Paris/London Day 12: EVACUATE!


The past two days have been full of excitement. After deciding the French will never fix the locked door and my shin makes me look like I went ten rounds in a cage fight, I let Bug convince me to join him in London. He’s here for business, and the plan was originally, he’d come to Paris when finished. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My five day solo writing retreat was foiled by a group of French people who can’t decide who should pay for the locksmith.

I really wish that was a joke, but I’m being serious. No one wants the responsibility of paying, so the lock remains broken. Instead, we had this improvement: an IKEA stool to help us over the door. AWESOME.

Looks safe, yes?

With just an hour to pack and get to the station, I threw all my important things in a small carry-on and headed over to Gare Nord. The train ride was pleasant, fast, and uneventful.

Bug met me at the station with flowers (he’s a sap like that) and we headed over to Brick Lane for dinner. Brick Lane has the best Indian food ever. We like a place called Preen – if you go, get the butter chicken, it’s amazing!

train station

So, yeah, that was my uneventful day. Then came today. I am jinxed.

First, I had a 10:30 am appointment which took 40 minutes to get to because of traffic. My driver kept asking me if he could join me (I was headed to Bliss for some spa treatments) and went into great detail about the difference between French and English lady “landscaping” or “hygiene” as he put it. My response: “Well, thankfully, I’m American.” Then I thanked my lady bits for not being of interest to him – lol.

After my appointment Bug joined me for lunch. We just ate at the hotel restaurant and it was delicious. I had a baked goat cheese and mushroom sandwich with zucchini and pepper. So. MUCH. YUM.

veggie burger

Completely stuffed, Bug went back to work and I sat down to write. Only I feel asleep while editing…ooops.

But have no fear! That’s about when the fire alarm sounded. I jumped up, grabbed my laptop, my purse and my jewelry and paused to read the fire exit info. Apparently, I’m the only person who does that, and I ended up leading most of my floor not toward the elevators but to the stairwells in the opposite direction. (SEE BUG, THIS IS WHEN MY ANAL OBSESSION WITH HOTEL SAFETY COMES IN USEFUL).

I never did find out what happened, but I got to stand outside with my floormates for thirty minutes. Now I’m hanging in the lobby, having tea, and editing.

Not a bad day. Not at all.

Paris Day 9: Lock Down

The day started late yesterday because unlike me, Erin needed more than three hours of sleep to recover from Fete. It was her last day, but all we had planned was a trip to our new favorite puzzle store. We’ve become obsessed with two different mind-teasers and wanted to pick up a few for friends and family.


Harder than it looks.

But first, I valiantly tried to get Erin to eat this:

cheese plate

She was a good sport, but in the end, I concede. Erin will never like cheese. I tried. I really did. I made up for it by taking her over to BHV for some shopping. I scored a sweet pair of Marc Jacobs sunglasses while Erin played it more practical and got a cardigan.

Since it was cold, rainy, and generally miserable outside, we decided to visit the Pompidou. Having never been there, it was an adventure for me, too. The outside of the building is a series of colorful pipes and very modern looking itself, but honestly, I hate it. I think it looks ridiculous next to all the old buildings.


Erin was taken with the Kandinsky’s, but I loved this take on Manet’s Olympia (My favorite painting ever, and sadly, not at the d’Orsay this year because it’s on loan to the Doge). It’s sculpture by Larry Rivers (1923 – 2002) called I Like Olympia in Black Face (1970). Rivers took an already politically charged work and amped it up by a thousand.


I wanted to give Erin a nice dinner on her last night, but the restaurant didn’t serve until 8pm (it was 7:35), so I took her to the old café across from the apartment I shared with the boys last year. We filled up on food and champagne and headed home around 9pm.

That’s when the trouble started. All week, the key to the exterior hall door has been sticking. Tonight, however, it simply wouldn’t turn. We tried for a good ten minutes before another resident came along. She tried too, but no luck. So she called out to her friend who was looked on the inside and he came and tried on the other side.

Again, no luck.

erin and the french door
Erin is not amused

Long story short, the door was broken. I offered to call and pay for a locksmith and was told I was “cute.” After about an hour and five more “helpers,” Erin and I left to go drink and make a plan B in case we couldn’t get into the apartment for the night.

champagne and phone
Sometimes, even champagne doesn’t fix the problem. But fries always do.

We returned an hour later to a still locked door, but the lower pane of glass had been broken out. Shards were everywhere, people were screaming (the landlady and the tenants). The landlady stopped me and accused me of breaking the door. Ummm…no. I wasn’t even there.

broken door
This is how I’m supposed to enter and exit my hallway?!?

Finally, at midnight, Erin and I climbed up and through the window. Did I mention the three-foot drop on the other side. Thank God I’m strong and could swing myself up. Unfortunately, my Walford stockings ripped and I got cut up rather badly on my inner thigh.

And this morning, Erin and I got to do it all in reverse, with her suitcases. Hopefully, it gets fixed soon. Otherwise, I really will be in lock down, writing, for the next few days.

Paris Day 7: Fete de la Musique

Today started slowly with Erin and I doing some shopping near the apartment. We found an adorable toy shop and of course, had to buy toys for our little ones.

We walked to Point Zero and FORGOT TO MAKE OUR WISHES!

After, I took her to my favorite crepe place on the Left Bank – Creperie des Arts. I had the caramel and salt; she had chocolate.

Once we were full, we hopped on the RER C for the Eiffel Tower. I’ll say this, I never want to see that thing up close again. Too many pickpockets, con men, and sketchiness for my liking. Plus the plaza is under construction.

I did get these photos thought:

effeil closeup


We then took a stroll along the river and headed home. We needed rest before the real part of the day started: Fete de la Musique. For those that don’t know, it’s a city-wide FREE music festival for the Summer solstice. There are street vendors selling beer and punch as well as food vendors and, of course, DJ’s, performers, and musicians. It’s incredible.

(Thanks to Erin for the video)



We ended up at Sacre Couer, drinking beer and watching the city of Paris stretched out before us. A perfect evening.