Living with Style, People, Places & Spaces, Travel Notes

Paris is Always a Good Idea

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As spring becomes a reality, one can dream of “April in Paris” — or actually live it. So it seemed timely to pass along my favorite traveler’s post on experiencing her favorite city. You’ll love Norma Thiessen of My Beautiful Paris blog fame and her delicious images.

I’m also adding some true insider suggestions from a one-of-a-kind book — How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are that a dear friend gave me when I headed to Paris this January.

Lucky you! Bon Voyage…

“Paris is always a good idea.” There couldn’t be more truth to the saying – many times I have declared that I would take Paris any day of the year. And this January was no exception.

Yes, it’s a wee bit damp in the winter months, the kind of cold that settles right into your bones… But! When you’re with such a wonderful travel companion, in such a glorious city like Paris, filling up on fresh croissants and staying at one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, the bone-chilling weather quickly becomes a non-issue.  






My friend Bettie and I checked into Hôtel Plaza Athénée with such gusto I am certain we left a smoke trail behind us while dashing up to our appointed rooms!


I am always left breathless when I open my suite door that first time.

After a few seconds of taking it in, I tossed my things onto the closest chair and headed straight for the window. 



This time my suite faced the courtyard, aka winter wonderland. While walking towards the window I spotted the courtyard ice rink. When I flung the window open I immediately heard blades on the ice, and the sound of little skaters laughing echoed throughout the courtyard. The scene was surrounded by the hotel’s signature red awnings. Naked branches and vines hugged the walls, and white twinkling lights covered the trees. Seeing this, hearing this, I thought – this is pure magic.  




Once again, I was so very grateful that I had the opportunity to stay at Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Thank you for being so incredibly perfect! 

If you’re a subscriber you will know how much of a fan I am of the wonderful handmade pottery at Astier de Villatte. After my first visit years ago it became my favorite shop in Paris and has remained my number one. I collect their Alexandre line.

Last year they expanded and opened a second shop (16 Rue de Tournon) in the charming Saint Germain district. Their new boutique is a former bookstore – the perfect setting. My adoration continues in full force!




I always enjoy the art installations at Le Bon Marché. They are consistently astounding, so it was a no-brainer that my agenda included a glimpse of artist Chiharu Shiota’s mesmerizing work, “Where are we going?”: 150 yarn-woven boats, floating throughout the store above a large wave, entitled “Memory of the Ocean.”



One of the best parts of traveling is bringing the memories home with you. Whenever I feel like a little escape I take my mind back to the time when…

…the hilarious, and tasty, dinner Bettie and I ate at the infamous Chez l’Ami Louis, which will go down in history as one of my most interesting meal experiences in Paris…

…and our champagne-induced fits of laughter at Shangri-La Paris while enjoying a plate of Pad Thai in front of the fireplace.

Together with the many other fun moments Bettie and I enjoyed this winter in Paris, these recollections will always be there for me when I need a little chuckle.

I will see Paris again in May, but only for a brief stopover while heading home from Florence via Rome. I’m looking forward to filling you in on all that a little later.

For now, I will enjoy the crazy weather in my beautiful Toronto with my sweet little buddy Oscar. One day it’s snowing, the next day it’s spring. Mother Nature is certainly taking us for a ride this year.




Thank you, dear Norma…and now for those addendums to this post; wonderful pluses from some Parisian ladies who know! Do yourself a favor and check out their little book, How to be Parisian Wherever You Are.

Parisian Clothes
The store where shirts, dresses, and jackets instantly transform you into a native Parisienne. Indefinable, chic, and poetic.
98, rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris

Home Cooking
A place where you rediscover your grandmother’s cooking. For the past twenty years, this has been one of Paris’s best-kept secrets, with its roasted vegetables à l’ancienne, steamed fish, and traditional meringues. To dine here is to get an education in good taste.
34, rue Pétrelle. 75009 Paris

A Hotel with a Capital H
A boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Montmarte you can have lunch away from prying eyes, in your own private garden.
L’Hôtel Particulier
23, avenue Junot, 75018 Paris

A Royal Affair
A terrace where you feel like a queen. Yes, you’ll pay more for your coffee for the privilege, but there’s no view like this anywhere else in the world — and that’s privilege.
Le Café Marly
93, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris





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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “Paris is Always a Good Idea

  1. Blaise is going to Paris next spring break. Maybe you should come and show her le bon marche. I am definitely taking the family to chez l’ami louie, too.

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