The next leg of my trip involved a little jaunt over to Paris to see my friend Amy Meyer get married. I began my journey hopping on the Eurostar train from London straight into the heart of Paris. The train ride was a little over 2 hours so it was quite easy.
When I arrived I hopped onto the Paris subway to my hostel in the Latin Quarter. Yes I stayed at a hostel! But the Oops Hostel in the Latin Quarter was adorable and clean, with a very cool, modern design. My room had 2 bunk beds and a bathroom and a little table and that's it but it was only 30 euro a night. But the cool thing was that someone from the wedding party actually was staying in the same room as me!
Once I got settled in the room I went out and explored on my way to Amy and Stacy's apartment. I took a leisurely walk through the city making my way to le Jardin du Luxumbourg, crossing the Seine, strolling past the Cathedral of Notre Dame, taking in the beauty of the Chatalet des Halles, before finally finding Rue de Clery where my friends were staying.
The apartment where Amy and her wife to be were staying (yes it was a lesbian wedding) was a perfectly charming French apartment located on the 2nd floor complete with a balcony and courtyard. The first night, the wedding party of about 20 all met here for a cocktail party where your wine never was allowed to get less than half full and there was a constant flow of hors d'oevres. Delicious!!
After the cocktail party I walked all the way back to the hostel (a 30-minute walk) stopping at a gay club called Raidd, which was recommended to me by the Paris Tourist Board. It was Disco night so it sucked even though it was packed and they had hot bartenders. But since my French is limited and a beer was 6euro (like $10) I left!
The second day in Paris was simply amazing. My roommate Casey and I got all dressed up for the wedding and made our way to the apartment. I think people thought we were Parisian since we looked all snazzy and not like bummy Americans. We were approached by several French people asking for help and such. Pretty cool.
Everyone met up and hopped on our little coach for Versailles. This was the highlight of the trip by far. Versailles is absolutely breathtaking with its massive castle, vast gardens, and luxurious fountains. We made our way to the secluded Jardin du Roi where the wedding ceremony was held.
I have never been one for weddings but as we stood in a circle and watched Amy's mom and sister as they welcomed Stacy into their family it was an incredible moment of love and acceptance that none of us will forget. We all felt that love flow through us and it connected us all in that single moment.
After the short ceremony that had eyes tearing, we continued to explore Versailles, grabbing bikes and hightailing our way across the countryside. We peddled our way to a lovely picnic site that was prepared for us in spectacular fashion. We sipped wine and champagne and feasted as we shared poetry and personal thoughts about the 2 brides. We then continued to explore the fascinating grounds, making our way to Marie-Antoinette's chateau where she pretended to be a peasant before having some desert and making our way back to the city. But not before I totally busted my ass on my bike on the way back. I left Versailles with a bloody elbow and knee and quite a story to tell. What a day to remember.
My final full day in Paris found me without use of my camera, but with plenty to do. Casey and I started out the day exploring Montmarte and the fabulous Sacre-Coeur, an impressive white cathedral overlooking the city. The winding streets of this bohemian enclave was easily my favorite part of the city.
I then took of fon my own travel writer adventures, setting off to tour three hotels around the city for my article for Bleu Magazine. The first was the Hilton Arc de Triomphe, an impressive 400plus room Art Deco masterpiece with sharkskin walls and finely detailed furniture. The second was a modern boutique hotel called Le Metropolitan that faced the Eiffel Tower. The final was a classic French hotel called Le Dokhan complete with a Louis Vuitton lined elevator. At Le Dokhan I was treated to a champagne tasting where I got to sample three very expensive champagnes and learn the differences.
In between all the walking I saw lots of the city making my way down the Champs Elysees and through many quiet parks and tree-lined avenues. I think I could die in Paris! It is such a beautiful magical place full of very sexy people everywhere. Next time I want to know more French and go out to the right clubs.
The next day it was back to dreary London. But I was still in for a weekend of FUN!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
I just got back from a wonderful trip to London and Paris and it's taken me all week to calm down to write about it. The terrible jetlag and constant flow of work hasn't made things any easier, mind you. First off it must be said that I did this trip on the cheap. I have family in London, well Ilford in Essex to be exact but it is close enough. Plus I used my travel journalist tricks to get my fair share of freeness, discounts and other goodies.
My trip began with a very long flight from LA to London, two flights actually with a stopover in Boston. To my surprise my friend Chi Chi, who I was planning on seeing while in London was on my connecting flight from Boston. This wouldn't be the last time I ran into people unexpectedly during my trip.
I finally arrived in London and was greeted by my Aunt Maggie, my grandmother's younger sister and her husband. We took a very long tube ride to Ilford. The first full day was spent chatting with the family, getting my money exchanged and figuring out the damn cell phones over there. Once that was sorted I headed into the city to take advantage of my travel journalist perks. I scored a hotel room in the Notting Hill area for just 10pounds a night! The Hotel Umi was adorable and in a lovely area of charming white buildings. I didn't stay there long though as I was off to Soho to hang out with Deji and his friends for a night on the town. We hit up some gay bars, particularly Barcode in both Soho and Vauxhall before taking the nightbus to his place in Brixton.
After some recovery I made my way back up to Ilford for a family BBQ, where I got to see everyone that I haven't seen in about 15-20 years. they are the same crazy, lively family I remember and they were happy to chat with me. They served up some rum, Caribbean dishes, and yummy deserts! Then I went to meet up with my old college buddy Siobhan (we went to school in Miami together) to celebrate her birthday with her new friends in London. She has been there for 2 years so she has had time to build a new life. It was a crazy night that went into the morning but it was a great chance to chat it up with locals who were open minded and artistic. Fun times.
Sunday night, I hung out with an online buddy named Anthony and we went to check out the UKSoulJam at Jazz Cafe in Camden Town. The called me onstage to plug Nu-Soul and I gavce out some Strictly Social CDs to the hungry crowd. The main act was a group called Indigo Brown who were quite good!
So that was just the first weekend. I slept all day Monday and chilled with the family as I got ready for the next leg of my trip - My trip to Paris! Stay tuned.
Nu-Soul Magazine & Red Light Special Events
In Association with Beija Flor Naturals
The Official N'Dambi Pink Elephant Album Release Party
Wednesday October 7, 2009
Celebrating the release of Stax Recording artist N'Dambi's third album Pink Elephant with a special listening session at 8:30pm
Pre-order the album Pink Elephant here
Introducing BEIJA FLOR NATURALS
An eco-friendly vegan/organic beauty line for women of color
Gift bags and product samples will be available
Music by DJ Destroyer (Strictly Social)
Download DJ Destroyer's newest mix HERE
$8 Green Apple Martini and other drink specials
N'Dambi giveaways and other goodies all night!
Come early and stay late for Melodic Wednesdays - LA's newest premier weekly event for soulful house begins at 10pm
This event is 21+ w/ ID
Admission is FREE with an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com
Your RSVP gets you in the club before 10pm to enjoy both events for FREE!
1640 N. Caheunga Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Joy Jones is stepping out front with the release of her exemplary debut album, Godchild. Jones effortlessly glides through various genres from rump-shaking broken beat to progressive jazz to soca-flavored hymns all with a sharp political mind and keen wit. I wrote the snazzy intro.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Get ready for the big Nu-Soul Magazine 3-year Anniversary Party by getting familiar with our headliner, the astounding talent, Joy Jones! Read my review of Joy Jones's debut album
Artist: Joy Jones
Read the review