There are so many things to say about Paris. I’m not sure I can add much that hasn’t already been rhapsodized to death. It both embodies and defies its stereotypes (yes, those stylish French ladies do wear a lot of stripes! yes, those baguettes are a little bit like heaven! no, French people aren’t all elitist snobs!)–visually, emotionally… gastronomically–and can completely take you in, make you love or hate it, depending on the block. The most special part of this trip was exploring a new neighborhood– one that we stayed in, thanks to expat Anne Ditmeyer, who already wrote about the Hotel Amour on designtripper.
For us, it wasn’t just about the hotel, although for the record, it’s everything Anne promised it would be plus a little more. It’s stylish yet markedly unfussy (in a “we’re way too cool to care about interiors, perhaps you might enjoy the ironic Micky Mouse statue at the front desk with a giant penis”-sort-of-way); really, really laid back (as in “you might wait a half an hour before we take your order, but we promise, it will be totally worth it.” It usually was. And the servers all wear football jerseys, strangely, and denim skirts, yet somehow it doesn’t feel nauseatingly contrived), and the grandest of all perks, it’s located in the center of the 9th arrondissement, which is full of the most beautiful food shops I have ever seen. Charcuterie stacked to the ceiling, sausages wrapped in towers and hanging by twine. Fresh fruit pyramids. I could smell the strawberries from half a block away. Patisserie after patisserie, each one more delicious-looking than the last. Endless fromage shops. There’s even a shop solely dedicated to confiture, La Chambre Aux, which sells confitures, marmalades and chutneys in infinite combination: raspberry with flower, clementine with vanilla, fig with cognac, pear with ginger. There are so many great restaurants in Paris, but we hardly left our neighborhood for food, unless it was to take our bulging market bag to a destination park for a picnic. And they close the street on Sundays, so you can do your shopping!
I have been to Paris a handful of times, but this neighborhood made me fall in love with it again. Like experiencing it for the first time. Is that another Paris cliche? I think I’m OK with that.