Paris, and no Hilton

I know we're all supposed to love Paris in the springtime, but trust me, January ain't all that bad.

We made our second January excursion to the City of Light in the last three years, and I can see making it an annual pilgrimage. After all, what's not to like? The city is just as beautiful, the lines at the Louvre are are a breeze, and there's nothing better, quite frankly, then sitting outside a bistro in St-Germain-des-Pres on a cold winter night watching people walk by. (I can't for the life of me figure out why Americans can't figure this part out. The space heaters make it nice and toasty and the view can't be beat.)

And this trip held the added bonus of staying not in some random hotel, but rather the apartment of a friend. It makes all the difference in the world. Hotels force you to go out to eat each meal, to have your clothes pressed at absurd rates (and if you want to know what absurd means, check out the dollar against the euro), and to go out on some concierge-approved plan each day. They make one think like a tourist.

An apartment, on the other hand, forces one to live; to buy groceries each morning at the Monoprix or the cheese shop, to figure out those damn European washing machines (is it the sun symbol or the umbrella symbol or the half moon symbol??), and to wander smaller side streets. I guess the goal of any traveler is to blend in, and on this trip we came closer than ever.

(Not to mention that our address, 3 rue Jacob, came with a history. We learned that Madame de Lamballe, Marie Antionette's best friend lived here. And, without getting too grisly, it was from this location that she was famously taken by the revolutionary mob, beaten and dismembered, before having her head paraded on a pole for her friend to see. Well, I guess that was grisly.)

This was Alexandra's third trip to Paris in her four years, and I can't tell you how adorable she was saying "bonjour" and "merci" to everyone she met. It took her all of three minutes at the Jardins du Luxembourg to latch onto a French school field trip. Only one of these kids, who had traveled three hours from central France, spoke a word of English but that didn't seem to matter at all. By the end of an hour they were all ready to adopt Alexandra and bring her home with them.

Between the pony rides at Les Tuileries, the hot chocolate at Angelina (again!), and the seemingly endless cavalcade of carousels (no city could possibly have more), Alexandra was having a blast. We were too, though the aforementioned Euro exchange rate is enough to give anyone the blues.

The reason, by the way, we were in France was to help my brother celebrate the great success of the French translation of his book, Les Disparus. Winning the Prix Medicis is huge, obviously, and we got to see for ourselves: when we entered a cafe one evening Daniel was immediately surrounded by book-wielding fans looking for an autograph.

(I should also mention that it was my father's first trip to France (or Europe) at the tender age of 79. I think he liked it, though he kept saying that Starbucks had bigger and better coffee. How do you say oy vey in French?)

Anyway, here are some pictures:

Take care,


p.s. A quick shout-out to our good friend Katharine Weymouth, who was named publisher of the Washington Post today. (I'm not even sure if one can still qualify for a shout-out if said person is now a publisher of a legendary newspaper.) We've known Katharine since our dogs, Cooper and Max, were best buds as puppies. Yikes, that was ten years ago. Anyway, we couldn't be more excited for you, Kath!

I photographed Katharine two weeks ago in the Old Town studio and think she looks fantastic here.


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