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Summer Series: Paris Plages

Well, bless her heart: Paris has made an attempt to be friendly, albeit only briefly. Every summer for one month, the city of Paris brings the beaches of the south of France to the city. Along the banks of the Seine, a faux beach is created, complete with sand, beach chairs, palm trees, umbrellas, cafés, sand castles, beach activities… And a view. As corny as it may sound it’s actually rather remarkable. If your pocketbook isn’t deep enough to get yourself to St. Tropez or any other inflated beach resort for the summer and you are stuck in Paris during the depths of the July and August heat, Paris Plages is a charming refuge.

By the way, you can thank the Socialist party for this grand gesture, as Paris Plages was instigated by the newly elected Socialist party Mayor Bertrand Delanoe in 2002. Originally the plan was to just have one beach on the Right Bank but its popularity forced it to expand and another beach was created for the jealous Left Bank and further down in the 19th arrondissement another beach was created along the picturesque canal known as the “Bassin de la Villette.” They have even added a floating swimming pool… as well they should because it is forbidden to swim in the Seine (gross). Much to the chagrin of American teenage boy tourists though, topless sunbathing is forbidden as well.


Here’s the best part and most unusual part: It’s free! Yes, you heard me, something in Paris is free! Now you can take your €20 Uber to the banks of the Seine, take in some sun in your €120 Eres maillot, snack on your €14 ham and cheese baguette, sip your €22 rosé, and bask in the glory that you are sitting in a free beach chair at a free beach in Paris.

A toute!

*Something you don’t know about me? Yesterday morning I woke up and immediately thought I was going to die. I’m not even over exaggerating or even overreacting. Why? As you know, or maybe you don’t know, one of the perks of having ALS is that getting a respiratory illness can prove fatal. My muscles are not strong enough to cough so my lungs can become quickly filled with… You know what. We have had these emergencies a few times which result in 15 paramedics in my bedroom sticking tubes down my throat and up my nose trying to suction out the culprit. Not sexy. To say that it is terrifying is an understatement.

As soon as I opened my eyes yesterday morning, I felt it coming on. My nose was stuffy, my breathing was labored and my chest was heavy. My first thought? Fuuuuuuck. My second thought? Panic at the disco. My third thought? Ellie, you’re going to have to save yourself. So I decided to do as Hippocrates and “let food be thy medicine”… With a side of pharmaceuticals. First things first, I thought I would double down on my feeding tube formula which happens to be a concoction of the healthiest foods on earth. The formula is called Liquid Hope and it is a whole foods meal replacement which honestly, I think everyone should take. It is a blend of vegetables, whole grain brown rice, flaxseed oil, quinoa, almond butter, kale, garlic, tumeric, rosemary, ginger and wakama (Japanese seaweed). After that, I upped my dosage of Haelen 951 which is pure fermented soy juice. Next up, I made sure I had a continual cup of hot lemon water with local honey, tumeric and ginger and my usual cup of hot chai tea with vanilla soy milk was always on hand. Not to do anything in moderation, I continued to assault my symptoms with my famous green juice.

Let’s talk about juicing, shall we? How can anyone go through their day without juicing? It’s so easy and so beneficial (and you won’t feel so bad about smoking cigarettes… Just kidding!). Once a week, we go to the farmers market and stock up on all of the fresh organic vegetables, fruits and such… Spinach, celery, fennel, cucumber, apples, oranges, lemon, kale (not easy in Paris), beets, ginger, cilantro and whatever else is fresh and in season. We bring it home, chop it up, put it in plastic bags and freeze it so it is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Our secret weapon is a dash of tumeric. We also add coconut oil, flaxseed oil and love.

Last but not least, I took one of my emergency crazy pills to suppress the panic attack. To bore me to sleep, I watched an episode on HGTV’s Beach Flip, which did its job and I was asleep within 10 minutes. By the way, why would anyone want to watch a show about renovating a kitchen on a budget? Gross. I don’t want to watch people choosing quartz countertops from Home Depot or flooring from Lumber Liquidators. Don’t you think it’s more fun to watch rich people (with their decorators) choose marble countertops à la Kelly Wearstler, flooring from Exquisite Surfaces or faucetry from Compas. I do. But don’t get me wrong, I do love an IKEA kitchen in a pinch but watching HGTV’s Beach Flip was actually painful.

Anyway, the moral to my story is that food works, food heals. After eight hours of pummeling my body with organic everything and a much needed nap, I woke up and was cured. I swear to God. Sinuses clear, no coughing, no trouble breathing… Fresh as a daisy, ready to tackle the world and insult as few people as I can throughout the day (it’s a challenge). I also have to admit that the crazy pill did its job alleviating my stress so that I could mentally get my mind around getting healthy. Voilà! Thank you kale and wakame.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s summer series: Hint: "La Balanguera misteriosa, com una aranya d’art subtil, buida que buida sa filosa de nostra vida treu lo fil. Com una parca bé cavil-la teixint la tela per demà.”-Joan Alcover I Maspons (1854-1924)


  1. Phew! So glad you got through that scary episode. You know your stuff, and it worked, and it sounds darn delicious. The beaches in Paris look fab by the way. Thanks for the great pics!! XOXOXO

  2. Okay Ellie! I am going to our farmer's market on Saturday and going to do my best to juice every day next week! I know I will feel better. Most importantly, I am so glad you figured it all out and am delighted you are feeling better. You are awesome, woman!!

  3. Ellie what a scare and what a horrible feeling that must have been. You took care of that one with sheer will and smarts. Thank God.
    I just made a big organic carrot and parsley soup in my vitamix inspired by you. Take care Darling Ellie and btw I loved this post as usual, you are teaching me all kinds of new Paris things. XO

  4. YOU ARE THE BEST...........BETTER then any TV SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Feed a cold and starve a fever - that’s what my mum always said. I’ve had a nasty cold/virus for the last six weeks. Hubby had it too. His was all in the ears so that he couldn’t hear and mine made me totally lose my voice for six days and croaky for another week or so. I couldn’t talk and he couldn’t hear. Marriage made in heaven! Love your blog. Kate.

  6. So glad that you are okay!!
    Thank you for the reminder that I need to start juicing - gotta do it - wanna do it - for years.

  7. Thank goodness you made it through. Your management techniques are second to none! What a relief it must be to have dodged that chest infection and long may your easy breathing continue.
    I've always thought the Paris plages a bit strange. If I have sand, sun, a bathing suit and an umbrella, I want the sea, or at least somewhere to take a dip! But they seem popular and I suppose the pool helps. Healing thoughts and love to you.

  8. Believe it or not, I only had my first green juice a few weeks ago and holy canoli, it was INSANE. The other American in this tiny village made it for me (which proves that it can be done and that I am just lazy). She has been juicing for something like twenty years because one of her first boyfriends was a Navy Seal (Hello? Hottiemuch?) and that plus a largely vegetarian diet is what these men machines were supposed to eat to run at their best. Interesting! So, she made me this smoothie with spinach and a ton of the other ingredients that you suggest and I immediately had so much energy that I got up and started doing cheerleading jumps from high school (Yes, I was a cheerleader. This was pre-Goth but New Wave me and the guys used to run offsides to try and run me down they hated me so much. I just wanted to prove that it could be done and it helped that I just so happened to have a big Sister that had competed at Nationals to train me but I digress...). And that energy lasted until the next day! Now I want a juicer! :)

    I am SO glad that you are better and that you were brave enough to face down your fear and take action. I always think of you as a Superwoman and I am right. If I could, I would buy you a matching Collier de Chien wrist cuff so that you could be Wonder Woman too.

    With so much Love and Strength to you, beautiful Ellie,

    PS. Not sure I am on the same page with you about Paris Plage however! "You can take the Parisiennes out of Paris but..."

  9. A unique remedy and I am so happy for you that it worked.

  10. The energy and enthusiasm that you write with, and approach life with, have persuaded me to do a big, organic produce shopping today, and get my blender out. You really are amazing, Ellie! (I like to think that part of your spirit/spunk/determination is rooted in old-fashioned Midwestern practicality - glazed over, of course, with Parisian flair). Thank you for your blog posts - and so glad you knew what to do and overcame that scary episode.

  11. How frightening for you Ellie. It seems you are doing all you can,and I am going to the farmers market this weekend for all of the great veggies you mentioned! So VERY inspiring!!

    The Arts by Karena

  12. Could it have been all of the fluids? Just glad you persevered and are feeling better. And thanks for the tip on chopping and freezing all of the foods for the juicer. Great idea.

  13. Hooray for greens! And turmeric. And organic everything. Good for you! And keep at it. I loved hearing about the beach in Paris. Amazing. And pretty cool, actually.

  14. Leslie in OregonJuly 30, 2015 at 4:31 PM

    Well done, Eleanor. It must have been very difficult to find the energy and resolve to take all those steps when you were feeling punk. You are beyond extraordinary! P.S. Thank you for mentioning the addition of a pool to the Paris Plage. The Paris Plage feels much more alluring to me with an opportunity to immerse oneself in water. It's too bad that so many rivers and lakes are no longer swimmable.

  15. Hi Ellie, I'm very happy you followed your intuition. I never knew juicing could be so good for you. I'm a believer now! Thank you for sharing the faux beaches, that is neat, love that. There are places here in California that could use a few of those. :-)

  16. Thought you would appreciate what you are missing in the States! I think we are past the point of no return!

  17. I'm so glad you are feeling well. Juicing! If it is green, I decided years ago that it doesn't taste good. Even my almost 90 year old mother has started to drink green juice. (Her birthday is in October) My daughter-in-law and her children drink it all the time. I like pink and orange drinks. Ok - so what is your favorite recipe and I will try to do it. kisses