Paris 2019: Continuing Mary Jo's Travelogue

By Mary Jo Waits

Bonjour,

It’s been awhile since I wrote a travelogue. Paris 2018 was my last full report, and I wrote a few emails from Berlin. I've been in other cities—Marrakech, Fez, and more Moroccan cities and Rome—that I also have not written about. I traveled with Ike, my brother, to Morocco for two weeks and traveled with my friend Andy to Rome for three weeks. I expect to write travelogues for these two trips. I have some good Morocco photos and stories. And, even though I have written many times about Rome, I think I can still surprise you with my Rome photos and travel tips.

For now, though, the travelogue subject once again is Paris and Berlin. I’ll be two weeks in Paris and two weeks in Berlin. My plan is to write mostly about Berlin, because in 2018 and 2017, I simply didn’t complete my reports; when I got back home, daily life took hold. Also, since I have written so much about Paris over the years, I worry that you maybe bored with another photo and story of the “perfect” croissant, the “perfect” sidewalk cafe, the “best” view of Paris, etc. That said, let’s be real, I can’t be in Paris for two weeks and not write about it.

So, here’s the plan for Paris: I will cover two topics in each email:

  • What’s Changed—in a year, and
  • What Hasn’t Changed—and seems to be getting better and better.

I’ve been in Paris since May 19th and, trust me, I’ve got lots of good stuff to report! And because I am traveling solo again, it easier to find “alone” time to write. It seems a bit anti-social to be sitting at a sidewalk café with great travel companions like Ike (in Morocco) and Andy (in Rome) and be typing on my computer. It also strikes me as being counter-culture—the French, the Italians, and the Moroccans routinely meet their friends at cafés to laugh, talk, drink, and share their day. During these meet-ups, I rarely see people—especially in Paris—glued to their phones or computers. It’s really refreshing.

But since I won’t be meeting up with friends on this trip, I’ll have my computer with me. My favorite place is Café Croco, located in the third arrondissement (the upper Marais), about a 15-minute walk from my apartment. And if you look at the photos below, you’ll know where I’ll be hanging out to write my travelogue. As you read my forthcoming emails, just imagine me sitting here “living the life.”

Cafe on street corner in Paris

Ike and I discovered this place in 2013, when we were in Paris during a very rainy week and we spent a lot of time at covered sidewalk cafes. Last week, the guide for an Eating Europe food tour of Paris (tenth arrondissement) told me that this cafe is where the “fashion” people hangout, especially on Saturday and Sunday brunches.

Parisians sitting on a cafe patio

I really admire the lifestyle I see here in which two to four young women or men meet at a sidewalk café at the end of the day to relax for two hours or so. There’s always a lot of energy at these places.

Street view from a Parisian cafe patio

Perfect for people-watching. And there’s a park across the street to the right.

Glass of white wine with potato chips

They give me chips with wine. As you know, Parisians and Italians don’t believe in drinking wine without food.

Hope you enjoy my reports from Paris 2019.

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