There wasn't a single arrondissement I didn't eat in, wander through, sip a coffee in or shop in.
The fact that I had four beautiful, sunny, warm days in Paris, just at the cusp of the autumn equinox, well...I consider that pretty near perfect.
The train pulled into the Gare de Lyon at 9:45 AM and I was full of energy and ready to go after a 1½ hour nap on the train from Béziers. Several minutes on Metro line 14 brought me to the Gare St. Lazare where I transferred to line 13 and another few stops brought me to my friend's apartment where a cup of hot, greatly appreciated coffee was waiting for me.
After dumping my bags, catching up and a quick lunch of homemade Thai curry, we secured her 6 month old son, le petit, in his backpack and took off to enjoy the weather and to find the first of many, many cheese shops on my list.
Heading across into the 18th, we found the fromagerie Chez Virginie easily, only to find it closed until 4 PM.
As we were just on the edge of the winding, charming streets of Montmartre with its memorable church of Sacré-Coeur, perched on the top of the hill like a snowy white wedding cake topper, so we dove straight in to explore.
We found the tiny, peaceful cemetery of Saint Vincent down a little lane. It's full of intriguing looking tombs and beautiful flowers and trees everywhere. Several people were sitting on benches, picnicking and soaking up the sun.
We didn't climb up the famous rue des Abbesses and rue Lepic (we explored them on my last trip to Paris), rather skirted around the bottom of the hill, window shopped and enjoyed some time in a café until Chez Virginie reopened.
It was a cheese lover's paradise. Honestly.
(But then again, Paris in general is a cheese lover's paradise!)
Fromagerie Chez Virginie
54 rue Damrémont
Dinner at a friend's was planned for the evening and our feet were screaming at us by now, so I finished up my oohing and aahing over the marvelous array of cheeses, made my purchases and we went home to rest.
The dinner invitation came over the summer from our French neighbors, one of which is from the village, who have renovated an old winemakers barn into their holiday home. When they found out I was going to Paris I was kindly invited to join them for dinner. The evening was a great mix of 3 Americans and 5 French, delicious food, cheese and wine and of course, discussions about American politics.
Our French friend told me he has been donating money to Obama's campaign. Bravo!
A quick cab ride at midnight and we were home. I needed sleep to prepare for another day.