Peace For Paris

"Hope is being able to see there is light despite all of the darkness." Desmond Tutu
“Hope is being able to see there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu

Like so many around the world tonight, I’ve been glued to reports from Paris, gripped by the horrific events unfolding there. Just a few short weeks ago we were sitting on that very canal near where so many innocent lives were lost, and it’s hard to reconcile the peaceful quiet of that day with the carnage being reported on the news. It’s almost impossible to imagine these atrocities happening in such a beautiful city.

Right now the world is in shock. And I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before that shock gives way to hate and anger. Though both are justified, it is not what I want to feel right now. I want to remember that, despite the terrible events of today, and those that are sure to follow, there is still so much good in the world. And just so we don’t forget that, here is a little proof…

Parisians offer their homes as shelter with #porteouverte

Taxi drivers in Paris turn off their meters to shuttle people to safety.

Thousands sing the French national anthem during stadium evacuation.

Standing in solidarity with the people of Paris, landmarks across the globe, including the World Trade Center, are lit in the colors of the French flag. 

People from all over the world share messages of love and support for the city of lights. Continue reading

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Top 5 Paris Food Moments

Hot Chocolate at Angelina’s OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
To put it mildly, I have a deeply rooted love of all things chocolate. With that in mind, to say that I was excited to sample the rich and creamy chocolat chaud at Angelina’s is a bit of an understatement. Fortunately, this infamous Paris cafe lived up to it’s reputation.

There are several locations in Paris, including one in Versailles, but we decided to go to the original on Rue de Rivoli right near the Louvre. This is definitely a major tourist attraction, so we were surprised to see that there wasn’t any wait – we were pretty much able to walk right in and be seated. The space is very charming, though the tables are definitely on the small side and you are essentially sitting shoulder to shoulder with other patrons. Continue reading

That Time We Won A Free Bike Tour of Versailles!

I am a planner by nature. I research, make lists, weigh all my options and map out strategies. This is the case with most areas in my life, both at work and at home. And so when we decided to go on a trip to Paris for our late honeymoon/1st anniversary, I made it my mission to hunt down all the information I could get my hands on. I quickly found that travel blogs were a favorite source of travel tips and tricks, because bloggers are usually great at finding the unexpected – things that are a bit off the beaten path or that you wouldn’t normally see in your typical travel guide .

This is how I came across Lost in Cheeseland – an engaging blog by an American expat living in the city of lights and writing about her many adventures (and so much delicious food). If you are a Francophile, or are just in need of a nice escape, I definitely recommend subscribing.

A few months ago, Lost in Cheeseland was partnering with Fat Tire Bike Tours for a giveaway: a free tour for two of Versailles. In truth, Eric and I were still somewhat on the fence about if we even wanted to visit this infamous Paris suburb (and former home to French royalty), but since our trip was right around the corner, and signing up was so easy, I figured it would be silly not to at least throw my hat in the ring. To be clear, I did not think for one second that I’d have a chance of winning (I mean, who wins these things?). Continue reading

Exploring the Old World Charm of Montmartre

Sacre CoeurMontmartre feels like what you pictured Paris to be before you got there. With its winding, narrow streets lined with old, pastel colored buildings, you half expect to turn a corner and run into Van Gogh himself. And while this particular part of Paris has certainly not escaped the city’s influx of tourism, it’s still retains an undeniable, old world charm.

The steps of the Sacre Coeur, a basilica which sits at the highest point of Paris, were swarming with people when we arrived early in the afternoon. There was a harpist playing old folk songs and sitting there, in the company of hundreds of happy strangers, listening to his rendition of El Pasor Conda was maybe one of the most serene moments of our trip. Continue reading

Top Ten Favorite Paris Moments

For our first anniversary, and as a sort of late honeymoon, the hubby and I decided to take a trip to Paris. Here are a few of our favorite moments, in no particular order. Enjoy!

Exploring Pere Lachaise Cemetery
I’ve always had an affinity for cemeteries, even as a child. My mother and I used to explore the ones near our home in Vermont and I’ve spent numerous hours wandering through the many in Chicago. That said, Pere Lachaise was high on my list of places to visit in Paris and I can safely say that it is one of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve ever seen. You can easily get lost for hours along the cobblestone paths and rows of ornately designed mausoleums. Thankfully, there are maps throughout to help guide you along your way, including in the hunt for some of the cemeteries more famous residents. We missed Jim Morrison’s (of The Doors) grave, however we were able to track down songbird Edith Piaf and the infamous Oscar Wilde.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lechaise Cemetery

Relaxing on Canal St. Martin
We came here on our first full day in Paris. Still a bit bleary from jet lag, we weren’t quite ready to brave the Paris crowds just yet and we were looking to enjoy a slower pace for the evening. For that, St. Martin was perfect. Dozens of Parisians congregate here, in groups and alone, just to sit and enjoy the canal. We stopped in a nearby shop and got some waters and a few snacks before claiming a little spot of our own near one of the footbridges. Continue reading