When we were in Paris last year, Ash cooked up this idea of coming back for the month of May, 2022. “We can ‘Spring’ in Paris” he liked to say. I, of course, can’t get off that much time at once, and he kept trying to convince me to come for the whole time and just work from here. But a 9-hour time difference is a bit much to manage, it wouldn’t have been any fun for me. We did that in January in New York and a 3-hour time difference was weird enough as it is. (Although, in the other direction, it wouldn’t be bad at all. Hawaii maybe?) At any rate, I certainly wasn’t going to stand in the way of his coming, so he left on Thursday, April 21 and has been here ever since. I got here today, Sunday, May 15. We will spend a week here and then the 2nd week in the Loire Valley doing some castle-hopping. And no, I’m not working.

My flight left Sacramento at 5:33am Saturday morning, with stops in Denver and Dulles (DC) before landing here about an hour late at 8am Paris time. Generally uneventful, just a typical travel day. What was untypical about it is I wasn’t wearing a mask and neither was hardly anyone else. I had to upload my vax record to the airline when I checked in but beyond that no one has asked to see it. All very different from our trip to Europe last summer where we had to have a vax record, test COVID negative within 72 hours of the trip, and wear a mask anyway. Being over the Atlantic was the safest place to be while the Delta variant was surging last August.

Ash rented a 3 bedroom apartment for a month in the Marais. It’s maybe 1/2 a mile east of where we stayed last time – a little more neighborhoody, a little less touristy. He’s had a gaggle of people in and out throughout his stay so far. Two of them are still here and you’ll see them at some point. Shirley, his long time friend from college, has been here the whole time. Her husband was here for a week as well, and they celebrated their 25th anniversary. Jim, who Ash refers to as his godfather and has been living with us since February after his wife passed, has been here for 2 weeks.

It has an open living/kitchen/dining area and 3 small bedrooms, not worth photographing. It is Much Smaller than the Airbnb photos made it look. But definitely functional and a great neighborhood. Oh, and Paul is here, too! Today is his 11th birthday. This is his first time to Paris (and 8th country!) and he’s loving it.

Ash and Jim are standing where I was when I took the photo above this one. I got here about 10am after a long customs line, unpacked, and we were off to a farmer’s market a few blocks away.

It’s a pretty big apartment complex, this is the 2nd long walk to the unit. We are at the end of this and to the left, then up 2 flights.

The is the first long walk after the gated entrance from the street, Rue Amelot. The advantage of this is it’s pretty quiet.

The farmer’s market was in a park a few blocks away and it was huge. We picked up some things for dinner at home tomorrow since many restaurants are closed on Mondays. Including a roasted chicken from this stop.

The jars front right are yogurt, and I picked out a handful of flavors for breakfasts. Lots of cheeses here that they’ve bought before and we still have in the fridge so we didn’t get anymore.

We picked up a bunch of fruit and vegetables, too.

We went back to the apartment and had a light lunch from leftovers they had from a sauce cooking class they took at Le Cordon Bleu earlier in the week. The chicken & mushrooms in a cream sauce was incredible, so Ash will try to duplicate that when we get home.

After lunch, Ash and I went for a long walk. We passed Place da la Republique, a square that sits on over 8 acres at the intersections of the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements (essentially neighborhoods). The monument is of Marianne – sometimes referred to as the Goddess of Liberty – representing the personification of France. A demonstration of some kind was being organized and when we walked by it again several hours later it was in full force. (I looked up the flag and think it’s something to do with Chad, Africa.)

We walked a couple of large boulevards today that made for great window shopping and people watching, including Magenta, which the flower shop in the background is named for.

This is Saint-Laurent. I don’t think we went into any churches on our last trip so I felt the urge. This was looking very gothic and I wanted to take a peak.

The detail around that front door is the definition of gothic. This church has been at this location since the 500’s or so, this particular version built around 1650.

Pretty classic stuff.

These windows were placed in the 1800’s.

Their own pieta. Not quite a good as Michelangelo’s in St. Peter’s but I always appreciate this form.

We made our way into one of my favorite Paris neighborhoods, Montmartre in the 18th. Known for it’s art and restaurants, it’s also home of Sacre Coeur, the iconic church on the highest hill in Paris.

The street behind me when taking that shot is filled with sidewalk cafes from one end to the other.

Ash having fun trying to delicately place his finger on the top of the dome.

You’d never know we just came out of a pandemic. There are lots of shops in this area, the weather was beautiful with a high of about 85 today, and the streets were crowded everywhere we went.

The intent of this was to capture the stairs going up to the church in the background but you can’t really seem them. Ash clicked when I shot a goofy grin.

We stopped for refreshments. Ash had been here earlier in his trip and introduced me to the owners, who were very nice.

A citrus drink for Ash and an iced latte for me.

Lot of stairs in this neighborhood. I’d been on this particular set before in 2018 when I stayed at the end of this staircase and about a block to the left.

We made it back to the apartment just after 5pm, got Paul for his walk, and went to the Nespresso shop we discovered last year. What we didn’t know is they have a tasting bar in the back! We tried a coconut blend that was new but didn’t get it

Instead I got a Paris blend as well as Stockholm and Indonesian. Lots of options in the wall! (I say “I” because this really is for me…gotta have my coffee first thing in the morning….)

And that was pretty much our day. We nibbled on things at home for dinner. I haven’t really slept – maybe 2 hours at most on various flights – and am currently in this weird state of tired but wired. Hoping to get a good night sleep and wake up mostly recovered from jet lag. So we’ll see.

What are we doing tomorrow? No idea. Our time in Paris is gloriously unplanned. Just what I needed.


  1. Debra Rosen May 17, 2022 at 4:02 am - Reply

    Totally living vicariously through you! Looks like a wonderful start to your vacation. I also love your silly grin :)

    • Steve Haas May 17, 2022 at 4:04 am - Reply

      Thanks 🙏 Glad you’re coming along!

  2. Steph May 16, 2022 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Great 1st day Steve and agree “unplanned” days are 👍. Glad you arrived safely. Enjoy!

  3. Stephen Ward May 15, 2022 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    I am glad to know that you arrived safely, and that you are starting your trip with some excitement.
    Love to you and Ash.
    Steve Ward

    • Steve Haas May 15, 2022 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Steve!

      • Micki H May 16, 2022 at 2:51 am - Reply

        Love the silly grin! You both look so happy and the sites and descriptions perfect! Is this one of those cards that says, “Wish you were here?” 🤪

    • Ash May 15, 2022 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Excellent first day here. I have try to get a hold of the basilica better on Thursday.

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