I want to tell you all about my recent Paris trip, so I’ll start by touching on the experiences plus a few observations. For weeks after travel, I often feel like I’m in process mode, especially when thrown right back into day-to-day life. Although I wouldn’t have it any other way, it can be somewhat jarring. Paris one morning, DC that evening. Okay, here goes.

Earlier this fall I realized that I didn’t have any open weekends until late winter/early spring and I was itching to get back. Shortly after I returned from my summer trip, I got an email about the Degas at the Opera exhibit at d’Orsay and told Tim I had to go back. So many things I love blended together!

One of my new obsessions is scrolling through Google flights for airfare deals to the City of Light. I found a good price for mid-November, rescheduled a few things, and hopped on a late night flight across the Atlantic. It’s my third time wandering the streets of Paris in November (2009, 2018, 2019) and I think it may become tradition.

When I arrived on Friday it was raining and cold. I hauled my suitcase to an Airbnb in the Marais, headed out for cheese-less pizza (my Paris staple, don’t judge), and was ready for bed around 5:30. While beating myself up for going to Paris to nap, I pulled out my journal and began listing what I was grateful for and my whole attitude changed. Duly noted to help stop self-flagellation parties in the future.

Saturday I walked 30 minutes to a morning fashion illustration class, but the teacher didn’t show. Disappointed, I headed to a nearby Wild & the Moon, then practiced my flâneur skills until a 2:30 ballet performance at the Opera Garnier. A month earlier I’d purchased cheap seats—fifth row from the stage, orchestra area with a folding velvet seat and slightly obstructed view. No problem, I was at the Paris ballet!

The ballet was modern complete with latex bodysuits, a long sword for hands, horns on heads, and a barechested werewolf dancing in gold flared pants. Huh? Prepared for tutus and toe shows and taken aback, I still enjoyed the talent and art. As I walked out of the Opera, a French street musician was singing “Shallow” in broken English and humming through most of the lyrics. “Tell me something, something, something.” It was adorable and amusing.

That evening I headed back to the Marais for another jazz marathon—seven hours at Sunset and 38 Riv. Back through winding, quiet streets, I was home around 3am for a late night family FaceTime call. Somehow I never got on Paris time, but it worked out smoothly since the trip was short.

Sunday I woke up late morning and headed to d’Orsay, popped into a short line (exhibit A on why I love Paris in November), and ran into the museum a little too excited clutching my newly-purchased ticket. I headed straight to the Degas exhibit.

In the opening exhibit description I found a life lesson that stopped me in my tracks (more on this soon) and took in the paintings like a fine wine. To say it was a religious experience would be an understatement. Afterwards I stopped to sit and savor tea at their so very Belle Époque fancy resto. I’ve loved this architecture and Rococo for years and now know their names. I used to call it “you know, it looks like Paris!”

After d’Orsay, I made my way to Rasa for a yoga class in English and it felt so good. After travel plus walking four- to five-mile days, I melted into the poses. Next was Shakespeare & Company since no trip is complete without a visit.

Monday I made my way toward Luxembourg Gardens for a watercolor class that turned out to be a private session. We sat in a theater cafe to sketch and paint while sipping tea and watching the rain fall. The teacher was amazing and will be hosting a private session for our June 5-8 Paris retreat (details coming!).

I spent the rest of the day wandering around the city picking up gifts at Merci, Monoprix, and WHSmith, then made a final stop at Angelina for hot chocolate and treats. I’d never had the famous hot chocolate and decided to indulge. It’s like sipping a warm, fine chocolate candy bar.

Tuesday I headed back to DC with a full heart and oh-so-full belly. Paris never disappoints and stirs my creative spirit with each step. Although I never seem to get as much creative work as I’d hoped done, I feel like I’m dipped into a creative vat and coated in inspiration. Yes, and I may just be on the prowl for my next tickets. Bisous. x