…In which my mom and sister go to the Chanel Couture show, we meet Terry de Gunzburg, sit next to Lenny Kravitz at lunch, enjoy the Musee d’Orsay and travel to begin some serious wine-tasting in Bordeaux.
Pretty much everyone should start off their day like this. La Maison Favart has one of the best and prettiest showers I’ve ever experienced in their Carmen suite, and a breakfast worthy of the same adjectives.
And then, NBD, my mom and my sister went to the Chanel Couture Week show. Seriously unreal. The crowd was amazing, the show was completely over the top (so I hear) and my mom got to cross one of the top items off her bucket list. I hung out for almost an hour after dropping them off to people-watch (who were among the best-dressed crowd of my life) despite being dressed in neon workout gear and enduring a solid 45 minutes of papparazzi screaming at me in French, ‘GET OUT OF THE SHOT!!!” Oh, settle down, crazies.
Then I went for a 5-mile run along a route I used to follow almost daily when I lived in Paris, which for me, was one of the highlights of our trip.
The “Sparkle Bridge” – my second-favorite place in Paris when I lived there – became the Lock Bridge over the past couple years, until all those locks started to destroy the bridge and they had to be cut off. “Who do you think was the first person to put a lock on that bridge and throw the key into the river as a sign of their eternal love?” I asked my sister. “Uh, definitely an American,” she said witheringly.
After my mom and Colly got back from the show, we had some champagne in the square just outside our hotel (‘You can do whatever you want, mademoiselle! C’est Paris!”) while they gave me all the details, then went out to do a little shopping. We saw a By Terry store – and if you’re not familiar with their amazing Baume de Rose, please get acquainted asap, because they’re the best in the world – and I wanted to duck in to try their new-ish line of colored lip balms. The sales girl was very sweet and attentive and was kind of whispering something to me in french while applying the lip balm I was trying, but I couldn’t catch it so I just smiled and nodded enthusiastically as if I actually understood. Then, after I loudly pronounced that the color “makes me look I like I have chapped lips” and hopped up to look around, an adorably chic woman speaking with a photographer caught my eye and said, “Hello, I’m Terry” and I, of course, freaked.
Imagine for a minute that you totally obsess over a line of products, let’s say Clinique. You visit a Clinique store in a foreign country and try something and it doesn’t work for your coloring. So you yell something insulting about the product in English and then Mrs. Clinique introduces herself to you. Luckily: 1. Mrs. Clinique (Terry, in this case) is much lovelier than I am, and 2. The fangirl in me totally took over and I started gushing about how much I love her line, would she sign a Baume de Rose for me, how I was so thrilled to meet her etc. effusive etc.
Can I just tell you how sweet, welcoming and kind Terry was? She loaded us all up with free samples, chatted with my mom about children (she’s a mom to seven!!!), introduced us to her best friend/communications director, and basically made all three of us life-long devotees to the By Terry line.
Then we went for lunch in the Marais to this cute little place Collyn had heard about. It started to rain, so we moved inside since it was 4pm and pretty empty since it was so late for lunch. Halfway through me housing the most delicious french green bean salad I’ve ever had, Collyn kicked me under the table and whispers, “Is that Lenny Kravitz?” with a yank of her head over to the right.
Now, to put this mildly, I totally sweat Lenny Kravitz. I have since like, middle school. I think his music is amazing and he’s so talented and super dreamy (and my cousin Erin claims he smells really good too, which doesn’t surprise me). And this guy who Collyn was asking about sure looked a lot like Lenny Kravitz, but…”No, it’s definitely not him.” I said to Collyn. ‘Who?” asked my mom. “Oh, this guy Lenny Kravitz,” I continued in a really loud, non-indoor voice. “He married Lisa Bonet – you remember The Cosby Show, right Mom? DENISE HUXTABLE FROM THE COSBY SHOW?”
Then I went back to enjoying what (again) was the best french green bean salad I’ve ever had.
A little while later, I ended up chatting with the table next to us, a nice young American couple who lived in Paris. We were swapping stories and the girl said something along the lines of how Paris is always surprising – you never know where you’re going to end up or who you’re going to see. “Right,” I agreed. “Like my sister just thought that guy over there was Lenny Kravitz.”
The girl gave me this look that can only be described as “oh you poor, stupid thing” and says, “Um, that’s because it is Lenny Kravitz.” “Well,” I replied. “In that case I’m about to be very uncool.”
I stopped short from actually talking to him, but I snapped about a million not-so-secret pictures and the rest of my green bean salad went untouched.
Colly and I went out that night to this place in Montmartre called Persifleur and then to this adorable place in Pigalle called L’Entree des Artistes Pigalle, where I had the best cocktail of my life called the Chicharito, which was tequila, cucumber, something spicy and 100% amazing.
The next day I slept in (ahem), then met my mom and my sister at this place called Merci, which basically needs to come to America immediately. On top of being completely adorable, trendy but classic, affordable, and in an amazing space, it houses a couple restaurants, including one in a “basement” that opens onto a garden from which they pick herbs and veggies and use them to make this totally insane plate of five mini portions of salad which was ordered and devoured by all three of us. When people ask how French women stay so skinny? It’s this. This is the reason. Wouldn’t you order salads instead of carbs if your salad options looked like this??
Then we spent the nicest afternoon at the Musee d’Orsay. It’s such a neat feeling to see a painting in one country (in this case, a Van Gogh self-portrait and a Seurat sample for “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte”) that I’ve also seen a version of in another – at Chicago’s Art Museum, which has my favorite Impressionism collection in America. Also – so special to see the Degas dancer. The Musee d’Orsay used to be a train station, you guys. A train station.
We walked home (my Fitbit was averaging about 20,000 steps A DAY) and I got my first crepe of the trip.
After a little nap, we went for a really sweet dinner at Les Enfants Perdus and came back to La Maison Favart, which I have to give major props to for its style, location, trippy pool and incredibly kind staff, and crashed.
The next day we woke up early and boarded the TGV headed to Bordeaux for some wine-tasting and estate-visiting.