Yes, we are back from Paris. It was a wonderful, beautiful trip. We spent lots of time wandering the neighborhoods and relaxing and picnicking in the parks. The city was in full spring bloom. I've got lots of catching up to do with images (we took tons of photos), but that will just have to wait for a rainy day since we are having the perfection of spring weather here as well. Time to enjoy the sunshine and flowers, but watch out- the first rainy day I will be bombarding the blogs with Paris pics. Until then, you can see some unedited photos on facebook.

How many Eiffel Tower photos are you willing to look at?

Bon printemps!


paris 5: lundi

We still had a lot of the day Monday for some final exploring before our evening trip back. Some wandering, vintage Vogues, and ending on a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens.

Ah, April in Paris. Fin.


paris 4: dimanche

Okay, here they come, more pictures of the Eiffel Tower than you'd ever like to see. Really, I tried to keep it to a reasonable number of photos, so here's just a few of the many Eiffel shots taking up space on my hard drive.

A few more? No problem.

My had-to-have Paris souvenir: tiny tower. (souvenir is the French word meaning: remember). I had to keep Derek from eating it and the love-birds from eating our picnic.

View from the top.

Paris is such a huge city, and so flat after spending time in the Geneva area. My favorite thing to do in any new place is to go to a high point and get a look-out at the pattern of the roads and buildings. Paris seems to go on forever in all directions.

Since the sky seemed to be threatening a little rain, we went to the Musee Rodin (my favorite museum the last time I visited Paris). I love this museum because it is a manageable size and I tend to prefer seeing the works of an individual's lifespan than moving too quickly through a spectrum of histories. The Rodin Museum is also in a gorgeous estate with incredible gardens and not too crowded.

le baiser and detail. Actually, combined, Derk and I took more photos of Rodin sculptures than anything else in Paris, yes, including the Eiffel Tower.

Perhaps the most famous, le penseur. We caught an open bench facing this sculpture and watched all out fellow tourists pose with him...a must do in Paris ;)

Walking past sculptures everywhere in the city. While walking back to the Louvre gardens again- so nice to relax and people watch.

Near the Louvre, (l-r, t-b) orange pants man, cutest kid ever, boys playing football on bikes, street performance, group shot, us.)

We sat near this corridor to listen to the clarinetist and cellist play for over an hour. They were really amazing. We started to say goodbye to the dusty light and golden glow of the city. We went to a vegan/vegetarian restaurant for a good dinner where we met a New York couple and moved our new party to a nearby cafe on our last night in Paris.


paris 3: samedi

Saturday we spent wandering the Marais district.  Stopping at the Musee Carnavalet - showing the history of Paris, but it was much to lovely to be in-doors for very long, so out to the Place des Vosgues, the oldest planned square in Paris.

Macaron break in the Place des Vosgues plus great people watching. I love the red sneakers on this guy lying on the grass.

Some window shopping, some vintage shops, and more people watching.

Derek took a great series of photos of people outside this shop (while I was inside rummaging for just a little bit).

Lovely wooden doors and bicycles.

 It was just to nice to spend time inside the Pompidou, as much as I like it. So we enjoyed the inside-outed exterior.

Some sights heading back and along the river.

Sunset on the bridges.

Notre Dame.

Shakespeare and Company (the famous English book shop) is open late, so we spent the evening looking through old books in the upstairs loft. There's lots to look at.


paris 2: vendredi

First stop today: best baguette in Paris. Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses won this year's annual award (NY Times article). We found the little shop front, got our baguette and ate it on the steps of Sacre Coeur with the rest of the picnic lunch we packed.

Some of the many painters and charicaturists set up in the square.

Cafes, shops, the Moulin Rouge, and the man stuck in the wall.

We meandered down to the Louvre gardens and relaxed around the pounds and flowers, soaking in some springtime sunshine.

Sunset stroll along the Seine, some dinner, and the end of out first full day. Tired feet.


paris 1: jeudi

After checking airline delays and departures all week, we were relieved that our flight had not been canceled.  The week-long air-space closure opened up again just in time. We had an easy 45 minute flight and then navigated through the RER system to arrive in Orsay, about 30 minutes outside of Paris to meet the friend we would be staying with for the weekend. Then into Paris for the evening for a little walking and a Django Reinhardt tribute at Caveau de la Huchette. (In authentic Django style, the guitarist was missing a finger).

The music was excellent and atmosphere ecstatic with talented jazz dancers and toe-tapping old-timers. It was and unforgettable evening and possibly the coolest place I've ever been. One of the night's highlights was Embraceable You sung by a fabulous gentleman who could have been around back in the early jazz days. (You can listen to Billie Holiday's version here.)

Descending and the room before getting started.

A little bit of the extensive history of the Caveau de la Huchette (excerpts from their history page):

"Long before 1551, the building bearing the N°5 on rue de la Huchette was the meeting place of both the Rosicrucians and the Templers, and in 1772 was transformed into a secret lodge. One approached it by way of  rue de la Parcheminerie, rue de l’Hotel-Dieu and Petit-pont. This lodge was composent of two basement rooms one on top of the other, which served as meeting  rooms. From that location two secret subterranean passages branched out, one loading to Châtelet, the other under the cloister of Saint-Séverin .

In 1789 and all during the revolutionnary period, this building know as  Caveau de la Terreur housed the Club des Cordeliers and des Montagnards. In the upper room, transformed into a public-house, one drank, sang and argued about la liberté.
The principal members of the Conventions could be found there (Danton, Marat, Saint-Just and Robespierre), and numerous trials were conducted on the spot (followed by peremptory executions). You will find there one after another, the court room, the prison, the place of execution. In the lower room, there stills exists a very deep well, used to remove all evidence of the crimes committed there. These rooms are unquestionably authentic, historically accurate, and preserved in their original state.

While Paris was celebrating its liberty once again after WWII, a new kind of music from over the Atlantic settled in around Saint-Germain des Près: Jazz invaded the cellars and hot spots of Paris. The GI’s brought in swing and be-bop, and dance exploded on the scene, dance floor acrobatics complementing frenzied rythms. Number 5 rue de la Huchette saw the opening of one of these small clubs, soon to become the temple of New-Orleans Jazz and be-bop in Paris. In fact, it was the first club in Paris where jazz was played.

From those days on, the Caveau de la Huchette has perpetuated the same rich tradition and a jazz band performs every evening for the pleasure of jazz lovers. Among them, too, excellent be-bop dancers are stills to be found.

Whether you are just a jazz-lovers, like to dance your socks off, or are a professional musician, the exceptional atmosphere of the club will remind you of the Cotton Club and the Savoy in their glory days. So, let yourself go… but be advised this club has a standard to live up to!"

à paris

Looks like our flight should be taking off. Fingers crossed, we'll be in Paris this afternoon. Have a lovely weekend and I'll be catching up with plenty of Paris pics when we return.



Spring is finally in full effect here... so I find it harder to sit down at the computer. Since the sun has come back and it's warm enough to go out without a coat, I've been doing lots of wandering and exploring. Last Saturday, Derek and I set out with the goal of walking to Geneva. This would have been about a 4 hour walk had we followed the direct rout, but it's more fun to meander along indirect paths that lead to fun surprises along the way.  So it took 8. 5 hours instead, but we spent much of that time on wooded trails, passing through small towns, and winding along with the river. Some sights along the way:

Spring green.

In towns.

We stopped to picnic on the steps of the marie in Bernex, the biggest town along our route. It even had a grocery store, buses, and bustling with afternoon activity.
The river trail, getting close to the city.

And here we are, greeted by a graffiti chicken and floating tents! Now to rest our feet a bit and catch the bus back home.



Today is our six month "franciversary" (yup, six month anniversary of living in our apt. in France). To celebrate, we did a little bird watching, I planted a few things in front of our place, including strawberries, mint, rosemary, thyme, some flower bulbs, and our landlord's fig tree. Then we had a nice dinner.

What have we learned and accomplished in six months? 
- Well, a big thing is the little bit of French, enough to have some minor conversations. 
- Ski to enjoy the winter.
- I've learned to drink espresso and like it.
- Cooking and shopping for food has become a real pleasure.
- Not owning a car is awesome.
- Slow down, look around.
- The only thing missing in my life is a cat, but there are enough sitting on window sills to tide me over a little longer.
- People here are really happy and that makes me happy.