Meanwhile, in Paris…

…I don’t know what it is about Parisian doors.

Maybe it’s the promise of all the macarons that await me inside?

Could it be the handsome homme who awaits me inside, armed with the yummy crepes that he made me for brunch?

Or maybe it’s the lovely architecture of the les portes themselves, so artistic and majestic and ready to be captured on film so they can be adored long after I have reluctantly departed from them?

One can only guess. During my February trip to Paris, I took a few photos of said doors. Here are some of them.

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Frenchdoor2

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A Crochet Story.

Did she learn to crochet, those who don’t know me may wonder? No, dear ones: the girl who failed Home Economics in the seventh grade (true story) became the same woman who drove home in tears a few years ago after a sewing class. So when it comes to anything having to do with a needle and thread, I am hopelessly and, dare I say it, happily lost. (Some of us are all right with not being crafty and marveling at the crafty ones from afar. But don’t tell my mother.) Anyway, this crocheting has to do with my hair.

As you’ve read, I try to protect my natural hair during the cold months and give it some time to breathe and hide from my eager hands. You also know that when I’m about to travel internationally, I like the idea of not bogging my suitcase down with my beloved hair products (not a ton, but you get my idea). All that said, prior to heading to Paris and with the blast of angry, wintry air in the atmosphere, I decided to have something done for le fro. The only thing: I didn’t want standard individual braids, as per usual. I also didn’t want kinky twists, Senegalese twists, so on and so forth. I wanted something different, low maintenance, and new. Enter Pinterest and seeing an abundance of fellow naturalistas sporting crochet braids. Quite simply, crochet braids (or crochet weaving) is a process where your natural hair is cornrowed (which, by the way, has been a thriving style in the African-American community long, long, long before any Kardashian started sporting them), after which synthetic hair is crocheted with a latch hook in between the cornrows. I found a stylist through some friends and went to have them done. Prognosis: I am officially, utterly, and completely in love with them. (I’m in love with my stylist, too, and she will never be rid of me.)

First of all, there was no pain. I tend to feel almost light-headed when I get braids done (as much as you beg your braiders to be kind and not punish your tender edges, no one ever listens), so this was quite the departure. Secondly, it was so simple and easy and fast. Again, braiding takes hours to complete. In the past, I’ve entered salons in the morning and stayed until closing time. This took two hours, starting from when le fro was nicely washed and deep conditioned until the end when the process was done. Heavenly or what? Third: the hair is so lovely and natural looking. How I adore when styles look like they sprouted from one’s own scalp. Here I am. (And if you followed my Paris round-up, you’ve already seen how well they did.)

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The above photos were taken days after the braids were installed. What I love, especially in Paris, was how fuller the style seemed to get: big, frizzy, and big. All the things I love. And did I mention the variety of styles you can choose for these crochets? From a giant fro to long, wavy hair, you can rock whatever style you please. Needless to say, I’m addicted and will be holding on to this style until I go on to the next set of crochets. In other words, I plan to have le fro protected and covered up until spring stops pretending and finally descends upon us.

Oh, but what about your impatience with the whole protective style thing, my mother may ask? I don’t know. I kind of love this style so much that I haven’t been longing for my natural hair as acutely as I have in the past. I just imagine that my strands are taking an extended nap until we meet again. Of course, as the weeks pass by, I may be singing a different tune. (Gimme my haiiiiirrrrrrr…) Anyway, until then, quite happy to say bye-bye to traditional braiding styles.

But wouldn’t it be interesting if I actually learned to crochet? Will you be around to wipe my tears?

Onwards, happy Friday, and bon weekend.

Meanwhile, in Paris…Round-Up #3 (Drama at Versailles!)

What drama, you ask?

Nothing. But while touring the majestic palace one morning during our trip, I gazed at the staircase shown below…

StaircaseParis

…and imagined an opulently dressed daughter of a marquis fleeing down the stairs in order to avoid meeting the ancient, pockmarked duke her parents had betrothed her to. I saw the fear and panic on her face as she descended in haste, heard her rapid breathing, and I got lost in my little imagined play as a swell of fellow tourists passed me by.

Again, I’m a writer. It’s what we do.

Can you see it, too? The better question: what do you see when you look at this staircase? Tell, tell…

Meanwhile, in Paris…Round-Up #2 (L’Homme at Pont Neuf)

So we know the Parisians exude a disaffected level of coolness that drips all over the cobble-stoned streets as they nonchalantly move past your wide, touristy eyes. Throw in their natural ability to look like images right out of the latest copy of a French fashion magazine. That said, during our trip, the disaffected, fashionable cool was all around us. Case in point: as my friends and I made our way across Pont Neuf, the famed bridge (per Wikipedia, it’s the “oldest standing bridge across the river Seine”), one of my girls caught sight of a guy adjacent to us. He was ostensibly headed to work. He was wearing a suit. He was glancing down at his phone. All the things we see on a daily basis, whatever city we inhabit.

But there was just something about this homme.

Owing to the fact that I have ninja photography skills (it comes from commuting to work and seeing a variety of things that, if not captured on a camera, would hardly be believed), I snapped a quick photo of him. Please feast your eyes below, won’t you?

ParisCool

Look at that ensemble. Look at it.  Look at his scarf. His tie. His briefcase. Look at all the blue. Oh, the effortlessness of it all. Perhaps beauty–and/or French cool–is in the eye of the beholder, but all three of us beheld him and thought the same, exact thing: there’s just something about Guillaume. (I gave him a name. I’m a writer. It’s what I do.) After snapping my ninja photo, we continued on our way, discussing just what it was about him that captured our attention so. In the end, it was basically that drip drip of French je ne sais quoi. No complaints here.

Meanwhile, in Paris…Round-Up #1

Because there was just so much to capture, so much to do, so much to see, and so many joints to rub with Aspercreme after traipsing around the city to keep up with regular blog updating during the trip. (On the latter statement, I used my trust Fitness app and my calculator: we walked a complete total of 56,065 steps, from when we arrived in Paris to when we departed.) By no means an obnoxious complaint, of course, and pardon the obnoxity (not a word). We just packed in so much in those eight days in the City of Lights that by the end of the day, when WiFi did its job, I sat on the sofa like a zombie and eyed my sleep mask more than my WordPress app.

Anyway, I’m baaaaccck.

We arrived back in the US of A last Thursday, which was Friday, France time, which meant that the jet lag I suffered after my Germany/England trip was going to visit me, Parisian style. But other than waking up on Friday with aches on body parts I didn’t even know I had, I was able to eventually come back to normal. Back to work, back to supervisors that confuse administrative staff for babysitters, back to life. But, again, no complaints. As one of my travel buddies and good friends astutely put it during our trip, “we work so we can travel.” Many more photos will come as the week and the month wears on. I took many for me, which means there were many for you, dear reader. Below, however, are a few things I learned, some travel tips, etc.

Pinterest Travel really is a thing. If you don’t already, I welcome all future travelers to start pinning away when they decide where they’re going. Yes, we pin things that will never happen in reality (or maybe just me? See my recipes and home decor boards), but it’s worth making actual travel plans by pin. The three of us happened to do this on our own and were able to have a list of places we wanted to visit, restaurants we wanted to stuff our faces in, etc. Images of Paris that I’ve gazed at for months and months came roaring back to me, reminding of all the places I wanted to go that I didn’t have a chance to visit the first time I visited the city twelve years ago. So, yeah, create them boards, y’all. They will come in handy.

English may not be the evil that shall not be named after all. The last time I visited France, I was with French speakers. They did all the communicating for me (see past posts on the ineffectual nature of my brain and the French language), for one thing, which made things cushy and great. But I certainly wasn’t blind to the French side eye the natives cast in my direction when my friends would mention that I was American. Anyway, it’s 2016, people. This time, you had three ladies who spoke very little French (I know my vocab, but conversation? Le crickets). I wondered how we would do, how we would communicate, all the side eye that would come in our direction if we butchered the language, whether people would even give us the time of day (they’re known to not give you the time of day, by the way). It was fine. Once it was established that we were ‘Mericans, most of the people helping us easily switched to English. It was awesome. Didn’t mean that we didn’t try to speak like the natives, but it was nice to recognize that the pressure was off.

Le Metro. I envisioned a lot of Uber rides to our destinations. I just did. When I go to New York, for example, unless I’m with someone who lives there, I avoid the subway like the plague. Cabs and Uber for me. But the advantage of living like two steps away from the metro station where we were (13th arrondisement and about 10-15 minutes outside of Paris) was that we learned how to use the system. And it was awesome. First of all, the French have a pink line, so applause for that on its own. Second, it’s very, very easy to figure out. Grab a Navigo card (valid for a whopping ten years), load it up, grab a map (which has all the touristy sites listed on it) or an app (I loved the Paris Metro app; very handy for creating routes and easily seeing what lines to take), and you’re good to go. We only made use of Uber to Versailles, which would have taken a zillion hours by train, and for those nights when we were gallivanting around the city way past our bedtimes.

Honorable Mentions that I’m sure you know already. 1) It helped to not reside so close to Paris. We were away from the crowds and able to get everywhere by train. If possible, with any city, really, some distance between you and the hotbed is really quite nice. 2) Bring cash. Just better. A credit card in case of emergencies, but cash is just better. Make friends with the ATMs in the area. 3) Use up your coinage. Most banks won’t covert them.

Last but Not Least in Any Way. Pick pockets don’t play. Mind your stuff at all times. There were plenty of occasions when my starry-eyed appraisal of the city kept me from noticing that the opening to my cross-body handbag was behind me rather than in front of me. Don’t be like me. Or, as it also was in my case, have a good friend to quickly remind you to come back to earth and watch your bag.

It was a marvelous. magnificent trip, dear readers. I loved every moment of it. Even the aching joints and the Aspercreme. There’s more to tell and I will tell and I will share. At this point, though, I leave you with a photo I took with my girls during the trip. The smiles say all, n’est-ce pas?

  

Meanwhile, in Paris…#2-4 (Adventures, Angelina, and the Eiffel)

The title says it all, no? See the pictorials so far from le weekend en Paris and this past Monday.

   
    
 The Louvre. Everything, really.

   
    
 The Love Lock bridge. Better known as Pont des Arts. Lovely.

   
    
    
 
Lunch at Angelina, a restaurant that’s famous for being a favorite of Audrey Hepburn’s, their yummy macarons, and their oh so delectable hot chocolate. I’ve been pinning that restaurant for ages. And now I’ve experienced it. Worth all the salivatory (not a word) glances on the computer.
  

There are no words. Well, there are. The last time I was in Paris, we couldn’t come that close to the Eiffel, due to security concerns. We also didn’t see it at night. This trip took care of all of that and then some. Really just beautiful. Here’s one more for the road. 

 
I’ll be back for more photos and commentary!
Allons-y.

[All photos belong to This Square Peg.]

Meanwhile, in Paris…#1 (Arrivals)

   
 
Nous sommes arrivés, mes amis! (We have arrived, my friends.) And if you’re impressed by my amazing French language recall, don’t be. After eight whopping years of French teachers beating me over the head with masculine, feminine, passé composé and conditionnel, I had to type that sentence into my trusty language app on my smartphone and translate it into French. Because eight years means nothing when the language sits there, unused and discarded, like a day-old baguette. 

Anyway.

We’re heeere! Last night, we flew 5 hours, stopped over in Iceland, and then flew another 2 or so hours into France. The flight was just fine and it was nice to experience my new best friend, Iceland, once again. 

Right now, as we sit in our lovely borrowed flat for next seven or so days, jet lag consumes us, as well as unpacking and readying ourselves for the days to come. Nevertheless, I glance out of the window and I see Paris before me. Heavy eyelids or not, it’s good to be back after 12 years. Can’t beat that view.

Allons-y. (Let’s go, and that one came from memory. Imagine that.)

Passports ready. Me on the left, my girls to my right.

This Square Peg, Can You Hear Me?

The title’s reference is from here. If you’re a fan, allow me to welcome you into my heart forever. If you’re a superfan, allow me to move in with you because we’re officially besties.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since we chatted? And I’d like to imagine that my readers are in a wooded glen somewhere, like Yentl, asking if I can hear you. (Ah, this imagination of mine.) Yes, I can hear you, and yep, I’m here. Life gets in the way. The strange desire to not write or type a thing gets in the way. Planning for a European adventure that begins tomorrow gets in the way.

AudreyWave
Hey, y’all.

Wha-?

Yes, dear reader, three months after gallivanting around Germany and England, I’m headed back to Europe, this time to France. I fly out tomorrow evening and will be in Paris for about 8 days. (Seriously, y’all, jump on travel deals like there’s no tomorrow. More on that in another post.) This time, however, I’m going with two dear friends and I look forward to the fun that will be had, as well as the wine I intend to ingest while there. (I’ve been craving wine lately. So weird. I’m basically a teetotaler when it comes to alcohol, but when I want it, I wants it.) Add hot, French croissants to that list of intentions, and you can kiss my good eating regimen goodbye. Worth it, though. While I’m there and if WiFi doesn’t act up, I’ll be documenting my Frenchie adventures (such as how to recall all that French I’ve lost as the years passed me by) on TSP. Read along, won’t you?

Anywho, other than planning and putting off packing until tonight (as I do), and other life stuff, of course, I remain here. What have you been up to?