free & final day in Paris

by | Sep 30, 2019 | a slice of life, Travel | 19 comments

We got a late start to our last day in Paris.  It was the only day we didn’t have to wake up for a tour, so we slept in and were slow to eat breakfast and get ready.  When traveling, there is always a tension between wanting to see as much as you can and wanting to stop to take a breath.  This morning, we took that breath.

There were a couple of stores I wanted to visit, so mom and I decided we’d take a slow walk to get there, just enjoying the city along the way.

The morning was chilly and I wanted to buy a beret anyway, so the gray and cold weather was a good excuse.  I picked a black, wool beret, put it on and paid for it.  My mom and I took a few steps when I encouraged her to buy one.  It helped tremendously with warming me up.

We walked back to the shop and mom tried on a red one.  It looked so cute and she agreed that it helped with warmth.  She went in to pay for her beret.

The gentleman behind the counter cut off the tags and began pinching the band in his fingers, twisting and stretching it like pizza dough.  He then placed it on her head and pulled it to the side by the tab on the top.  He gestured to her newly positioned hat.  “Is how you wear a beret.”

He looked disapprovingly at my beret, centered and pushed back off my forehead.  Neglecting to respect all personal space, he pulled my hat off and fixed it as well.  Now we were wearing the berets properly.  I think I preferred the way I was wearing it, but when in Paris, you wear the beret the way the shopkeeper tells you to wear the beret.

Half of Paris is under construction to get ready for hosting the Olympics in a few years, so it was a bit of a challenge getting to an access point for the river walk, but we finally found a bridge with an entrance.  We walked slowly along the river, taking breaks to sit and watch the city every now and then.

The walk wasn’t just about getting from point A to point B, but it was about the walk itself.  You get to see and appreciate more when you walk.  (It was at the end of this day that I realized my iPhone camera was broken, so these pictures still have focus issues.)

One of the nice things about walking is that you trip across unexpected places.  According to this inscription, this was the building where Henry IV’s son killed himself after his father’s death.  (Correction!  Apparently, the translation I had wasn’t correct and this is where he was enthroned!  That’s quite a difference.)

And right across the street was a former residence of Pablo Picasso.

And we walked by the most adorable crepe cafe…

All of this was on the way to our first goal – Shakespeare & Co.  We walked by it last year but didn’t stop in.  This year, I wanted to walk inside and buy a book or two.  You’re not allowed to take pictures inside, but it is charming.  It looks like Flourish & Blotts from the Harry Potter movies.  It’s cozily cramped with narrow walkways between stocked bookcases.  You wind your way through the store, feeling almost like you need to duck under the beams and low doorways.  I finally found the art and design section and picked out two books to purchase.  One was a book on Impressionists in Paris.  I selected it because Paris was the subject of all of the paintings and the book was in English and French.

The second book I picked was Spectrum, a textile design book.  (I couldn’t find either book on Amazon.)

As an aside, you can actually drink out of the green fountains around Paris!  Isn’t that cool?  I saw an old man washing a lemon under the fountain as we walked by.

We had some time to kill before Charvin Arts, the other store I wanted to visit, would be open, so we decided to find a place for lunch.

We really loved the area we ended our Sweet Side of Paris tour last year, so we decided to find a place to eat there.  We knew the streets were narrow and closed to cars, so it would be a quiet place for a leisurely lunch.

We ate at Relais Le Odeon.  I browsed through my books while we waited for our food to be served and my mom sipped on a glass of wine and watched people passing by.

It ended up being our favorite meal in all of Paris!  My mom got a sandwich and fries and I ordered avocado toast with a salad.  I have never eaten a poached egg before and I really enjoyed it.

After lunch, we walked around a bit more and tripped across Place Dauphine.  It is a beautiful, triangular-shaped plaza that is a quiet spot in the middle of Paris.

From there, we stopped at Charvin Arts.  It’s an art supply store I visited last year and I couldn’t wait to shop there again.  Not only do they make their own paints, but they have some of their own products like sketchbooks, brushes, and watercolor supplies.  I picked a few things that were unique and ones I thought I would enjoy.

I’ll show you what I purchased in another post.

My mom and I took the metro back to our apartment where we rested our feet for a while and I sketched and wrote in my journal.  We spent our last evening in Paris eating dinner at Le Petite Cler with John & Wendy.

Four days isn’t enough time to see Paris, but I felt satisfied with how we filled those days…


  1. Sheila

    Ah Marian, you’ve shared a side of Paris that we seldom get to see. The wonderful, everyday-ness of it all is so inspiring. Thank you so much for taking us along. Sending much love and many prayers for you today as you have surgery. Wishing you comfort and a speedy recovery.

  2. Karen L.

    Paris is so amazing! So glad you were able to enjoy so much of it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. TLS

    My favorite parts of Paris! Loved the art store. Everything was tempting. I filled up my water bottle all over Paris. Those fountains are amazing. The water tastes great too.

  4. Elizabeth

    Wow! What a trip it has been fun following along with you. Although I totally understand the tension you talked about seeing everything and slowing down. I think this would be my favorite kind of day.

    To walk and take it all i. How fun to be able to get to do this with your mom. I think this is my new goal for 2020!

  5. Sandi

    You are living the dream! I love your posts about Paris. Somewhere I have always wanted to go, but probably won’t make it in this lifetime. Praying my heavenly mansion is a piece of Paris. 🙂
    PS You two look so CUTE in your berets!

  6. Patricia Miller

    I most definitely love the shopkeeper’s adjustment. You look stunning!

  7. Ellette

    Love your posts about your trip. I really think the beret looks cute the way he fixed it on your head!!! Much more chic and stylish!:)

  8. Addie

    Prayers your way for your surgery.

  9. Kathy

    Thank you for sharing. I took French while in high school and will never have the opportunity to see Paris. I can live through your posts. I felt like I was there ! So beautiful.

  10. Olivia

    Nice pictures of your trip. I’m shocked you have never had a poached egg. That means you have never cooked one. Did you know you add vinegar to the water so the white of the egg holds it shape?

  11. Chris Moore of Seattle

    I was going to say “I can’t wait until you get home”, then I remembered, you are home. I can’t wait until you make your first poached egg! It just take 4 minutes to do medium. Lovely post, brought back memories!

  12. Patricia Diana Folk

    Oh my, I just want to hop on a plane & be in France tomorrow. The skies in October are a gorgeous pink. Did you see any pink skies while there?

    I love the berets. Your Mother is daring with red and it looks great.

    Sending prayers your way for your surgery.

  13. monique odman

    Attractive places seen through your lens and good eye.
    Today, the famous Saint Sulpice church you visited and photographed is where past French President Chirac had his stately funeral, he died a few days ago at 86 years old. The streets around could hardly contain the large crowds of mourners. They could follow the mess from a large screen and good sono. The music played in the church and the singing of the choir were beautiful. Reports said that this was the biggest funeral that any other past french presidents had, including De Gaulle! Indeed, it was a beautiful service. If Notre Dame Cathedral had not burned down, it would have been the one to hold Chirac’s funeral.

  14. Teresa

    Oh my goodness, you and your Mom look so chic and French in your beret’s! Love all your pictures and reading about your adventures in Paris. For some reason, I thought about Joni Mitchells song “Free Man in Paris”.

  15. Barbara C.

    Two adorable French ladies! I enjoyed reading about your trip very much. Have you ever considered leading a small group to tour your favorite places?

  16. Kimberlee

    Love your photos! I returned last Wednesday after a 12 day stay in Paris. We stayed in a flat in Batignolles. I know that feeling of wanting to see it all but wanting to slow down and enjoy. We had a fabulous time but definitely never slowed down! So much to see. Can’t wait to go back. (We visited many of the same spots as you. I must have walked past you!)

  17. KJ

    Great times with your Mom, is an opportunity never forgotten or regretted. I love all the photos too. I’m curious which beret photo is one taken after the shopkeepers adjustment. ???

  18. Karen K from Buffalo

    I love your berets!! The red one looks terrific on your Mom. Thank you for sharing your beautiful tour of Paris with us! I would love to go there. I’ve been thinking of you & your shoulder surgery. Hope the ice cuff on your shoulder & the pain meds are helping you recover. It’s a very tough surgery especially if you are right handed. Take care & relax!!

  19. Cassandra

    I just saw a photo on Facebook of the bookstore you went in! I thought of you immediately. They have a corner where a person can work trade to sleep for the night! How cool is that? (Is it true?) There was a wall high corner of books, an upright piano, a cat and a person reading on a bed. Bliss.
    How fun you were there!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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