Category Archives: Eiffel Tower

Still Here!

I know a few of you were wondering if I had permanently departed the blogosphere, but I am still here. I am on a “summer” schedule,  as I attempt to discern the future of this space. I have no shortage of time for pondering, as I seem to be spending a lot of time in my car. We are still living in our lake house, which is  twenty to thirty minutes from everywhere I regularly go (the gym, my new house, the grocery store, my mom’s, my sister’s), so I am becoming way too familiar with my dashboard.

Mark and I did what every Texan would like to do in July- fled to Colorado for two weeks. We had never done an extended road trip without a car full of kids, snacks, and frequent requests for potty breaks. I thought we did really well, although there were only a couple of long driving days because our route was dotted with hospitable friends who generously shared their homes with us.

In observance of the centennial of the National Parks, we stopped at Bandelier National Monument for a gorgeous walk through a dry canyon. We had only a few hours, but were completely wowed by this amazing park just outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico. I don’t know why it took us so long to make it there.

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We walked for over an hour without seeing another person or even a piece of trash, and returned to our car feeling calm and re-energized. Don’t drive by this beautiful place if you find yourself in the vicinity. (Another “don’t miss” is this IMAX  on the National Parks currently in theaters. It will make you feel good about America, which might be a nice change, given the current political climate).

Next stop was Pagosa Springs, where our friends had arranged for us to watch the full moon rise from atop a mountain. Sadly, we were chased down the mountain by an impending storm before the moon ever appeared, but not before we enjoyed a stunning view topped by a dramatic sky, and accompanied by Charles and his Native American flute.

Telluride was just as pretty as we remembered it. The hikes kind of kicked our flatlander butts, but they were worth it for the views. Our friends were polite enough not to ridicule our gasping for breath on the ascents.

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We spent a few days with some friends who have just built a beautiful house in Carbondale, outside of Glenwood Springs. Mark and I were so well-behaved on the river float the first day that they decided to take us on a nine-mile hike near Independence Pass on the next day.

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“Lost Man Trail”? Hmmm. We hoped to finish with both the men we started with.

 

The hike was breathtaking (literally) and we paused for frequent water breaks and photo ops.

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About two miles from the end of the hike I experienced my own Cheryl Strayed moment when I noticed that the sole was half-way off my right boot and flopping like a dying fish.

looks like a shadow but is my sole

I thought we might lose a man on the trail, but not my sole.

Luckily, my resourceful husband thought of shoving a sock onto the toe of my boot, AND he had extra socks in his pack (along with my water bottles, which he was carrying for me because I am a wimp). And that’s how I was able to complete the hike without hurling my boot off a cliff. He is a handy companion to have on the trail of life.

The sock was a bit worse for wear at the end of the hike.

The sock was a bit worse for wear at the end of the hike.

 

It felt like more.

It felt like more.

 

Final stop was Boulder. Wow! We had never been there and I am wondering why not. Boulder is such a cool town! The Farmers Market was amazing.
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We rented bikes and rode along the creek path, where people of all ages and sizes were fishing, throwing pebbles, and enjoying the gorgeous day. You win, Boulder. So cool, and yet so approachable. And there was this!

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Boulder Books was amazing, sitting so pretty right there on Pearl Street, a lively pedestrian area bubbling with activity on a sunny day in July. Of course I showed this wonderful inde bookstore some love, because places like this are gems.

Speaking of books- what are you reading? I am almost finished with this

and oh my gosh it’s so good! I also loved its companion, Life After Life, but you don’t need to have read it to enjoy this fabulous novel set primarily in WW II England. Kate Atkinson kills it with both of these novels. Anyone else read them?

In other news, this wall of flowers at a wedding reception I attended totally blew me away.

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And this wall of knobs brought me great joy. Because who doesn’t love picking out jewelry for the home?

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I’ll take them all please.

That about wraps it up here at sunny Lake Travis, where it is threatened to be 104 degrees tomorrow. I think I will stay inside and finish my book. And maybe daydream of cooler days in Paris.

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Filed under books, Eiffel Tower, travel, Uncategorized

Top Of The Paris Peninsula

Mark and I had to move out of our apartment on a Friday so we had a lot of time to say goodbye to Paris before our flight home on Monday.

I had been a little bit obsessed with the Peninsula Hotel since it opened after its four-year restoration a year ago. Check out this video to see why I was so enamored of this gorgeous hotel that was restored with such attention to detail and authenticity. Even my obsession, however, could not allow me to justify the cost of a night there. We did, however, venture to the rooftop bar one afternoon, and then to the enclosed rooftop restaurant the next day for lunch.

It doesn’t cost a centime to walk into the lobby and admire the stunning glass sculpture entitled “Dancing Leaves”. The 800 hand-blown glass leaves represent the sycamore leaves that shade so many Paris streets. They appear to be blowing in the breeze and landing in the lobby, and the effect is breath-taking.

The flower arrangements were understated in a towering kind of way.

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The downstairs Bar Kleber looked so cozy. I totally kicked myself for not ever meeting Mark there. His office was just a short walk up the street.

We headed up to the roof bar on a Saturday afternoon, where the view was mighty fine but the sun was mighty hot.

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The terrace is part of the lovely l’Oiseau Blanc, a restaurant with a retractable roof, where we enjoyed an elegant lunch the following day. L’Oiseau Blanc was named after a French bi-plane that disappeared in 1927 while attempting to make the first non-stop flight between Paris and New York. The aviation theme of the restaurant is classy and not at all over-the-top.

Even making our reservation only the day before, we scored a very nice table (number 25). In face, according to a recent article in Conde-Naste, we enjoyed the nicest view of any of the tables for two. It was next to the most coveted four-person table, Table 17, in the corner. Now you can ask for them by number when you make your own reservation!

Table 17

Table 17

I loved the plates even before they had any food on them.

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When I was looking up the hotel information for this post I noticed that Google describes this restaurant as “Down Home Cooking”. Hmmmm- not at my home, Google.

Here were the “Down Home Desserts”:

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I loved the little propeller on the left!

The bathroom, though keeping with the aviation theme, was nicer than any one I have ever used on Air France.

and yes, smoking

and yes, smoking “in the toilets” was strictly forbidden, just like on a real plane

Just outside the window on the far side of the restaurant was this model of l’Oiseau Blanc.

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And just off its left wing was this excellent view of the Eiffel Tower.

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If you are in the mood for some Down Home Cooking, head on over to the Peninsula Hotel and ask for Table 25. It will be a meal to write down home about.

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Filed under dining with a view, Eiffel Tower, Paris, Paris dining, Paris Peninsula Hotel

Sunset In Paris

One of my favorite parts of summer in Paris is the lingering daylight. Even though it really messes with my sleep patterns, I love how it stays light here now until 10:00. Paris is beautiful in any light, but there is something magical about the glow from the waning sun.

Mark was out of town on Monday night and I ventured out to the Pont des Arts (which has now re-opened with the temporary panels) to watch the sun set from the Seine.

The inside panels of the bridge have been decorated by several different street artists. As you can imagine, not everyone approves.

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of course the graffiti has already begun

I kind of like the melting locks

I kind of like the melting locks

The Pont Neuf was particularly lovely in the changing light.

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As you can see, the little park at the tip of the island is not only a favorite picnic spot, it also is popular with the sunset crowd. Not that you can’t do both simultaneously.

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I loved the numbers on this  bouquiniste  box.

I loved the numbers on this bouquiniste box.

The buildings turn toasty gold in the setting sun.

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Now facing west from the other side of the Pont des Arts, toward the Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower.

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I crossed back over the river at the Tuileries, which was trying to close for the night.

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looking to the other side of the Tuileries at the Louvre

Looking straight down the middle of the Tuileries, as the obelisk slices through the Arc de Triomph.

Looking straight down the middle of the Tuileries, as the obelisk slices through the Arc de Triomph.

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Finally, I strolled up Rue Rivoli to catch the metro home.

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I was tired and a little chilly, as I had neglected to bring a sweater, but pleased to have seen the show.

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C’est fini.

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Filed under Eiffel Tower, Isle de la Cite, love locks, Musee d'Orsay, Paris, Paris sunsets, Seine, Tuileries

Lunch With A View

Bonjour mes amis! I am still here, despite what you have NOT heard from me in the last week or two. I have put down my tour guide umbrella and put on my tourist fanny pack for a lovely visit to Budapest and Milan. As in Paris, spring is knocking but has not yet put down her bags. The trees have buds but few leaves and we are still zipping up our coats. The fruit trees are resplendent, though, and the forsythia is ablaze. I am loathe to miss the wild flowers in Texas this year, which promise to be especially knock-out due to the wet winter and spring, so I will be consoling myself with lots of fresh flowers from my market.

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But now, back to Paris!

I have been fortunate to dine at the elegant Jules Verne several times, but had not been there in over a year. When my mother and niece were with us we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit the amazing Eiffel Tower restaurant and share it with them. This Alain Ducasse restaurant is located on the second platform of the tower, and is accessed by a private elevator.

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When the elevator doors open into the restaurant, you are led to your table by waiters who make you feel as though you were royalty. The tables are close together but not crowded, and the atmosphere is subdued elegance.

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The white dome in front of my mom is about to be flipped over to become a charger. The geometric pattern is repeated on the ceiling.

The food is every bit as good as one would expect from a Michelin starred restaurant (which it is).

who could resist this little beauty from the bread basket?

who could resist this little beauty from the bread basket?

soup starter- I think it was lobster

soup starter- I think it was lobster

spring asparagus

spring asparagus with an egg

roasted lamb

roasted lamb

chocolate dessert

chocolate dessert

another dessert doused in armengac

another dessert doused in armangac

Of course, it is not so hard to find delicious food and elegant presentation in Paris. The reason people reserve weeks in advance for the Jules Verne is for the view. I neglected to take any photos from our table this time, but if I had, they would have looked much like these, which I took from the top after we ate.

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note- the triangular roof with green tarp, about one quarter from the top, is right by our apartment

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wave to the tourists

wave to the tourists

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It was a memorable lunch for all four of us. If you ever have the opportunity to dine at the JV- grab it!

Cheers to all of you.

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Filed under dining with a view, Eiffel Tower, Jules Verne, Paris dining

Fresh Eyes On Paris

My mom has returned to visit and this time she brought my niece, who is fifteen years old and making her first trip out of the country. It has been such fun seeing Paris through her eyes. I hope she never forgets this trip with her grandmother and her aunt and uncle. I am already planning to visit her when she does her junior semester here in six or so years!

The day they arrived we walked down to the Grand Palais to see if there were any interesting “fashion types” entering the building for the Shiatzy Chen fashion show.

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Yep, there were a few.

The next day we spent the morning close to home, shopping at the Wilson market, and enjoying the fashion museum and the Museum of Modern Art. The fashion museum is featuring the French designer Lanvin in a new exhibit that is absolutely wonderful. Don’t miss it if you are in the neighborhood.

I can't resist taking pictures of these gorgeous color blasts.

I can’t resist taking pictures of these gorgeous Delaunay color blasts at the Modern Art Museum.

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Can you see the river sparkling out there?

 

In addition to a stellar collection of art, the Paris Museum of Modern Art also boasts a pretty fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower.

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That afternoon the sky was so blue that we had no choice but to walk around Montmartre.

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my mama and my niece

my mama and my niece

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We were pretty tired at the end of the day, but not too tired to take a bus five stops to Le Bon Georges, where we were greeted warmly and fed a tasty meal, indeed.

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melt in your mouth sole meuniere

melt in your mouth sole meuniere

And then we went home and fell into bed.

The End.

 

 

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Filed under art, Eiffel Tower, fashion, Montmartre, Musee d' Art Moderne, Palais Galliera, Paris, Paris dining, Paris Fashion Week, Sacre-Coeur, Uncategorized

Girl Time In Paris

When I came back to Paris this time I was lucky enough to be joined first by one daughter, and then the other, and THEN three of her friends from Texas. Do I even need to tell you how wonderful it was having 4/5 of my family here? Pret-ty darn fabulous. We missed our son/brother, bien sûr, but sent him pics until he begged us to stop.

My two daughters were here together for a few days. We did some shopping and some dining, and enjoyed Paris at Christmas time.

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Then Martha’s three friends/roommates arrived, and the apartment quickly overflowed with girls and boots and good smells and laughter. I was one very content mama, I can tell you.

The girls made the most of their six-day stay, and were admired by many a man about town. They may not have noticed, but I was behind them, picking up the rear, and I can assure you that they never went unnoticed. But I guess they are used to that. Ah, youth.

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

I can't remember where this one was taken.

I can’t remember where this one was taken.

on the one sunny day....

on the one sunny day….

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That same sunny day they also had a pricey drink at the top of the Pompidou, followed by gelato at Amorino.

 

Martha and I shared the tour guide umbrella. One day I took them to Saint-Germain because, you know, j’adore.

bus stop beauties

bus stop beauties

We went to Luxembourg Gardens, which was pretty empty on a cold winter’s day.

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We also visited Au Bon Marche, Cire Trudon, Coton Deux (we love their pajamas), Hermes, Rue de Buci, and finished at Cafe de Flore for hot chocolate and wine (for moi).

Another day we went to the fun and feisty Marche d’Aligre, where the girls got A LOT of appreciation from the spirited vendors.

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We had fun looking at all the produce and enjoying many juicy citrus samples. The small flea market just behind the outdoor market revealed treasures to be explored. One friend bargained hard and bought this framed pencil sketch for her mom. I think she ended up getting it for 1/2 of the first price he quoted her. The girl’s got skills.

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From the flea market we entered the old covered market, which was still festive with Christmas decorations and lights.

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I loved having these girls in Paris with us. They were perfect guests. They were super enthusiastic about everything, even through jet lag and winter grey. They were all adventurous eaters, which automatically earned my badge of approval. No one needed lots of primping time, so they were able to get out of the apartment early each morning, making their tour guide very happy. They helped in the kitchen and cleaned up after themselves, and they even let Mark and me hang out on the couches with them. And did I mention that they loved to eat??? Gold stars all around!

It sure has been nice living in a city that people want to visit. Mark and I have had such fun entertaining guests during our time here. It’s hard not to have a good time in Paris. We miss our family, and we miss our friends, but sometimes they meet us in Paris, which is always a good idea.

Merci, girls, for making Paris just a little more sparkly for a week.

Now get to work. And Hook ‘Em Horns!

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Filed under Cire Trudon, Eiffel Tower, family, flea market, flowers, food markets, gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Montmartre, Paris, Paris in winter, Sacre-Coeur, Uncategorized

Rainy Saturday in Paris

It seems that my younger daughter brought the rain with her when she landed in Paris on Saturday morning! It feels and looks like winter here now, which I love, but isn’t the best for sight-seeing.

The girls and I took a long walk yesterday. We revisited the snow globe so that I could get their impressions of it. Like me, they were kind of “meh”, and agreed that some falling snow or lights would be more festive. The cloudy day did make the reflections interesting.

 

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From there we walked to Ecole Militaire and then over to Rue Cler, which is always good for a photo or two.

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Only when it began to rain in earnest did we realize that two of our three umbrellas were broken. We caught the nearest bus home and dried out until it was time to head to the Bastille area for dinner at one of Paris’ few vegetarian restaurants, The Gentle Gourmet. 

The moon shown down on us through the Bastille Opera.

The moon shown down on us through the Bastille Opera.

The restaurant was more upscale than I expected for a vegan-vegetarian place, and very nice. We tried the butternut-mushroom soup for starters, and the mushroom burger and risotto for mains.

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I hope you enjoy your Sunday, my friends. Other than for students, it feels like the end of the holidays. How are those New Year’s Resolutions holding up?

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Filed under Eiffel Tower, Paris, Paris dining, Rue Cler