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In May with April in Paris

April Pett - April in Paris ToursApril Pett – April in Paris Tours

April in Paris Tours Place de la ConcordeApril in Paris Tours Place de la Concorde

April in Paris Tours Quai de SeineApril in Paris Tours Quai de Seine

April Pett - April in Paris Tours

April in Paris Tours Place de la Concorde

David Cui at LaduréeDavid Cui at Ladurée

Pain Perdu at LaduréePain Perdu at Ladurée

It wasn’t April in Paris on Sunday, May 1st, but we were with “April in Paris” — April Pett, that is.

April Pett is one of those young North Americans (Canadian, actually) who landed in Paris, fell in love with the city, got to know it well and then wanted to share her love and knowledge with the rest of us.

It’s almost a joke that April’s name is really April and of course fits so perfectly with “April in Paris”…”Tours.”

April in Paris, the song from which the expression comes, was composed in 1932 for a Broadway musical “Walk a Little Faster” and recorded by 20 different artists, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, with Count Basie’s 1955 recording as the most famous of all:

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling

That no one can ever reprise
I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart?

April doesn’t let the month stand in the way of showing off her town. She’ll be happy to guide you through the streets of Paris any day of the week or month, regardless. It was our good luck to choose May Day-May 1st-Labor Day and one of the most beautiful spring days we’ve had in the City of Light.

Taking a tour of the city I’ve lived in 21 years is a funny thing to do. It felt weird being the “tourist,” standing among a group of people listing to a tour guide tell you things you thought you already knew. Then, it was a jolt to learn how little I really did know.

On this customized tour, we started at Place de la Concorde, wound along the “quai de Seine” along the water’s edge, up the stairs to the Pont Alexandre III, past the two Palais (Grand and Petit) to Rond Point and up the Champs Elysées before landing at Ladurée for a dessert break. It was along that stretch of “quai” that I’d never been before, all the while April filling us in on historical tidbits.

April’s tidbits are the kind one might never have known — those little juicy bits of history that the average historian doesn’t tell in books or tours…and she tells them with such enthusiasm and vivid imagery that to hear her tell her tales is pure magic. (Of course, the story about the amount of blood left to soak into the earth at Place de la Concorde as a result of the number of beheadings that took place there and the dull blade used to cut off Marie-Antoinette’s twice was a little TOO vivid for my taste! Ha!)

She had no notes that I could see…just a lot of information in her young head. That was amazing, especially to someone like me who slept through history class all through high school and can barely remember the date of my own birthday. She’s a walking ‘fountain of information.’

By the time we got to Ladurée, our bodies telling us it was time for a break, it was so busy on this glorious Sunday afternoon that we opted on taking our tea in the Bar, another surprise for us. It’s as beautiful a spot on the planet as is their desserts. I ordered tea named after Marie-Antoinette (fitting it seemed) that was velvety delicious. April claimed their “pain perdu” was the best in the world, so we HAD to try it. She’s right, it’s absolutely sinful.

April is game to customize your tour or take you on one of her usual routes, but with your special requests in mind. Some of her most popular tours are:

Half Day Historic Walking Tour
Half Day Highlights Walking Tour
Half Day Highlights Tour with Private Chauffeur
Full Day Walking Tour with Lunch
Versailles Tour
Paris Gourmet tour

And this is just the beginning. Give her a challenge and she’ll create the tour! Visit her Web site for more information and be sure to tell her Adrian sent you.

 

A la prochaine…

 

Adrian Leeds - by David Cui

Adrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group

(by David Cui)

 

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Tujague's resturant, New Orleans - by Hanna Foto

P.S. Tujague’s, New Orleans’ second oldest dining institution, and part of my family (owned by my cousins, Mark Latter and family), celebrates its 160th anniversary this year. In celebration Tujague’s will offer a variety of special events and offerings. Kicked off this past Sunday, May 1, Tujague’s is offering an $18.56 three-course “prix fixe” lunch available Monday through Friday, and additional celebrations will include guest chef dinners, contests and more. The Southern Food and Beverage Museum will launch a special exhibit on Tujague’s in May, featuring artifacts and memorabilia from the restaurant. The restaurant will also be added to National Culinary Heritage Register, which honors historic establishments that have contributed significantly to the development of American foodways.

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