Keeping Score on Paris

Hi Family and Friends! I’m sorry I have been amiss about writing on my blog. I’ve missed it and you, so hopefully I can get back on a regular routine where I’m writing more frequently and keeping you up to date on our adventures.

To start off from my long hiatus, I wanted to share some Paris photos. Of course, I didn’t even take a ton. I’m happy I have these. Jax had his half-term break from school (a new school, where we’ve put him in the Portuguese/National curriculum so all of his classes are conducted in Portuguese except for his English class). Anyway, our dear friends (former Parisians!) had planned their trip to visit family during this break so we jumped at the chance to coincide our dates because… well, I can never get enough of Paris and it is always so fun to be in Paris with them. Also, my friend Phil (also a Parisian) decided to throw a Halloween party so it was perfect timing. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a proper Parisian party at Le Paris Clandestin!

This was now my 7th trip to Paris, and Jax’s 4th. He likes to keep tabs so I am writing it here because I know I will forget at some point. We are lucky Paris is a slightly over 2 hour plane ride away from our home in Portugal so with our recently more frequent trips, Paris is more familiar to us. We have our favorite restaurants, bakeries, and shops and I’m getting to be a somewhat decent pro at the Metro system. We used it both to and from Charles de Gaulle this time around, and I’m telling you, it is well worth it to do this instead of paying for a taxi or Uber that may have you sitting stuck in traffic at 4X the cost.

This trip around, we decided to go to Disneyland and the Louvre. Of course, as former annual passholders for Disneyland, we are already huge Disney fans and I’m always amazed at the innovation and creativity of Disney. Visiting Disneyland Paris – the only Disney park in Europe – was as magical as it always is. Despite the colder temps and huge crowds because of the National Holiday week, Disneyland Paris was as fun as I remember our California (and Florida) Disney! Of course, it is not as big as the parks in the US, but the parades, attractions, and excitement are very similar. Now that we’ve done Disneyland Paris, we will, at some point, have to hit the 2 other remaining parks in Tokyo and Hong Kong. We’ve also decided that we’ll have to do the Disney Studios Park, which is the park adjacent to Disneyland Paris. I guess it is akin to Disneyland is to California Adventure and Disney World to Epcot? We’ll have to see but I hear great things about the Disney Studios Park.

With regards to the Louvre, I’ve been here twice before and I don’t know why I had forgotten the awesomeness of this incredible museum. The amazing works that are housed in this gorgeous structure are indeed a sight to see. Of course, I made sure that Jax saw Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix, the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace sculptures, The Coronation of Napoleon, The Wedding at Cana, and of course, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. But there are so many more beautiful works of art! I literally need an entire day here, but we’ll have to wait until Jax is older because I’m sure that would be too much museum for him. Regardless, the 3 hours we spent were quite enjoyable for both of us, and I know Jax was so happy to have seen these famous works of art as he mentioned it to his teacher and classmates and I had to upload some photos of his trip to his class Teams discussion.

When we first arrived, we stayed overnight at a hotel in the Pigalle neighborhood. It was fun to discover a new area. There are some sex shops but for the most part, I noticed lots of young families similar to the gentrification happening in downtown NYC. It is here where we discovered a delicious bakery, Babka Zana, that I will definitely have to go to again! The next day, we moved to our friends’ beautiful and sophisticated loft in Le Marais, Le Grand Marais. It was nice to stay here as we had seen the construction. Now it is done and often used for fashion and music shoots because of its hip architecture and sleek interior design. Very cool but for us, we particularly love the location because it is so easy to walk to some of my favorite shops!

Final note, I had to present my Vaccine passport at almost all establishments. In line with French authorities’ latest requirements, a Health Pass is required for anyone aged above 12 years and 2 months in order to visit the Disney Parks, the Louvre, as well as all restaurants. I hope next time we will be able to forego all of this craziness.

Some links to our favorite places:

Babka Zana – we discovered this amazing bakery in Pigalle. The line was 8 people out the door but we were sure to get the cinnamon-muscovado, Iranian and Turkish pistachio-orange blossom, and chocolate-hazelnut babkas. DELISH!

Printemps du Gout – Jax lost his tooth the first night as we were eating on the top floor of Printemps. My friend Phil introduced us to this fantastic locale last time we were in Paris and so we were here again because from here you have the most amazing views of Paris and The Eiffel Tower.

Jeff de Bruges – Jax discovered these delicious chocolates at Gare du Nord on our metro ride from the airport to the city. Although most of the chocolates are made in Belgium, this company is headquartered in France. Anyway, we pretty much ate our first stash while we were still in the city, so we went for another round to take home and thankfully, we still have a few scrumptious pieces left!

L’Artisan Libanais – We discovered this delicious restaurant with our friends Chris and Angie last year and I wish there was a Lebanese restaurant like this in the Algarve. I cannot get enough of it. The wraps are freshly made and so good, and best of all, healthy!

Banoi – This tiny little hole in the wall was such a find! Delicious fresh Vietnamese spring rolls and a delicious Tom Yum soup were the perfect pick-me up from a long, cold day at Disney. Will definitely return.

Land & Monkeys – This bakery is 100% vegan and artisanal and literally across the street from the loft (major plus!). There are lines out the door of people trying to buy their stock of vegan and artisanal baked goods, but we were there to have a quick cafe and chocolate croissant before we said goodbye to Paris! Waaahhhh….

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