September in Paris

Hi Everyone,

I’m sitting in my Paris kitchen, with my second cup of decaf this morning, thinking about the fall, and enjoying a quiet moment on a peaceful weekend. The days are still warm, but there’s a nip of fall in the air at night, and it’s starting to get chilly.  It’s beautiful in Paris in the fall (when isn’t it beautiful in Paris? I love it at all times of the year, it’s still my favorite city in the world, and a wonderful place to live).

We flew through the summer with vacations, birthdays, holidays, a family vacation, and a wedding, and now we’re all back to work or school, and settling back into ‘real life’. In France, just about the whole country, rich or poor, takes vacation in July, or August, for a whole month. You are legally entitled to five weeks of vacation per year, so with friends going away for a whole month, you lose track of people in June when they go away, and don’t catch up with them again until September, when everyone is finally back. And there’s a back to school atmosphere, of everyone finding each other again, and happy to catch up on news.  I usually give a dinner in June before everyone leaves for the summer, and then I give one again when we all get back. I came back to France on the (American) Labor Day weekend, which is about when the French come home too. And I gave a buffet dinner for 24 friends, with music played by the musicians I compose songs with (and write lyrics for), and we danced and laughed and talked and ate, and were happy to see each other again after the summer. A busy one in my case, with the wedding only a few weeks ago.

I had lots of errands to do for the house, really exciting glamourous stuff, like getting my vacuum cleaner repaired, or getting things fixed for my kids, clearing my desk, taking my clothes to the dry cleaner. Admit it, I lead an exciting life!!!  And then I got to do something fun, other than just catching up with friends, I went to the Antique Biennale, which happens once every two years. It’s a fabulous antique show, probably one of the best in the world, where the best high end antique dealers (and even dealers of antique jewelry)  from all over the world set up stands to show their beautiful wares. The quality is extraordinary, worthy of a museum, and the prices exorbitant. I don’t buy anything there, but it’s fun just to see it, and it’s beautifully displayed. Some of the ‘stands’ cost a million dollars to build, I’m told. Each one looks like a beautiful antique store, and the whole event is held in the Grand Palais, which I’ve mentioned to you before, as it’s a favorite location for the finest exhibits and events in Paris. It’s a 200 year old glass structure that was restored a few years ago and is absolutely spectacular. And so was the Biennale show. I went with a group of friends, to the preview dinner, which was a black tie event, and that really was glamourous, in contrast to my everyday life!! It was a Cinderella evening, and I had a great time there with my friends, checking out all the antiques.

Other than that, I’m attacking my closets again, and figured out a way to get 3 more here (by moving tools, some linens, and my daughters’ clothes to another location in the apartment, and stealing those closets for me.) YIPPEEE!!!!! More closets. There couldn’t be a better gift, and my handyman is here today moving shelves and adding closet poles to hang things on. I love getting new closets!!! And two days ago, I went to Ikea, which is one of my favorite places. I LOVE that store, you can find absolutely everything there for incredibly low prices. I even found a rug I love for $200.  I had as much fun there (maybe more) as at the fancy antique show, and I staggered home with a van full of stuff that is useful and good looking (a red lacquer book case!!), and spent very little money. I felt extremely virtuous and love what I got!! I love spending the day at Ikea, and with such great results!!

This week I have some lunches and dinners planned with friends and family, and am going to a ‘chocolate club’ I’m invited to every three months, where you get to taste all kinds of chocolates. People are very serious about it, like a wine tasting, and I come home after trying way too many chocolates!!! Yummmm!!!

And September is a mixed blessing for me, fun things to do, friends to see after the summer, some social events like the antique show……and on a far more serious note, the worst day of the year for me: the anniversary of my son’s death, a sad date that remains painful and hard to get through, even after 15 years. (He died at 19). There are no good ways to get through those dates, I’ve tried everything. It is the anniversary of a tragic event and the worst day of my life, and the whole family goes into shock and mourning over it every year. No matter where I am, or what I do, it’s an unbearably sad day, and you just have to get through it. It’s a day that I dread every year. Some of us usually try to be together on that date, but any way you do it, it’s tough. I will spend it quietly, as I do every year.

And I’m working on a new book. The summer is over. It’s back to work for me. So the back to school atmosphere is real for me, with lots of ‘homework’ to do, as I start a new book for you. I hope the fall is off to a great start for you, and that the summer went well and you had some time to relax. I’m happy to be back to work, although I enjoyed some time off with my kids this summer. And now, welcome back to fall, when the pace picks up, and we all get busy again!! Take good care.

Love, Danielle

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6 Comments so far
  1. CAROL OLIVER September 17, 2012 2:09 pm

    Hello Danielle,
    the Antique Biennale sounds awesome, would love to see it,if I ever make it to Paris, my beloved Paris…thank you for always sharing stories about Paris…I so treasure them, and share your stories with my Dear Girlfriends.
    IKea…really….well, you are probably right, that you can find so many things there for good prices…but that Red Lacquer Bookcase which sounds great, probably needs to be PUT TOGETHER…like all the furniture there…and thats my problem…Try and have a good September regardless of…things.
    Carol in So. Calif.
    ps….just finishing Leap of Faith….surprisingly it has been really goodto read, and sometimes dont want to put it down.

  2. STELLA ANN September 17, 2012 3:14 pm

    I’m sure we are all still waiting for the wedding pictures……. Happy for you back in Paris. Best thoughts. Stella Ann

  3. pamela kelley September 18, 2012 4:54 am

    I love reading your updates. I’ve never been to Paris, but am looking forward to one day discovering it.

    I just recently finished Friends Forever, and look forward to your next book. My sister and I always share them and usually read them in one sitting!

    Fall is my favorite season as well.


  4. Lorraine September 18, 2012 6:32 pm

    The Chocolate Club sounds so delicious!!!
    You have such a cool life!
    Thank you for the updates and I hope the anniversary of your son has passed or will pass peacefully. Love, Lorraine

  5. Lina September 24, 2012 2:14 pm

    I have always loved your books as a young reader my parents always had your books around. They always took me to a new place. What I read about your son now takes me to a place that is still so hard for me as well. The loss of my young daughter as you know that leaves such an emptiness but we must live on in some form for my children I have now. Anyhow I just wanted to say that I understand how you feel around his birthday and the day he passed I always feel like the world should stop for a moment on those days because they seem to for me.

    A big fan as always,

  6. Shirley Petroski September 29, 2012 11:39 pm

    Hi Danielle, Just picked up 6 more of your books from Barnes & Noble. I really enjoy reading them. I thought you would be back in San Francisco in the fall to write,but Paris must just be wonderful. I live in California and like yourself we lost our beautiful 20 year old Daughter Krista. So I certainly understand the anniversary of your own Son. We love them so very much. Thank you for your gift of writing such interesting books. Wishing you a happy and heathy Fall. Congrats on the Wedding of your Daughter. Bless them. Love Shirley