Tuesday, May 29, 2018

France - 9ième Journée

Our last day in Paris! Must have been the perfect length because I feel happy to be going home tomorrow. But it was a wonderful time away, spent with my mom, sister, aunt and cousin.

When we woke up this morning, it was rainy and 65 degrees. My mom and I headed out for some last minute shopping. I felt as though it might rain all day, so I didn't bring my camera. That's why the street art photo below is actually from Friday. Turns out there were a couple of hours of sun from 3-8 in the afternoon, so I could have tricked you with that photo, except that you can see Sarah standing there, reading a map.

A photo shoot for some lip stick
I love how her right hand looks like it's holding the street sign. Unintentional photographic genius!
Saint Chapelle and it's stained glass windows were breathtaking. Afterwards we meandered back to our airbnb to start packing for our flights tomorrow. My mom and aunt leave for Italy around 8 am, Molly leaves for California at 10 am, and I'll be en route to Madison (via Chicago) before noon.

Saint Chapelle's beauty
Now - at 11 pm - it's pouring rain! We were having a perfectly-French dinner at Chez Rene when the sky to the north started to darken. Thunder and lightning was a perfect backdrop for my last mousse au chocolat in Paris. Au revior! It's been lovely!

Monday, May 28, 2018

France - 8ième Journée

On our eighth day, we said farewell to our wonderful tour guide, Sarah, who unfortunately had to get back to her family and job in Côte d'Ivoire. We saw her off on the train near Notre Dame, then walked to the Musée D'Orlangerie, where Claude Monet's Water Lilies is hung. Very lovely.

Beautiful trees along the Seine
Allium in the Tuillerie Gardens
Water Lilies
Poor teacher, trying to get 3rd graders to appreciate Monet
"It rests my brain to paint flowers" -Renoir 


Sunday, May 27, 2018

France - 7ième Journée

Today we did a food tour of Paris, which helped us explore areas where we had not already spent much time. We didn't taste any surprising foods, but no matter! It was great. We started with croissants and pain au chocolate (aka chocolate croissant). Then we walked up the street to a stretch of shops where Matthew (our French attorney and tour guide) collected duck liver pâté, pâté en croûte (pate with a pastry crust), saussison (dry pork sausage), goat cheese, cow cheese, blue cheese (roquefort, a creamy blue that was fabulous) and brie. We walked to a little table with this haul and Matthew bought some rosé wine. We had plenty of baguettes from the boulangerie/pattiserie.

The boulangerie/pattiserie where we bought the croissants, pain au chocolat and baguettes
Our sidewalk picnic
We bought some apricots for our picnic at the Eiffel Tower last night. Yum!
After this main course we walked to eat some crepes, filled with butter and sugar. After a short walk near the Pantheon and past Earnest Hemingway's apartment, we ended near Notre Dame, where we tasted some French cookies - like mini cream puffs. I was happy they choose something a little bit less common than a macaroon, and the store front was oh-so-cute.

Jumbo, white asparagus, which we tried in a starter at Le Bon Georges
The cream puff cafe, Odette, named after the grandmother of the owner, whose recipe he uses
Little French berets help identify the type of cream you'll find inside. I got chocolate!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

France - 6ième Journée

Today's pictures can speak a thousand words! Oh, but I should say that I took a picture of the bride and groom only because Louisa and Cora love to see wedding dresses. Good night!

Another flower market :)
Notre Dame 

Friday, May 25, 2018

France - 5ième Journée

Our fifth day in France was full, yet relaxing. We did a bike tour of the less touristy parts of Paris. I've been having fun trying to learn how to use our digital camera on modes other than AUTO. I'm not totally convinced that it's worth hauling it around if my iPhone can take pictures that are just as good. I'll need to set up an experiment to test this theory.

On Friday evening, we had dinner at Le Bon Georges - recommended by my friend Kerstin, who lives in Wisconsin but visited France last fall. The food was good (I had a ahi tuna-like fish), but the waiters were the most memorable part of the experience. They all obviously loved their jobs.  I asked one of the waiters why he liked his job so much. His answer was somewhat lost in translation, I think. He basically explained that he works 10 am to 2 am with a 1 hour break and that he loves his job because it doesn't feel like work. Isn't that what we all want out of a job?

It turns out that George himself was one of the waiters, which still surprises me. But I decided that that could be why the entire waitstaff seemed so enthused - because their boss was working along side them? Anyways, it was a very French experience and during the 2.5 hours we sat and ate, it poured rain, stopping long enough for us to leisurely walk & metro home!

My cousin Molly, my mom, my sister and me
Just a nice plaza in Paris


Thursday, May 24, 2018

France - 4ième Journée

Oh my. I have even fewer words tonight. Not because I'm so tired, but because we are getting up quite early for a bike tour of Paris! A few pics to recap another lovely day!

Peter, Cora and Louisa! I thought you stayed home with Nate
Some amazing graffiti in Montmartre
Sacre Cour
Sacre Cour, encore
I miss traveling with my photography coach (Nate). He would teach me how to make this picture 100% better!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

France - 3ième Journée

I haven't found enough time to write! Pictures will have to suffice today, because I'm too tired to collect my thoughts. The captions can tell the story of day three.

A great door in Chinon
Looks open, right? Nope. Not until 12 pm :)
Fun name for a flower shop 
Chlorophylle Fluers, from another angle 
Group photo in Chinon, a lovely medieval town
Chinon from above 
The wild poppies here are stunning
Fast forward to Paris, in La Louvre
Molly, Sarah and my Mom, hanging with Mona Lisa
A grand hallway in La Louvre

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

France - 2ième Journée

The first day in France was nice, but sort of feels like a lost cause because of the jet lag. So I'll just skip to day 2. What a lovely day! After sleeping in until 10:15 am, we drove our rental car to Chateau de Chenonceau. Our Rick Steve guide for the Loire Valley said this castle was known for maintaining it's wood-burning fire places in the winter and flower arrangements in the summer. Was this ever true! As a budding flower shop owner, I couldn't help but take photo after photo of the arrangements I saw throughout the castle.

Next we drove to Vouvray, in search of a late lunch and wine tastings. Wine tastings were easy to come by, whereas food was not. In rural France, it's not so common to eat between 2 and 7 pm. We settled for some marvelous quiches from a charcuterie while tasting some nice wines at Cave de Vouvray. The brut (bubbly) wines were our favorites. Next we headed to another winery complete with a cellar tour, before checking out Tours (the largest city in the region) and finally driving back to Ambois for dinner.

A flower shop in Tours
Shimmering cobblestones walking back from dinner

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