Lea Lane

Lea Lane
Florida, USA
August 26
author, Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks, available at Amazon.com and on Kindle
“I’ve discovered the secret of life,” Kay Thompson, the eccentric entertainer and “Eloise” author, once said. “A lot of hard work, a lot of sense of humor, a lot of joy and a lot of tra-la-la!” And that's been my life: As a travel writer for over 30 years, I've been around the block (more like around the world), and I write true stories about interesting people and places. (Check out my travel site, Travels With Lea.) I've lived an unconventional life in conventional trappings. Been a corporate VP, worked with foster kids, acted in an Indie ("Nurse 1"), was on Jeopardy!. I've been managing editor of a travel publication, written for the Times, and authored books. OS is my home, but I also blog on The Huffington Post, and I've contributed (mostly anonymously) to everything from encyclopedias to guidebooks. Married young, divorced late; married late, widowed early, I dated lots in-between -- and survived a scary illness. After being happily, peacefully solo for many years, I'm now happily married again. I founded and still edit www.sololady.com, a lifestyle Website for single women. I'm truly grateful for each precious day, each well-earned wrinkle, my family, my cat. Truth, laughter, friendship, late love. And this blog -- on this wonderful site!

Lea Lane's Links

JANUARY 15, 2013 8:52AM

Come Along on a Winter Rendezvous in Paris (PHOTOS)

Rate: 36 Flag


When you are older and in love you go for it.

Bill and I had 10 days and frequent-flyer points, so last minute we decided to return to our favorite city, Paris, to celebrate the Christmas holidays and the New Year. We wanted to feel like Parisians, so we mostly stayed in the neighborhood of our hotel on the left bank of the Seine -- between St. Germain des Pres and the Luxembourg Gardens. We shopped at the tiny grocery and put fruit and flowers in our room, used the local laundromat and met the shopkeepers and neighbors.

The weather cooperated, the holiday lights were glowing -- and so were we.

Come along with a couple of giddy septuagenarians on a little tour through my bedazzled eyes.


get-attachment-2New Year's Eve dinner at Polidor, the restaurant that opened in 1845, where Hemingway and Dali dallied in Woody Allen's film. It's right next door to our little hotel. Our own Midnight in Paris.




get-attachment-1The darling, reasonable hotel St. Paul Rive Gauche, on the left bank, with sections remaining from the 17th century. From here we walked to nearby cafes, cinemas, book stores, museums, gardens and concerts in ancient chapels. Rooms are tiny, but we slept until 11 in the morning, enjoyed croissants and cheese, fruits and baguettes, and then happily didn't return to the room until around 11 pm. 



get-attachment-5 An icon of Paris, a 15 -minute walk from our hotel . We attended a concert here, featuring Gregorian chants, the type of music that was popular 850 years ago when Notre Dame was opened.



get-attachment-7Holiday lights here seem more original and elegant than in most other European cities. The Champs Elysee is a couple of miles of LED lighting. And here, at the new Musee du Quai Branly, featuring non-European art, the lighting at nightfall is striking.




get-attachment-15 More colorful lights: fragments of Medieval stained glass artfully displayed on a wall  




get-attachment-9 Parisian lovers still kiss and cuddle in public, here by the Orangerie in the Tuilleries gardens, with the Place de la Concorde (and a Christmas tree) behind them. (This one's a famous statue called "The Kiss" but there were lots of humans doing it all over the place too. Nice to see the tradition continues.)




get-attachment-8 Escargots: garlicky, buttery baked snails. We had lots; and oysters, and pate with cornichons, and crepes and cheesy croque monsiers and madames, crocks of soupe de onion, souffles and crepes and tarte tatin. All seem especially savory and delicious at a cafe table, along with open air snacks of roasted chestnuts and hot wine.




get-attachment-10 Place du Tertre, in hilly Montmartre, an artist's area for centuries, with the church of the Sacre Coeur behind 





get-attachment-6A walk under a rather iconic tower. Every hour it shimmers for five minutes, then goes back to looking merely golden. 





get-attachment-11 A golden street, one of the oldest in Paris, on a rainy night near our hotel



get-attachment-12 A golden toe. Parisians love their philosophers, and Montaigne was one of the greats. Students at the nearby Sorbonne rub his toe for wisdom, or maybe some other reason.



 get-attachment-13Gothic interiors, Musee de Cluny 




get-attachment-14 Art-nouveau interiors, Boullion Racine restaurant (700 years later than the  Gothic period) 




get-attachment-4Here at the Rodin museum, backed by the dome of Les Invalides, home to Napoleon's tomb. New Year's resolutions? Like the famed statue, I'm still thinking.



get-attachment-3 What lies ahead? These shadowy stairs in a Paris house lead both up and down. Here's to an up year for all, wherever in the world we may be! Bonne Annee!

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It's a new year, and hopefully a new start for this once great site that has offered so much to so many over the years. My wish is that it is appreciated by the powers that be the way I appreciate the beauty of Paris.
Fabulous! Now that's the Paris I love. And I am so glad you got inside the Musee de Cluny. So many people miss it and it's one of my favorites. I have to have cheese for lunch now. /R
As yes -- runny, smelly cheese, with crusty bread and a glass of Bordeaux. Each element is savored there. Bookstores and small cinemas abound. There seems to be an artisanal defiance that I respond to. I like to sit in cafes more than watch football games, and all that.
It looks like a wonderful way to start the year. Thanks for sharing the lights, sights and optimism that shines bright.
Thanks for this lovely interlude, Lea. Yes, you were glowing.
Oh, Lea! This is gorgeous. Happy New Year, indeed! ~r
Yes, a great way to start a year. In years past we would have waited until it got warmer, but now we act. That's a good thing to remember at any age. Do what you can, work it out as best you can, whatever it may be.
Lea, this is a very uplifting post! thanks for sharing your great photos with all of us!
Going for it, stretching, taking a flyer, or a risk, indulging, acting on something --whatever, is indeed uplifting. We all go through pain and doubt, times of loss and suffering. So when there's a chance for a dreamy interlude, even a dreamy day, I say make it happen while you can.
Loved everything but les escargots..:) As they say on postcards..
"Wish I was there..":)
Fabulous photos and uplifting post indeed. Would you consider sharing it on Our also, the photos would be even more glorious!
Thanks for this.
a stunning record of your dreamy christmas trip with that very handsome pirate man - except i'm sorry about his eye : ( - those photos are exceptional, i hope you know. mr. forte and i will be there next fall, and i'm already getting excited. i can't wait to eat french snails!! happiest of new years to you, lea and bill.
Wonderful. I loved it all. The golden toe, the shimmer of the tower once an hour and the Thinker. Paris is a dream of mine again. Thank you for this journey.
So glad you're all getting the spirit of the trip. It was filled with beauty and joy and appreciation. For those of you like Candace, planning a trip, leave plenty of time for the in-between moments as well as the big ones. We booked concerts most nights, in little chapels near the hotel, and purchased a museum pass to avoid the REALLY long lines, but otherwise, we just asked locals and lived within the great neighborhood as much as we could.
And Rita, I did just cross-post at Our. It is a truly wonderful site, but I owe so many years of pleasure to this one, and I remain loyal. (I always lingered too long in troubled relationships.)
Thanks, Seer. His rakish patch is because of a detached retina; will be operated on next month. So we won't be able to fly for awhile.
Absolutely love this and your message about taking the time NOW. We all need a reminder sometimes to live life fully each day. Glad to see you doing this in such a luscious manner!
Merveilleux. A happy new year to you and Monsieur Bill.
Luscious and happy new year to you guys too. And health.
Just a couple of kids with a crazy dream, eh? And the Polidor? OMG, my wife and I LOVE the Polidor. So old school. We met an interesting attorney at a bistro in the 7th and he said, "Le Polidor? C'est pour les gangsters!" But I didn't think so. When we were there we helped a couple of Japanese tourists with their French. What a wonderful holiday. I really need to put it on my list.
Gorgeous, Lea. Thank you for taking us along vicariously.
The light in your eyes (sorry about the patch on handsome pirate) is reflected in all these photos, Lea!
Not only do you give me hope, you show me how to do it.
Happy New Year. The time is now.
New Year's Eve at Polidor we sat at a communal table with a group of Israelis. They could have been gangsters, but I
don't think so. :)
Lea, thank you for taking me on this wonderful trip today. Gorgeous photos. You're an inspiration. "Just Do It!"
Oh man. Paris with a handsome man. There may nothing better. One night at exactly midnight, when those strobes started, he lay down directly beneath the Tour Eiffel, looked up at me, smiled and patted the pavement next to him. I thought he was crazy. Then I lay down next to him. People walked around us, everyone knew nothing was wrong, and we lay like that for maybe thirty minutes, holding hands, looking up. When I am rocking away in my chair at the rest home, smiling, they'll think I'm crazy then too, but really, I'll just be remembering this moment. You of course have the handsome man with an eyepatch, yowsa, so you might rock a little faster.

Candace, both of you...go to Sennelier! Across the Seine from the Louvre.
I followed the pics as you posted them during your trip - seeing them all together along with your narrative, ~ c'est magnifique. Something to aspire to as there is nothing I love more than holidays in Europe. The days there are so magical to me. The history, the architecture, the people, the languages, the food, the character of the light in the air... you know.
Wonderful, Lea! Thanks, as always, for taking us along. I share your hope for Open Salon, and appreciate your great advice about not putting off your dreams. To the new year!
I'm so touched by the comments and the romance in the air, past and present, and with Paris there's always the future. Never, ever too late.
Would love to do this with Dan. Thanks for the inspiration!
photos magnifiques...
mon espoir pour OS est fort
Susan and I were talking about going back to Paris - perhaps next year over the Holidays! You've pretty much convinced me that we must do it! thanks for the inspiration... Just fabulous.
Chuck, I live in hope. And Barbara, you MUST!
I have enough miles on United for first-class anywhere in the world. What is wrong with me? Inspired and rated.
Nothing is wrong with you. Get going!
@greenheron: thanks! i surely will. how did i not know about this place? (though i might never find my way out.)
It's lovely to see these all together! Such great inspiration for drawing...and yes, we must seize the moment, so Paul and I will soon!
Magnifique! They rub his toe for luck. At least we used to. Clearly you have no need, but I hope you gave it a tweak too. Thank you for this gorgeous tour!
Thanks for the clarification, Sally. No, I didn't rub his toe for good luck, so now I must return as soon as possible to do it!
Thank you for taking us on this tour. I especially liked the golden street and stained glass. R
I like the lights and the golden glow, too. Immigrants used to say American streets were paved with gold. These Paris streets sure seem to be.
Jealousing over here. So many of your pictures (gorgeous, by the way) remind me of my time in Paris so many years ago. There is truly no other place like it.

One of my fave cities too Lea. Thanks for this post which brought back some happy memories.
Lea this sounds perfect perfect perfect! If Scott and I ever get to Paris, we are going to do this same trip. It sounds enchanting and romantic and delicious and comfortable and just .....perfect. I am thrilled that you had a trip full of joy and peacefulness and beauty to start this bright new one! I know you so I can honestly say that nobody deserves this happiness more than you and Bill, right here and right now :-)

And of course, thanks as always for sharing it so eloquently.
And yes, OS seems to be fully functioning again (fingers-crossed).

It is even recognizing great writing again - look at your 31 rates and climbing! That's a lot here lately :-)!
Thanks guys. Whether or not you've been before, I hope you get to Paris and feel the magic. And if not Paris, any city that excites you. New York is another for me, closer to home and home to my kids.
Truly amazing; love them all although there's something otherworldly about the street that seems to be paved in gold. And then there's the glowing couple - they say Paris is for lovers and you two look like you belong there.
Thanks, Margaret. I do hope we get back. Something to aspire to.
Musee de Cluny -- you know that someday a wiseass cinephile is going to open a Musee de Clooney. The beauty of Paris is constant throughout the year, yet changes with the seasons. I really like the photo of Bill and you -- your souls are smiling through your eyes.
Thanks, Stim. (Even if it's three eyes for the moment). :)
Lea, I am so glad you guys had a great time, but so sad we couldn't meet. I remember you saying you'd be in Paris in December, and then my December got so busy and disjointed, I totally forgot, I have to confess, even though I had such a wonderful time with you back in August. I remembered suddenly the other day, and was wondering when you'd come and how it had gone, and now I see this post and my questions are answered. Thank you for sharing these images of holiday light and love, and I hope you and Bill will come back to Paris again soon, not just so that we'll have another chance at a meet-up - but most importantly, because you love this city so much. Happy New Year, and wishing health, happiness, hope, and lots of lovely travels to you both!
Thanks so much for commenting, Alysa. We hope to come back this year and we will hopefully meet again in Paris. It was so much fun meeting you last summer.