We love Paris. We love it so much that we said our wedding vows there in 2007. We have returned there numerous times over the years, most recently in 2021. We returned in 2022 for our 24th anniversary, to have great food, see fantastic art, and have a wonderful time together in the city that we love best.
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Highlights of our trip included seeing Salomé at the opera, hunting down Invaders, going to an Art Deco exhibition, and having a Nutella crêpe on our usual bench in Montmartre.
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We stayed in a lovely apartment on the Rue du Cherche-Midi, near our favourite organic market on the Boulevard Raspail and just a block away from Le Bon Marché. We had dinner at Le Nemrod on our first night and went hunting Invaders in Montparnasse station at 1:00am. They were much easier to find the next day!

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The Art Noveau Vaneau station whisked us off to search for Hector Guimard buildings in the 16th arrondissement, where the architect lived. There was a free street art exhibiton, Capitale(s), on at the Hôtel de Ville during our stay, but it was full booked, so we didn't get to see it, but I bought the book for an anniversary gift. Hopefully we can flash the two new Invaders on our next visit.
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The 16th arrondissement was leafy and green and a pleasant place to sight-see, with great views of the Eiffel Tower.
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We stopped for a pizza lunch.
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The neighbourhoods were full of great architecture, including Art Nouveau and these more modern buildings from the 1920s.
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The Bir-Hakeim bridge had several Invaders and provided Tiny Cow with an excellent photo opportunity. We discovered this Keith Haring artwork on our journey back home, with tired feet after a full day of walking.
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The next day, we headed north to the Père Lachaise area of the 20th arrondisement, where we found lots more Invaders and moved back into the top 2000 on the Flash Invader app.
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Shown above is some of our favourite street art and the location where Edith Piaf was born (we think).
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We went to the Père Lachaise cemetery in search of an Invader which had been removed. We did find some wonderfully quiet pre-Halloween paths and an Art Nouveau tomb designed by Hector Guimard for the Ernest Caillat family.
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After a glass of champagne in the Bastille area, we saw Richard Strauss's opera, Salomé, director Lydia Steier’s graphic re-imagining. The singing was sublime and the set and costumes innovative, but we felt cheated of a Dance of the Seven Veils and the oblique rendering of John the Baptist’s “is it?” or “is it not?” severed head.
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Some images from the opera, as well as next day's sightings of a fireman giving first aid, one of Clet's clever road signs, the Pompidou Centre, and a jeweled skull.
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A morning in the Tuileries and a visit to the 8th arrondisement,
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We spent time at the Galerie Bert, which specialises in the art of Jean Cocteau, who has been our favourite artist since seeing an exhibition of his work at the Pompidou Centre in 2003. The owner of the gallery showed us several original drawings, which we could have bought for between €3000 and €5000 Euros. We had a nice Italian lunch at a deli around the corner.
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Ah, margaritas in the Marais, followed by a picnick on our special bench on the Île Saint-Louis. There was a professional photographer there, waiting for his newlyweds to arrive. He offered to take this photo for us. Along with our usual Chinese dumplings and champagne, we had baba au rhum from this patisserie, one of the best in France, and certainly one of the most sublime desserts I have ever tasted.
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Hector Guimard designed the Agoudas Hakehilos Synagogue in the Marais district. We didn’t get to see inside, despite trying to charm the man at the door. We did find a park we'd never seen before and saw some firemen in action near Saint-Paul.
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Scenes from the Île Saint-Louis, our special place. Shown is the wonderful baba au rhum, the place we buy our dumplings and spring rolls from, and a dapper waiter at Berthillon, purveyor of Paris's best ice creams. We each bought a cone and turned around to spot a pink invader on the bridge behind us. Score!
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Cute though the fireman is, he still can't top the station full of pompiers exercising in tiny shorts that we saw in 2018.
Those giant teddy bears are everywhere. I think a huge shipment of them arrived in Paris in 2019, when they adorned the Amélie café in Montmartre.
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Increasingly a familiar and conforting tradition, we did another market cooking class with La Cuisine Paris, this time with chef Philippe, who was much more laid-back than last year's chef. We met at the Monge market, where we chose the ingredients for our four-course meal.
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My feet were tired and I didn't do much cooking or preparing, but it was fun to watch and learn. And eat.
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Our fellow class members were all Americans and very easy going.
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The meal included butternut squash puree with parmesan cream, pork tenderloin with over-the-top tartiflette, chocolate lava cakes, and a cheese course.
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After lunch, we walked up the Seine to the 12th and 5th arrondisements to find more Invaders and even a stegosaurus at the Jardin des Plantes. They were setting up for their winter illuminations, which reminded us of our Christmas with cousin Linda in 2019.
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The next morning, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower area. We saw the Diana tributes at Pont de l'Alma and found Invaders around the Palais de Tokyo.
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We enjoyed the Poirot-esque Art Deco exhibition at the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine.
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Anniversary view in October
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I remember my grandmother had a vacuum cleaner similar to the Electrolux shown.
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Johnny "Tarzan" Weissmuller, top right, and the "A beer costs how much in Paris??" sculpture bottom middle. On our way out of Paris, we spotted the original on the Arc de Triomphe.
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The Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine (Architecture and Heritage City) is a museum of architecture and monumental sculpture, with copies of cathedral portals, murals, and stained glass from around France, which is very useful for students of architecture and history. One real and interesting artefact was the rooster that survived the 2019 Notre Dame fire. In situ, the rooster contains three relics: a small piece of the Crown of Thorns, a relic of St. Denis, and a relic of St. Geneviève. Tiny Cow had his picture made with the rooster.

After all that culture, we went for a vegan Space Inburger, a limited edition menu collaboration between East Side Burgers and our favourite street artist. The food was surprisingly tasty and we got to flash the new burger invader by the door. During lunch, Nick spotted a Facebook post from Invader alerting us to his newest invasion, PA_1479, which we sought out later inthe day.
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We found ourselves in a familar area, but will still more Invaders to flash. We bought some anniversary treats at À la Mère de Famille
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We bought last-minute tickets to visit the Musée National Gustave Moreau, a museum dedicated to the works of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. There were thousands of his works in his former residence, including several alluring male nudes kept behind velvet curtains to be drawn aside by the curious. Moreau never married....
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It was fascinating to see these works close-up. Many had intricate overlays of white or black filigree-like designs over the objects beneath.
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After seeing Salomé, the opera, on Monday, it was exciting to see Moreau’s L’Apparition painting. There is a famous version in the Louvre.
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We couldn't miss Montmartre and we headed for the Rue Lepic, passing a shop dedicated to only saxophones on the way. We wanted to go to Le Bar au Bulles, next door to the Moulin Rouge, but it wasn't yet open (something for next time), so we returned to the quiet terrace bar at Studio 28. We saw Cocteau's lighting and his autographed portrait and then enjoyed Old Fashioneds outside by the collage of famous French actors.
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Some of our favourite photos: Cocteau's sconces at Studio 28, our traditional Nutella crepe in our traditional spot, Saint-Sulpice, and Invader's latest mosaic.
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From bottom left: while flashing PA_1479, which had been installed overnight (in the scariest part of town imaginable), we met a group of Invader fanatics, including Princess Leia, who came armed with their "I woz here" stickers and cameras. Other zealots whose work online leads us to Invaders include Olive Truxi, Denis, and Perry Tak. Also shown: Studio 28's bar, our neighbourhood bakery, visited daily; Saint-Sulpice, porcini at Raspail market; and a jambon buerre from the winner of Best Baguette in Paris, 2016.
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These are all the Invaders we found on this trip. Most were flashable, but some were too damaged or obscured to capture on the app. We moved back into the top 2000 scores worldwide and ended up in the 1800s by the end of our trip. Still hundreds left to find on future trips.
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A friend recommended Saint-Sulpice, which we had seen but never been inside. It was a short walk from our apartment, which took us past Sous le Chapeau (Under the Hat), a life-size bronze statue in front of the Hungarian Cultural Center. The first two chapels were decorated with frescoes by Eugène Delacroix, whose house we visited in 2005.
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Delecroix's angels are not the gentle creatures associated with Christmas cards, but war-like messengers from the book of Revelation. Saint-Sulpice was pivotal in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which, for the record, I enjoyed. It features the gnomon, an astronomical measurement device that runs as a golden thread across the width of the church.
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The sunlight comes through the tiny hole shown bottom left. Saint-Sulpice is known for its splendid organ, as is Paul Bettany, who played the mysterious Silas in the Da Vinci Code film.
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We returned to Montparnasse station in search of the luggage invader that eluded us at 1:00am on our first night. We found it inside the Calzedonia lingerie shop. Also shown are a statue of Balzac by Rodin, the splendidly Art Deco La Coupole, and lunch at home on our last day.
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Our final meal was at Le Polidor, which featured as Hemingway's drinking spot in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. We thought it would be touristy, which is was, but the food was the best we had on this trip, and very reasonably priced, including buttery carpaccio, boeuf bourguignon, duck confit, apple tart, and baba au rhum. We shared a table with a friendly American couple who come to Paris from Washington state every year. They had also been to see Salomé earlier in the week, and we learned that he had played saxophone in Elvis Presley's backing band. The two boys were non-stereotypical Australians, visiting for the weekend. Math student Hamish pleasantly ruled the table with tales of his studies in Lyon, his art-critic father, and his love of languages and opera.

Paris - À bientôt!


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