Posts Tagged ‘Comptoir de l’Arc’

Belle Femme!

July 20, 2018

I ignored the yell.

I got a few of them.

I really don’t mind being called a beautiful woman, but I wasn’t comfortable in the area of Paris that I was in and did not turn to look.

I am, however, comfortable being here.

I’ve been here since Monday, and yes, I know, it’s Friday, but I have been staying with friends and decided to do something different than usual.

I haven’t blogged, but rather, gone out with my best friend, walked everywhere, oh my God have I walked, played with her beautiful twin babies, hung out and drank coffee, been leisurely and warm, it’s been hot in Paris, eaten steak very rare, went to museums, and sometimes just rested on the couch in the fifth floor walk up where I am staying with my best friend in the Marais on Rue de Temple.


You read that correctly.

Fifth floor walk up.

You know that app on your phone that tells you how much you’ve walked and how many flights of stairs you’ve done?


Let’s just say I have walked and climbed a lot.


Today it says I walked 6.4 miles and climbed 12 floors of stairs.

It lies.

I did more than that, I just didn’t carry my phone the whole time.

I probably did 18 or 20 flights of stairs.

Yesterday I walked even more than that, 23,188 steps, 10.6 miles, 14 floors (but more likely 24).



I’m staying in the loft of the walk up.

The flat is at the very top of the house, and when you go in through the door there is another flight of stairs and then I have to climb one more flight to get to the loft I’m sleeping in.

Now I know how my friend keeps her marvelous figure.


Imagine doing all that climbing with twins?!

She also taught me today to not wear face makeup, “you don’t need it.”


To part my hair differently, “much sexier.”


To wear matte lipstick, “gloss makes you look, well, you know.”

I do.

Slightly trashy.


For the first time in I don’t know how long I wore no coverup or powder, I just did a little eyebrow makeup, mascara, and a matte lip.

She also said I should not wear any lipstick in the daytime, because you want to “pop” at night and how do you pop if you are already wearing lipstick?

I was going to go out tonight and eat in the neighborhood, I still could if I wanted to, it’s only 9:34 p.m. on a Friday night, everywhere is serving dinner, but I’m a bit tuckered out from my walking and stair climbing and I’m not sure I have it in me to do those five floors up and down again.

So yeah, I just did my sexy hair and matte lip to go to the Franprix and buy milk and fruit and sparkling water.


But you know.

I felt sexy as fuck.

It’s fun to feel sexy just going to the market.

I did other things today, too, ate a big fat steak, very rare, at Comptoir de l’Arc, a resto near the Arc de Triomphe that is just off the tourist path and very much a neighborhood haunt.

It was full of true Parisians and it felt fun to be there.

I had gotten the tip-off to the restaurant from a friend when I lived in Paris 2012/2013.

It was specifically designed for the locals and unlike the majority of restaurants in the neighborhood which have jacked up their prices, it is really affordable and very good.

I was happy to be back.

And it was nice to hop out of the sudden rain that sprang up.

Not that I minded the rain all that much, not when it’s warm.

Paris in the summer and a light rain?


I’m on my own for the next few days as my friends are off to a wedding over the weekend, so I’m fairly sure I’ll be keeping you updated at least through the weekend.

But come Monday I’ll probably go radio silent again.

I’ll be heading out-of-town for a few days.

Originally it was to Ile de Re, an island off the West Coast of France, but the house became unavailable.

Next time.


I’ll be going with my best friend to Gard de Nord on Monday morning and grabbing a TGV high-speed train to Marseilles!


I am going to the South of France.

I am over the moon.

We booked a hotel for two nights and my friend is going to rent a car too.

We are going to stay the nights in Marseilles, but one of the days we are going to drive to Aix-en-Provence, where she used to live, and go see the markets and drive around and be hot.

It’s going to be very hot in the South of France.


We will also be going swimming in the ocean, so you know, I’m ok with that.

Have I said luckiest girl in the world yet?


Like that.

Ooh La La

May 19, 2017

Je suis fatigue.

I am tired.

I was up at 6 a.m.

I couldn’t sleep.


I tried.

But gave up the goose around 6:20 a.m.

I popped up and decided to head out to a spot over by the Arc de Triomphe to see some fellows this morning at 8 a.m.

I arrived with plenty of time and was able to grab a quick cafe creme at Comptoir de L’Arc, a little cafe I got turned on to by a friend when I lived here four and a half years ago.


I got a message from that friend today, she’s going to be in town for a quick visit and we are going to meet up at a spot tomorrow with a few other fellows, hang out, do the deal, and go to some French fellowship after.

I am super excited.

I may be super exhausted, but I’m going to sleep when I’m dead.


Perhaps after I write my blog.

I really did make a big run on the day.

Up so early I felt like I got a scandalous amount of things done today.

One of which has been on my list of things to do in Paris that I never quite got to the last few times I was here.

I went to Marche Aux Enfants Rouge this morning after doing the deal.

I bought cherries and Belle Pomme de Boskop!

My favorite apples in Paris, I believe that they come from Belgium, but they are the apples I used to buy at the market at Square D’Anvers when I lived next to it.

I took my booty to the park nearby, Parc du Temple, sat on a bench and watched the children play in the playground and the ducks paddle about in the pond.

It was spectacular.



I had a moment, a Paris moment, and I almost laughed out loud, this, this sitting still on a park bench in a quiet park, off the beaten tourist track, in a sweet neighborhood in the 3rd Arrondisement, may have been one of the highlights of my trip.

It was so serene.

Sometimes a girl has to fly around the world to sit still.

I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities to sit still, although perhaps not tomorrow, as a friend and I are heading to Clingancourt early, but I will give it a shot.

Speaking of friends.

There is nothing, and I mean, nothing quite like bumping into a friend at random in the Marais.

It was amazingly serendipitous.

We walked all over the Marais, chatted, caught up, window shopped.



I got my Paris sweatshirt!



It’s not exactly a sweatshirt.

It’s so much better.


It’s so damn me.

It’s a pink satin bomber jacket that I got to have custom patches put on it.

There’s one on the right arm that says Rue Cambon, 1st Arr.

Rue Cambon is where all the fashion house are.


The patch on the back.

Rue de Mauvais Garçon, 3rd Arr.

Literal translation:

Street of the Bad Boys.


I will run with that.

I haven’t had an impulse buy like that in some time and with that I am pretty tapped to with my spending.

I have gotten all my booty and then some.

In fact.

I am a shopped out, museum’ed out, and just about walked out.

My ankle is holding up and I am super glad I go the walking shoes, and I have been careful to not push too hard.

I can easily go too hard too fast.

Which is why I am very happy that I took time today to sit down and watch ducks for a while.

And despite being tired, which frankly makes it harder for me to speak French when my brain isn’t running on a full nights sleep, I got wonderful compliments about my French several times today, and many times over the course of my time here.

I was told by one person that my French was so pretty and where was I from.

He was shocked when I told him that I was from the states.

“But you have no American accent!”

Thank God.

Not that I’m not happy I’m where I’m from, but it does help tremendously to not have the American accent, there is much that is disparaged here about America and sometimes, well, it’s just nice to slide under the radar.

Not that I slide very far under the radar.

I am still quite noticeable in Paris.

I have tattoos you know.


It’s also nice to be recognized.

I had dinner again at a little place by the Musee D’Orsay on Rue de Bac called Cocorico.

The waiter waved me to the table I had last night, the owner came over and chatted with me and we talked about where I was from, again, surprised that I was from America, with my lack of accent, about me being on vacation, that today I was tired, but happy to be eating in her lovely restaurant.

She asked me what I had been doing and I told her, walking and museums and then I told her about the show at the Orangerie and the amazing installation there and she got excited and said she was going to go.

It was a super treat to be chatted with in such a manner, I’m not a local, but I wasn’t treated like a tourist.

She bought my cafe creme for me and when I went to leave she asked my name, “Carmen,” I said, “comme l’Opera.”

Carmen, like the opera.

“Enchante,” she replied, ” je m’appelle Odette.”

I told her it was such a pleasure to meet her and that I was so happy to enjoy her delicious food and I wished her a good night and a good weekend.

I floated out the door.

It’s the little things.

I felt very special.

Thank you Paris for dressing me up in pink satin jackets and making me feel noticed and loved.

It means the world.

It really does.

Keep Swimming

February 25, 2013

Keep pushing.

Keep submitting.

“How many queries have you sent out,” she asked me from the deep-seated chair snuck up against the second story window in Shakespeare and Company.

I rapidly flicked through the e-mails in my head.

“About thirty, maybe forty,” I said after a moment’s calculations.

“After you hit fifty, stop and start doing follow-up e-mails,” she said with a smile, “that’ll keep you busy for the next few months.”


Yes, it will.

“Have you gotten any response?” She asked, the light glinting off her glasses, I noticed the miniature frame of the window in her frames and then the snow drift that fell from the swollen grey lowering sky.

I shared the response, mostly no’s and one agent in Connecticut who asked for the entire book.

“Push her, follow-up,” she said, leaning forward out of the chair.

The door behind me opened and an employee of the book store came out with a small black and white Holstein, no, wait that is a baby French Bulldog.

Oh, I want one.

I want a little Frenchie to nestle in my lap as I read books in a corner of Shakespeare and Company, really on a cold day there are only a few places more appealing than a warm book store with corners and cubbies and nooks, one in which a stand up piano was softly being played and a woman with a halting French accent picked out a tune on the yellowed keys.

Maybe a warm cafe.

Shakespeare and Company should also open a cafe.

I am sure they have heard that before.

Maybe I could open my own.

Or I could just style a salon in my home, I will have a home someday in Paris, a home with a library and deep cozy chairs and a fireplace to warm up the toes on.

Ah dreams.

Ah, the dreams I get to currently live.

The experience of being here, even when I have no idea how long or wherefore after, I have this, I have had three and a half months in Paris.

Wintery Paris.

Snowy wet cold grey slate salt ice crackled frost white bare branched windy Paris.

Imagine how it will be in Spring.

Just hang in there this month is almost over.

On one hand I don’t want March to come, I don’t want to think past these last few days of my rent being paid and then back in the boat of scrapping and scrabbling.

A friend from San Francisco is here and we had lunch today at le Comptoir de L’Arc, thank you for the treat!  And I expressed that no I don’t know what I am doing, or where I am going, or how I am going to get there.  But I have this, these experiences.

And this is worth an awful lot.

I am happy.

I am happy despite what my writer friend said to me in the book store.

She did not paint the brightest of pictures.

She described the challenge of being a writer and how she has gone about it.  The more she talked the more I was in awe that there were even any books that ever did get published.  Looking at the titles on the bookshelves, how did they do it?

I tried to keep the frown of my face, I sighed.

“The market is over saturated,” she continued, “there’s a lot of books out there like your book.”

Memoir that is.

She’s right, the market probably is over saturated, but when have I cared for odds?


She did say to keep swimming, she did say it would change, she did say there would be a yes, she said, follow-up, then follow-up, then follow-up again.  Hit your 50 queries and start bugging people.

Annoy them.


The person who gets published is often the person who does not give up.

I am not about to give up.

I am here in Paris after all, past the point of my tourist Visa, past the point of my savings, slipping on and off the Metro and transferring stations all over the city to get to a baby sitting gig here or there or elsewhere, just so that I can be here, getting a lunch here from a friend, a small gift of money from another friend via Paypal, a few euro in the mail.

I am getting to live so in the present, that I am constantly being showered with gifts.

Sometimes they look like snow flurries falling through the glazed pane windows of a book shop on the Left Bank in Paris.  I won’t forget the snow falling along the lamp-post of Pont Neuf, or the way the spire of Notre Dame raises up, almost supporting the heavy mass of grey clouds.

Then she said the magic words, words I was waiting for more than perhaps the hows and whats and whys of publishing (honestly after the talk I had no idea if I was meant to be a published author at all) or whether I will get published at all…and then she said,

“you’re a great writer.”

I inwardly heaved a sigh.

Yes, I want to be a published writer living on my words, getting advances and royalties and options and all the stuff she was talking about, yes, drench my ego in the financial glory of glittery literary stardom.

Fete me damn it.

Yet, what I want more, much more, is to be a good writer.

I accept that I may not have the kind of financial success that I dream of.

I have, however, had success.

I have had another person pick up the book and say, you are a good writer.

“You are a great writer, don’t stop writing.”

I am a great writer in Paris.

I’ll keep swimming with that kind of motivation.

That was the push I needed to send out another query today, number 37 (random, arbitrary number I just pulled out of my ass, I have no idea to the number how many I have sent out since I finished the book) toward the next step in the long process of getting published.

I will get published.

I will.

In Paris.

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