Paris, France: Notre-Dame Cathedral

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.

img_1887
What a contemplative little ghoul, and, oh, that view!

It goes without saying that Notre-Dame Cathedral was at the top of our Paris sightseeing list.  It’s one of Paris’ most recognizable and iconic buildings, a sprawling, Gothic feast for the eyes.  We returned several times, tiptoeing through the massive interior, listening to live music in the small park around back, and, as part of the Paris Museum Pass, climbing hundreds of steps to the iconic belfry.

We were lucky enough to visit the cathedral and take a tour, and here are the highlights:

Continue reading “Paris, France: Notre-Dame Cathedral”

Are tourist city passes worth it?

Our take on how to make the most of your big city trip

IMG_0314
A view of the Seattle city skyline from our boat ride on the Puget Sound


Our move to Seattle in January 2012 was the culmination of our dream to experience someplace very different from Texas, and it was also the beginning of our eventual jump into long-term travel.  It whetted our appetite for learning about new places, and we were excited about the cross-country move.

But when we arrived, we were also overwhelmed.  In addition to looking for a place to live, we were challenged with getting to know our new home city.  So much to do!  So much to see!  Where should we start?  To be honest, we didn’t learn a lot about the city ahead of time; we knew that it was beautiful and rainy and home to Starbucks and Gray’s Anatomy, but as for the specifics, we hadn’t much of a clue.

Continue reading “Are tourist city passes worth it?”

The Château of Versailles: The glorious gardens

IMG_1305

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.


In our last post, I talked about the Palace of Versailles; today I’ll share our walk through Versailles’ gardens.  Of the two, Dale and I would agree that the gardens are a can’t-miss.  It was everything you’d hope for in a royal garden–expansive lawns, sculpted gardens with brightly-colored flowers, towering hedges, and artwork everywhere.  At the end of the post, I’ll include some general tips for visiting the palace and gardens.

Continue reading “The Château of Versailles: The glorious gardens”

Paris, France: The (naked) sculptures of the Louvre

IMG_1161

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.


When I told my mom I was writing about our time in Paris, she asked, “Are you going to talk about the naked men?”  She was referring, of course, to the collection of sculptures that we saw at the Louvre, which, yes, did include quite a few nude male subjects.

“I’ve told all of my friends that there were lots of sculptures of naked men, and they look at me like I’m crazy, so now I can show them.”

Of the many fascinating artifacts we saw at the Louvre, the thing that most stands out to mom is the naked men.

Continue reading “Paris, France: The (naked) sculptures of the Louvre”

Paris, France: The Louvre

Exploring the many wonders of the Louvre

IMG_1111
Chandelier from Napoleon III’s apartment

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.


We spent an afternoon at the Louvre, my sister, mom, Dale and I, and what a completely inadequate amount of time it was.  Of course, even if we had a week to devote to this enormous museum, it wouldn’t be enough, what with the 35,000 works it has on display.  But we did the best we could in the time we had.

Continue reading “Paris, France: The Louvre”

Paris, France: The Eiffel Tower

Experiencing this French beauty with my mother and sister

Ronica, me, mom, and Dale, on the summit observation tower of the Eiffel Tower
Ronica, me, mom, and Dale, on the summit observation deck of the Eiffel Tower

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.


A little over a week ago my mother had an endarterectomy, a “rotor rooter” procedure that cleared a large blockage from her left carotid artery.  The surgery, if not major, certainly wasn’t routine, and while the outcome of the procedure was a success, she’s taking some time to recover.

Dale and I have been staying with her to assist with the recuperation process.  I’ll admit it’s sometimes hard to face the fact that she’s not getting any younger, but I’m also happy to have this time with her.  I’ve had many wonderful moments with my mother, and this seems like a good time to reflect on one of them–our trip to Paris.

Continue reading “Paris, France: The Eiffel Tower”

Paris, France: Church of Saint-Sulpice

IMG_0993
The base of the obelisk that is used as part of the Saint-Sulpice sundial, with the meridian line moving up the middle.  Various inscriptions are written on the base in Latin and French.  Look carefully and you’ll find where the text honoring the monarchy was removed during the French Revolution

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.


With its beauty, romance, and history, Paris is one of those cities that was made for the Silver Screen.  Hundreds of movies have been set in the City of Lights, including some of our favorites—Midnight in Paris, Before Sunset, and Julie and Julia just to name a few, and all of these evoke the ephemeral magic that only Paris possesses.  And it’s because of a movie—The DaVinci Code—that we recognized the Church of Saint-Sulpice when we happened upon it during our trip to Paris.

Continue reading “Paris, France: Church of Saint-Sulpice”

Paris, France: Random first thoughts

 

IMG_0158 (1)

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.


Our trip to Paris got off to an awkward start.  After arriving by train from Hamburg, we found the Métro link to our hotel.  It was rush hour, and waves of Parisians were moving through the station and into and out of the cars.  I thought I had the whole Metro-riding thing down cold—after all, we’d been in Europe for a month now and were on our fourth country—but the car was packed, I was one of the last ones on, and my bulging backpack got caught in the door.  It closed on me like the clenched jaws of a bulldog, stubborn and unyielding.

I was trapped.

Continue reading “Paris, France: Random first thoughts”

Antibes, France: Drinking “the Green Fairy”–absinthe

IMG_0955
La Fée Verte (“The Green Fairy”–artwork inside La Balade absinthe bar)

 

Dale and I were intrigued by the idea of trying absinthe, an alcoholic spirit that up until recently was banned in many countries.  There’s a mystique surrounding this drink, also called “the Green Fairy,” a nickname referencing the drink’s green color (and no doubt thought up by someone who was more than a little schnockered at the time).  It supposedly had hallucinogenic–perhaps even dangerous–effects on its users, and the most famous artists and writers were drinking it, in part because of its mind-bending properties.  How could we pass up the chance to try this beguiling drink when we had the chance?

Continue reading “Antibes, France: Drinking “the Green Fairy”–absinthe”