(picture half-inched from la tartine gourmande - I hope she doesn't mind)
I'm finding it pretty difficult to gather my thoughts about last weekend's trip to Paris and turn them into a coherent post or two. It seemed on the surface to be such a relaxed couple of days, with plenty of 'watching the world go by' moments - yet, on the other hand we crammed in so much. It didn't quite turn out to be the ideal weekend that I had imagined, because I didn't achieve everything that I thought I might. Yet, despite that, the weekend simply couldn't have been better.
But how to describe it? And after two or three day's thinking I realise that there is an elephant in the room. And for me that elephant is Mike (sorry about that Mike): because the lead-up to my Parisian trip involved Mike's own weekend away with Jarvis Cocker and his wife (that's Mike's wife by the way, not Jarvis Cocker's). Because there's no way ever, is there, that I'm going to come up with an account that's as compelling as that?
So instead I'm going to give you some impressions, which I suppose is entirely appropriate for the city that gave us the Impressionists. But first of all I'm going to talk about blogging: because it's blogging that turned the dream of an ideal weekend into a reality. Because I was there at the invitation of the Ile-de-France Comité Régional du Tourisme (the regional tourism committee for Paris and the Ile-de-France). And even just ten years ago those who would be invited to such things would, in the main, be journalists - in the anticipation that it might lead to a write-up in, say, a Sunday newspaper supplement. But we all know what's happening to newspapers, don't we? And so we have arrived at a point where the influencers are now the bloggers. That's something I never anticipated when I started this thing. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.
Anyway, I couldn't have been looked after any better than I was. And so I want to say thank you, Ile-de-France Comité Régional du Tourisme. And thank you also for asking for nothing in return. You see, I get asked almost daily to advertise things on this blog: and what do I get offered in return? The promise of three pence per click, or less. So if you're one of those wanting me to flog your wares, don't bother: I'm not that easily bought (of course, if you were one of those you wouldn't have got as far as reading this, now would you?).
But I digress: back to the weekend. And here we were: four bloggers, and each invited to take along a friend. The interesting thing being that each of the four of us chose to take along someone who didn't blog at all (make of that what you will). And the eight of us looked after by the lovely and extremely capable Pauline from we are social and Marjorie* from Nouveau Monde DDB. None of us had met before (except for the four bloggers and our respective 'friend', of course) and none of us seemingly had anything in common, apart from blogging. But what a lovely bunch of people. Let me introduce you (to the bloggers at least): there was Claire (aka Lola is Beauty), Jenny (aka The Style PA), and Marc (aka Mr Omneo). I'm sure that you could have put the ten of us on a desert island for a year, and we'd still come out of it looking forward to the next meal together (which, judging by our Paris experience, would be no more than two hours away).
Food. That was it: that was the thing that most immediately made the weekend such a success. And not just any food. French food. And not just French food, but Parisian food. And the manner of eating it: around a large table, with friends (albeit new friends), with an hour or three to spare, and a glass or two of wine, naturally.
*I found out Marjorie's business card when I came to write this post and I see that she is described as being a 'Chef de Publicitié': how entirely appropriate.