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Le Week-end

Do you want me to sound like a great big brat? Here goes… Paris in the summer sucks.

It’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s not very breezy, there’s a horde of tourists in awful outfits, every Parisian is grumpy before their August holiday and it’s not very nature-y. The best thing to do on the weekends in Paris in the summer… Is leave.

I had big plans to go to a fabulous antique fair in Normandy that Sharon from My French Country Home blog suggested. I thought I would hit the fair, score some French finds for my shop, have a nice lunch, get out into nature, breathe some fresh air and forget all about gross Paris. No such luck. My husband announced that he had to work over the weekend. I huffed and puffed in protest for about an hour because that’s the kind of wife I am but my husband was not changing his mind and we were staying in Paris on this hot July weekend.

Relenting to my fate, I decided to make the best of the weekend and started to do a little research to see if there were any antique brocantes in the Paris area. As I was doing this, it hit me… I suddenly realized that when my husband said that he had “work to do over the weekend” what he really meant was that he had “to watch Wimbledon over the weekend.” Douche bag.

Remembering that my sweet husband has dedicated his life to me, giving up so much and taking such good care of me… I decided not to poison him. He, in turn (because he valued his life), said we could do whatever I wanted on Saturday, leaving all day Sunday to his beloved tennis. Quid pro quo.

With that said, we had a 7 AM Saturday wake-up call. All hands on deck… One husband, two caregivers. I run a tight ship and expect everyone to be on board with my craziness. If I only had one day over the “you have to stay in Paris” weekend… You had better bet it was going to be good..

Even though I was exhausted… I was excited for our day. Oh, why was I exhausted? Because my darling daughter neglected to call me for nearly 24 hours while on holiday in Santa Barbara and of course, my first instinct is to assume that she’s been murdered. I texted her that I needed proof of life… But no answer. She had turned off her French cell phone so we wouldn’t be charged roaming fees and obviously neglected to check the 3000 emails I had sent her. Yes, I could have called her father in Santa Barbara, all of her friends in Santa Barbara and all of her friend’s mothers in Santa Barbara to check on her but I didn’t want to seem like a spaz. She’s almost 20 years old for God’s sake and I know that I should just relax… But I couldn’t. So, I was up late imagining the worst. Isn’t it funny when mothers are worried sick about their children and nearly start crying thinking about how wonderful their children are and what kind of danger they are in and suddenly the kid calls and everything is fine and the mother’s first reaction is to start screaming, “Why didn’t you call me! Do you know I’ve been worried sick! When you get home I’m going to kill you myself.”

So that’s how the weekend started. Don’t worry, it ends well.

7:30 AM, my caregivers arrive and start “the process.” Unfortunately, with ALS, I am kind of high maintenance. Hot chai tea with vanilla soy milk, feeding tube of Liquid Hope formula, feeding tube of new fermented soy drink Haelen 951 (so far so good), cute outfit, make-up, restroom, breathing machine, extra batteries, tissue, hat, sunglasses and cell phone. All of this before 8 AM and all of this done by two male caregivers. Have you ever had two Filipino men put your bra on? Not exactly a swell morning but it is what it is, so I just have to soldier on.

An Uber ride over to the 19th arrondissement and we landed at our first brocante. As usual, my husband wanders off just as we are getting out of the car to get coffee and croissants for everyone. I accept not a sip nor a bite because I’m a professional and I have work to do. While I thought that the first antique booth proved promising, my mood quickly changed from happy to pissy. Why? Because the first item that I wanted to buy… a set of eight tortoiseshell handled oyster knives… were exorbitantly overpriced. Why, I wondered, why are they so expensive? Is it because you think I can afford it with my cute outfit? Is it my blonde hair? Is it because I have two caregivers with me? I started to think, “Do I need to remind you, dear antique dealer, that you are sitting on a sidewalk in the 19th arrondissement on a hot Parisian morning selling your wares? Oh, and by the way Monsieur, that painting that you are asking €400 for… A homeless guy just peed on it.” I didn’t say it out loud because I have fucking manners and I just continued on my merry way hoping for better luck at the next booths. No such luck. Out of the 50 or so booths, I only bought one thing.

I decided that we had better just leave before I started spewing profanities. Another Uber ride all the way back to the 8th arrondissement where I had heard that there was another brocante. Little funny side story... My husband had a headache so he asked my little nugget of a caregiver to hop out of the Uber into the pharmacy to grab some headache pills. My husband described the exact kind of pills that he needed down to even what the packaging looked like. An easy task. Not so much. My caregiver happens to be the slowest human being on earth and 10 minutes later we were still sitting in the Uber waiting. Seconds before we were going to send in reinforcements, my caregiver came back to the car and handed my husband the package. My husband opened the bag, looked at the box and started laughing. My caregiver had bought David pain pills for menstruation. My husband said to my caregiver, “If I grow a boob… You’re fired.”

Continuing on to the brocante… this one was on the banks of the Seine at the Alexander III bridge. Not bad, not bad. I also noticed that the weather was actually beautiful. Clear skies, good temperature, slight breeze. Is this Paris in the summer?


While this brocante was definitely better than the last, it wasn’t outstanding. I did however find one of the best chinoiserie boxes I have ever seen and it is huge! (It will be in the shop nextmonth.) While I was perusing my way through the brocante, my husband slipped away and made reservations for us at the restaurant of the Grand Palais called the Mini Palais. What a treat!


If you are stuck in Paris on a hot summer weekend, this is definitely the place to lunch! Look...


It almost didn’t feel like we were in Paris with those palm trees. I kept wondering where they put them in the winter. The décor could not have been more divine… On the terrace of the circa 1900 iconic Grand Palais one cannot help but be in awe of its majesty and history.

Some interesting facts about the Grand Palais? Yup…

             The structure was built for the Universal Exhibition and dedicated “by the French Republic to the glory of French art.”

             This is where Karl Lagerfeld hosts his famous fashion shows including the one that my sweet Gigi Hadid was in.

             The building has the largest glass roof in Europe.

             The nave has more steel than the Eiffel tower and used 60,000 tons of “mignonette” green paint. Have you ever seen a better green?

             During the First World War, the Grand Palais was used as a military hospital. Can you imagine!

So here we were seated at our table at the Mini Palais restaurant… Let’s look at the details…


The restaurant is overseen by the chef of the Bristol Hotel, Eric Frechon, and is modeled after a true Parisian brasserie. Don’t you love when you see waiters bring out other people’s orders and you think, “Oh what is that!” So many dishes looked so good! My husband and I started with an order of white asparagus with vinaigrette. It is customary in France with white asparagus to have a vinaigrette with chopped egg. Oh my God, so good. Our second appetizer was burrata cheese with Italian ham and toasted pine nuts. Delicious. For our main course we ordered crispy roasted chicken with mushrooms. The skin was the crispiest, most flavorful that I’ve had in years. Then we saw an order of French fries go past our table and so we had to order those as well. I couldn’t help but moan in delight of the fries. They were the perfect combination of potato and oil and salt fried to a crisp. My husband said, “Relax, it’s hard to fuck up fries.” Not true my friend, not true at all. My caregiver Joel is quite the little foodie and he ordered the poitrine de couchon which basically translates to pork belly. My other caregiver Victor ordered the salmon which looked like a preppy concoction of pink and green. Take a look…

We did not order dessert because, as you know, I hate French pastries. I decided that we would walk off the meal by strolling over the bridge to the 7th arrondissement to Rue Cler to order some Italian gelato from Amorino. I really wanted to walk to St. Germain to order what I heard is the best gelato in Paris from a place called Grom but there is always a gigantic line outside and no one in my family loves me enough to wait in line for me… For an hour… For gelato.


Rue Cler happens to be a couple of blocks from my old apartment on Boulevard de La Tour- Maubourg. This is the apartment that I shared with my mother and Gracie in 2009. I couldn’t help but think, “The last time I was on this street, I could walk.” It was a very strange feeling. I also started to wonder what I would have changed in my life if I had known that a few short years later I would have ALS. What would I have done differently, what would I have done more of? I also started to remember… I remembered that this was where Gracie still led an innocent life. A life of gelatos after homeschooling, a life of walks in the park holding her mother’s hand, a life of funny stories like how her French bulldog puppy, Leo, buried her retainer in the planter. All Gracie had to worry about was where her next chocolate crêpe was coming from and now she worries if I’m going to make it through Christmas.

Trying to hold back my tears, I decided I would start emotionally eating like my mother and so I ordered five scoops of gelato like a fat kid. Yes, I did. Chocolate, yogurt, mandarin orange, passionfruit and citron vert with basil. Separately, FYI. I don’t mix. Do you?

Sometimes you just have to face your life, shrug, lick your ice cream and move on… To the Jean-Paul Gauthier exhibit.


I didn’t even really want to go to the exhibit but I figured that since we were in the neighborhood… What the heck. Boy was I glad we went! Not what I was expecting, the exhibit was interestingly technologically advanced. The mannequins had moving faces and were talking! My husband informed me that this was not magic (as I had thought) and that it was done by projectors. Whatever it was, it was awesome. Take a look…

It’s really something to see a famous designer’s haute couture collections right in front of your face. The details, the fabrics, the labor!

It’s even more spectacular when you see Madonna’s iconic bustier in the flesh for a second time (the first time I saw it in person was at her 1990 Blonde Ambition concert.) I mean, my God!

The exhibit runs to August 3rd, so if you find yourself in Paris, put it on your must-see list.

So, that was our Saturday. My friends always tease me about how much I get done in a day with ALS, let alone healthy and I have to laugh and think that maybe they are right. I just have a lot of energy and a zest for life and I want to see it all and do it all… Until I can’t. Maybe Paris on the weekends in the summer isn’t so bad after all.

P.S. The day wasn’t without its negativity. We got in a near fight with a territorial old guard Parisian who was offended that we were in an Uber and not a regular French taxi. My husband rescued a couple of stupid tourists who were about to be taken by some Romanian gypsies. I couldn’t help but laugh because the Gypsy girls gave my husband the biggest stink eye that I’ve ever seen because he foiled their plan. And last but not least, my husband was nearly robbed by four West Africans who started to jump him before I started screaming. Never a dull day in Paris, never a dull day.

*Something you don’t know about me? Well, this time it’s something about you guys! My sale was a huge success because of all of you and I want to thank you very much. Thank you for making me feel like I still have something to offer this world. Thank you for making me feel useful. Thank you for making me feel needed. Thank you for liking what I have to offer. All of your packages and goodies are wrapped, boxed and overly taped and ready to be shipped to you today. Thank you thank you thank you. Merci merci merci.

A toute! 


  1. Ellie, you never have to thank any of us
    We thank you for teaching us the value of being positive, of striving to be our best in the face of adversity and to be gracious and kind
    You are an inspiration , thanks to you I do visualizations and affirmations throughout the day and I know that thanks to you I will get a job that will be the right job for me. You are needed and you are loved and I feel a big void when you go a couple of days without posting
    So thank you for being you and for sharing your light with all of us
    Luv u

  2. Of course, yet again, I had some snappy little comment forming in my head until I got to the ps and just started crying. Just a little bit. But truly...oh my beautiful friend have more to offer in this world than I could possibly put words to. You are so useful, you are so needed. I know that...just for one person...aka me...meeting you had a pinball reaction and sent my life off on another path for the better. Just like that. And I know very well that I am only one in thousands who you have had such an effect upon...I hope some part of you knows this, even if you are far too gracious to admit it.

    But I did love every little item in this post - your day just kept getting better and better! Of course I clicked on the photo of the menu so that I could look at each item and try and decide what I would order (yes, I would have copied Joel, who is a fabulous cook, hence, knows what to get) then remembered long walks to Amorino with my Honey then was freaked out by the talking mannequins and then jealous that you went to see Madonna in 1990 when I thought that I was way too cool to do such a thing.

    Dear Ellie's fellow readers: so just to give you an idea about Madame Decret's fabulousness? At the end of the day I sent her my post that I had spent a long time on (no this isn't a pitch for me, just listen) and made a little weary remark that it had taken so long but added that I couldn't wait to pop over here and read hers. Of course, when I do, I see that her post was actually longer and more involved than mine but did she complain? Of course not. That is Ellie. Plus, she is so brilliant it probably only took her an hour to put this together to boot! *slaps palm on forehead*

    Sending so much Love and Strength and Hope that the Haelan 951 is amazing,

    1. Dear Heather, I almost didn't post your sweet comment because you know I don't take compliments very well but I thought it would be rude if I didn't post it. Thank you so much for all of your kind words. Coming from you, it feels extra special. XOXO Ellie

  3. This is my favorite blog. Thanks so much for the Paris pics, I doubt I will ever make it there so I truly appreciate your photos and descriptive commentary!

  4. So sorry I'm behind with commenting. You made me laugh out loud about worrying over children, and then screaming at them when we find they are OK. So true! You have such a distinctive voice in your writing, I hope you write your book. It will be a bestseller, for sure. The place you had lunch is so beautiful. I think your purpose and value might lie in making us see and feel through you. That is a rare gift. Huge hug to you.

  5. Love this post and thanks for taking us with you on your Saturday in Paris, in July. I've been there in July so I know what you mean, but still, that restaurant! The food!
    And, you faced the memories and the nostalgia and the what-ifs head-on which is not easy, keep kicking it Ellie we love you!

  6. Love my vicarious trips to the brocante via your posts. I went to one when we were in Paris and it was all I hoped for and more - so much loveliness.

    I had to laugh about the Romanian gypsy scam - I nearly fell for it and felt bad that I didn't give the poor woman money for her starving children. Then the next day we saw a group of gypsy women having a meeting - getting their postcards (just like the one shown to me) and marching orders ! The entreprenurial spirit is alive and well.

    I know exactly what you mean about worrying over grown kids. I go from normal to crazy in 60 seconds if I haven't heard from one of mine . Even though they are grown, competent adults with big-people jobs, I go to the crazy place if I think they haven't touched base with me in what I know is a reasonable amount of time!! It's a struggle not to become one of those mothers who stoop to the "I brought you into this world with pain and suffering. The least you could do is call when I'm having a delusional moment about your safety". Think we've all wavered between worrying that they're dead and wanting to kill them if they're not!

  7. AND THANK YOU MY DEAR DELIGHTFUL FRIEND for taking me on a tour of PARIS!YOU sent me to the GRAND PALAIS my first day there to see that ANTIQUE SHOW and I too saw the JPG show with the projection faces..........BEST SHOW EVER!!!Now I need to go eat lunch at the Petite palace.........GROM I have heard about for years in ITALY.I think I finally had one a few years back.........all of EUROPE'S ice-cream is better then ours.That's for certain and to answer your question.........NO, I never mix either!ADD that to OUR LIST.......are we keeping a list?We should be!XOXOXO

  8. Dear Ellie, Your posts make me feel so alive and grateful. My life is fuller because of you. Thank you, merci bien, merci, merci, Susan, NYC

  9. Something to offer this world ? You have been doing it in spades for some time now and we all love you for it ! Blessings always darling and brilliant Ellie . A

  10. Thank you for sharing Ellie. What a fabulous day you had, wow! I too love the play by play and the pictures. You are quite the inspiration in everything you do. xx

  11. Thanks Ellie--------I needed your dose of reality as I'm about to start a pitty-party (which is not like me, but whatever) over some serious health stuff which will get resolved eventually. You are a very necessary part of my life!! I look forward to my "Ellie Fix" as the best moments of the week. Sending love xoxox Mary

  12. Ellie,
    From is not worth the wait! You have soooo many better things to do with your precious time than wait for bad gelato! I'm hoping the mini Palais is still open when I'm in Paris the beginning of October.
    Love your posts and look forward to each new one, as each is inspiring and a complete surprise!

  13. I've only been following you for a short while, and today you inspired me to write and say "thank you" are an inspiration- a beautiful soul with spunk! You made me laugh about worrying about children (no matter how old they are). My now retired career was in health care and many people would give in to your disease and struggles. Thank heavens you've chosen a different path. God Bless you and please please keep sharing your stories, your pictures, your humor.

  14. What a grand day - that's more than I have done in the past two weeks! Lunch in Paris - a distant memory for me. Yes indeed, I need to get out more. Looking forward to seeing what your keen, tasteful eye has selected for your shop. Hugs from the East Coast, USA.

  15. Have a beautiful day my friend!! You totally make my day with your words and humor...sometimes I go back and read your old blogs afraid I might have missed something...Thank you!!!

    Have a blessed day! Sending healing thoughts and prayers! I do believe in miracles!!

  16. Ellie I feel like I was right there with you on your Saturday excursion! What fun in spite of all of the challenges and dramas of gypsies, old guards, etc!! The photos you took for us are just amazing and I have pinned many! YOU INSPIRE, ENCOURAGE AND DELIGHT ME ALWAYS AND YOU KEEP GOING GIRL!!

    The Arts by Karena

  17. Yay! Great post Ellie. Laughed out loud about worrying about our children. I was up before dawn this morning because of a thunderstorm and I was worried that my daughter , who had to go to work early, would forget to put the car lights on or have a problem with the weather...does she know where the hazard flasher is, will she slow down if it is I meditated, relaxed and went back to bed:) Another potential danger averted. Its funny because we she is back at school in NYC I don't worry about her, but since she is home for the summer we worry all the time. Comes with the territory. Sending you peace and ease of breath. Happy you are with us all guiding us to better taste;)

  18. Love your blog. Love your spirit, your wit, your zest for life.
    You've inspired me to approach NYC in the hot, humid, crowded months with a new outlook.
    Thank you!

  19. Thank you for your charming, funny, and very touching summary of your day. I got stuck at “The last time I was on this street, I could walk.” and then you wrote "I also started to wonder what I would have changed in my life if I had known that a few short years later I would have ALS. What would I have done differently, what would I have done more of?".

    i recall one of your posts about what you would like to do if you didn't have ALS, but these profound thoughts you share, embedded in your daily outing and fab photos of Paris and surrounds, make your blog doubly-special.

    This is what you give to me with your blog: with such succinct language, you make me think about what I do with my time, what I don't appreciate but should, and how quickly it can all change.

    I need to go read the rest of your post, probably another day. Wishing you all the best.

  20. Thank you for this entertaining & fascinating trip from afar Ellie. The photos are so beautiful & inspiring & of course your words as only you can say them. X

  21. Your photos make me die inside because I am living in an absolute fourth rate "city" with no charm (Toronto) and I want to be in Paris even in the midst of unbearable heat and tourist swarms. I don't care. Grom is totally overrated - just came back from Rome and it's a thing there too but meh. Had much, much better gelato many times. Average at best. Don't feel sad that you missed it.

  22. Dear Ellie,

    I loved this blog, I love all blogs about Paris. I need your blogs, they disconnect me from my hectic life and remind me that I need to enjoy life. I cannot begin to explain how happy I get when I see that you have posted a new blog. God bless you and your family.

  23. Ellie, How did your caregivers get your chair up the steps at the Grand Palais? I needed help last year with my grandson's pousette (stroller) and one of the men who was asked to help me was horribly rude and complained out loud that this wasn't his job to carry anything up the stairs. It was quite embarrassing.

    Thank you for the restaurant recommendation. I will pass it on to a friend who is in Paris.

    I also had to laugh about Gracie turning off her cell phone so you wouldn't get roaming charges from the US. My darling husband, Jacques, forgot to turn off his American cell for a few days when he arrived in France in June. I just got a copy of the AT&T bill. Are you ready? $421.00 in roaming fees. The billing department at AT&T was super nice, not like Orange, I'm sure, and they gave me a credit for over $330.00 So even though she didn't call, Gracie is a keeper and learned from the best about roaming charges.
    Kisses from California. The fog rolled in tonight.

  24. No kidding it was a success! I was working for a I didn't get there the first day! SOB!!!!!

    If you see another of those wicker bulls head's; I need to have one to remind me to go to the Camargue!!

    You are the best!!!!


    I am hoping Gracie will call me....but I won't hold my breath! We have a couple of baby chicks; and the ducklings (now unrecognizable from their mother (we think and know our kids grow up FAST!!!) Sheesh!!!

  25. You are my hero!..I love that even with what you go through you're out there living life! Thank YOU ! Im going to purchase something from your shop but im always late & my items are always sold...:) xo

  26. I'm not the least bit surprised your shop has been such a success. It is so well curated. I'd so love to go to that restaurant! The planters that the palms are in look gorgeous. I love that greeny aqua. I literally bitched and dragged my feet over driving five seconds to go to Home Depot yesterday to get paint. I'd say if you can get your shit together to explore flea markets in the heat and let men put your bra on, I needn't complain about being too tired to get my fat ass to Home Depot!

  27. Ellie, sorry this is a bit late and you may never read. BUT next time please include a picture of yourself out and about. I love to see what you're wearing as you always look so chic!!!