Notes from a Jersey Girl

by Lisa G Westheimer

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Paris France, November 2015, before….


Love locks on Le Pont des Arts over Seine


Bon Jour!  Bon soir!  Merci!  Pardon.  Ou est la toilette?  Ou est le metro?  Ou est la champagne?

Such is life in Paris with the command of the French language of a 4 year old. To make matters worse, I have a terrible accent, as if I’m from Bayonne (New Jersey.)  But I get by. On this trip, more English is being spoken on the streets, in the metro and restaurants than French, so it seems. I try to use anything but English.

I read somewhere that when one studies languages the brain layers them one on top of the other, and for some reason, when accessing one, the brain reverts to the layer succeeding the one you want. So I’ve been speaking a lot of Italian. Which is okay, because a lot of people in Paris speak that too, and I get internal points for speaking a foreign language.

We are about half way into our trip. It is a fabulous jaunt. Let me tell you what a wonderful husband I have: not only did he use Paris Photo as a very good excuse to come here, he padded the trip with several days on either end, and most importantly, brought me. When we arrived he went straight to an atm machine, withdrew a wad of Euros, counted out the bills and handed me half, telling me to spend it any way I want. How did I get this lucky?

We are staying in a fabulous place, Le Hotel du Jeu de Paume on Isle St Louis. Isle St Louis is a pinky finger of land on the Seine across from Notre Dame. It is several blocks long but only a few wide so one needs to cross a bridge to get lost. It has a Catholic church, Bertillon, the most famous ice cream in France, a boulangerie, fromagerie, several amazing restaurants and not one but 2 chocolatiers. Why go anywhere? Le Jeu de Paume is a small boutique hotel. It is very old, built around the time Louis XVI furniture was invented.  In fact, it was built as his tennis court.  A lot of the original structure remains, the skeleton of its wooden framework is a main architectural feature.  Luckily the plumbing and rooms have been recently updated so it is very comfortable.  The staff is wonderful and inviting and very forgiving of my terrible French accent as I stumble over my words.  Luckily one of them speaks fluent Italian.


Landing by our room where I’m writing to you! Hotel Jeu de Paume


View from outside our room to the dining area below.


Looking up at the rafters, aren’t they amazing?

The weather has not been bad.  It is cool but not cold, overcast but not damp, only a spot of rain for about 1/2 hour 2 days ago.  Food and drink are amazing, but then again everything tastes better on vacation.


Our table at Racine 2, where we had dinner with our beloved friend Jessie Chase who lives and works here now.