To be completely honest, I've been back for two days. But it has taken that long to catch up on two stacks of mail (one at home and the other at the office).
What can I say?
Paris was incredible. There is much to be said for traveling in the company of rich women who don't mind covering for one's poorer relation.
It rained the entire time, but just a steady drizzle. Heck, I'm used to the Pacific NW. If it's not coming down in torrents, and the wind isn't blowing my umbrella inside out, I barely notice.
Not that it really mattered because the three of us--my banker-sister, and her pastry-chef friend, and myself--spent most of our time hanging out in patisseries, chocolate shops and museums.
The Louvre is everything it is cracked up to be--amazing. It is such a strange feeling to be seeing the original of so much artwork that I've only seen it books. Frankly, only the Mona Lisa disappointed--she's somewhat better (and larger) in all those pictures than in "person." I loved I.M. Pei's Pyramid, and, though it is supposed to a controversial addition to the Louvre, so did most of the French people that I asked.
However, the Musee D'Orsay wins, for me, the "best building" award--truly lovely.
The surprise for me was the Pompidou Centre, where I'd never been. It was terrific fun, with an ultra-modern art collection housed in a very modern, very ugly building that perfectly suits the art therein. I wound up spending much more than the allotted two hours going through the collection. (Sorry about the link for those who don't speak French--I couldn't find the site in English.)
Our chef-friend was in search of the ultimate French Macaron, which, it turns out, is NOT the coconut confection I imagined. Instead, it is a French Oreo in all sorts of interesting and weird colors with all sorts of interesting and weird (but TASTY!) flavors. Even the ones she found not to her liking tasted great to me.
That we did a lot of walking was fortunate given the amount of eating we also did.
One night was set aside for the La Tour d'Argent, a one-star Michelin restaurant. I don't know that it was worth the price (frankly NO restaurant is worth the $1400 my sister spent on four diners) but it was terrific food. They specialize in duck, and that's what we had, along with fois gras with truffles, dauphin potatoes and an amazing array of other items. Plus, of course, wine. If this is only worth one star, I can't imagine what the more greatly starred restaurants are like (or what they must charge!)
In all, I had a wonderful time. It was fun hanging out with my sister.
And, on a financial note, the whole thing cost me less than $300, half of which was for gifts for the folks back home.