La Vie en Rose

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on April 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Okay so I must admit that for the past few weeks, my love of France, Paris and my friends there most certainly took the front seat, and the blog was pushed to the back of my mind.

However it was most certainly not so far out of my head that I didn’t make mental notes of things I wanted to write about. So the next few posts are a bit of a catchup; but rather than the typical play by play of my time traveling, I’m just going to hit the highlights of events and particular people who made my stay in France most enjoyable.

Getting off the train at Paris Austerlitz, I walked with a huge sense of urgency to Gare de Lyon – couldn’t wait because where I was headed to meet one of my very best friends in this whole wide world, Kelsey. For a number of reasons, I have been looking forward to the comfort of France, and Kelsey is most certainly one of them – along with a familiar language, a strong desire to return after a very short trip in 2007, and the need to further explore a country and culture I have just scratched the surface of.

A quick backstory on my friendship with Kelsey, as it is bound to come up a few times in my stories from France.

Kelsey is one of two of the most amazing women I’m so lucky to have in my life. The three of us (our friend Alex being the third) moved to Sydney together – naive, determined and with dreams of big things. We went through so much, from crappy jobs, stupid boys, shared rooms, battles against huntsman spiders, and finally too many successes to count. These two women have seen me through some of the most exciting and trying moments, and I’ve done the same for them.

In July last year, Kelsey and her boyfriend Justin (also a good friend of mine) decided to make the move to France as Justin had been accepted to a very prestigious MBA program. So we said goodbye to Kelsey, and then with my departure in December, the tripod (as we are affectionately called) was officially stretched across the world.

As you can imagine, I was very excited to be back in the company and comfort of one my girls, who happens to be renowned for her delicious food and amazing hostess qualities.

Anyway, we successfully found each other in Gare de Lyon and there was copious hugging, jumping, squealing and exclamations of disbelief. Oh so efficiently and with surprisingly good French (she would have you think she’s nearly mute) Kelsey helped me get the appropriate train tickets to where she and Justin live outside of Paris and we were on our way.

Thus began a pretty much 24 hour love fest of food, laughter and reunion. So good to see both of them, meet their friends, and get a good look at the life I’ve only heard bits and pieces about. I felt a bit like a proud mom seeing my best friends so happy and successful and completely flourishing in their French life. Of course there are hard times and bad times, but they are obviously so happy with the good, and their positive attitudes are simply contagious – putting me in simply the best mood.

Looking forward to my first little adventure back to the city of lights with Kelsey, I suggested that we meet up with a friend I met in Seville, Stéphane. He and I hit it off immediately, finding common ground on a number of levels but particularly on the fact that he had recently travelled to Louisville (my hometown) for business.

In Europe, it’s rare for people to know the location of Kentucky and Indiana, much less Louisville. So to find someone who had actually been there?! Admittedly, he did not have a very good time – unfortunately he and his colleagues were fooled by 4th Street’s presence downtown and were not aware that minutes away, the infinitely better restaurants and bars of Bardstown Road were beckoning. So they spent the evening at the Sports and Social club (ick). However, it worked out for me because we decided that he showing Kelsey and I a bit of Paris from a local’s perspective would be a fair trade for me providing a list of Louisville’s best in the event that he or his colleagues have to go back.

So with are our private guide, Kelsey and I enjoyed our first day in Paris together, and Stéphane laughed as I gazed at her across the table rather than him. What can I say, ladies first.

We really did have a good time though, eating lunch on a spectacular little pedestrian street, walking in and out of fromageries, boulangeries and boucheries, and finally settling in for an afternoon sitting along the canal, watching people play pétanque, and drinking a bottle of wine.

Wrapping up the day with the arrival of a few of Kelsey’s friends, dinner with Stéphane’s sister, and a night dancing in Belleville, things just couldn’t have felt more perfect.

Simply, la vie en rose.

Kel and I looking pretty posh on a sunny day in Paris

Dancing in Belleville with our host for the day.


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