Tag Archives: paris

Can I just go back now?

Paris is on my mind. I feel compelled to go back, and sooner rather than later. I think it’s a combination of creating my Year in Photos slice, which had lots of Paris pictures, and reading a fellow slicer‘s posts about life in France. Instead of working on my reports, which are due tonight, I’ve been researching all the best foods to eat while in Paris and using Skyscanner.com to look up ticket prices to CDG. Oh man…I’m jonesing for some Paris time!

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Paris was never really on my radar prior to my trip last year. I thought it could never live up to the hype. That it was highly overrated. A tourist trap of the extreme. Boy, was I wrong! Despite only being in Paris for 3.5 days, not to mention the fact that it was cold and rainy most of the time, I fell in love with the city of love. ❤

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It has all of my favorite things I look for in a place to visit. It’s a foodie’s haven, with more food to possibly try than time in which to do it. Full of culture, there are jaw-dropping historical monuments to visit (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur to name a few), as well as museums with world-renowned artwork. My all-time favorite museum is The Lourve. I could meander its maze of hallways for days and never tire. There’s something indescribable about that place. And it’s charm…Paris has charm for days! Every corner you turn is just so damn picturesque that you can’t stand it.

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I’ve been thinking of a few things I’d love to do on my return trip to Paris, a Paris bucket list if you will.

  • Walk up the Eiffel Tower. Last time I took the elevator, but I think I’d like to walk up next time.
  • Eat a picnic lunch of a crusty baguette, good cheese, luxurious butter, olives, roasted veggies, grapes, and macarons from Laduree for dessert in Champ de Mars, the park in front of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Have breakfast at Angelina’s at least once, but knowing me, I’d go there a couple of times. It’s just one of those iconic places you can’t miss.
  • Spend some time alone sitting at a small, quaint cafe, preferably overlooking the Seine, at an outdoor table with a large mug of warm tea, a buttery, flaky croissant, and my writer’s notebook, just observing the city pass by, jotting down ideas, observations, and musings.
  • Eat my way through this gastronomical city, mapping out my days’ activities based on where I want to eat. I want to have a plan so I can get in all the yummy foods I’ve read about, but I’ll also leave room for spontaneity, as I know hidden gems will pop up that I just have to try!
  • Get to The Lourve early, wandering my way through at my own slow pace, savoring the magic of this place. My writer’s notebook in tow, I just know I’ll stop and sit a while in front of one of my favorite pieces of art and write.
  • Take more photos, focusing in on the little details of this beautiful, charming city.
  • Get lost. I love getting lost in a new city…you never know what you’ll find!

With that…who wants to take a trip to Paris with me? 🙂

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Year in Photos 2016

Sometimes pictures are better than words. They can tell more of a story, inviting the reader to infer their meaning, ask questions about their significance to the writer, and wonder what happened before and after the snapshot was taken. I’ve been telling a story of my year in photos for the past couple of years (click here for my year in photos for 2014 and 2015), and it is an exercise I enjoy, looking back through my year’s photos, deciding which ones to include and which ones are better left out. Without further adieu, here is my 2016 year in photos, in chronological order.

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Layover in Paris #sol16 28 of 31

 

Today’s journey home, from Dakar, Senegal to Tirana, Albania, was a long one! We left at 1:00am Dakar time and flew to Paris, then to Rome, and then to Tirana. The whole trip was over 18 hours. But…what made the journey so much better was my layover at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. No, it wasn’t long enough for us to go into Paris. I wish! What made it so special was that I got to catch up with a good friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since departing Shanghai this past summer. Heather was on her way to Mauritania to begin a 2.5 month substitute teaching position, and just so happened to land in Paris 15 minutes before I did in the same terminal. Now that’s a coincidence, huh? Well, naturally, once we figured this out, we made plans to meet up in the terminal before moving onto our connecting flights.

I was coming down the escalator when I saw her. Of course, we both screeched, because that’s what you do when you see a friend you haven’t seen in forever! We hugged, and then sat down on a nearby bench to “speed catch-up.” It’s like speed dating, only instead of getting to know someone, you trade highlights of your life since you last saw one another. Sure, we keep up on social media and chat using WeChat, but that doesn’t replace really chatting, that fluidity you get in face-to-face talks can’t be matched by typing or even Skyping. All too soon, our chat came to an end, as we watched the clock and knew we needed to give each other time for our connections. The best part of our meet up is that Heather decided to come visit me in Albania this June once her contract is over. We had plans to have her come last August, but circumstances and timing prevented that from happening. I’m so stoked that she’ll be my first visitor! Here she is…how cute is she?!? 🙂

After running into Heather, Sally and I made our obligatory Starbucks run. I had my usual Iced Chai Tea Latte and a blueberry muffin. She had a Java Chip Frappaccino. We had to go through security and customs, exit the terminal, and hike to another terminal, but when you are Starbucks-deprived, you’ll go to great lengths to get it! It was yummy!

Our last stop before boarding was Laduree for some of the best macaroons in Paris. When in Paris, you must Laduree! Today’s flavors were salted caramel, raspberry, pistachio, praline, and chocolate passionfruit. The salted caramel and raspberry are my favorites, but the other flavors are new to me. I can’t wait to try them! If you’re ever in Paris (or even just the airport), do stop in and pick up a few. You won’t be sad you did!

Dreaming of Paris #sol16 5 of 31

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Ah, Paris…how I wish I was back there. Two weeks ago I traveled to Paris for the first time. Paris was one of those places that was always on my list, but was never really near the top. There’s too much hype. People build it up too much. I always thought it could never live up to its reputation. Plus I like going to places that are off the beaten track. Paris was just too mainstream for me. Seriously, everyone goes to Paris. Why would I want to go?

Now that I live in Europe, Paris is close enough that I can take a trip for a long weekend. I know, even as I write that I realize how bratty I sound. Anyway…my friend Sally and I decided we’d go to Paris for our four-day holiday, which happened to fall on her birthday. Neither of us had been, so we figured, why not? I didn’t really research the trip much, and other than a visit to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and eating some croissants and macaroons, I hadn’t really planned much else.

When I got to Paris, I realized why it’s hyped up as much as it is. It’s amazing, and deserves every bit of the attention it gets. Even the fact that it was really cold and rainy much of the time, I still fell in love with that city. How could I not? First of all, the architecture is stunning. No matter where you look, the detail cannot be missed. And the Louvre? Holy crap, that place is awe-inspiring! Not only because of the sheer size of the structure and volume of the collection, but the feeling one gets when walking through it is enough to take your breath away.

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Of course, a trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. It’s one of the most recognizable structures on Earth, and I’d be remiss not to see it up close and personal. On our first night, we were wandering around in search of a Starbucks (found one!), and decided to stroll by the Seine River on the way back to our hotel. Once we reached the river, I saw the Eiffel Tower in the distance, lit up in a golden glow, beckoning me. I convinced Sally to take a walk and see it at night. Let me tell you something that you may not know. The Eiffel Tower is an optical illusion! It seems close, what with it being so big and all, but don’t let it fool you. Don’t think that you can walk to it quickly. Because you can’t. We walked for an hour, but it still looked the same. We walked for another hour. It still seemed out of reach. By this time my feet were killing me, but stubbornness in me refused to take a taxi. It was right there!! Anyhow, when we reached the base of the tower, all the pain was worth it. The Eiffel Tower, especially lit up at night, was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! I probably took a million pictures of it. I couldn’t get enough!

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And then there’s the food! Oh my gosh, this is a foodie’s paradise. Especially if you like decadent, indulgent, laden-with-so-much-butter-you’ll-clog-an-artery-but-every-bite-is-worth-it food. The food alone is enough reason for me to go back. In my opinion, you need to go for a week just so you have enough time to eat. That was my problem. I wanted to eat all the time, but because the food was so rich, I wasn’t always hungry. Some of my favorites were croissants and hot chocolate from Angelina’s, macaroons from Laduree, bread and butter from anywhere, cheese souffle from Le Souffle…the list goes on. Oh, and Paris has goat cheese! My life was complete.

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I intend to write more about Paris in the future, but suffice it to say, I loved it and will definitely be back! Here’s a short video of my time there…enjoy!