Saturday, March 1, 2014


Linking up with Kelly again for a SUYL (Show Us Your Life) topic on favorite vacation spots!

Obviously.  I'm a French teacher.

I mean would you have guessed any other place?

Paris!  Half my heart lives there!  I left it there on purpose so I could always return.

Kind of like how I seriously considered leaving my passport when I first visited in high school so that I wouldn't be able to go back to the states.  

I get homesick for Paris.   I know it in and out, I breathe it...the rhythm of its people getting from one metro stop to the next, the music of ordering a pain au chocolat, the dance of eye contact with strangers on a train, the proper-but-truly-friendly-when-you-understand-it nuanced song of social interaction, the dancing of pedestrians walking down a rue, the chorus of café chatter and gaze of coffee drinkers fixed upon nothing and upon everything, the high of stimulating conversation, the feeling of being in the center drumbeat of the entire world.

The halves of my heart at a rare meeting

I don't care that it's cliché.  It's nothing short of exhilarating.  

There is absolutely no way I can cover all that I love to do and see in France in one post.  After living a semester abroad in Clermont-Ferrand and getting to visit all over France, and making a couple trips back to Paris since then, I could write posts and posts about just one tiny little town that my Dad and I visited and where he taught me how to drive a stick shift on a tiny farm road.  Or I could tell you about where Howard and I discovered the best lasagna you'll ever taste - like KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF WHAT HAVE I BEEN CALLING FOOD ALL THESE YEARS kind of lasagna.  Or about Monaco and how it is a gem within a gem.

But we don't have time for that, or even all that I love to do and see in just Paris, so here are the highlights.  


1. Ladurée.  Stay and dine inside in the coolest little nook-type rooms.  Be sure to eat some fresh macarons!  I talk about them so much some of my former students brought me some, from Ladurée in Paris, and delivered them to my house when I was pregnant with Jonah.  I have a rough job.

 NB:  When I was putting in the link above I learned there's a Ladurée in NYC now!  O.M.G.! (When I type that it means "Oh my goodness.")

2.  Sidewalk cafés aren't like restaurants here - there aren't many differences in style  or type of food (hint: they're all French), and they're all excellent.  Just pick one, plan to slow down and stay awhile, and be sure to order a café crême.  Then you'll be wondering what you've been calling coffee all these years.  

Oma and Opa in Paris before they were Oma and Opa...aren't they so cute?!

3.  Ile Saint Louis.  It's the area behind Notre Dame.  Go there.  Get Berthillon ice cream.  Wonder what you've been calling ice cream all these years.  Then get some more.

4.  I wish I could remember the name of it, but there's a hot chocolate bar in the Latin Quarter  (Latin because it's the student district and in the 1950s kids started speaking Latin there to avoid being understood by adults...and because speaking Latin is just cool) that's incredible and hopefully the mad scientist guy that mixes one of the hundreds of concoctions of hot chocolate varieties (I'm talking a FOUR page back and front 10 POINT FONT SINGLE SPACED menu of nothing but hot chocolates) still works there.

Sorry I can't remember that one's name, but this one looks amazing too.


1.  The Eiffel Tower at night when it glitters.  I always hesitate to tell people it does that because I didn't know the first time I saw it, and it made for a breathtaking moment.  I'll never forget walking back to the metro stop to head back to my hotel when I saw sparkles reflecting in the all the windows of buildings.  I turned around to see the Tower in all her glory.  It was nothing short of magical.

2. Go to the top floor cafeteria of Les Galeries Lafayette.  It has the best view of Paris.

The view is amazing, but this is what I felt compelled to photograph last time I was there, ha!
3.  Musée D'Orsay.  My favorite museum in Paris is actually not the Louvre.  It's Musée D'Orsay, this great museum-once-train station.  It's a lot easier to get in and out of, and it houses a great collection of Van Goghs.  Ohhh..the Van Goghs.  No digital or printed image does justice to the real things.  


Hotel des Mathurins.  It's all glam.  It used to be more affordable, but I guess the secret is out.  It's a little pricier now, but still doable, and especially worth what you get.  The customer service is supreme, and they scent their air with an amber aroma.  Did you get that?  THEY SCENT THEIR AIR.  Oh.  My heart.  I'm coming for you.


And this leads us to smell. Please.  A moment of silence for me to even speak this word to you.

It's a real perfumerie.  What I mean by that is it's one of 300 places in the world where a Nez ("nay") which means "nose" works to create perfumes, which mixtures are then sold as patented rights to labels such as Chanel.

A perfume organ

The final product

I'm obsessed.

As in my Dad was a little worried when he visited me in college and we walked in the store and they knew my name.

That kind of obsessed.

Ah, Paris, je t'adore.  I'll see you again in 20 years.

I would love to hear back from you if you visit, if you tried any of these few tips, and what you think!

*All photos in this post are by Hillary Short and are subject to copyright.


  1. I found your blog from Kelly's Korner. I also left part of my heart in Paris. When I visit, I feel like I'm spending time with an old friend. I used to be an French teacher, but now I teach all English. However, I still visit Paris as often as I can. We even took our 5 year old last year. I agree with all your choices except Bertillon. I LOVE Amorino, and there are locations all over Paris. I would add Monoprix and Longchamp! I am addicted to Longchamp bags. I really enjoyed your post. Merci beaucoup! Vive la France!

    1. Enchantée, Debbie! Thanks for stopping by! It's always nice to know fellow French teachers (even if not by current trade). I'll try not to let the Berthillon issue stand in the way of our new friendship . ; )

  2. I would love to visit Paris!
    4 pages front and back if hot chocolates!! That's what dreams are made of! :)

    1. Exactly Rachel, ha! You would love Paris. I think you would fit right in!!

  3. i'm heading there for the first time in less than a month, and i am just trying to soak up as much info and as many recommendations as possible. everything you said was already on my list, so i feel pretty good about that, lol! thanks for sharing all this.

    1. Oh how exciting! I'm so glad you have a good list! Please come back and tell us how it was and what else are must-sees!!