paris walk no. 3: left bank

Many of you have mentioned soon-to-go-to-Paris trips, so I feel like I must must must get this one up because I want everyone going to Paris to have a day this magical!

This was my 2nd from last vacation day, which was hands down one of the most amazing travel-days ever. If you’re going to spend ONE DAY IN PARIS, this is what you do. Ok?
promenade1promendae2spigotYou wake up. You put on your favorite dress. You walk along the Promenade plantée on your way to lunch at Le Train Bleu which is basically the most lovely place, ever. You pretend it is 1922 and you are traveling from somewhere very mysterious.


Then, the Natural History Museum in the Jardin des Plantes. There’s so much to see here it’s almost unbearable. Huge, astounding greenhouses. Long rows of trees and paths. Tiny skeletons. The cabinet of curiosities. You walk and rest and look and your eyes fill up with everything good and you decide that if you ever own a house and grounds this is what it will look like, ok?

belljarloupnaturalhistorytete_noirearmiesfontYou also decide someone should make a font from these old signs.

carouseljardinstormpathcabinet& maybe the lady at the Cabinet of Curiousities will yell at you a little in French to not take photos, but you will ignore her and scamper out.


You find yourself in need of refreshment, and handily the tea room at the Grand Mosquee de Paris is right there, with tea and baklava, and is one of the most transportive (I just made that word up, apparently) experiences, ever. We need something like this here – serene even packed with people, so, so, calming.


Then, your adorable guide realizes you are just RIGHT NEAR the Cluny, a medieval museum that actually houses the Lady & the Unicorn Tapestries. Which are breathtaking and magical and not at all Christian feeling but wild, wild, and feel like they’ve woven from the same things that weave us.


When you’re done time traveling, you head to Bouillon Racine to sit in an art nouveau wonderland and taste one of the most astounding culinary confections ever – a waffle, filled with creme brulee. No, really, let’s stop and think about this – a waffle, with it’s little waffle holes filled with creme brulee, with it’s crispy creme brulee top. Too much amazing.


Perhaps you still have time to browse in Shakespeare & Co, or explore the bookseller stalls along the Seine,


Or stop at Notre Dame,


Or enjoy an ice cream cone at Berthillon on the Île Saint-Louis and shop for affordable linen and silk dresses at Nina Kendosa down the street.

Anyway, so there you are, the best day in Paris. My last day was pretty dang amazing too, I almost don’t want to write about it, because then it feels like my trip to Paris will really be over. I miss it now! Here’s the map of this walk, by the way.

Also, I started this post Wednesday night and now it’s Thursday night and I probably won’t have sorted through the 234783742 photos (adding the extra to flickr, it was getting a little crazy in here) for this post until Friday morning, but I just wanted to say that I have 2 time honored ways to fix the stressy-grumpens, one is to go to a cafe with a patio and sit in the sun and drink coffee and read until I’m fixed, and the other I just did and it helps so much: Get into the bath with an Apothekerri fizzy melt, a glass of red wine, a candle that gives enough light to read by, a clove cigarette (don’t worry, I only smoke like a pack a year), and a good book. It’s something I’ve been doing in extreme situations since college and I think the nostalgia enough is enough to take me down a notch. My eyes are still messed up, but whew. Not feeling as dire. Hope everyone has lovely weekends!


  1. Oh my goodness!
    I am practically crying because I LOVE this post so much.
    That probably sounds super crazy-but it is true!
    Thank you for sharing with us the magic of Paris!

  2. Did I tell you that this day happened to be one of the best I spent in Paris in the 15 years I’ve been living here ?
    Because we done lots of my favourite things one after the other !

    That was *so* nice to have you, here …
    Miss you, miss …

    Δ Δ Δ

  3. beauty! this looks like a truly amazing day. i’m so happy you found the wunderkammer, it’s so special. i wish i would have known about Bouillon Racine – how lovely. next time.

    >because then it feels like my trip to Paris will really be over. I miss it now!

    i wish i could show this to the person i was exchanging emails with, ha… that always happens though – it’s kind of tragic that paris is somehow even more appealing once you’ve left. just more reasons to return!

    1. Yes! After my frantic texts to you WE ARE IN THE JARDIN WHERE IS IT! haha. We did find it but I do think the library people are tired of twee blogger girls, maybe. They were not amused.

      I think that it’s so whirl-windy and big and confusing at first that the atmosphere and magic of it has to get under your skin? Initially my main thought was “Ok, I don’t GET Paris” and now I totally do.

      1. i had no idea no photos allowed (not a problem for me since my camera broke in paris, ugh) but maybe that partially explains why there is very little on the internet about it…

        post-paris-pining! i know.

        also, love that the only people in your photos are: a child on a carousel, two shadows. like, flawless paris.

        1. Also, in EVERY SINGLE PHOTO I waited for people to get out of the way, or hid them. It’s crazy, because allllll these places were SWARMING. But in my mind it’s empty. Magic.

  4. What a beautiful post – I’m always up for a bit of “what would we do if we were in Paris today”.

    I also have to add that I had a similar problem with my vision. I thought I had lost my mind because I couldn’t focus and had double vision – ended up doing vision therapy and it was better within weeks.

    Hope you are feeling well again soon!

    1. Oh! Vision therapy! My eye doctor gave me these INSANE $300 prism-lens glasses that make my eye muscles focus, and they do work, but it’s unnerving to have to wear them over contacts and I think my contacts are part of what’s straining my eyes? But I will ask about vision therapy! Thanks!

  5. BEAUTIFULMAZING. I HAVE TO get a torch and figure out how to make creme brulee waffles. There should be a website that randomly generates these kinds of things. And then makes them for you. Yom. Maybe I can create that, minus the tiny oven that would have to be installed in each computer….

    Also, I TOTALLY hear you about the stressful job and the migraines. I am going to the Sacred Well tomorrow to get guidance from the universe (via Rabbit, their tarot card reader slash inutitive visionary) about how to get the hell out of MY stressful job that started giving me migraines.

    Previously I had had one migraine in my life ever, and it was clearly from repressing my emotions, and that was about 7 years ago. I am not cool with having a job that is so physically and emotionally stressful that even if I am taking care of all of my own emotional and psychological business it still drives me to throwing-up migraines. If I hadn’t immediately (and totally unrelatedly of course) been moved to a nice quiet office an hour away *temporarily*, god knows what would have happened. So now I have until they move me back to build up my own business until it can support me and Annie as much as my paltry government salary does, plus business taxes and marketing and healthcare expenses.

  6. i am so happy you got to see the cluny museum! it’s one of my favorites in the whole wide world.
    i love all of this so much, and i wish my photos could even approach how beautiful yours are.
    please feel better.

    1. It was lovely! But baking hot — I guess they don’t care about climate control in museums there? I was upset for the textiles!

      I feel like my photos don’t even approach the scale and saturation my eyes felt! Especially in the gardens.

      1. climate control is pretty much at the bottom of the priority list everywhere in europe. did you go to the pompidou? that place is a tragedy for art.

        1. No! Because it’s so ugly to me that when I walked past I felt a great anger. Don’t ask. I was on a quest that day to find medieval remainders, like the timber houses, and modernity was making me grumpy.

  7. Indeed, you make Paris look like a ghost town, and if only it were really like that, I would want to go again. My trip (more than a decade ago) was chaotic and short and – when it comes down to it – not very memorable, except for the people who were incredibly rude to us (seemingly more so because my uncle is clearly U.S. military)…

  8. Oh.Heart.Bursting.Right now. I always find it hard to write about the beautiful moments in my journal ‘cos they can never fully capture how I felt, but years/months on, ultimately I’m very glad to have had some impressions recorded as it aids memory.

    I’ve been to Paris but for various reasons didn’t enjoy it as much as I had always dreamt of. Your pictures have shown me another side of Paris that I can’t wait to go back to.

    Migraines – oh how they suck. I’ve suffered from them for years, but then a couple of years ago I found that I just couldn’t shake them. Even when I didn’t have the pain, I still had the fuzziness, blurriness, lack of articulation, clumsiness, for several months. It turned out that my contraceptive pill (microgynon) was not functioning well with my propensity for migraines. I changed my pill to Cerezette and my migraines have all but disappeared.

    Don’t know if this has any relevance to you but thought I’d mention it in case it’s of help. Migraines are really hellish and frustrating. Hope you feel better soon.

    Thank you so much for these beautiful posts. You’ve give a really beautiful but realistic vision of the city and I’m very grateful. Lovely!


    1. I definitely thought I would immediately love Paris far, far more than I did. But by the end of the trip, I was able to get past my initial disappointment / expectations and find the magic, for sure.

      Thanks for the migraine tip! I’m not on any meds, though I was when the vision issue started and have been off for 6 months because I thought it might have something to do with it…

  9. Oh tiny elf, I am so sorry I’ve been AWOL and you’ve been havink the troubles!
    It’s been Pea’s birthdee week, so I’ve been consumed… Phone date tomorrow afternoon?
    This is amazing and makes my heart literally HURT with all the beauty! Art nouveau waffle
    heaven. I die. Those minty curiosity cabinets! The faux bois fence! I’m so glad you went
    to the Cluny Museum also, I knew there was something I was forgetting to tell you about!
    Also, that pinky cake is the perfect color for a cake to be.

  10. And this is another day just like one I want to have when I go! Thank you for posting the maps and the pics and the descriptions. You really do capture, in still life, an essence of Paris that I particularly adore. Le sigh, indeed!

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