In this week’s Five Friday Finds from France you won’t find anything Valentine’s Day related, but Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s a real mix of finds this week, but there’s one that stands out and probably will for the rest of my life. It’s not a thing or an object, but rather an experience, and really a once-in-a-lifetime type experience at that.
Meeting WWII Veteran Dr. Stephen Weiss
This experience is really in a league of its own. On Wednesday night I saw a Facebook post about meeting at Gare du Nord the following evening to welcome a 94-year-old WWII Veteran to Paris. It was obviously a no-brainer.
Dr. Stephen Weiss arrived in Paris from London and walked off the train, unassisted, to find our group of about 20 waiting to greet him. He smiled from ear-to-ear as he shook each of our hands. It was truly a moving experience and even random bystanders couldn’t help but smile.
Dr. Weiss is participating in a “ravivage de la flamme” ceremony at l’Arc de Triomphe tonight to honor the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) men killed in France.
You can see more photos from Dr. Weiss’ arrival in Paris here.
More on Dr. Stephen Weiss summarized from text by Meredith Wheeler:
Dr. Weiss served as a first scout in an American infantry rifle squad in Italy, France, and Germany. He landed on D-Day in Southern France. Listed as Missing In Action, he served with the French Resistance and an OSS Operational Group behind enemy lines. For these exploits, he was awarded the French Resistance Medal, two Croix de Guerre, and the American Bronze Star.
President Jacques Chirac presented him with the Legion d’Honneur in 1999. On June 22nd 2007, he was made an Officier de la Leigon d’Honneur and in July 2013 he was promoted to Commandeur in the Order de la Leigon d’Honneur. The Order is the highest decoration in France.
His professional life has largely been devoted to working with post-traumatic shock from war, from which he suffered himself for many years. He is 94 years old and traveled to Paris unaccompanied. His wife has passed away and he has three grown children in the USA, several grandchildren, and even a great grandchild. He grew up in Brooklyn with his father who was traumatized from being gassed in WWI.
Touring the Newly-Opened JK Place Paris
Back to more ‘regular’ Five Friday Finds from France programming, JK Place Paris Hotel is just the kind of luxury boutique hotel that the Left Bank has needed.
The design is simple, elegant, and not at all fussy or overdone. The scale of the hotel is small, but far from cramped. Service is top-notch. I fell in love with all of the details at JK Place Paris.
I have a full-review of my visit coming soon, but if you’re coming to Paris soon be sure to add JK Place Paris to your list now. And as always, if you need help with travel planning, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Discovering Cyril Lignac’s Left Bank Cocktail Bar
Another thing the Left Bank needed was a cocktail bar by Cyril Lignac. I always wanted to go to Aux Prés and sit at the bar and have a great drink. Aux Prés opens at dinner time, so it was never possible to go and have a pre-dinner drink.
Enter Dragon. Read all about my experience here.
Adding to My Reading List: ‘Chanel’s Riviera’
A big 2020 goal of mine is to read more. I have a big stack of books on my bedside table, and Anne de Courcy’s Chanel’s Riviera will soon be joining the stack.
The book is all about the history of the Côte d’Azur from 1930 to 1953, including the horror of Nazi arrival in 1942. I think the book might just inspire another trip to the Èze or Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat later this year.
(Re)Discovering the Best Lip Balm
I bought this Patyka Bouche à Bouche lip balm a while ago and thought I lost it. This week I found it in the bottom of my huge tote bag and it has been a life saver for my lips this week.
It’s moisturizing enough to really feel it but not too goopy. It’s an organic product and all of the oils are French. Try it, I promise you’ll love it!
Stay tuned for more of my Five Friday Finds from France next week!