Around le Marais

The Marais district stretching through the 3rd and 4th arrondissements has many amazing sites to see. As mentioned in my earlier post on Le Marais, this gorgeous popular district in Paris was once home to many of the aristocracy who built their famous maisons in spectacular architecture and opulence of the times. A few sites in the Marais are definitely worth your time.

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The Hôtel de Sully is a hôtel particulier, or private mansion, which was built between 1625 and 1630 for the Duke of Sully and today represents one of Paris’ finest examples of Louis XIII architecture. Although you can’t go inside, a walk around this gorgeous work of art is worth your while.

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France TRAVEL BY REGION TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Paris through an Olloclip lens

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it for either the first or last time. Then your life on earth will be filled with glory”. -Betty Smith

Before heading to France, I purchased an olloclip three-in-one lens for my beloved iPhone. As an avid Instagram follower, I began to notice all the incredibly cool travel shots with funky angles. I asked a fellow Instagrammer and blogger, 2Summers, who told me about the olloclip. The olloclip is a quick-connect lens solution for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPod touch that includes fisheye, wide-angle and macro lenses packaged all in the size of large gum ball. For the size of the lens and the price ($69.99), it is an amazing little lens that is so easy to carry and convenient, that it beat dragging around bigger lens for my “real” camera as I walked for hours upon hours in Paris.

Here are some of the shots I got with my olloclip. I didn’t take as many as planned since I used my main camera way more than my iPhone, however, these shots should give you a feel for what this little guy can do. Pretty amazing, huh?

The first three photos are all taken out of my hotel room window in the Marais, looking down at the street below and the last two are in lovely Montmartre. (Note: I didn’t take any pictures with the macro lens yet, just the fish eye and wide angle).

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Le Marais

Tucked away in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris’ Right Bank lies the magnificent, historic Le Marais.  Literally translated as “The Marsh”, this district of Paris is where the aristocrats moved and built their ornate “masions” over former marshland as Paris blossomed in the 17th century. The historic gorgeous maisons of the aristocracy remain, as well as the sensational Place des Vosges and other noteworthy sites. Yet by the 19th and early 20th centuries, a new presence entered the area as the nobility moved out: The Jewish Community who were later pushed out and tragically persecuted during the Nazi era and the Vichy regime.

Today, Le Marais is one of the hippest, architecturally beautiful arrondissements in all of Paris.  Tree-lined streets are dotted with gorgeous boutiques, swank cafes and beautiful restaurants that offer the traveler a real Parisien experience. Furthermore, Le Marais’ proximity to so many wonderful historic sites not to mention the Bastille, Place des Vosges and Rue de Rivoli, the premier luxury shopping street, make it a perfect place to base oneself for a stay in Paris. If you want to experience Parisien life in all its splender and authenticity, Le Marais is the place to be.

Here are some pictures from this gorgeous arrondissement, starting with a view from our lovely hotel room in Le Marais.

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France TRAVEL BY REGION
Paris, France Doors

The Doors of Paris

“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life”. – Eleanor Roosevelt

In Paris, which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, I found myself always craning my neck and looking up. Up at the gorgeous architecture and the overly ornate doors that withhold centuries of history. Perhaps my borderline obsession with doors is the mystery of what lurks behind. Or else it is just the amazing diversity and beauty of them. Who knows, but for whatever reason I found myself unwilling to stop taking pictures of them. I was fascinated by each and every door I saw, old, new, plain or ornate.

Here are a few of the doors that captured my imagination the most.

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The Culture of Paris

This week’s photo challenge, Culture, is quite fitting since I literally just got off the plane from Paris which is perhaps the culture capital of the world. Still jet-lagged and behind, I had a chance to upload my photos from my trip to France and have an astounding number to sort through: 1,400 taken in nine days flat! (I broke my record!).

I only went through the first set of photos this morning but feel they portray an excellent look into the immense, fantastic culture of lovely, worldly Paris. Here are a few to whet your appetite and prepare you for the weeks to come on my blog. Bon chance!!!

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CULTURE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY Weekly Photo Challenges

Bon Voyage! A week in France….

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find them.” – Roald Dahl

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Today I’m leaving for France and I’ll be honest, I can hardly contain my excitement, anticipation and joy. France holds a special place in my heart. I lived there twenty years ago twice, once in Paris as a student at the Sorbonne and the next year in Marseille doing a business internship at the age of 22.

I blossomed in France. I became a woman. The world was at my footsteps and I will always look back at my time in France as one of excitement, discovery, growth and joy. It was one of the best times of my lives, yet thankfully I have many other times that have also qualified for equally as great.

This trip will also be extremely special because not only am I going to revisit all of my most favorite, memory-ladden places, I will also be taking this trip with two extremely special people in my life: My mother and my sister.  Looking back now, although we have traveled a lot as a family I don’t believe we have ever taken a trip just the three of us.

Meanwhile, my wonderful dad is coming (in the place of my mother who has graciously watched my children for the last eight years while I’ve traveled with my dad) to help “babysit” the kids while my husband works. Should be an interesting time. I’ve already typed up five pages of detailed instructions. Looking over at the list, it is no wonder I’m always tired!

While I’m away, I am going to try my hardest not to blog. Instead, I’m going to focus on soaking everything in…the beauty, the architecture, the food, the people, and lovely fantastic Spring in Paris and Provence. I am convinced I will beat my record of 800 photos in a week. What do you think? I’m thinking it will be over a thousand.

So in the meantime, while I’m away, if you are missing my blog you can keep abreast of my pictures and trip via two other sites that I will be updating. You can follow me along on facebook and Instagram where I’ll be posting some of my favorite pics….

Thirdeyemom on Facebook

Thirdeyemom on Instagram

Here is a sample of my site…I’ve become a little addicted to Instagram lately as I love looking at photos so if you know any good ones to follow or you have an account, please let me know.

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I will also try to post one photo a day from my trip on my other photoblog, thethirdeyeworld. Thethirdeyeworld is the sometimes ignored and overlooked little sister of thirdeyemom. If you haven’t checked it out before, please feel free to do so and subscribe!

Sadly, this blog will be left alone with no posts until I get back! I promised myself I wouldn’t waste anytime inside my hotel room writing a blog post when I could be out enjoying France. So stay tuned! 🙂

A bientôt! 

France TRAVEL BY REGION

Paris unplugged

It has been eighteen years since I lived in Paris.  Eighteen entire years.  For me, Paris was a turning point in my life.  I was young, free, educated and ready to explore the world.  In 1993, shortly after the new year my mom and I boarded a plane from Minneapolis to Paris where I would be living for the next six months on a study abroad program through the University of Wisconsin. I t was a dream of mine for years and at twenty-one I was finally following my dreams.

I first set eyes on Paris at the young, ripe, adolescent age of thirteen.  My mother and father, both avid travelers (see my first post ever titled “The wood-paneled station wagon“) had always wanted to take us children to Europe.  Throughout our childhood, we had always heard stories about it.  My father had visited several European cities while he was in the navy, stemming his life-long passion for the continent.  My parents had eloped in Switzerland at the tender age of 23 and 25 and spent three months backpacking all over Europe on less than $2 a day.  For my sister and me, Europe represented a place of legend, offering mystique, wonder and fascination in our young, romantic, girly minds.  We had dreamed of going there as we lived through my parents’ multitude of stories.

Then one day in 1984 it actually happened and it was all the result of spending three, long, miserable days being “bumped” in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.  You see, back in the 80s airlines always used to overbook their flights, especially during the holidays.  It just so happened that my grandparents lived in Harlingen, a southern Texan town near the Mexican border.  Every single Christmas (until I was 15 years old), my entire family went to Harlingen for a week. Usually we drove, jam-packed, a family of five along with our Irish Setter in tow, we crammed into our wood-paneled diesel station wagon and drove the long three days from Minnesota to southern Texas, fighting all the way.  It was pure hell.  Nothing was ever fun about those drives. We were constantly fighting, never really sleeping, and miserably bored for most the ride. This was before DVD players, before computers or any kind of real electronic or portable games.  So we had to pass the time fighting, driving my parents mad or playing “I spy”.  Plus we usually drove in late December meaning the weather and road conditions were questionable and sometimes darn right dangerous.  After almost killing the entire family spinning out on an icy overpass at 2 am, my mom and dad decided to pay the bucks and fly for the next Christmas.

That Christmas flight ended up being my lucky pass to Paris.  The flights were outrageously overbooked.  Desperate, American Airlines was offering over $300 travel voucher per ticket.  For a family of five, this meant a lot of dough.  Thus to our chagrin, my mom and dad continually jumped at the chance to “bump” us to the next flight over and over again until we ended up spending three full days in the Dallas airport!  I believe this was even worse than the car ride given our grumpy, awful, outrageous behavior.  Yet, we made enough money in travel vouchers to send the entire family to Europe the following summer!  Thus in the end, despite the misery, boredom and never-ending fighting, three days in the airport was nothing compared to a trip to Europe!

The following June, we packed our bags and were off to my first trip overseas.  I remember it clearly.  I had permed, dyed blond hair, a full set of braces and was still somewhere between a girl and a woman.  I was at that terrible age where my mother once informed me that she “didn’t know me anymore”.  Puberty was hell yet at least I was on my way to Europe.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Paris.  The beauty, the romance, the aura enraptured my teenage heart and soul like nothing I’d ever felt. It was love at first sight and I knew that I’d be back. I made a promise to myself right then and there, standing looking at the Eiffel Tour, that I would someday study abroad here.  And, that, eight years later, I did.  I spent my junior spring semester abroad studying at the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and then stayed on as a fille au pair (nanny) for a French family in rural France.  My semester abroad was one of the best experiences of my life.  I loved Paris with all my heart.  It was a young, dreamy girl’s dream.  It was incredibly beautiful, hip, romantic, charming, mystifying, big and international.  I could walk for hours never once getting bored and always finding something fascinating to look at.  I could spend an entire day sitting in one of the many perfectly manicured parks watching the endless display of PDA (aka love).  I could spend even more time eating at one of the delicious patisseries, boulangeries or multitude of French or ethnic restaurants.  Or I could just sit there at an outdoor cafe in the heart of Paris on a sunny day watching the world go by.  My six months in Paris felt like living in a dream, especially for an overly romantic, coming of age, young woman.

After six months in Paris and three months in the countryside, it was time to head back.  I wasn’t ready to leave Paris but I missed my family terribly as these were the days before internet and calling home was expensive.  I finished my last year of school at UW-Madison and then returned to France once again for a three-month internship in Marseille.  Marseille (or as we used to call it “merde-seille”) wasn’t anything like Paris.  In fact, it was dirty not so pretty and a wee bit dangerous.  But it was still France.

I was able to make it back to Paris a few more times in my twenties but then times began to change.  I got married, had two children and for my future travels chose to explore other parts of the world.  It wasn’t until my recent trip to Morocco that I actually got to see Paris again (see post “I’ll Always Have Paris”).  I had a six hour layover at Charles de Gualle airport and on a whim, decided to take the RER train to the city for a cup of coffee and some memories, then headed back, somewhat satisfied.

While in Morocco, I couldn’t stop thinking about Paris. That was when I decided to look into changing my return flight.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could have one more day in Paris? I pondered, dreamily.

On one of my last day in Morocco, a fellow CCS volunteer and I spent a crazy afternoon trying to find the Air France office in the middle of a protest. The roads were blocked; the police were out with their machine guns; and there was a bit of uneasiness in the air.  Yet I wasn’t afraid.  Everything was so peaceful and so organized.  It was nothing at all like the media lead you to believe.  Plus I was a woman on a mission.

After fifteen minutes of walking circles and trying to remain as anonymous as possible, we finally found the Air France office.  Against the backdrop of chanting and protests (peaceful mind you) I asked in French what the charges would be to change my flight to the earlier time. “$250” she said.  Without hesitation, I changed my ticket.  Not because I wanted to leave Morocco.  I loved my stay in Rabat.  It was because of that little girl excitement beating loudly in my heart that told me I had to do it.  I had to spend just one more day, albeit short, in my beloved Paris.

The night before my departure, I tried to go to bed early so I wouldn’t feel tired the next day but I found sleep impossible.  Thoughts raced through my head like the night before Christmas.  What would I do first? Where did I have to go? What sites did I want to see? Where would I want to eat? What shops could I possibly squeeze in?  I found myself restless, tossing and turning all night long in my twin-sized bunk.

I woke up at 5 am to the now normal Call to Prayer, not able to sleep any longer.  I knew that I had to wake up shortly to get ready to catch my 7:45 am flight to Paris.  Plus I was beyond excited for my day.

The flight was non-eventful.  I tried to sleep but I had a screaming, kicking baby behind my seat and an unhappy, rude mother who yelled at me for declining my seat.  Thus I ended up chatting with the Moroccan man next to me who was very kind and loved the fact that I spoke rusty French.

We landed around 10:30 am and by the time I gathered my luggage, went through customs and walked out the airport doors it was already noon.  Without thought, I grabbed a cab and gave him the address of my hotel.  Immediately, I realized I had done something terribly wrong.  The cab driver, an immigrant from some other French-speaking African country began to berate me to the point of humiliation.  I was no longer in Morocco that was for sure!  He yelled and complained that he had waited three hours in line and then wound up with a short fare. My hotel was only three miles from the airport and I should have taken the courtesy bus, he claimed, fuming.  My mistake.  I apologized and gave him a measly tip yet inside I was glad I didn’t take the slow-boat to China courtesy bus.  It was already one o’clock and I was famished.

I checked into my hotel, nothing special, yet convenient since I was flying home the next morning.  I asked if there was a place in the hotel or nearby to grab some lunch and then I was sent on a wild goose chase ending up with only an apple and a yogurt from the only open place in the Roissy village.  By this time, it was approaching two o’clock and I wasn’t anywhere near Paris.  The RER ride is at least 45 minutes long to the center of town.

I waited for the black courtesy bus and waited and waited.  Thank goodness I didn’t take it from the airport (despite having an angry cab driver, it would have just wasted more time).  I finally got my ticket to Paris for about $10, sat down in the un-airconditioned train, sweltering (yes it was 80 in Paris!) and beyond hungry.  Once again, I met some friends along the way.  My henna attracted the attention of a group of young Moroccans who talked to me happily the entire ride to Paris telling me that yes they do date and no, there parents far away don’t know. Ha Ha.

By 3:30 PM, I was finally there!  It wasn’t the “whole day in Paris” that I had planned on.  But I was going to make the best of it!  I walked and walked throughout herds of people.  I couldn’t understand why there were so many people there.  It was absolutely nuts.  Nothing like I remembered it eighteen years ago.  It was gorgeous, hot and sunny.  Plus it was Saturday and finally, it was Easter weekend (Yes that was really the reason.  Easter is one of the biggest holidays in Europe and prime time to take a holiday). Thus Paris was packed.

I desperately looked for an empty table at one of the hundreds of outdoor cafes in St. Germain and finally, like a vulture preying on some road kill, found a couple vacating a table and I snatched it.  Here is a picture of me, finally eating my lunch (a mouthwatering tartine au fromage) and having a much deserved half carafe of white wine, freely and openly (we’re no longer in Morocco baby):

There I was, drinking wine and watching the world go by in one of the greatest, most beautiful cities in the world. I could have stayed here all day!

You would think being alone in a huge city like Paris would be intimidating for a foreigner but not for me.  I found traveling solo to be invigorating.  In fact, it actually opened a lot of doors for me, especially because I speak French.  The people I talked to and the conversations I had during my time alone in both Morocco and Paris were amazing.  I found that being alone and just talking to the locals is when you learn the most about others and even yourself.

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around, window-shopping and rediscovering Paris.  Yes, it was outrageously crowded, and it truly bothered me.  Yet, it was still the same old, wonderfully amazing Paris.  A city I once loved and will always adore.

At one point during the day, the skies above suddenly rumbled and let down layers of thick, heavy rain in the midst of a blue sky. I t was wild!  Of course I didn’t have an umbrella.  The sky was perfectly clear when I left the hotel hours before.  Yet I didn’t care.  Paris in the rain is still unbelievable.

Before I knew it, it was getting late.  I had walked for hours and was exhausted.  Plus I didn’t want to deal with taking the RER back too late by myself.  Conflict arose.  Should I eat dinner down here or at the measly, airport hotel?  That hotel was so boring.  Paris is so exciting!  But I was so incredibly tired.  Wouldn’t it be great to just kick back, go online, and have some wine before bed.  Just relax.  Yeah, right.  This is the thirdeyemom, someone who can never relax. Plus, when on earth would I ever be back in Paris? The decision was made.  I would eat downtown.  Now I just had to find the nearest metro station.  Ok, without a map that took me another hour and once again it was getting late and I was t-i-r-e-d!

I changed my mind and decided to go back to the hotel.  I bought my $10 RER ticket, boarded the train and was ready to chill out for the long ride when all the sudden a zillion young twentysomethings boarded the already packed train.  What on earth was going on? I wondered, feeling my anxiety rise (I don’t like being crammed like a sardine in a hot, stuffy train!  Never did, never will).  I asked wearily to the young man next to me.  It was the big match de foot…the soccer game!  After two stops of pouring down sweat and nearly passing out, I desperately crammed my way through the mass and jumped off the train, forfeiting my $10 ticket back.

I jumped off the train and checked my surroundings.  Hmmm…where was the nearest place I could go?  It couldn’t be anywhere, of course.  It had to be awesome, somewhere special, and somewhere that had memories.  I looked at the large map pasted on the dingy, dirty subway walls.  A-ha! Montmartre!  It was only a few blocks away.  So, not thinking about the tourist hell I’d experienced all day long I headed out the door and towards the Sacre Coeur and “quaint” Montmartre.  Instantly, I knew I’d made a big mistake.  There were hordes and I mean hordes of people taking up the entire width of the street.  What was I thinking?

Disappointed, I decided to at least walk up the hill to Montmartre just to see if it was indeed packed. I  walked up the steep steps to the whitewashed Sacre Coeur and knew that eating in the beloved square of trendy Montmartre was out of the question.  I couldn’t even more through the layers and layers of tourists thus immediately turned around and headed back.  Thankfully the visit wasn’t at all moot, as I was able to catch my favorite Parisien landmark on film, the beloved Tour Eiffel in the distance.

It was nearing eight o’clock and I really needed to find a place to eat, even if it wasn’t the best.  I walked down the windy streets of Montmartre, trying to get off the beaten path and find a less crowded street.  Then, alas….I saw one empty table outside at a cafe and grabbed it. I ordered up a typical French meal with a prix fixe (set price) of aperitif of kir royale, followed by a delicious salad, salmon and a dish of “deadly for the figure” profiteroles.  I sat back, relaxed and truly enjoyed the last hour of being in Paris. Ahhh…..Paris.

Happy, I headed back to the metro and had to once again spend $10 on a ticket back to the airport (since I had earlier forfeited mine).  About thirty minutes into the ride, I realized I had to go to the bathroom….a terrible thing in Paris because there are literally NO public bathrooms, anywhere.  I sat and sat on the slow boat to China, once again, because after eight pm apparently there are no direct trains to the airport.  There are only the ones that stop at each and every metro stop.  An hour later, I was at the airport and desperately looking for a bathroom.  There was none. Ok, I could keep holding it, I thought.  Then, I waited for that black courtesy bus, still holding it.  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Until finally twenty minutes later it came and I was nearing tears.  I boarded the bus which stopped at every single hotel and didn’t arrive back to my hotel until thirty-five minutes later.  By this time, I was ready to explode.  I ran to my room and finally relieved myself.  It was 10:30 PM.  It has taken over two hours to get from downtown Paris to my hotel.  I was spent.  All I wanted to do was go to bed which I did after packing up my bags, sending off a quick email to my family and thanking the Air France ticket agent for changing my ticket.  Was it worth the $250 and all the craziness and adventure of the day to be in Paris once again.   All in all….YES!  Paris, je t’aime toujours.

France Morocco TRAVEL BY REGION Volunteering Abroad

Three Continents in Two Days

Hello Readers! Bon jour! Salaam!

I’m back and I survived two crazy, insane days traveling from Africa to Europe to the United States, three continents in two days!

Needless to say, I am extremely exhausted and overwhelmed. The last two days have been a whirlwind. I left Morocco on Saturday morning (changing my flight for $250 during the middle of a protest —no worries, a tame one—so I could leave Rabat at 8 am as opposed to 3:30 pm and spend an afternoon and night in Paris). This supposedly “easy” visit to Paris ended up being nuts. I completely forgot about Easter holiday in Europe and Paris was ungodly overwhelmed with hordes and hordes of people and tourists—everywhere. Almost, well not quite, but almost like India (then again nothing can ever be like India).

These stories will come later of course since it was quite an adventure. I just wanted to let you know that I’m back, safe and sound, all in one peace, so far no illnesses, except for being tired.

This week I will be working on my upcoming posts…..
Women in Morocco, Dating 101, My Day at the Hammam, My Volunteer Experience, My Impressions of Morocco.

So please stay posted!

In the meantime, here are some funny pictures from my crossing of three continents:

My Henna in Morocco:

Lunch in Paris (wine withdrawal!!!!!):

Dinner in Paris (wine again….ok I was in a Muslim country for a week):

Almost home:

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I’ll Always Have Paris

The flight to Paris was uneventful. I was jam packed like a sardine in a tin can yet somehow I was able to relax and manage to get a couple hours of sleep (thanks to my over the counter sleeping pill). Thus the flight passed by quickly and before I knew it we were making our final descent into Charles de Gualle airpot. I checked my physical status and was happy that I didn’t feel completely miserable like I normally due with so little sleep. It was six am in Paris and eleven pm at home. But like any smart traveler, I had already changed my watch to local time and tried to erase the old Minnesota time out of my head. That is the only way you can survive jet lag. To forget it!

As we were descending, I rechecked my itinerary and was surprised to discover that my next flight to Rabat was not leaving for six hours! I had originally thought my layover was only four hours so I was delightfully surprised to learn that I had six whole hours which opened the door for a little adventure: I could hop the RER train to Paris, mon amour, and take a short but sweet trip down memory lane before catching my next flight!

I know that most people would think I’m absolutely nuts for leaving the airport with no sleep for only a brief visit to Paris, but then again those who think I’m crazy don’t understand how much I adore Paris and love it with all my heart. For you see, Paris is a very special place for me. I spent part of my Junior Year of college abroad living in Paris at the ripe, perfect age of twenty-one and I’ll never ever forget what an amazing, life-changing experience it was. For me, Paris represents an amazing self-discovery and transformation in my life. It was a time of dramatic growth that probably transformed me more than anything else I’d ever done up to that point. My time spent in Paris was like a dream. The world was my oyster. Everything was in front of me.

As I walked through customs and headed out the doors of the Paris airport, my heart speed. I could not believe that I was really doing this. I was going to a see Paris again!It had been ten long years since I’d last been to Paris, and eighteen long years (scary) since I lived there. Thus despite my fear (of somehow missing my next flight) and fatigue (yes it really was two in the morning for me), the temptation and curiosity sucked me in, and before I knew it, I was out of the airport doors and headed towards that all too familiar RER train line that would lead me to back to the city of light and the city of love.

In my opinion, Paris is one of the most beautiful, fantastic and romantic cities in the world. I could spend years there and never bore of its splendor, elegance and unexpected discoveries. It is an amazing place that is always changing yet someone remains a little bit the same. The history, the architecture, the gardens, the cafes, the restaurants and the magnificent monuments, all draw in millions of tourist a year. You could spend your entire life in Paris and still not see it all. There is so much to see and explore, the options are endless. I know for a fact that I will dream about Paris as long as I will live and hope to someday spend more time there, perhaps when my husband and I are old and gray.

I easily found the RER (regional train. similar to the metro) line and purchased my billet (ticket) for 7,8 Euros (around ten bucks) and waited for the familiar looking train to approach. It looked just as I’d remember. White with red and blue, old and creaky. It amazed me how nothing had changed. In fact I’m sure the train was the same eighteen years ago.

I boarded the train, chose my spot by the window and heard the familiar buzz of the doors shutting. I was dead tired but happy all the same! In thirty five minutes I’d be in the heart of Paris, hopefully at an outdoor cafe, sipping a delicious, inviting cup of cafe au lait with hopefully a fresh pain au chocolat in my tummy.

As the Parisian landscape passed me by, the sweet memories from eighteen years ago, when I was a young, carefree twenty-one year old woman, flashed through my mind. I was stunned to think that it was almost half my life ago that I was here. How could that be possible? How could life have really gone so fast? Like the sudden passing of the scenery, my life seemed to have passed me by. It felt like an eternity ago since I lived in Paris, yet it also felt like only yesterday, all at the same time.

My heart began to beat rapidly in excitement and anticipation as the train approached my familiar haunts. Chatelet-les-Halles, Notre Dame, Luxembourg, and finally St. Michel, where I decided to get off. I took the escalator up, noticing that the metro station was just as old, dirty and decrepit as it was then, arrived up at the doors headed out to Paris. A huge smile spread across my face as I opened the door and walked out onto the street. I was at the Notre Dame and Hotel du Ville, two beloved, famous Parisian landmarks that are in the center of the escargot (what they call Paris, as it is shaped like an escargot). I took one step out and stopped, marveling at my beloved Paris, in all her glory.

Was it worth the trip? (I only had an hour to have a quick cafe, take some photos and soak it all it). Indeed! As I love to say, Paris, je t’aime! I will always have Paris.

Here are some shots of my beloved Paris, in the springtime:
Notre Dame:

View from Notre Dame:






Even on a dreary day, Paris is spectacular:

Ok, this is a funny, unexpected shot. I found an outdoor cafe with heaters and ordered up a delightful cafe au lait. I asked the waiter to take my picture and before I knew it, he sat right next to me, grabbed my shoulder and took this hilarious photo of the two of us! I couldn’t stop laughing. He got me!

Me, looking terribly tired but happy as a clam to be having my beloved cafe au lait with a view of the world passing by:

France TRAVEL BY REGION