Hey there APJ Crew,
The HONEYMOON! We have arrived in Europe!
Thailand, France, Estonia and Finland in one week. AMAZING!!
Scent Diary: 6.5 – 12.5.2019
Tried the new Hermès Jardin fragrance in Bangkok airport. Definitely see a bottle in my future.
Monday 7am Paris time and we arrive in Charles de Gaulle airport. Surprisingly fresh considering we have been travelling for nearly 40 hours. We head straight to the Lounge Area and use one of the adjacent bathrooms to get our teeth brushed and wash our faces. They only let you use the actual lounge for flying out, not arriving. A cheeky spritz of Neela Vermeire Mohur and I’m ready to face the world.
On the train to Paris and I am smiling like a very happy person.
We decide to make a stop off at Chatelet Les Halles to see my favourite Crepe Maker, Gaush, from last years visit. He is off work today AND they have upgraded the shop. I’m most distressed because now it’s lost all of its hole-in-the-wall charm. Celia joins us and we have the most delicious crepes and some ordinary but good coffee.
We drop off the bags at the hotel near Dupliex Station. It’s a very serviceable Mercure Hotel that Jin has found with his AmEx concierge. Comfortable and tasteless. Perfect to sleep and breakfast in. The view though, is excellent.
Straight to Arrondissement 1 and lunch with Neela and Tony. We head to a fabulous French restaurant. It’s even got the grumpy woman maitre D, who Jin wins over with his charm. Food is excellent. Chatter and catch up so fun. I even have some booze! Quite the celebration.
The three of us wandered from L’Opera to Palais Royale where we had some afternoon tea. We took Celia to the Serge Lutens store. That hatchet faced bitch Framboise (name changed to protect the guilty) was on and looked me dead in the eye, ignored me and then walked out of the shop. WTF!. I hope she chokes on a fish bone. It’s been seven years in a row I have been in and shopped, including a private upstairs sniffing and last year I brought a group of about 15 to do the same and we shopped like crazy. Fortunately there was a new boy working there that was lovely but because the bitter, withered old stick was so rude we didn’t shop.
We come back to the hotel with Celia to meet the Korean contingent. Jin’s school buddies since they were 12! Kinam and Yugil. They are still besties although Jin has swapped continents and we catch up with them wherever we can, meeting them in Korea or they have both separately come to Australia to visit. It’s amazing to have them with us in Paris.
We all have a one hour nap.
Dinner is at Scott, Michael and Anna Maria’s favourite French peasant food restaurant, Le Tambour. Last year we asked a barman at Michael’s hotel where the best traditional French restaurant was in Paris. He sent us to Le Tambour. It is this weird little restaurant, you’d never give it a second glance, full of French people eating their history, comfort food. I’ve never seen a tourist in there. Food ranges from Onion Soup (O M F G!) to Grilled Bone Marrow and toast. Affordable, delicious and fun. You MUST go.
We then do a Twilight River Cruise of the Seine. Over the years I’ve always eschewed this obvious tourist trap as cheesy and boring. WRONG! It is utterly captivating. Watching the sky change with a Paris backdrop will melt the headrest heart. Even though we had the Koreans and Celia in tow it was so romantic and beautiful. At one point I had tears in my eyes of joy and the feeling that everything in the world was aligned. Heaven!
Afterwards Celia and I cabbed it back to bed but the boys walked back from the Eiffel Tower to our hotel. They stopped at a pub and got lightly smashed. Jin got to our room very merry, chatter, chatter, chatter, smooch, snore.
Tuesday dawned clear and bright.
Breakfast with the boys in our hotel.
Met Celia in town and jumped on the Big Bus and spent the morning doing the first route till we hit the Trocadero. Now I’ve been coming to Paris since the 1990s and I’ve seen the Troc in films and that particularly memorable Jude Law DIOR ad but never got there myself. It was excellent. We had such fun doing photos and hanging out there. Jin and the boys went off to get something and Celia stayed with me for about half an hour just drinking it in. We made our way down to the Eiffel Tower park till they returned.
Back onto the bus and we then hit The Ritz Paris for High Tea. I really need to get a new hoodie, this one makes me look like a homeless person. The doorman walked up to me and said, “We are not taking visitors today.” HA! I replied, “We are here for Tea.” Again, more insistently, with hauteur of a level only the French can muster, “Sir! We are not taking visitors today.” Thank goodness I’m not a mouse. I stopped dead, looked him straight in the eye and spoke to him as if he were my naughty, mentally defective child in the clipped tone of command with the spin of my mother’s icy tones. “We are having tea.” The poor man, his face betrayed the mental clashing of gears and ground out a disfiguring smile. I thought he was having a stroke. Suddenly everything changed, we were whisked into The Ritz Paris and sat in the gorgeous entry hall sunlight while waiting for the High Tea to be set for the day. How I love The Ritz. High Tea was so fabulous. We celebrated Celia’s birthday and Jin & my marriage with champagne and the most delicious array for food. I ate almost no sweaters but still was so freaking full by the end. They GORGED on the desserts, unbelievable.
Guerlain! Place Vendome. I might have shopped
Passing by the new Serge Lutens store we bumped into my favourite, Elvire! She looks more beautiful and radiant than ever. It was so good to see her and have a big hug. We were on our way and couldn’t stop to shop and she’s off to holidays so we won’t cross paths again this visit but it was really nice to be bathed in such sunshine after the awful Framboise.
Back on the Big Bus, we went to Montmart and Sacre Cour. I love it up there. Kinam and I walked the hill. It’s a hard pull but it was worth it to have conquered the mountain. Jin and Yugil took the inclinator. We wandered the church and a mass was on. The singing of the choir was other worldly. I sat and drank it all in for a few minutes.
Then around the the cafes and artists. It’s all changed up there. The square is now mainly given over to seating and only a very few artists are in residence. Jin was really upset at the change because he wanted to see his artist that he purchased from to tell him how much joy his work gives us. Sadly he is one of the casualties of change.
The boys really wanted Korean for dinner so we all went to one near our hotel. It was pretty good. We drank some soju and ate it up. I was falling asleep at the table so they sent me to bed.
No memory of Jin coming in. NO! I do remember that he woke me up to see the Eiffel Tower doing its glittery disco thing from our hotel window. MAGIC!
No stay in Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre Museum. Mona Lisa room is being redecorated and it’s the only piece in there. SUDDENLY it makes more sense. Without the distractions of the other pieces she is shown in all her glory, looks bigger and brighter and feels like the magical piece we are told she is. Liberté Leading the People by Delacroix and the Napoleon rooms. Then we took the guys through some of the statutory, and the Beyoncé staircase. It was a good visit.
PARIS LIFE HACK: Get the Paris Museum Pass. It gives you entree into a plethora of sites and museum, queue jump on them and ease of navigation. When the regular queue at the Louvre takes nearly 3 hours if you go to the passage between the Louvre Museum and Louvre Hotel you’ll find escalators with zero queue that take you directly to the Louvre Central Chamber under the glass pyramid. It’s a very small price to pay for that kind of convenience.
I left the guys to do some shopping and had lunch with Neela under the dome at the Printemps Brasserie. Excellent catch up, loads of laughs and some delicious food. She is a vibrant, clever and hilarious companion and we spent a couple of hours enmeshed in conversation.
Then we whizzed up to Versailles in the afternoon. It was almost empty compared to most of my other visits. The rain had scared off the masses. Also there was to be a music and fountains event on in the evening so the gardens were the most packed. As always the rooms were incredibly impressive, hall of mirrors a delight. The Korean contingent was beside itself. So fun to be with first time visitors to Paris, such a happy reminder of the wonder of discovery. Jin had a Pierre Hermes macaron on the train as we went there, he liked it.
Our last sight for the day was an evening Eiffel Tower visit. It was raining ever so slightly, sprinkling really. ZERO QUEUE! I’ve never had that. We walked straight in. The rain had pulled all the airs impurities and visibility was unbelievable. It felt like we could see forever. The lights of France lay before us. While the guys were buying souvenirs I decided to walk down the steps from the halfway point to the ground. It was terrifying for someone so scared of heights but also incredible. I arrived at the bottom shaking like a leaf but full of pride. Quite a trip.
Today was to be Art Museum Day. Musee d’Orsay and L’Orangerie. Sadly the d’Orsay had an issue and we were waiting in the spitting rain for 30 minutes after opening time before we decided to head off. L’Orangerie never fails to impress. The Korean contingent were suitably impressed with the Monet rooms and then downstairs in the gallery proper. I love the way they’ve set up the regular exhibition in chronological order of particular artists works. It give a clear perspective of some of their progressions. Done in bite sized chunks. Always something new to adore and so much to learn. Even Jin, the anti art dude, loved the visit.
We then went out to Chatelet les Halles to do some basic shopping and souvenir hunting. While we were there I took the guys up to George’s, the cafe at the top of the Pompidou centre. They didn’t care to see the modern art but they did want to see the building. DONE!
We all needed a nap so we headed back to the hotel for an hours break. VERY nice.
In the evening we took Neela out to Korean. The boys were SO HAPPY. This Korean store off l’Opera is Jin and my regular stop. They are very traditional and even the decor feels like home for Koreans. We ate so much and I even drank Soju with them. Why does everyone love it so much when I get a bit boozy? It’s hilarious, they all look at me and laugh and congratulate themselves. It was a fabulous night. These are really good people to spend time with, I feel really lucky to have them in my life.
Our last morning in Paris.
We decided to take a set of electric scooters and see the major sights of Paris. Mainly along the River Seine we scootered from our hotel to the Eiffel Tower and made a stop at the Trocadero. Best view in town.
Back on the scooters and we headed to Musee d’Orsay. Yugil had lost his Museum Pass and Jin & my passes had run out so both the boys had to go in solo on the same card. Up they ran, saw the top floor impressionists and the enormous clocks. They took some photos and came back. Not the calm, reflective museum adventure I love but they felt they’d done the Dorsay.
We then scootered past the Louvre and along the river to the Picture Boxes near the Pont Neuf.
Left our scooters for some other lucky tourists and jumped on the Metro back to Dupliex station and we had lunch at Dupliex Inn, next to our Mercure Hotel. Seems the boys have got the taste for escargot. We had the house Bordeaux and it was bloody delicious.
Time to leave Paris. Kinam and Yugil travelling home to Korea, Jin and I off on our big honeymoon adventure. Jin needed a sleep in the cab. Snoring like a freight train.
First stop Tallinn, Estonia.
Small plane, loads of turbulence. LOVED IT!
Arrived, had a drink, went to bed.
Today dawned misty and grey, it was like a fairy story. Jin decided we were off to Helsinki! So we jumped on the ferry. It was a super day out. LOVED Helsinki. We saw a few of the sites, Jin ate 4 of the local dishes (I only had 2), we went to two art museums, two cathedrals and bought some fabulous souvenirs.
Once home we went to a restaurant called Olde Hansa. It was reputedly the home of a merchant in old times. Dressed up staff and rowdy accountants out for their Friday jollies. The food was good, the atmosphere and decor might have been historic but really it just felt a bit nasty. Jin was really disappointed because he was expecting it to be really good.
After dinner we had a wander around the old town of Tallinn. Even at 10.30pm the sky is twilight. Gorgeous.
Home to our hotel and we both slept like the dead.
Today is laundry day. We will spend some time sightseeing Tallinn and have been given some good recommendations for food.
I have lost my Miss Dior vintage extract somewhere along the way. BUMMER! Wearing mainly my Neela Vermeire fragrances. Mohur & Ashoka are getting most skin time. Also Gravel, that old fashioned mens scent, very nice.
We are so local. Grabbed a one day public transport ticket and travelled Tallinn by trams.
KUKU Art Museum has some very interesting Estonian and Russian art. Well worth the vosit.
I may have bought some amber. These earrings and a different pendant. Rude not to really.
The oldest cafe in Tallin, since 1864.
Dinner at Farm Restaurant. The food was unbelievably good. Cannot rave enough about the whole experience. It was perfect. Service, venue, cuisine = amazing! Loved it and it wasn’t expensive either.
After dinner we spent the next two hours wandering around the old town, up to the lookouts and around. It was so del;axing and peaceful.
It’s YOUR turn. What’s happening in your world?
Did you do anything Fragrant, Fun, Friends, Family or even had some less than Fabulous news you want to share? Now’s the time, in the comments below.
We love to read what’s happening to YOU.