Monday, May 6, 2013

Paris In April!

Warning: Very lengthy, and not as many photos as it seems I have deleted a bunch. Yup! And, I'm just SICK about it, so I had to borrow some from Debby's blog. Thanks Debby!

Going to Paris, was the part of my trip that I was most excited about before leaving Texas. I've seen every movie with Paris in it, read books and magazines about it, you name it, and I've romanticized the city so much in my head. I couldn't wait to experience the City of Lights, and especially wheel and deal at the world famous flea markets. However, after loving England so much more than I thought I would, I have to confess I didn't want to leave yet. It was hard saying good bye.
The high speed train ride to France was thrilling! The countryside southeast of London was so beautiful, and then the 20 minutes of darkness while under the English Channel was just plain cool! At last, we were confronted with daylight again and the most charming French countryside views...straight out of fairytale books! There were rows and rows of crops, and the greenest of green grasses, and villages here are there with the same basic layout...a rustic Church at the heart of each village, surrounded by red roofed stoned cottages and houses, patterned with cobble stone paths and streets. There were no neon signs or store signs at all until we came a city, and wow oh wow did we come to a city...Paris. However, the train ride views of the city were not very attractive, especially after all the beauty I just ingested through the countryside. In fact, the views were down right frightening to me, and then I stepped off the train. Immediately, I was engulfed with a not so pleasant smell and my throat tightened up, and my eyes started watering. I could feel a pressure in my face like nothing I'd felt before, and boom it hit me...headache. I realized right then and there that Paris, is like all big cities...there are some unsavory parts, and it seemed as though I was allergic to this particular part...well, whatever was in the air in this part anyway.
The long wait for a taxi and the taxi ride to the hotel was all a blur under the headache cloud, but the Tylenol finally kicked in, and when we reached the hotel, I got to say my very first "Bonjour" to a real cutie I nicknamed Jacques Stamos, as he could have been brothers with John Stamos, 80's hair and all.  I loved saying it the Julia Child way to my friends, but didn't dare to anyone else. After resting and unpacking, I felt so much better, so it was time to hit the city.
First, we went to go get my Metro card, so I could ride the Metro all week long. It was so exciting, as I really loved riding The Tube in London. As we walked down into the subterranean railway system, again with the allergies, but this time, my eyes poured like I was crying. The rest of the night's adventure was a blur to me as well. Why oh why was this happening? Debby was perfectly fine, but Michelle did have some of the trouble I was having too. I know we did some shopping, and saw a protest going on, but that was about it, until we got back to the hotel, when we were confronted with another disaster at home, the explosion at West, Texas, along with the news continuing of the Boston Marathon Bombings. So, this new news started really making me feel homesick too. Am I bumming you out? Sorry! It will get better I promise.
The next day was a new day! New drugs had been taken, and we had a car tour booked. My dream of charming Paris awaited!
Our driver Travis, and our authentic Citroen 2CV. Very cool!!!
Travis took us to places off the beaten path, and places we never heard of, or knew about. Even Debby, who has been several times to Paris had never heard of some of these spots. This ultra beautiful and charming tiny neighborhood was La Cite Florale. All the little roads (They look like sidewalks to me.) were named after flowers. I would love to see it in full bloom. I could so live in this spot. I took so many photos here.
 
 
 
 
 

Then Travis drove and drove, and talked and talked, and I soaked it all in.
 
I caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance while we drove...it was my first peek at it. I was beyond thrilled even for that snippet!
This gorgeous Church Saint Sulpice was not finished on this side. See how each tower is different?
I forgot the name of this gorgeous Church.
 
 
We went down the most narrow streets, that I would just love to have an apartment. Look at the charming graffiti...yes, charming! Some of the wall Art was fabulous!
Le Pantheon National up ahead.
 
We crossed over one of the two islands in Paris, the Ile de la Cite, the famous one where Notre Dame is, and turned down into a tiny inlet few tourists know about, that opens up into Square de la Place Dauphine, which is really a triangle, and is where the right and left banks of the Seine River meet at the bridge called Pont Neuf, and that is basically the only place I really learned the whereabouts in Paris.
 
Another graffiti wall Art I loved.  It would be fantastic to live in Place Dauphine as well.
Cathedrale de Notre-Dame and all the many "love locks" that people put on the Pont de l'Archeveche Bridge. People write on the locks, usually their name, and place them on the bridge in hopes of gaining love or some other wish. They have become illegal due to maintenance issues and the extra weight on the bridge, but people do it anyway. Some of the locks are massive...Texas sized! I took SO MANY photos of Notre-Dame, all of them deleted...ugh!
Then we journeyed  up a hill, past the Moulin Rouge cabaret, to Picasso's, Monet's, and van Gogh's old stomping grounds, the area of Montmartre. Here is gorgeous Basilica of the Sacre Cceur
From the butte, I finally got to see the whole Eiffel Tower. I stared for what seemed like an hour! I wish the day was less hazy, but I think this is just beautiful.
The view is just gorgeous from the steps of the Basilica. I remember several movies using this spot.
Then we headed down, and finally down the long Avenue des Champs-Elysees, and around the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, which honors those who fought and died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
And...just around the corner, we drove around this thing! WOW!!! Checked off the bucket list!
 
After our tour with Travis, we shopped and shopped, and picked up some macarons at Laduree. I picked out a special box, selected my flavors carefully, and only purchased a few for me, as I was going to go back and get some later in the week for my family. Well, as we shopped, I left mine at the Repetto store. YUP! And, my friends never shared with me! And, I never was able to get any more for the family at the airport, because they kept our plane occupants so long in the holding pen (That's what we all called it.), we all had to run to our plane, and there was no time to stop and shop at some of the most wonderful shops you've ever seen at an airport in your life. Crappy! So, I still have no idea what a macaroon tastes like!!!
We finished that day, and what an awesome day it was, by eating at a fabulous cafe called Esmerelda, which was across from Notre-Dame.

The ladies told the waiter that I had never gotten a french kiss...one on each check...and so he obliged to my shock and dismay and red cheeks! Today was the Paris of my dreams, full of charm and beauty like nothing I'd ever seen!
The rest of week, was more shopping and sight seeing, and I kept popping the allergy pills. I did go to a flea market, French phrases ready, Euros burning a hole in my pocket, but the experience was horrible at the time, although comical now, and even involved a stalker who kept following me and whispering "s'il vous plait". That has been quite fun for the family to reenact around the house let me tell you!!! Needless to say, I didn't buy anything, and it was the experience I was looking forward to the most...go figure!
Nice bench area to wait at.

The Louvre
It was awesome to walk along the very long Jardin des Tuileries at Place du Louvre. The gardens were gorgeous, filled with tulips and various bulbs, and the greenest grass. There were statues everywhere, fountains, and cafes of various sort. The smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is there, and lines up exactly with the larger at the opposite end, very cool.
 
I love where the bird is perched!
I had to get a shot of this from a gallery window.
And of course a pic from this very famous street sign. We visited #31 Rue Cambon, and were treated very very well! We were even given the tour of the famous stairs, and came out with many samples.
Although my sinuses and olfactory senses hated it down there, often musicians played for money while we rode the Metro, and it was fun. I will say that I loved the smell of the burning rubber coming from the tires on train. I'm crazy I guess.
On our last night, we decided to do a night cruise on the Seine. I took a ton of photos...haha...not! All I have is what I had on my phone. It was an amazing experience, even though I felt the worse than I had the whole time. The meds could not help me anymore, and make up was useless as it just came right off. Anyway, right when we came to the Eiffel Tower, the lights started to twinkle and the waiter came out with a cake and a firecracker candle and the whole boat sang Happy Birthday to me...RIGHT AT THE TWINKLING EIFFEL  TOWER!!! How cool is that??? I will ALWAYS remember this birthday...always!
 
 
 
No city is perfect. The Paris of my dreams did and does exist! It was a wonderful experience, and one I will cherish. However, if I ever have the chance to go back to France, I will visit the countryside first, especially the South for a much longer period of time, and only Paris for a day or two to shop, and to get some macarons!. While my dreams may be simpatico, my sinuses are NOT! Sorry Paris, please don't take offense at my poor immune system!


I hope your hands get creatively dirty soon, and your bags get packed to some wonderful place to visit!

35 comments:

  1. A wonderful post Anita! You've brought back fond memories for me of a trip long ago. So glad you got to experience London and Paris! Hugs, Yvonne

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  2. oh Anita... you didn't get your Laduree?! (so random, but that's the part that stuck with me!!) I'm *SO* sorry!! I enjoyed a sampling of them in NYC last year and I about died of swoon-worthyness.

    Perhaps you can venture to Manhattan to try some...

    It looks like an amazing trip - thanks for sharing!

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  3. I read about the locks on the bridge the other day.

    A couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it onto one of the bridges. They then throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their undying love.

    There are actually two bridges apparently with locks..

    Pont des Arts and Pont de l'Archevêché.

    There are two bridges in Paris with the locks, you must be very careful which bridge you put your lock on because Pont des Arts is for your committed love, while Pont de l'Archevêché is for your lover.

    What a wonderful trip and lucky you.

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    1. COOL!!! I had no idea about the two bridges being for two separate things...I love that! I found the locks so fascinating! Thank you for telling us this!!!

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  4. Wow, a wonderful post.Thanks for sharing all the photos.

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  5. Lovely post Anita, The pics are Great! I've been to Paris a few times Beautiful city but too busy for me.. I live in the South of England about 1 hour & 20 mins from London... I Love London but nice to leave the city behind too....So sorry about those Macaroons..But how Wonderful to celebrate your Birthday around the Effel Tower... Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip... Hugs May x x x

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  6. WOW, amazing photos and what a wonderful description!!! Us Europeans take so much for granted.......
    It sounds as if you truly had the trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad Paris lived up to your dreams in the end! I have been there many times, but it looks as if you got to see the very best of it!!!

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  7. Ohh Anita, what a great post! Love all the pictures! So sorry to hear that you deleted most of them by accident! And that Paris challenged your immuun system so extremely! That flower neighbourhood looks amazing! That car tour looks so much fun too! I can tell you had a wonderful time! Hugs, Sandra

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  8. So sorry to hear you had an allergic reaction to Paris! Sounds like a love/hate relationship as the bits you loved clearly blew you out of the water! Fabulous photos, thanks for sharing... (Have to admit I'm a countryside over big city girl these days.) So glad your Europe trip lived up to expectations... what a way to celebrate your birthday!
    Alison x

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing journey to Paris with us Anita, what wonderful memories you will have (not the allergies of course!). So glad the Eiffel Tower was worth all that effort. But really glad that you loved England so much too.....my lovely Son lives in that beautiful south-east countryside that you travelled through and liked........ Hugs, Anne x

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  10. Oh, I had a blast reading about your vacation! Great pictures, and what happy faces!! I had to chuckle as I got to Laudree as it was closing for the day and didn't get a macaroon! I am happy to report they opened one here in NYC!!! Now, I know I have to get back there!!

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  11. Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. Memories to cherish.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your adventures and photos. The bad memories will fade with time I hope and just the beautiful parts of Paris will shine through. Shame about the cookies.....

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  13. Oh, I had to pop back here as not anyone would appreciate this, but since I just commented about Laudree, a client come in with gift of them for me this morning for being helpful. I am over the moon. Who needs lunch?

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  14. What a fantastically memorable birthday Anita! I do love Paris, have visited several times, but I understand what you mean about its downsides too. I'm sure you have been overwhelmed with artistic inspiration what with all you have seen on your trip. It all sounds so wonderful.

    You sure packed in a huge amount. Well done on keeping going when your poor shot immune system just couldn't take any further 'strange invaders' on. I hope you are getting plenty of rest since your return. Nicola x

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  15. Thanks for taking me on your trip to Paris...I enjoyed it very much!
    I just live 500 km from Paris, and uhhh never went there...oops.
    Enjoy the memories! Au revoir :-)

    Alie

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  16. Ah...C'est la vie! What an adventure you have had, both good and bad, but I am sure something you will never forget!! Get better :)

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  17. Wow I am so glad fulfilled your dream of visiting Paris :) Thank you for sharing that beautiful photos of Paris with its wonderful journey I love all this gorgerous photos. I am so glad you were able to visit Europe. I am sure that you are able to return to it again keeping my fingers crossed. Greetings Asia:)

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  18. A fabulous collection of sites! Thanks for sharing your adventures.

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  19. Now today is my birthday and my trip to Paris is via your blog! So see, we both made it to Paris on our birthdays! Fabulous pictures and what a lovely share! Sorry you have lost some of your pictures, but the memories will always be there! Hugs!

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  20. I am pea green with envy!!!! I must admit that I too love England. Your pictures are absolutely grand - every single one. You very lucky lady!!!!
    Sandy

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  21. I've never been to Paris so thanks for the lovely tour. I will keep in mind the sinus headache and macaroon stories should I ever get there.

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  22. ...what an amazing journey you have had Anita, your posting is crammed full of awesome piccy's and great visual details, the tower lit up at night is stunning and I too would be in awe (i've never been to paris) your adventure is with you for life to recall again and again...Melxx :)

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  23. Oh, I am so happy for you . . . this trip looks like so much fun. You girls will be remembering your time together for as long as you live. Thank you so much for taking the time to take photos and share with us . . . this is the only way I'll ever see Paris. Oh, and I am delighted that you are showing us things that we would not see in the tourist books. You are truly exploring the city. I am not only excited for you but I'm also thrilled that you had the opportunity to do this. Keep smiling, your blogging sister, Connie :)
    P.S. Eat a macaron for me :)

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  24. That brings back so many happy memories. It is every bit as special as you describe. So glad you had a wonderful time despite the allergies. Hugs, Jenny x

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  25. Holy Toledo, that was the BEST vacation I've never taken thanks to the vast assortment of incredible pictures!!! Even the pizza pie looked yummier than normal pizza. What an amazing experience and Happy Belated Birthday to you Anita. Despite that unforgiving allergies and sinuses....wow, what a memory!!

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  26. What a great vacation - I am soooo happy for you! And what a cool birthday, looks like you had the trip of a life time :)

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  27. Feel as though I was right there with you. What a wonderful travelogue. So glad that you got to do this! xoxo

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  28. Oh wow what a fabulous trip! So sorry about your pics but thank goodness for friends with their own cameras :). The graffiti was absolutely delightful! The city streets, signs and lights...amazing! I adore the artful throne bench...I wonder if DH would mind if I built one in the backyard? Thanks for sharing your travels with us :)

    Amy*

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  29. Image recall is a program you can get and will get all lost images, from eons ago on the card if you need them. I have used it when I accidently delete or if a card thinks it is smarter than I am. LOL

    Love your pic and will look several times. funny when grandson went over there the only thing I asked for was photos. HE wanted to get a gift and I said nope just photos then made him 2 large scrapbooks of his trip. He does treasure those wonder if he would have taken as many as he did? You will always have wonderful memeories of your trip my dear. xoxoxo

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  30. What a wonderful photo shoot! I confess that I envy you a little, I really love Paris, is a fabulous place and unique but ..... I wait for you in Italy!! BArbarayaya

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  31. Oh my!! What an amazing trip!! I know you will never forget it. Sounds like it was wonderful. Thanks for sharing your photos and memories. Was fun to see Paris vicariously. :))

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  32. First I want to wish you Happy birthday Anita! Thank you for this trip to Paris, it is in my travel wish list too. It seems you had fun (except allergy)

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  33. Loved scrolling through your Paris pictures, it sure looks like you had a wonderful time, and wow, what a way to spend your birthday! Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, waving hi from the stormy hills of North Carolina ♥

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  34. Oh you lucky girl Anita!!! My dream is to someday make it to Paris. So sorry to hear about your allergies though. Looks like you made the best of it anyway. Fireworks on your Birthday in front of the Eiffel tower, Thats what I call living right! Happy Blated Birthday!!
    Hugs Lynn
    P.S. Did you make it to the Flea Markets?

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