Notes from Adrienne
The reason for the trip was to celebrate my birthday and at Natalie’s suggestion, we decided on France. I’d always wanted to travel to France, but really only to trace the footsteps of Josephine Baker! And I did! Not all, but some. I loved Paris and I loved exploring Josephine’s chateau in the Dordogne. If the title is exclusively my choice, I’d call it something like, Je’taime Paris, Je’taime Josephine! Or we could go with something more generic, Travels in May, Two American Friends in Paris et Perigord. 🙂
- Exploring the Chateau et Jardins Des Milandes Demure De Josephine Baker on my 40th birthday!
- The salad at the chateau was probably one of my favorite meals during the trip. (Salade des Milandes: salade, tomates, magret de canard seche, jambon de pays, terrine de magret d’oie fume, cabecou, noix, oignon, pomme) I really loved the goose terrine.
- Visiting Les Jardins L’eau et le Marqueyssac jardins. I was especially surprised by the tropical water plants at the layout of the water gardens. Walking the boardwalk and the bridge were my favorites.
- Carnavelet Museum – all of it!
- Discovering Maillol at the Orsay Museum
- Popping into the Marianne Ibrahim gallery in Paris
- Leisurely walking around different Paris neighborhoods (Montparnasse, Le Marais…)
- Checking out Gouffre de Padriac and riding the boat inside.
- Eating the rolled rainbow trout as one of the meals at the Michelin Star restaurant in Sarlat.
- The delicious tarte abricot pistache pastry at the Eric Kayser bakery in Paris.
- Watching the Eiffel tower sparkle.
- The view of the Eiffel tower from the balcony of our hotel (Hotel San Regis)
- African Fashion tour with Little Africa Village. Buying some attire and a jewelry for myself there.
- Avocado toast at the Four Seasons in Paris for breakfast! Probably one of the best ever and unexpected.
- Centre Pompidou
- Visiting Le Bon Marche and picking up a Jacquemus tote! A fun splurge.
- Deyrolle (very interesting!)
- Driving around the Perigord. Beautiful scenery.
- This really belongs at the top, but all Josephine Baker landmarks and places she used to frequent. La Coupole, etc. 🙂
- Learning the pharmacists are all particularly very friendly!
Least memorable experiences / activities: Travel related mishaps.
- My luggage was left behind in Atlanta by Air France and did not arrive in Paris until 36 hours later. 🙁
- I fell and scrapped my knees pretty badly when leaving the Eiffel Tower at night. My mother said I literally Fell for France!
- Having to change our accommodation in Sarlat late at night because of a booking mishap. This was the error of the owners of the accommodation where we initially booked. And there was a huge language barrier with them, and they weren’t very professional. We were supposed to stay at Les Bories in the City in Sarlat, but they booked us at their property outside of the city. We ended up finding a room with the Plaza Madeleine in the city center which was great! This was also a life saver in terms of the electric vehicle we were driving.
I think that’s about it! I can’t wait to talk more about our trip, and I look forward to Natalie adding her comments.
I will send the photos I have via WeTransfer a little later. I have to get ready to leave now. I’ll likely send more than 30 only because it is so hard to choose! 🙂
Notes from Nathalie
While some people may view traveling as a lot of work, it seems like a walk in the park for me. With my bustling life of children, running my own business, and trying to maintain my sanity, It seems like years have flown by since our trip to France. It reminds me why I was first inspired to travel with Adrienne for her 40th birthday. It was an excellent way to slow down and refresh from my day-to-day. Plus, it was a celebration of my dear friend’s transition to her new decade of life. In other words, I’m sorry about the delay in my response. My life is back to the hustle and bustle.
Things that captivated my heart:
(In no particular order or preference)
- Musée d’Orsay – Always a favorite, and I got to visit the section with one of my favorite styles of design – Art Nouveau.
- Four Seasons Breakfast – I was captivated by the service, flowers, and attention to detail. Plus, the avocado toast looked like a beautiful caterpillar.
- Architecture, Gardens, and Ambiance – Walking along the Seine, admiring the blend of classical structures with modern features added to them in multiple locations, and visiting when the gardens blossomed all over France.
- Milandes Castle
- Learning and feeling connected to Josephine Baker’s messages to the world through how she lived and loved.
- Watching a Josphine Baker fan crush hard on Adrienne when she shared her photoshoot pictures emulating Josphine.
- The art deco bathrooms, the gardens, and a lovely lunch.
- Gouffre de Padriac – I felt like I was traveling to another world of magic and mysticism in the movie Avatar or Lord of the Rings. The art of nature!
- Landscape and Giggles
- La Dordogne’s countryside was breathtaking. My favorite views: the double rainbows after the rain, the fields of flowers, sitting on top of a hill watching the bicyclist maneuver through windy roads in a lush valley of foliage.
- Counting how many times Adrienne fell asleep while in a moving vehicle – she is blessed with the art of napping.
Unchangeable circumstances are part of traveling.
- Adrienne’s lost luggage ate up a little bit of valuable time in Paris. Still, I found a new favorite perfume – By one of the oldest pharmacies in the world – Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella established in 1221. I recommend Rosa Gardenia!
- Sarlat accommodations – To say it in a very American phrase was “It was Shady.” It was more like a hostel with no locks on the rooms, no air conditioning, and the wrong location. Even though we used Google translate to communicate legitimately, they still acted clueless. We quickly pivoted and found lovely accommodations in the city center – Hotel Madeline. Great breakfast, parking with an electric charger, and a nice hotel restaurant.
Things I would do differently.
Pick specific restaurants to visit. I’m a foodie, and sometimes not planning more in this area leads to missing some of the culinary art that France has to offer.
Adding on an afternoon culinary course and/or prebook the eco bikes excursion. We had ample time in Sarlat to do a little extra.