A tale of two cities: London and Paris

UTKellyRev2ColumnBring your appetites, but maybe leave those sunglasses home

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

Our anniversary trip to London and Paris was AMAZING!  However, such a grand adventure does not happen without a few pitfalls.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…


  • The most picturesque views we have ever seen!  Paris (especially) was like a fairytale.  The architecture was breathtakingly beautiful.  I literally screamed when we rounded the corner and saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  J’taime!


  • I feel queasy/nervous on an airplane.  I do not like flying in the dark over a very large ocean.  Airplane food is yucky.  I had a cocktail of Dramamine and Xanax that did not leave my system for about 36 hours.


  • The food!  I was so worried about the cuisine (or lack thereof) in London, but was VERY pleasantly surprised!  Of course, we had fish & chips and they were fried but light as air!  The French clearly do not have any gluten sensitivities as our daily meals consisted of at least 80% bread.  I’m not one to turn down a warm croissant.  Nope.  Not this gal.


  • There is no cream for coffee in either city.  They looked at us like we had two heads when we asked for it.  The options are “skim or not so skim”.  And, “not so skim” is NOT cream.


  • The fashion!  Not so much in London (with the GRAND exception of Harrod’s, which may be where I request a portion of my ashes to be scattered) but PARIS!!!!  The women (and the men, but I was really focused on the women) were SO CHIC!  The key to dressing like a French woman is menswear.  Seriously.  The clothes are exquisitely tailored and body conscious so as to remain feminine but, the outfit itself has a masculine element.  Whether it was a blazer or an oxford shoe or a crisp, white button down shirt, the influence was there.  Every time.  The nails are painted either red or left naked.  The lips are red or naked.  I saw no pink, orange, or wine color that is popular Stateside.  The hair was dirty but in a good “I’m French and I have tousled, sexy hair” sorta way.


  • No one wears sunglasses!  Not in London (where, I suppose they enjoy squinting when they get the rare opportunity) OR in Paris!  I stuck out like a sore thumb every time I put them on…until finally I was peer pressured into keeping them in my handbag.  Don’t want to appear like a tourist!  Speaking of blending, I refused to wear big, white American sneakers and may have permanent foot damage from walking 51 miles in ballet flats as a result.  #itwasworthit

As you can see, my “worst of times” list is not without a little poetic license.  Everything was pretty awesome.

Our flight home was an absolute nightmare….but that is for another article as I am still perfecting the terms of my lawsuit against our travel agency (NOT kidding)!  Overall, this 20th wedding anniversary celebration with my husband was one of the best times of my life!  C’est magnifique!

Happy Weekend!

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