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The stained glass at Sainte-Chappelle is truly breathtaking.

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Paris With Friends

Celebrating Friendships of a Lifetime in the City of Lights

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea.”

I heartily agree. So when presented with the idea of a trip to Paris, France, with three lifelong friends from Oklahoma, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Mary Anne Conley, Lauren Houston, Rania Nasreddine and I have been friends for over a decade and have been through the highs and lows of life—law school, marriage, children and everything in between. Because we are all mothers to children five years and younger, carving out quality time together has been challenging, to say the least. So, we left our husbands in charge of the kids and spent five days together in Paris! We even serendipitously kept running into another group of ladies from Carmel and Indianapolis who had made the same decision.

Travel Journal 

Our first stop was the Musée Rodin which opened in 1919 and where the awe-inspiring art of Auguste Rodin, one of the world’s greatest sculptors, fills the Hotel Biron and one of the loveliest gardens in Paris. 

The second day of the trip started with hair and makeup appointments to get ready for a photo shoot Lauren and Rania arranged for the four of us as a surprise. Local photographer Pierre Sattin gave us a mini tour of Paris as he snapped photos and kept us laughing.

One evening, we attended a classical concert at Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic cathedral built by Louis IX in the 13th Century. The stunning architecture and breathtaking stained glass provided the perfect setting to hear world-class musicians. The whole experience moved us to tears. 

We ended our trip by visiting Montmartre, the highest point in Paris crowned by the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Strolling the charming flower-lined streets that were once home to the studios of artists like Monet and Renoir. We talked to local artists who still flock to the district. We also explored cafes, perfumeries and pharmacies offering the best French skincare with expert advice. 

A Taste of Paris

Of course, no trip to Paris would be complete without sampling the culinary arts. We enjoyed a multi-course tasting menu at the hard-to-get-into Septime. We tasted perhaps the best steak in Paris at Beefbar, which features a stunning Art Nouveau atrium. We had high tea at Le Meurice, a Salvador Dali-themed tea room, to sample Chef Cedric Grolet’s famous pastry creations that look like real fruit. We all agreed that the most delicious meal of the trip was at two Michelin star L’oiseau, which sits atop the Peninsula Hotel with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower.

  • The stained glass at Sainte-Chappelle is truly breathtaking.
  • Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker"
  • Sacre-Coeur Basilica sits at the highest point of the city.
  • Exploring the streets of Montmartre was a highlight.
  • One Course of a Michelin Star Meal
  • Rania Nasreddine, Andrea Kulsrud, Lauren Houston and Mary Anne Conley are all dressed up for time on the town in Paris. Photo by Pierre Sattin
  • Andrea Kulsrud, Lauren Houston, Mary Anne Conley and Rania Nasreddine pose for a professional photo shoot with French photographer Pierre Sattin.
  • Deb Slack, of Art on Main, displays two of her paintings that capture the look and feel of Paris in the spring. Photo by Amy Adams

From Carmel With Love

Deb Slack

Before the trip, we decided that we would each plan a special surprise for the others—a gift or experience while abroad. Wanting to find a way to bring a piece of Carmel to Paris, I commissioned Deb Slack, one of the owners of Carmel Art on Main Gallery & Gifts, to create four small paintings. As is often her practice, she painted two samples from which I could choose, one echoing the work of famed French artist Claude Monet and the other of the Eiffel Tower amidst spring blossoms. I chose the Eiffel Tower. Now each of us has a piece of custom artwork to hang in our homes to remind us of our treasured trip.