return again!
Links to some of our visited places:
Montmartre – We left with a beautiful pencil sketch of Jax!
Fete des Tuileries – During the summer months, a fun fair is set up at the Tuileries Gardens. Since I thought twice about visiting Disneyland Paris given the still tenuous COVID climate, it was great that Jax was able to enjoy this great attraction with some rides. We even did the huge Ferris wheel to get a great view of the city.
Food and Lodging:
Artisan Lofts – We stayed again in Chez Josephine, but we also got to see our friends put the finishing touches on their latest loft – a gorgeous, sophisticated loft space right in the heart of Le Marais. Available soon!
A La Mere de Famille
Printemps Food Hall – We caught up with my friend Phil here, who tapped us onto this wonderful find! According to our server, he usually serves 100 people per day during the summer months, but was now averaging 5 per day because of the lack of tourists. We had an unobstructed, gorgeous view of the city and our food was delicious. Since we were in Paris, I ordered L’Entrecote for both Jax and me to share, but I don’t even remember the last time I had steak before this!
Du Pain et des Idees
Zicatela Folies – I had been craving good Mexican food since the Algarve seems to be void of them, and this was just what we wanted!
Musée National Picasso – Picasso! This beautiful museum is home to 5,000 works of art and it was wonderful to visit while the museum was nearly empty!
Cite des Sciences et de L’Industrie – The kids had a great time here! I was very impressed with the interactivity of this science museum – a fantastic way to learn.
Grand Palais – Pompeii Exhibition – We actually had to book tickets for this exhibit as it is only here until late-September, but click on the link to read a great article from the Smithsonian Magazine about the exhibit.
Courbettes & Galipettes
Leon & Harper