Joie de Vivre

Rubbing the crusty sleep from my eyes I looked out our window and this is what I saw:

Apparently, the bane of my existence managed to follow me to Paris.
He stopped. Moved his bowels and without so much of a backwards glance, ambled on.
In the absence of a leash law (and apparently a poop litter law as well) french dogs seem calm, poised and self-possessed. Clearly this is no place for my dog, Junior, the anti-thesis of all that is calm, poised and self-possessed.

We stayed in an area called St. Germain de Pres.
Our unmarked hotel was on a quiet little side street
(translation: difficult to find especially when you are laden with a non-rolling duffel bag),
off the beaten path.
It was priced $100-200 LESS than any other hotel I canvassed- comfortable, endearing and intimate.

I was stunned to discover that just a few doors down was:

Some people get goose bumps when they enter
Notre Dame or Sacre Couer...but not me.
Irie did it for me.
My absolute favorite skirt procured from a second-hand store in NYC is from this obscure store. After I purchased this skirt,
I looked up its tag. It was from an arrondissement (neighborhood) in Paris.
I had no idea that I would actually end up entering this store a few years later.
(extremely over-priced, I walked out empty handed)
Forget the fact that I chased and missed my first bus to get to the airport from my house...
(like a mentos commercial)
or that I nearly missed my connecting flight to Paris due to air traffic--
Finding myself sleeping a few steps from Irie, I took as a sign that this trip was meant to be.

The metro was great for people watching.
Although this headless man led many people to opt for an alternative exit,
We were undeterred--as being from Manila, we've seen everything.
Anyhow, it was the best way around the city.
Once we got our bearings we zipped to the:


the Eiffel Tower,

Arc de Triomphe (oops. wrong arc, different sister. nyc/2000)

and Champs Elysees.

By nightfall all I wanted to do was eat because whether it was at
Taverne de St. Germaine for mussels and escargot
(thanks to Ken and Jan for this excellent recommendation),
Le Pres Aux Clercs
for scrumptious huge prawns
(a Hemingway favourite close to our hotel),
Bar de Marche
, crepes at a food stand, kropek at a french-vietnamese store
or a parisian McDonalds--the food was not only affordable but tastily explosive.

Needless to say every night I was exhausted.
My sister Charissa had been lobbying for a boat ride on the Seine.
For some reason, I wasn't up to it.
One evening, curled up in bed with the covers drawn up to my chin, I thought to myself:

I am such a shmuck. How often do we get to come here and spend this time together in Paris...one boat ride is not going to kill me.

So I hopped out of bed and exclaimed:
"tonight is the perfect night for a boat ride!!!"

Charissa was right. The view of Paris at night from the Seine is beautiful.

My sister and I are different in more ways than one.
While she actually gasps at the sight and smell of flowers:

My heart beats for the sight and smell of leather
such as these brand new never-worn Prada boots I purchased in a second-hand store in the 16th arrondissement:

Despite our differences and our 10 year age gap, being in Paris as a first time for both of us was truly the best.
Thank you Charissa, for going to that other museum without me.
While you were enjoying Monet's Water Lilies in
Musee de l'Orangerie, I was snoring away.
When I woke, I clipped my toenails while soaking in a bubble bath.

Such is the joy of life.


  1. She turns the comments on!


    Beautiful pictures! I don't have time to check out all the ones you linked yet, but I will.

    I'm absurdly jealous of you, woman!

  2. Steve the husband6:45 PM

    After viewing these pictures I can only say one thing: thank you Charissa for going to Paris with Chesca and sparing me the torture of Monet's Water Lillies.

  3. Food, culture, art... the works! Those night shots looked great. So what does a French McDonald's hamburger taste like?

  4. paris. i wonder when i'll be abe to get there? it's definitely on my list of places to go before i die. glad you guys had fun! the place looks beautiful! and so does your boots. nice buy ;)

  5. Ohhhh- this looked like a wonderful trip and I am so happy for you! The photos are fantastic!
    Glad you had a good time- and that you came home safely.
    I'm sure everyone in the family was thrilled to see you (and no more lost teeth for the kids- right? LOL :)

  6. Visiting from hipncoolmomma's site, great pictures and you're trip was worth with all i mean completos recados aside from the art and structural appreciation, dining and of course not to forget my favorite - SHOPPING! I love the boots, wish ko din to see Paris among my dream places. Naalala ko din "The Da Vinci Code" in this trip of yours. Sayang di kayo nag meet ni Francesca.

  7. paris is a romantc city and lots of spots to see. Yung moules and frites, masarap nga. We will bring the kids in july sa paris and we will visit that 2nd hand prada shoes shop, cute boots! wala photo ng naka bagguette ka, lol

  8. Blog-hopping from my sister's site (Jmom). Glad I did, my hubby and I are going to Paris for the air show in June and I'm already planning the areas I'd like to see while there. You're photo's are lovely. Sounds like fun.

  9. omg you are funny.. the 4 shots of the boots made me really giggle. I can just totally feel your personality through your tale here! =] If you want to go back I'd go with ya! I LOVE Paris! It looks like the weather was lovely and the trees are just budding out.

    I wonder where the 2nd hand stores are in Paris! I bet THAT would be an amazing shopping experience!! I have a great little upscale designer 2nd hand shop ik in Philly but havent found any nice shops here in Orlando. I suspect they are here... I just need to search. I love to go thrift store shopping! (My daughter and I go love to do this together!... the boys poo poo us. lol)

    Glad you are back and that you had a ball! Love the photos (the one of the plate with your glasses on it was so artful!!

    Did you buy anything interesting? When I went 3 years ago I went to the flea market there and bought an old oil painting (landscape) that I still cherish... I think it cost me $10usd! lol I am sucha big spender...

  10. What an adventure! I loved Paris. Wish I could go back there again soon. Lovely photos.

  11. Wow, I enjoyed looking at the pictures. The whole comment about the French dogs was pretty funny. I want to travel, but I don't think Europe is really on my list of sites. I want to go towards Asia. Looks like you are having an amazing time!

  12. What gorgeous photos! Oh, I'm so jealous of your trip. Thanks for sharing the pics with us so that we could live a little bit vicariously! Glad you had such a snazzy time.

  13. Groan...I'm so jealous, chartreuse with envy. Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris Paris. Vintage boots, vintage boots, vintage boots. And Junior, your loyal companion, following you across the Atlantic. Now that's a beautiful friendship.
    Next time you go to Paris, I will be glad to hold your shopping bags and scout the canine mine fields of the Parisian streets for you. Just take me with you.
    Looks like you had amazing weather too!

  14. To Butterfly Amy-
    i did not do that on purpose.
    i don't know why my comment feature was off.
    about the trip--
    who knows you may not have to wait until you are 40 (like me) before you get to go. :)

  15. steve--
    i'll talk to you upstairs.

  16. to jose rizal-
    just like the mcdonalds in the philippines, the french macdonalds has a distinctively different taste.
    the sandwiches are not bland, the cheese in their salad seem fresh sliced from a gourmet "cheesery"
    (although it could have been all in my head...)

  17. to aneka-
    defintely way before you die...(*wink*)
    too bad your feet are just a half-size bigger than mine...otherwise I would bequeath them to you in the event of my passing.

  18. to mayden's voyage (cora)-
    1.pink eye cleared up in my absence.
    2.all teeth intact.
    3.G (the 6 year old) learned how to swim when i was gone.

    all in all it looks like my family fared very well without me.
    (noted for future use)

  19. to Omom and Jmom (salutations to the sisters!!!)
    Salamat sa bisita.
    love your black and whites
    and love your team blogging-
    all your recipes make me hungry btw.

  20. to Francesca (Amy) and Marie-
    Thank you. Yes Marie, it was nice that i was able to talk to blogger "Francesca in France" on the phone. too bad we were not able to meet. it would have taken us 5 hours by bullet train to get to Nice.

    Ms. Amy/Francesca--email ko sayo yung pangalan ng tindahan in the 16th arrondissement.

  21. Hi kate-
    i will email you second hand stores that i know of if you are interested.
    i also have two favorite 2nd stores in hilton head (if ever you go)
    and one in NYC.
    like you, have not found a decent one in my own city...but that is not to say i have not purchased a lovely skirt or two in the neighborhood goodwill.
    i love that you appreciated my boot shots. :)
    ans also my sunglasses shot.
    :) :)

  22. to nameless,
    welcome and glad you enjoyed it.
    i will check your site too when things slow down around here.
    i have some house guests for a week and i am deperately trying to fool them into thinking that the chinese food and pizza we've had the past two nights was made from scratch. ;)

  23. thank you brillig-
    i am glad that you liked the pictures
    as well.
    when i get the chance, i would like to get nice prints of the roses and the sunglasses.
    i would like to mail them out to some lucky people!!

  24. dear cce-
    i would scout the canine mine fields of the Parisian streets with you any time!
    (if you step in the crap with your right foot its supposedly lucky...but i think that falls under b.s. such as, if it rains on your wedding day...its also lucky--)
    if you believe that... i have a tower i want to sell to you...

  25. I enjoyed my walk to Paris (in Prada boots) with you, Chesca. Hehehe... :) That picture of the headless man in the metro seems only like a slouched man walking. Your sister must really love flowers, to the point of watering a hotel window box with her bottled water. :) Must be really nice to see Paris frome the Seine...

  26. hi tani,
    yes about the headless man.
    yes, she loves flowers THAT much.
    and although i hate to leave this post behind with a new post due to my brother's birthday--family obligations take precedence.
    good-bye paris post.

  27. Wow! April in Paris! I like your boots. Nice photos and I'm sure you had so much fun in gay Paris!

  28. Ches,
    Gay Paree! Glad you did not post the 9 pictures you took of the Eiffel at


thanks for commenting!