Paris This Time Last Year

It’s feels strange to imagine, but exactly a year ago today I was getting on an Air France flight at JFK airport and leaving cold, damp grey November weather in New York for cold, damp grey November weather in Paris. Even in chilly November Paris sparkles. It’s just getting ready for the holidays and all the glitter that come with them, and late fall sunlight never fails to make even the dampest, greyest sidewalks inspiring.

I try to remind myself that I am lucky to live in New York, but when I look at pictures of Paris, I feel my heart start to soften and melt and nostalgia overwhelms me. This is the city I feel I am truly meant to be in. I feel about Paris in my 20’s and 30’s how I felt about New York City in my teens. There’s a deep attraction and a longing to be in a place that I feel fits all the contours of who I am, or at least who I wish myself to be.

I know it’s irrational. I live in a big city and I understand the frustrations of daily city living. It wears you down. People are rude.  It’s exhausting. But then there are the rooftops, the sky, the open markets, the cafes, the boutiques, the culture, the Seine, the rues, the quartiers, the Canal St. Martin, all the many nuances that make up Paris.

Last year I set myself a Parisian itinerary guided by collections of “bonnes addresses”  from blogs I had been reading and Pia Jane Bijkerk’s book Paris Made by Hand.  I visited my dear sister, ate croissants like there was no tomorrow (the average Parisian croissant is better than the best New York croissant, which should not come as a surprise to you), and learned about the 80’s teen pop sensation Lio.  I spent a lovely afternoon (and several awesome evenings) with my dear friend Leila, running around to indie boutiques like Corner de Createurs and La Cocotte (twice!), and doing silly things I love like going to Monoprix, having tea at Mariage Frères, cooing at beautiful clothes at Antoine et Lili, and buying bras at Princesse Tam Tam. I also just let myself wander until my feet were frozen, rode the metro just because I like it (I never do that in New York), snapped pictures, and soaked it in what I hope was enough Paris to sustain me until I can come back to the city that feels like my rightful home in the world.

Petite Atlier de Paris. Great for handmade gifts!

Near Gare du Nord

Repetto paradise on Rue du Paix

The cozy apartment of my friend Leila. I love how Parisian apartment have the most perfect, tiny balconies.

The only disadvantage being that old Parisian apartments are also walk ups. In this case 7 floors!

Noodle soup lunch at L'Alicheur, just off Rue Oberkamf

My first breakfast in Paris at Pick Clops in the Marais after my overnight flight

Rue Cremieux, stumbled upon close to the Gare du Lyon while I was on my way to catch the train to my sister's house.

Perfect Parisian pierre de taille

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Red, Red, Red (and Grey)

Antoine et Lili sweater, BCBG skirt, Ellips shoes

Call it a “coup de couer,” but when I read about the fresh, young French shoe brand Ellips on Dee Dee’s blog my heart crumbled a little bit. I love shoes with chunky, functional heels and different colors that still manage to be chique. Add to that the fact that these ones are designed by a young designer and handmade in Spain. Lucky me, they were on sale. Noticing there was no way to order them in the US on the website I emailed the address listed, not sure I would get a response. Not a minute later the creatrice herself wrote me back and voila! soon the shoes were on their way to me in the US.

New shoes on old cobbles

From Paris studio to DUMBO cobbles

A detail of my lovely Ellips shoes!

To celebrate the latest addition to what is becoming a French shoe (and clothes) collection I matched them with other red French clothes and accessories (okay, actually it’s just a coincidence they are French, mostly it was the color!).

Antoine et Lili sweater, and Ubu ring (a gift from Paris!)

Thankfully, I took advantage of our “false spring” weather these past few days and created outfits that let me wear the shoes two days in a row!

Grey, black, red

Brooklyn Industries dress, Ellips shoes

Today I debuted a new dress I got on sale at Brooklyn Industries (yes, I wear many dresses from them, and yes, I buy them all on sale). Combined with my vintage silk neck tie I felt like I was rocking a “60’s air hostess turned arts advocate” look. It felt great to be freed from the burden of winter for just a few days and celebrate it by wearing a splash of color.

Love the false spring

Soaking in the false spring in beautiful Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn