Fifteen people joined Donna Morris of Best Friend in Paris and me the last week of July. Some of us knew each other, but no one knew everyone in advance. We quickly formed a group of both shared and independent interests.
Not a single one of us had the same trip. Every day, people chose what they wanted to do…a visit to the Rodin Museum, or the Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs? Take the train to Giverny to see Monet’s house and garden, or to Mont Valérien to see the Resistance Memorial?
Each person found the things that interested them most. Gail was delighted with the Palais Garnier and its new costume exhibit. Phyllis searched out art and architecture; Diane and Anna found jazz clubs in the evening. René and Carol went to the Sèvres museum; Ruth and Emily shopped in the enormous flea market just outside Paris. Frank and Dorothy celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary; Barbara and Kathleen ate dinners with a friend who lives in Paris. Harper couldn’t get enough of Paris; she stayed on an extra week. Stephanie went out to Versailles to see the evening show of light, music and fireworks in the gardens. Jean graciously recovered from being pickpocketed by a 12-year-old girl in a crowded Metro car.
Every evening, we gathered in the Salon Chinois at the hotel for wine and charcuterie, to tell our stories of the day and plan for our next excursions. Donna supplied restaurant recommendations and made reservations when we needed them. We ate meals at all kinds of places, from the very inventive Bar Le Passage to the traditional country cooking of Le Coin to elegant salads at the Jacquemart André and the very sophisticated MiniPalais in the Grand Palais. Much chocolat chaud africain was consumed at Angelina. We shopped in street markets and Printemps and Bon Marché, in museum gift shops and boutiques on the Ile St. Louis and in the Marais. We learned to navigate by Metro and bus, and we walked…and walked…and walked.
There are lots of photos of our trip at http://www.flickr.com/photos/scampbell-wby/. Best of all, we all made new friends…and memories we’ll enjoy for years.