A SELF-PRACTICE SATURDAY IN PARIS
As I write this, I have just concluded what I can confidently say has been the most perfect - my most perfect - Self-Practice oriented Saturday in Paris. For the last little while, I have been travelling (solo) around Europe. First London, now Paris. This is my first time in Europe and it has been such an incredibly expansive and reflective part-research-trip-part-holiday thus far. I began to (hand) write the happenings of said perfect day, before quickly realising that these notes, places and practices are best shared. Whether you have plans to visit Paris soon, or perhaps a little down the track, it is my hope that these notes a) act as useful tips/recommendations to add to your list, or b) inspire you, knowing that all over the world - there are people, places and things that share our values. Or c) all of the above.
9:00am - My day began with breakfast at my hotel. Whilst in Paris, I am staying at Hotel Bienvennue. It is a boutique hotel, lovely, quaint, and located in the Lower 9th Arr. It's close to La Fayette and in a really nice (far less 'touristy') area. Breakfast was a croissant with Jam and butter (cause, France), grapefruit juice, a boiled egg and (lots) of black coffee.
10:00am - First up, I made my way to Ofr Bookshop/gallery. This bookstore was a recommendation from my dear friend & SP woman Tara Mayer. Tara lived in Paris for years and she's one of those friends that knows me better than myself. Her notes read; 'you will *love* it here', and she was not wrong. I spent almost an hour in the bookstore/gallery just wandering, perusing, picking up & flicking though books, magazines, etc. Also wishing there was no such thing as a luggage limit. I saw copies of Jane Magazine sitting there & smiled to myself at both its familiarity (these familiar moments in foreign cities are - everything) and the fact that I was very proud of my friend Annika and all she has accomplished. I thanked the owner for his time and what was such an enriching experience. I will be back there again later this week I am certain.
10:45am - I wandered down Rue Dupetit-Thouars and then sat at Café Crème for more coffee (!) & to write in my journal. The boys who ran this cafe were incredibly lovely, very boisterous - French but with an adorable Australian sensibility. Familiarly, again, so grateful. It's an interesting thing, navigating a place in which you don't speak the language; especially for someone like me, who can humbly but confidently say - I value my ability to communicate, well. It's my favourite thing about myself, and so when that's taken away from me, I've really been forced to look at other aspects of myself - namely, my energy and how that introduces me/transcends words.. I'm getting off track, but a written piece more in this to come.
11:50am - Just around the corner from Café Crème is one of the best (fashion/retail) stores I've ever been to: The Broken Arm. They had the perfect curation of clothing, accessories, footwear all by the likes of Celine, Margiela, Raf's CK, Balenciage, Prada, etc. They also had - my favourite part - a book archive as well, ft. early edition Purple magazines from the 90s and other small-print publications from, what the shop-staff told me - independent Parisian writers. I wanted so badly to be able to translate their pages in that instant. Have I mentioned that I'm now learning French?
12:15pm - A short walk from Rue Perrée is Wild and The Moon. Your perfect health foods/SP style cafe. It was quite buzzy and there were lots of cool French girls sitting inside the cafe. It was still close to breakfast but that didn't stop me from walking away with too many things from their fridge. I chose both their Blue Star and Hollyweed (cbd extract) elixirs as well as a Rehab Shot because, balance.
12.35pm - Two minutes away is Marché des Enfants Rouges; the oldest market in Paris and honestly, the most beautiful food venue I've seen on my trip thus far. Fresh seafood, cheese, bread, incredibly fresh fruits and vegetables, French men yelling at one another, and on a Saturday morning - hardly any tourists. (!!) This little piece of Paris was heavenly and perfect and I will treasure my quiet moments (sans angry French grocers) spent wandering its aisles forever.
12:45pm - I took a stroll down Rue Vieile Temple with intentions to duck into Musée Picasso before making my way to Atelier Brancusi, and before I found myself at either of the aforementioned I found Suisen. SP reader and friend Hennamari (a resident Parisian) had mentioned this little location to me a few days prior and so I was thrilled to stumble upon it. I entered and booked an appointment for a traditional Shiatsu Massage early next week. It was at about this moment, that I released I was having the perfect day in Paris.
1:00 - I made my way through the entrance of the Picasso Museum and after seeing a huge Picasso exhibit at The Tate, sue me but I was prepared to just quickly browse and go.. Oh how I was mistaken. Much to my surprise and in the most fortuitous turn of events, of course, there was an exhibit featuring the work of Diego Giacometti. Anyone who knows me knows that Giacometti is my (all time) favourite furniture and lighting designer. Favourite. I had absolutely no idea that this exhibit was happening; so I felt very grateful that The Universe guided me here.
I spent three hours walking through, then sitting and writing, during my time in Musée Picasso. There were intimate moments with furniture, light and other passers by I'm not sure I can, nor do they deserve to be articulated with words, rather left there in that moment as perfect memories. It was one of the most carefully curated, considered and aesthetically aligned (with my own personal taste) exhibitions that I have ever walked through. I can often be quite critical - its the academic in me - of curation. However here, there was nothing. Nothing that could have nor should have been done differently. I wrote in my journal, so much of what the future of SP holds, as well as some pretty decent notes on what it felt like to be understood by interiors; by furniture - an empathy that only innate objects and materials can sometimes offer us, and I hope to expand on them for an essay here soon.
3:50 pm - Leaving Giacometti was heartbreaking; and whilst I planned on going to Atelier Bancusi I made the decision that both Brancusi and Giacometti deserved their own afternoons. Sometimes art, like us, needs time. The words of my yoga teacher Zoe came to my mind upon my leaving the exhibition; 'you have time, chew your food,' she reminded me, as I touched down in Paris. Her words echo in my every moment here. *I have time.* I spent the remainder of my afternoon properly digesting Diego's works and will afford Brancusi the same, perhaps tomorrow.
I made my way down Rue De Turenne with the intention to walk towards the river. I find myself being drawn to see the water at least once a day. It's the most perfect blue and each time I see it, a wave of calm washes over me. On my way, I noticed a cute sign that read GLOW on the go! - intrigued - I stepped in.
It always brings me so much joy to find myself in places that share similar values to that of my own. Places that share similar values to Self Practice. Far from home, far from everything I know - I immediately felt surrounded by my people. GLOW on the go! is the most beautiful little cafe and store; selling skincare and various self-care/apothecary items. The interior housed a bookshelf/wall of reads, as well as a number of products we all know & love so well. Everyday Oil, Living Libataions, Sun Potion - just to name a few. Put this location at the top of your SP-Paris list!
4.05pm - I continued walking toward, and then along the river. If it isn't painfully obvious by now, I adore walking. I haven't caught public transport or a taxi/uber once since being here. Walking, I think it's the best way to explore a new city - you stumble upon places you otherwise wouldn't, you're moving your body, the pro's are endless. Crossed the river at Pont Neuf and entered what we will forever and ever and ever (amen) address as apothecary heaven; Buly 1803. My friends Hamish and Lizzy lived in Paris for a year a few years ago (something I'm now manifesting!) and when I told Haim I would be here, he put this place at the top of my list and now I know why. It was other worldly. I was transported by their interior. Marble, calligraphy labels - Combs, perfumes, soaps, everything. I genuinely felt like I was elevating in their store, I was so happy. The kind shop staff let me spend serious time in there, with them, testing and trying everything. Oils, candles, matches, the lot. Again, I do not doubt I will be back here before my time in Paris is up. I walked out with some Palo Santo - and it broke my heart to leave the candle behind, however as it was housed in a solid marble case, it would not fair well with my luggage situation. The perfume, I may just have to go back for however.
4:45pm - and it was certainly time for food. I (of course) asked the ladies at Buly where I best situate myself for a late lunch/early dinner and as per their recommendation I walked up to Cafe Bonaparte. Caesar Salad, Rose. I was a happy lady. I journaled, again. Smiled to myself some more. Prayed that no one pinched me; because heaven forbid I be woken up from this dream-day.
7:00pm - Back at the hotel, unwinding, reflecting, writing...
Travelling is such a privilege. To be doing it alone, even more so. The other day, a friend asked me for three highlights and a lowlight-turned-highlight on this trip, and in that exact moment she afforded me a perfect way to articulate my experiences. Whilst so much of my time travelling so far has been utterly dream-like, positive and consisting of so many pinch-me-moments. There are also challenges. And big ones at that. Traveling (alone) is a spotlight on self - all parts of self - and when we take away our safety, security, and even our ability to communicate, we are forced to look at aspects of person that remain. This is the work, and whether at home, or on the other side of the world, this work will forever remain the greatest privilege of all.
Written by Lauren Trend..