Paris – A Final Dream Before Italy

Those who know me understand that Italy is home and that Paris is my dream. Since my first visit to The City of Light 20 years ago I always return to Paris with a sense of wonder and astonishment. 2008 was my 6th visit to Parigi  as the Italians call it and this was Juliet’s first trip. Our apartment near St Germain provided wonderful views all around the city and in 72 hours we went at a pace typically reserved for sprinters and men on the lam. We had to see it, and see it we did.

All of these photos were taken with Juliet’s 2005 model Canon Digi-Cam and I have done my best to bring the most from our torrid photo sessions running through Paris.

Interior of Sainte Chapelle

I was actually quite exhausted on this journey and by our last night I became violently ill with fever and explosive vomiting. Juliet wanted to take me to the hospital, but I refused to miss the flight. We actually made the plane and returned home where I was fine. It likely had something to do with copious quantities of gluten, sugar, wine, coffee, and joie de vivre that sent my body into a nasty spiral; at least that is what I like to believe.

TBA Skipping Down a Grand Avenue

Cafe life in Paris and the simple joy of moving about such an architectural marvel heightens my senses and almost always brings me to emotions I do not expect. I have teared up more than once at the site of a monument or work of art for the sheer joy that I can be so close to something as absurdly beautiful.

Schmee in a Favorite Spot

Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast  is in my top 5 books and I like to fancy myself watching, creating faux personas for people and of course writing through my days with rose’, coffee, and cognac. I am confident by summer 2014 we will return to Paris for an extended period.

My Tony Bourdain Tribute

I still wear this brown jacket and I will be on the plane to Europe in 12 days. It has been Scotch-Guarded and resists all nasty elements while providing me the necessary informal formality.

Juliet offering an assist

My wife was so beautiful in Paris and so enamored with the day-to-day. This video of her is one of the main reasons I had to marry her. To this day I can think of this and smile as wide as my face allows because she is just that charming and silly. In this she did not realize I was videoing the scene and believed she was posing for a still shot with the Metro. If I do not write tomorrow it will be because she killed me :-)

Our Exit

We practically rode every line in the center of the city seeking our targets and ambling through this richer than life should be, city.

My Lady at Our Lady

My View of the Arc de Triomphe

Self Portrait from a Bridge

We ran ourselves ragged before our final evening’s meal at the venerable Willi’s Wine Bar – a wonderful little Parisian restaurant owned by a British Wine Collector. We ate guinea fowl and drank Chateauneuf du Pape before we sprinted to the Eiffel Tower to catch the first shot in this post at nearly 1AM.

As you can see from the photo below, I had reached a contemplative state before our departure much like the state I am in today after 3 bottles of fine champagne last night with friends.

Beginning tomorrow, it is all Italy all the time. Join us for golden oldies and soft pop hits here on TBA Radio. Au revoir 

In a fine state at Willi's Wiine Bar


  1. says

    I liked Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, too. Then I recently read Paula McClain's book, The Paris Wife. It was excellent. Such a poignant view of Paris in earlier times with Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. What a time to be in Paris. What a magical city.

  2. drh says

    I can tell from that last shot that you were waiting for the ever elusive answer to the haunting question," Has anyone seen him ?"

  3. says

    I enjoyed your photos of this beautiful and romantic city. I am glad you had Juliet to share it with. In you first photo I had the feeling of standing very close to the tower. Love the last photo as well.


  4. says

    iwanttogoiwanttogoiwanttogoiwanttogoiwanttogoiwanttogo…….. I.Want.To.Go!

    lovely post, beautiful pictures and you two look very happy. (Your wife is a total natural beauty).

    Have a great day

  5. Maureen Hall says

    Ah Paris, one of my favorites too! Gary and I wandered the streets in the wee hours, at one point (2am) coming across a fashion shoot by the pyramid at the Louvre… felt sorry for the girls in their bathing suits (it was the end of February) until they wrapped themselves in flowing furs to keep warm between shots!

  6. sarahsjoys says

    I was sad that we did not love Paris. Of course we were only there for two days and were insanely jetlagged at the time, oh and I got a stomach bug too and spent my first night praying to the porcelain god (Still can't eat brie cheese to this day!)…Being sick meant I managed to man up to see the important sights but I could not enjoy any of the amazing wine. Maybe, to be fair, we will have to give it another try some day. Your wife looks very sweet!

    • says

      You have no choice but to return. It is simply as magical as it is billed. I have thrown up in Paris on 2 very violent occasions and I continue to return. You simply must. Come with us :-)

  7. says

    I smiled too. All the way through. What a fitting end you chose. I really grinned when I came to that lobotomized Michael. Just too endearing and unabashed approach to life, Michael. The willingness to post that shot is why people adore you. :-)

  8. says

    I looked again at the tower photo. That's an unusual perspective, isn't it? I don't think I ever saw it depicted in such an unromantic, structural kind of way.

    I forgot to say you are a walking dead man. The clip of Juliet trying to wait for the still photo is so natural and endearing. We've all been in her shoes. I loved it.

    • says

      Funny, because this is the perspective i like; girders and electric lights, holding together something that man has made. Paris in general is a marvel to man. It does not have hills, nor stunning change in scenery. The river is brown. Paris was built by man to create a perspective. Time has served Paris well and now these things that man built seem to us modern humans as having always been there, like something natural. When E Tower was first built, it was hated and I think maybe because of what you see here George, but over time, it simply became Paris and Paris it. What a place, no?

      • says

        I agree with you. The tower is much more impressive and "alive" from your perspective. Your photo reminds the romantics that this is a powerfully designed and built man-made and modern iconic image. I like your perspective. You hit on the significant thing about the tower. It is not the natural phenomenon that is presented to the world. The thing is built with steel and nuts and bolts!

  9. says

    Paris is a lot of fun, and so walkable. Did you get the view from the top of the Arc? I have to admit, some of the Eiffel grandeur was lost to the Prince songs being blasted in the Champs de Mars and all the wedding limos swirling around the base of the tower itself. Still, swanky place!

  10. says

    Swoon…yet again, I have to say that I love your pictures. And I'm looking forward to seeing all this with my own eyes when my bf & I head there in Sept. The video was really cute, btw! (Please let your wife know that someone in the world loved the video in case she attempts to kill you this evening!)

  11. says

    Simply stunning, Michael. The old buildings make me drool. I love old architecture, and obviously Paris has more than its share of awesomeness in that regard.
    Thanks once again for sharing your fantastic travels with us!

  12. says

    Great story, great pics, love Paris, love you and your wife. Just love. How did you get that fabulous shot of Sainte Chappelle, my favorite jewelry box of a church? You must have had a sunny day, because the light is wonderful.

    Cheers to you from e!

  13. says

    FABULOUS! I just adore Paris and will spend a week there this summer (before heading to Provence and Burgundy) – we were there last in 2010 – your photos are fab!

      • says

        Sweet! We are Burgundy geeks too – we head there in August and will stay in Beaune for e few nights – are we wine people? YES!

          • says

            My hubby is the giant nerd (he spent 3 years drinking and bike racing in Beaune in the 80's, notice I put drinking wine first!) – I think I have heard that name before – I am the one who gets to drink the great stuff he cellars for us!

            • says

              now I am super curious. A cyclist as well (I led bike tours in Italy and owned a cycling tour company there as well) You guys sound like our kind of people. I look forward to sharing more stories

              • says

                For sure! Our life is spent with good French wine on the table every night and always a (dang) roadbike in my kitchen!! My hubby has also worked in the biz his whole life and while there was with B&R…
                Yes, common loves for sure! And Paris!

                • says

                  No way, B&R? Wow! I know quite a few graduates of the B&R school :-) I split my wines amongst Italy, France, Austria, and Germany and my travels take us to these wine regions often. Our bikes are in our entry hall…and still very much in the way

  14. says

    "I have teared up more than once at the site of a monument or work of art for the sheer joy..". Ahh, I so identify with that!

    Lovely pics, keep having fun :)

  15. says

    I'm heading to Paris this June for my first visit. I'm really excited to see the city and we have tickets to the French Open. I love tennis. Tennis, Paris…does life get much better :)

  16. says

    I lived in France for almost four decades but, apart from once visiting a tiny part of the interior of the Chateau de Versailles (in the off-season, so no Galerie des Glaces) and, much later, popping briefly into its grounds (my son was living close-by) I have never visited the capital as a tourist. I've always been zooming through it on my way to somewhere else, or visiting said son (no longer at Versailles). I saw the Versailles Cathedral because my granddaughters were all baptised there, but that's all. So thank you for this Tour de Paris.

      • says

        In the West. Loire-Atlantique (Brittany) and the Maine-et-Loire (Anjou). And briefly in the South at Antibes. For (almost) the last twelve years, I was living in a beautiful little town (under 5,000 pop.). Mediaeval heart, with a castle to match, on the border with Brittany. Beautiful forests nearby, lakes with fish and waterlilies, three theatres, an Art gallery… More and more artists were converging on it, some living in nearby villages. We had dancers, singers, other musicians, painters, sculptors, poets, actors, playwrights, historians… It was such a stimulating atmosphere for anything artistic. I thought that it would be the same here, but it isn't.

          • says

            I was finally able to be myself there. People accepted me. I remember doing a radio interview where I had to choose a theme (to choose the music). I chose "Light" and J. F., whose show it was, said, "Marilyn, it's a radio show…!" To which I replied, "I mean all kinds of light – street lamps, the sun, moon, stars, car headlights…" He was greatly relieved. He was a friend and thought that I was going to become deeply esoteric on him. The poor dear must have panicked briefly.

              • says

                J. F. was a doctor and his weekly show was his recreation, he said. He wrote plays and asked me to be in an amateur production of one of them. I asked to see the script, so he invited me to our little Italian-style theatre with members of the local amateur dramatic group. He handed out a few pages, telling us which were our characters. I asked where the rest was. He hadn't written it. He started writing it AFTER I'd asked to see the script. I did it anyway. I hadn't created my company then and was missing the stage.

    • says

      sure, but not the city as a whole. Paris is relatively flat as you can see from any high structure. Yes Montmarte is amazing and I think my point was more to the ambitious nature of man than to the natural impediments of the landscape :-)

  17. says

    One of the things I most admire about your writing is that I truly feel your passion while im reading your story. Passion for your beloved Italy and Paris, and for beautiful Juliet. And for life. For all the joy that these places and people bring you. A soul satisfying read!

    • says

      I almost lost for words. This is such a beautiful comment and paints my work in such a wonderful light. I can only hope I may continue to share my passion with the world and it will bring a modicum of joy to my readers. Thank you for this, it has great meaning for me.

  18. Maureen Hall says

    You know it! A future trip with you guys can always be arranged!
    We took a red eye on that trip so arrived in the wee hours too, after dropping our luggage at the hotel we wandered around, probably 5-6 AM, reminded me of a scene in Stephen Kings short story, The Langoliers, workmen in different colored jumpsuits on clean-up duty. Blue for water- washing out gutters, green for groundskeepers- grooming the parks, etc. All were working in tandem! I wish WE had taken pictures…..

  19. sarahsjoys says

    Two times violently ill and you still love it? Okay I'll have to give it another chance. :) Scotland is next on the agenda though. Andy has a conference there towards the end of May. Never been so we're pretty excited!

      • sarahsjoys says

        Oh, I wish!! I've never been to Sicily! But we have to get back to Utah. Andy's mom is staying with the girls while we are gone. We are doing some camping/hiking in Southern Utah in June if you decide to make it down. We're planning on hitting Grand Staircase Escalante and not sure what else yet. Have FUN in Italy!!

  20. says

    Love the Anthony Bourdain comment. Genius simplicity. I think Juliet has a live scrapbook love story on her hands…I would say "aaaawwwww, shucks" but I'm guessing it' s more humorous in real life. Two things for a great marriage: humor and actually liking someone. Simple thoughts with giant respect wrapped in a riddle or two. Ha!

  21. says

    I haven't read that Hemingway book yet.. it's now on my list! I love Paris.. and how romantic.. you two are a lovely couple!! It was fun seeing the sights again today!!

  22. says

    Haha…I've done same thing in the picture titled "Juliet does an assist" ….my favorite of the photos was of the stained glass. I never really liked Paris when I visited/lived there, but your photos make me think twice about not going back there.

  23. says

    Such a beautiful city, I love the wide boulevards and gardens especially in Spring. Your photos make me wish that I was back in Paris, wandering through the Tuileries Garden or sitting at a cafe watching all the people go by…big sigh :-)

  24. says

    If I was Juliet you would surely be dead by now :-) Our last trip was in 2008 as well and just as hectic! Something about Paris that makes people go crazy! I hope to return next year for longer more leisurely visit.

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