I can’t say this year exactly flew by, but at least it’s almost over! 2020 certainly wasn’t all bad, and it’s always better to focus on the positives. Originally I was going to pick one event or thing per month to make my ‘Best of 2020’ list, but decided not to limit the things that brought joy this year.
I was only in Paris for half of January 2020 so my favorites are simple. A picture perfect moment at Le Bonaparte and a delicious chou farci from Chez Savy.
I was on the phone with my dad when I was picking my February favorites and decided that my 2020 peaked in February. I later realized that I had a lot of good moments to follow, but February really was a great month.
With a group of Americans, I greeted 94-year-old WWII Veteran Dr. Stephen Weiss at Gare du Nord on what would be his final trip to France. The next day, I attended a Ravivage de la Flamme ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe that he participated in. Dr. Weiss passed away shortly after his trip to Paris and I feel so honored that I met him.
A bucket list Paris tour for most people is getting into the Hôtel de Lauzan. It’s a difficult place to visit because it isn’t open to the general public but I would highly recommend trying to see it. I’d love to help you work it into a future Paris trip, you can contact me here for more information!
Last but not least for February is a stunning sunset that I enjoyed from the Pont des Arts. It was literally one of the only times I went to the gym this year and walking home I got a major reward.
March was when things went from pretty normal to not normal at all. Since I missed all of April in Paris I was happy to catch some of the early cherry blossoms in March.
As soon as we learned about restaurants and cafés closing I went into DIY mode with margaritas (one margarita…we went to Normandy the next day) by the Seine and homemade everything from smashburgers to butter tortillas. Cooking and trying things I would’ve never previously attempted has been one of my favorite parts about this year.
Another 2020 ultimate favorite? Dalton. I sometimes joke (but it’s not really a joke…) that he’s my best friend in France. He made our Normandy confinement an absolute joy as well as every other day I’ve spent with him since the same. I’ll never forget our April walks through the garden checking on the new blooms.
April 2020 is also the month that I found (thanks to Romain) the best croissant in France. Seriously. Even French people are taken aback by how good it is. Romain and I made it a Sunday tradition to get our croissant and pain au chocolat and eat them with a view of the water.
May marked the end of the confinement and the return to Paris. We were so lucky with incredible weather in Normandy and I looked forward to my margaritas by the water. At the beginning of the confinement we bought a bottle of champagne to have on our last night of confinement (at that time we didn’t know there would be multiple). We decided to really go all out and pair it with a seafood platter – it was so delicious!
Once back in Paris I couldn’t get over how quiet it was. The Seine was so still and crystal clear – I almost wanted to go for a swim. While at the time it wasn’t ideal with so many things closed, I realize now that I’ll likely never experience Paris like this again in my lifetime.
I also really missed being outdoors and the garden in Normandy, so I got window boxes for my apartment. They have brought so much happiness into my days and have been a great distraction this year.
June was another big month. Museums reopened as well as cafés and restaurants for outdoor dining. The first museum on my list was one of my all time favorites, Musée de l’Orangerie.
Our first night back at a restaurant was of course at Le Voltaire. It was an absolutely perfect June evening in Paris and it was so much fun seeing fellow Le Voltaire regulars and neighbors enjoying this special night.
Just because outdoor dining was back on the table didn’t mean that the cooking stopped. Once we were back in Paris and had access to more specialty shops I was dying to perfect my Chinese dumplings.
July was vacation. It was perfect. We headed south and went to Mèze and Port Cros. It was heaven. I’ve found myself especially thinking about our week in the south recently as winter has really hit in Paris!
August in Paris is always a slow month, but it was especially so in 2020. There’s nothing quite like the stillness of the Seine against a bright blue summer sky.
We were lucky enough to head back to Carolles and spend some time outside of Paris. First up was attending the Cousu-Main dinner at Musée Christian Dior which was such a special evening. Our time in Carolles otherwise was spent near the beach – with Dalton for his daily gaufres and crêpes and for me with my weekend margaritas.
In September I launched La Porte Bonheur, my online website for French antiques. It’s been a passion project I’ve dreamed about for a while and 2020 gave me the time and inspiration to get it out into the world.
Fall in Paris started getting underway but there were still plenty of blooms including the roses in the Jardin des Tuileries and my cayenne peppers at home – which finally turned red. I (Romain’s mom) planted the seeds in April in Normandy so this was a major gardening milestone!
I hate for a burger to take the top spot over what I think are two pretty pictures of Paris in October, but the burger is that good. Shiso Burger is one of my favorite discoveries of 2020 and I highly recommend trying it on a future Paris trip.
Now that we’ve made it to November, I’m realizing just how many of my Best of 2020 selections are food related. I guess that’s what happens when there’s a global pandemic that forces you to stay at home. Without this year I don’t think I ever would’ve attempted making so many things from scratch. It will probably forever change the way I cook and for that I am thankful (appropriate for Thanksgiving month, right?).
We finally got around to attempting homemade pasta and made ravioli. I thought it was fun, Romain thought it was too much of a process. I discovered Chez Meunier’s chocolate covered and filled croissant. Oh my gosh if you ever see it get it.
I held the first Bouquinistes Auction to benefit the beloved Parisian booksellers. It was such a success and meaningful activity that I held a second and will definitely have more to come! There are a few items available for purchase still that you can see here.
Last but not least, we had Thanksgiving in Paris for two. I would’ve much preferred celebrating with all of my family, but it was a special dinner and I’m glad Romain is a believer now!
I love December in Paris and I love Christmas in Paris. This year was no exception. It was a different year and there were for sure difficult moments. But with much love, advice, and guidance from both my family and some of the wonderful people that I’ve met on Instagram, I made it through. Being at home was extra cozy this year with my massive and very happy tree.
I had a chance to see the ultimate Christmas tree in Paris at the Ritz thanks to Anne Vitchen and the experience truly brightened my month. Romain is even requesting I do a flocked tree next year.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were just about as perfect as they could be at home and with our Normandy crew. I have no complaints and feel very lucky and hopeful as we finish out this month and year.
I hope you enjoyed my Best of 2020 post. Looking back there were so many wonderful moments and I’m so appreciative for all that I experienced. Wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year and Bonnes Fêtes de Fin d’Année! See you in 2021!