Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween in Paris

Moans and groans could be heard from several blocks away as crowds gathered in the streets on rue de la Verrerie to investigate the commotion. The sounds of pain, agony, despair...and screams!...were getting louder.

The crowds grew dense, which even included local media capturing the sights and sounds.
Getting a closer look, the streets were filled with an approaching mob of the living dead in Paris.

Zombies covered in blood had taken over rue de la Verrerie on this Halloween afternoon creating a slow parade drudging along the street...with the exception of a few hungry zombies straying off the apparent parade route to chase unsuspecting human spectators and tourists in an attempt to capture a quick snack of an arm or foot (including my own!).

They seem to have come from nowhere and disappeared down the road, perhaps living beneath the cobblestone roads of Paris only to return next Halloween.

Although they may all live beneath the streets of Paris, it's still a beautiful city, even on Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Text Message

"Did you get lost in Marseille? I've been trying to get in touch with you." text beeps on my phone.

Yes, I know. I've been pretty busy. I think to myself, looking at the words.

"Work has been stressful and I'm planning a weekend getaway. Would you like to join me?"
"Where?" I text back, forgetting that I am now on a new page in my life.

"How about Casablanca in Morocco? I'm looking at flights and a hotel right now." text returns.
I thought Casablanca was a movie. I think to myself, but don't text back.

"You will need to ask for 3 days off from work and we will return on Tuesday." the text continues.
I'm on a new page. No distractions, no vacations. Focus on business and personal goals.

"I'm sorry, I will not be able to go." I text back.
"Alright then. Maybe we can meet for tea when I return. Take Care." ends the text.

Turning Over a New Leaf

This morning, I've decided to turn over a new leaf and shift my focus from all the wonderful, entertaining 'distractions' of Paris, (food, men, parties, etc) to focus on a few serious goals and accomplishments. (personal and professional goals)

Yes, this resolution has been made several times in the past, but that won't stop me from making it once again. It's the start of a new month, so why not? I wonder if I'm the only one constantly working on changing my life? I wonder if I will ever just stop and be content for nothing more? Life is like a great romance adventure novel, that keeps me reading, so somehow it's doubtful.

Today, I turn the page in this book of my life, it's a change for the better, to see what unfolds on the next page.

Here are a few photos taken tonight, from the new page. Walking home from the American Library. Yes, the library, not a date, not dinner, not dessert, not a soiree, and not a party.

Looking down a random street, around the corner from the American Library. Even the Eiffel Tower is turing over a new leaf with new lights
The roses say, "Congratulations on Turning Over a new Leaf"

Inhale deeply in the cool, crisp evening Parisian air. Can you smell the light fragrance as we walk by?

Walking across Pont de l' Alma

View from Pont de l' Alma
Another beautiful evening in Paris, promises another beautiful day to follow on the next page.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Girls' Night out in Paris

This morning's email read: Hey Florence, I know it's last minute, but meet me if you can at Le Club 93 Montmartre , for the "52 Martinis Paris Cocktails Meetup". signed Janice.

Le Club 93 is a pretty 'swanky' bar, that I've been wanting to visit as I've walked past it a few times on my way to the metro, headed home. And now that Forest (yes, that's her real name) chose this bar to host the evening drinks and social meetup, and Janice just sent me an invite, how could one resist meeting a few more friends in Paris, for more great food, drinks and a great time? Needless to say, we had a fabulous evening.

Debra, me, Forest, and Janice

Going Home
The end of another fabulous evening in Paris. Great friends, good food, conversation, laughter, and a beautiful evening in Paris. Really, what's NOT to love?!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dinner at L' Ambassade d' Auvergne

The menu (carte) is also online at the link below

Wednesday night after French Lessons ended at 9PM, we headed off to L'Ambassade d' Auvergne for second seating dinner reservations.

Eric, my Parisian "Food Guide", and a friend from the Saturday French-English Conversation Group has volunteered to show me where the 'Real French' people eat with their 'Real French' friends. It became more apparent to me, that although the French are beautiful people, sometimes what they eat is not so beautiful to me. (Warning: Be careful what you ask for.)

After starving myself through the evening French lessons, I thought I could pretty much eat anything, including, "Millefeuille d'aubergines & chevre frais au miel de montage" for starters. This was some sort of eggplant appitize, which actually wasn't bad.

Still I wondered why a girl who likes Mexican food and McDonalds would think she had an acquired taste for Authentic French food.

Next, we had "Magret de canard roti & aligot" which was also pretty good for my first time ever eating Roasted Duck Breast and some kind of cheesy garlic potato something...

The red wine amazingly complemented everything that was served.

Lastly we had dessert (of course). Mousse au chocolat, Soupe de rhubarbe a la menthe fraiche, Compotee de myrtilles & glace gentiane. I'm still not sure why we had three desserts, but dessert in Paris is always wonderful.

All in all, Dinner at L'Ambassade d' Auvergne was excellent experience.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paris Lingerie

Crazy Horse Lingerie
Crazy Horse at Printemps

The finest brands of lingerie are on now on display in the Printemps (department store) shop windows lining the Boulevard Haussmann.

The chic and sophisticated Paris Crazy Horse dancers (all selected as dancers with the exact body proportions) are a public tribute to the female form and are scheduled to perform as part of the live window display!

The dancing sensations, will perform their classic Changing of the Guard routine, with traditional Crazy Horse staging and decorations, in the windows on Thursday night at 9 pm.

French lingerie is truly a Parisian woman's Secret, which I love. I am inspired to, once again to get fit and slowly but secretively transition my 'boring' lingerie wardrobe into Parisian Lingerie, all for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

French Converastion and Parisian History

This morning I woke up from a week-long dream of 'holding on tight',to a very nice American man, as we strolled down the streets of Paris. My left side feels empty, since he's no longer standing beside me in a dream. But my heart is full, since there are so many wonderful memories of laughter, encouragement, and shared dreams.

Paris embraces me with friends like family, beauty, love, great food, adventure and always dessert. I spent this afternoon 'hanging out' and practicing French with Daniele at her home. She a French author, Sociologists and a new Parisian friend.


Practicing French with Daniel at her home before I start evening classes at Lutece Langue

After French and English conversation, Daniele showed me her favorite Paris views, that she's loved since the 1960's, when she first bought her apartment.

A View from Daniele's Neighborhood

Daniele tells me all about this beautiful 370 year old piece of real estate was the old Hotel Lambert on Ile Saint-Louis, built in 1639 by architect Louis Le Vau, who also designed the Chateau de Versailles.

It is now a huge topic of discussion for the French government since a Qatari Prince bought it 2 years ago and wants to do $60 million in major renovations. The problem is the French Minister of Culture approved the renovations, but the French preservationists are fighting the change. (I vote to preserve the integrity of the the building.)

Prince Hamad bin Abdullah al-Thani from Qatar, bought the hotel from the Rothschilds in 2007 for $88 million, and plans to retore it to it's 17th Century glory, which would include (adding elevators, air-conditioning and an underground parking garage) Who knew they had all that back in the 17th century?!

If the Prince gets to restore the building back to the 17th century, it would demolish the 19th century fireplaces and all the dormor windows that Polish Prince Adam Czartoryski installed when the Polish Royal family owned the building for 132 years from 1843 to 1975. Needless to say, the Polish are also fighting the renovation plans. The French news reports that a decison will be made in the next few weeks.

French conversation and Paris history will never get old.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Angelina's with Roger


Sunday afternoon with Roger was delicious. This is our last rendezvous 'date', before he returns to the States. We met at Angelina's Cafe, a traditional Parisian cafe located on Rue de Rivoli, just past the Louvre.

We enjoyed a relaxing breakfast/lunch, sharing a carafe of Angelina's famous African Hot Chocolate, called 'Chocolate L'African', mini pastries, croc monsieur, and a small salad.

Angelina's is well known for its delicious hot chocolate, which I must agree is the absolute best I've ever tasted. La Couple moves to a close 2nd place. Angelina's was also a favorite of Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel and (Britney Spears?!).

After having lunch with the French for the past few months, watching Roger pick up the croc monsieur (grilled ham and cheese sandwich) with his fingers, instead of using a knife and fork actually made my heart skip a beat, as I thought, "Ah, what a man!, What an American Man!"

I like a man that eats like a man. I really like this man.

A Man I Like...

The French seem to eat everything with a fork and knife. I'm sure they would eat olives with a knife and fork if the table were set during cocktails.
Roger is a real man, sitting in front of me sharing a wonderful Sunday afternoon. I want more hot chocolate and I want more of him. He pours me more chocolate.

Delicious Hot Chocolate shared with a Delicious Man

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Delicious Note from Eric

Delicious Notes (click to enlarge)

Saturday at the French-English Conversation group, instead of participating in conversation, Adrian and I completed more 'business' training. I wonder how she keeps so much business and technical information in her head on top of being fluent in French. Is she a genius?

As I turned to get my notebook, to take notes, Eric (a Parisian man) is standing next to me holding a sheet of paper with notes. "Florence, this is for you." he says holding the paper in front of me. "What is this?" I ask.
"French Restaurants. I wrote them for you." he said kindly.

My mouth was open, but no words came out. I had no idea why he was giving me the notes. "Last week. Remember? You asked about French Restaurants..." he reminded me.

Oh yeah, I remember, during our lunch conversation, I wanted to know where the 'Real French' people ate when they went out with their 'Real French' friends.

Without thinking, I replied, "Oh, yes and you were supposed to take me to each one, right?" Immediately his face lit up as I thought, Oh, what did I just said? "Oh, yes! yes. I will take you to each one. Yes." he replied nodding his head with a smile. Uh, how do I say, Just kidding, in French? I thought. "Yes, when would you like to go?" he asked.

"Uh, next week I start French lessons on Monday and Wednesday evenings, how about next week, after a class?" I replied. "Oh yes!" he said as he quickly scribbled down his phone number on the bottom of the note and rushed into a conversation group.

Adrian watched as she shook her head at yet another distraction, "Okay, are you ready now?" she ask patiently as I folded the delicious note and put it into my bag.

p.s. I found a review online of the first restaurant on Eric's List here: L'Ambassade de d'Auvergne definitely French!

Business Cents from Adrian

Adrian is a multi-faceted business woman with focus and drive that I admire more each moment I spend with her. My time is invested well when shared with her.

Working on a project with one of her client's, once again, I wanted to 'Be Nice' in business. 'Being Nice' is not always cost effective as I ask Adrian, "Can't we just give them this service?" It would be so easy, I thought and I wanted to be nice. Her immediate reply was,

"No. This is what they paid for. This is what they get."

And that was the end of the conversation.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Wonderful Moments, Living a Dream

Friday night dinner with Roger. Paris is so full of wonderful moments, and great people, I cannot seem to write enough about the 'magic' of living in Paris. Words cannot explain the feeling of being here and 'Just Living' a dream.

Roger is visiting Paris for one week. We've known each other (via his mom, Internet and phone calls) since July. He shares the dream to live in Paris too, so we can only wait and see how his dream will unfold.

He makes me laugh, he's kind and considerate, intelligent, single, tall, good lookin', and I wonder if I'm only dreaming about all the other wonderful qualities in him.

So, we took a picture in my 'sleep' on Friday evening of a wonder dinner shared at an outdoor sidewalk restaurant, sitting under the warmth of gas heaters above our heads, on a quite Parisian street. We shared insights, inspiration, and even dessert, until past midnight. Was this another wonderful dream?

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse and A Chocolate Brownie

This must be a dream!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drinks and Dinner with Emilie

A wonderful evening with my French roommate from last year. (Not the same Emilie from Saturday's French-English Conversation Group).

Emilie is a cool 'non-typical' French girl, who smokes cigarettes that she rolls for herself. Every time we meet, I feel 'more french' as first we stop at a cafe around 5:30 or 6 PM, for drinks and a light snack. We sit outside, talking, laughing and watching the people walk past. (Parisians, tourist, businessmen, women, Africans, Asians, Americans, British....they all walk past.)

Here is were I learned a new secret to attracting men. It never fails that each time I am sitting outside a cafe with Emilie, 2 or 3 (at least) attractive French men approach our table, and speak to Emilie in French. They exchange a few words and 'Voila', Emilie pulls out her little blue lighter and places it in their hands. This happens,(no kidding), every single, solitary time, without fail!

So tonight, I told Emilie, I will go out and buy the most shiny sparkling, attractive lighter I can find, and place it on the table as I dine around Paris. Who knew, so many attractive men in Paris, walk around with no lighter?! hmmm....I wonder. (it's a pity they do smoke though)

After a few drinks, a little blurred vision, and no sense of direction, we walk somewhere towards dinner, which can start anywhere between 7:30 and 9;30PM.

Tonight, we've decided on a recommendation by Antonio, "Anahuacalli" - Especialidades Mexicanas. Another outstanding Mexican Restaurant in Paris close to the river Seine.

You can check out "La Carte" (menu) here and drool:

Mexican is also one of Emilie's favorite foods. After more beer, French-English converstation, laughter and delicious Mexican food, there's absolutely no room for dessert as another great evening in Paris comes to an end.

As we are walking home, across the bridge, Pont de la Tournelle, another pair of attractive men approach us with a question in French. I look at Emilie as she says something softly while searching inside her purse. They are both watching her, as I watch both of them. To my surprise, Emilie pulls out a tissue and hands it to the tall attractive young French man. We laugh as she say's she thought they were going to ask for a lighter too!

Hmmm, it might be a good idea to buy a small package of tissue to go with the shiny new lighter. Dinner with Emilie is always wonderful.


It was over. "I'm done with wanting to wear designer clothes and attending fancy Parisian soirees and events." I thought to myself almost two weeks ago.

"I am finished with you." I tell him now, over the phone. "No, no." he replies. "I will be outside in 5 minutes." he continues. "Outside where?" I ask. "Outside of your school." he says.

This week, I've started taking French lessons twice a week, so I wonder how will I really have time to live, love, work, play, shop, eat and hang out with friends in Paris? Did I mention work?

"Oh.Ok." is the only thing I say to Pierre as I hang up the phone.

We have lunch:

Steak, potatoes and a small salad, with a glass of wine.

"I am afraid to fall in love with you." he tells me over lunch. "That is why our relationship is difficult." he continues. I laugh in my mind at the words as I wonder how many women's eyes he's looked into with those words rolling out of his mouth, dripping with a soft romantic french accent. I smile and say (very slowly), "Pierre, I-Am-Finished."
His expression turns to concern, "With your food?" he asks in the same sincerity.

He can always make me laugh. "No. With you!" I tell him, knowing he does not believe me.

He orders dessert immediatly:


I love Dessert!

"Here are two tickets for you." He says pulling out printed tickets and a brochure from his wallet. "You won't go with me. It is impossible. So here, take them." They are for a concert. I read them slowly, wondering if Roger (a very nice man) would like to go with me. "Thank you." I say in sincerity.

As he slowly hands me both tickets, he asks, "You will go?" "Yes." I reply (thinking of another man). He quickly reaches over to take one ticket away. I blink my eyes. "You will only need one." he says. (Once again, I am reminded that he's so much older and more clever than I am. I feel trapped.)

"Then I will meet you there, but I will be 30 minutes late, so you must go to the seat, here, Orchestere, section B-12." He tells me in French and English combined.

"What just happened?", I ask myself as the bubble above my head holding 'a very nice man' pops.

"Let's go, I will make you coffee at my apartment." he says, before I can figure out the previous scenario. "Okay." I reply.

Outside in the fresh air, I regain my focus. "Thank you for the lunch, but No, Pierre. I cannot join you for coffee. I have to go back to my apartment." Like a child, he starts to yell in the street. "You are STUPIEED! STUPEED!" then turns with his elbow out towards me to escort me to his apartment. I look at the audience of men and women beside me, as they watch and wonder, what I will do.

Standing on the busy sidewalk of Paris, I don't have a reply, except, "Pierre?!" I say..."You are Stupid, an Impossible woman!" he yells at me. I wonder if they understand? I think about the audience as they watch me along with Pierre, now waiting for a reply.

I smile, just as I see the golden arches of McDonald's from the corner of my eye. "Come inside, go to the ladies room." I hear the arches say. "I have to go." I reply to Pierre with a nervous smile, although from the pit of my stomach I want to cry. I watch him walk in the opposite direction as I walk towards the 'Golden Arches'. I hear applause in my mind, and I smile instead of crying.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just Another Great Afternoon in Paris

Life in Paris is even better shared with a great person (who also likes to take photos) and loves Mexican Food!

photo of a 'Nice Man'

After having a delicious Mexican lunch, we strolled down the Avenue des Champs Elysees (on my way home) and what a great surprise to see the workers stringing up the Christmas lights that line the Avenue during the holidays! (.....insert enthusiasm of a 6 year old here!!!....)

I love the energy of the season!!

The Champs Elysees lit up during the holidays is absolutely magical! I can hardly wait to see more lights, Christmas trees, and the spirit of Christmas fill the cool crisp air!

Ah, these men are doing a wonderful thing in Paris!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to a Very Nice Man

Another fabulous evening in Paris! Tonight we celebrated Roger's birthday at La Coupole Restaurant.

Great food, wonderful family, amazing wine, and of dessert!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunshine in Paris, with a Very Nice Man.

I like a man who asks, "Why would anyone want to intentionally, say something to hurt a person's feelings?"
I like a man who says, "Even if a woman may be wrong, I don't have to be right." and then he adds, with a nice smile, "We will find out together, if she's wrong."
I like a man who says, "Hold on tight."

The light shines on a few things.

Sometimes I say things that are hurtful, when it comes from a hurt place within.
Sometimes, even when I'm wrong, I want to be right.
Sometimes I let go of the things I need to hold tight.

This afternoon, I shared the sunshine with a very nice man in Paris.

Lunch at one of my favorite restaurants-Au Petit Boulevard

French 'Lunch' Ham & Cheese Omelet, fries and a small salad. The best of Breakfast and Lunch!

A Very Nice Man

A few very nice Desserts

A very nice view

Wish you could have joined us for dessert this afternoon.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Night Soiree - Girls Night Out!

Jamie Cat Callan, author of 'French Women Don't Sleep Alone' was Patricia's guest at the Sunday Night Soiree which turned out to be a wonderful "Girls Night Out". (which also included a few great guys)

I'm sure the book is as great as the evening spent with Jamie, so on my list, it is a Must Read!

Jamie Cat Callan reading from her book

Kehinde, Florence (French), Roger, Janice, Florence (American), and Patricia

Beautiful Women

Florence and Florence

Kehinde, Florence, Roger and Florence

Sharon-A Wonderful Woman Another wonderful evening of great friends, great food, great conversation, lots of laughter and great wine. There were also baked brownies for dessert. Life is wonderful when surrounded by great women (and a few nice men), in Paris (or anywhere).