© 2021, The McGees

Joyeux Anniversaire Monsieur Austin!

October 17, 2019

Happy Birthday Austin! We use this third decade milestone as an excuse to visit Paris and our oldest child. Being able to put a face on your grown child’s home and meeting his friends in person is… priceless!

Shortly after our arrival, we depart Paris for our Switzerland detour, but within a few days, we are back in Gay Paris!

We have visited here before and seen the iconic sites. This visit we enjoy time with Austin and well, so much FOOD! Parisians eat out often in this busy city with endless cafes. I go from thinking I can’t eat another bite to anxiously anticipating what food we will be indulging in next. Favorites include the Turkish restaurant across the street from Austin’s apartment (where he knows the owner and his son), the classic French cafe just 2 doors down and the fantastic Italian restaurant where Austin enjoys birthday truffle pasta.

This trip is an opportunity to step into Austin’s life for a treasured moment. High on his mind is the upcoming renewal of his Visa. We feel helpful with his efforts at organization by shopping for and installing a new white board in his apartment. It is amazing how crafting a fluid list can jump start motivation - so amazing that when we return home, Tim and I unearth OUR old white board and start planning.

During our visit, we are treated to cake and coffee with Austin’s neighbor, Tom Johnson, a well-known minimalist composer. Later we are invited to dinner with Austin’s Spanish landlord and her Parisian friends. Both these experiences make our time in Paris feel all the more genuine and intimate.

We walk the Coulee Verte along an obsolete railway to the gardens and lakes of the huge Bois de Vincennes where families are enjoying the park and rowing boats. It feels like we are in a painting. Another day while Austin is working, Tim and I sneak away to the Pere Lachaise cemetery, the largest in Paris, where we stroll amidst the ghosts of Moliere, Chopin, Jim Morrison and countless fellow humans.

But the highlight of the visit is meeting Austin’s (living) friends and neighbors at a concert he hosts in his apartment courtyard. This is a Groupmuse event - the first ever in Paris! We are treated to an intimate performance by 4 professional cellists in Austin’s picturesque apartment courtyard. The icing on the cake is hanging out with Austin’s crowd later at the local “Beer Cave”.

Thanks for having a birthday Austin. Funny how you keep getting older… and we don’t. C’est la vie!

Paris is all about the FOOD!

Traditional French cheese plate

Austin's next door French cafe

Birthday Boy

Walking the Coulee Verte

Picturesque Bois de Vincennes

The iconic Bastille near Austin's apartment

The white board ready to do its magic

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

The grave of Jim Morrison at Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Groupmuse concert in Austin's courtyard

Friends and neighbors enjoying the concert


A neighbor at her window enjoying the music

The beer cave

The beer

An amazingly delicious beer - with awesome labeling

Wonderful company

Written by Julie and Tim McGee who live in Sonoma, California, USA and frequently elsewhere...