Category Archives: gardens

We’re In The Monet

Oh what a day we had in Giverny! Our Fat Tire Bike Tour met on platform 22 of Gare Saint Lazare, and we boarded the train for a forty minute ride to the village of Vernon. We picked up our red bikes there and visited the market, where we gathered provisions for a picnic before riding the bike trail to Giverny. This is the second time I have taken this bike tour and I think it’s wonderful for people of all ages. The only kicker is that you have to hope for a pretty day, because the tour will go rain or shine. Thankfully, we had lots of shine!

our chariots for the day

our chariots for the day

Verney

Vernon

hollyhocks at the bike garage

hollyhocks at the bike garage

cabbage and rosemary with a side of shallots

cabbage and rosemary with a side of shallots

picture perfect picnic spot

picture perfect picnic spot

I always look for these old signs in France.

I always look for these old signs in France.

driveway in Giverny

driveway in Giverny

The small rooms and passageways of Monet’s lovely house were packed with tourists. Fortunately my friend and I had both been there before, so we hurried through the house, taking only a few pictures, and then lingered in the fabulous gardens.

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Everyone loves the kitchen! I couldn’t stop myself from taking a few pictures, even though I no doubt have the very same photos in my photo stream from five years ago.

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The gardens were in full bloom and were staggeringly beautiful.

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We arrived back in Paris just in time for a glass of rosé before our 7:30 dinner reservation. It was definitely a day to be toasted.

Cheers!

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Filed under Fat Tire Bike Tours, flowers, France, gardens, Giverny

Window Peeping

Tis yet another bright and warm day in Paris, while Texas is getting more rain. We could use some here, actually. The city is looking a bit dry and dusty. Sprinklers are on in the parks. I cannot keep the layer of dust off of my furniture because the windows are open day and night,which makes me very happy in every other respect. Dust mites are a small price to pay for the heavenly breeze that has been keeping our apartment nice and cool.

I have been admiring lots of store windows on my walks. I cannot ever capture them without glare, though, as the sun has been shining 14 hours a day for weeks. So just ignore the reflection, s’il vous plait.

This store, Brunelli Cucinelli, always captures my eye with its creative windows. The theme this month appears to be summer gardens.

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lettuce love!

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Like at home, white is making a big summer splash here.

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I have never been inside this church, Madeleine, so I don’t know about its windows. But right now it has a glorious floral display across its front steps.

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This was a nice window in the Henckels kitchen store.

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I peeped in a closed up place the other evening and admired this bicycle, propped and waiting for the new day.

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Finally, Printemps has some lovely mechanized windows right now- and it’s not even Christmas!

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Filed under flowers, gardens, Paris, Paris windows, Uncategorized

Color Me Happy

It was a bee-u-tee-ful Wednesday in Paris! Colors popped out at me where none had been seen for days.

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excuse me but may I have your tote and the mustard coat that goes so well with it thanks

 

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even the bees were happy

even the bees were happy

Valentines Day is much more understated than it is at home. This window is about as over the top as it gets.

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The weather was fabulous, but I am also happy because tomorrow we go spend a long weekend with my older daughter, Claire, in Madrid. And for icing on the cake- we will celebrate my birthday together on Friday! Hip hip hooray! Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

I hope to be posting from Spain, but in the meantime….

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from “Ah-ha to Zig-Zag” by Maira Kalman

Thank you and good day.

 

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Filed under fashion, flowers, gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, Paris in winter, Saint Germain des Pres, 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

Paris In The Rain Is Still Paris

The week of “la rentrée” in Paris continues to be (mostly) rainy and grey, but still a lovely temperature. Although the full-time Parisians tire of the drizzle, this girl from the Land Where It Rarely Rains still loves it. Yesterday I went out for a walk, fully expecting the rain to fall while I was out. Which it did. Paris is still charming in the rain, particularly when there is no cold wind to turn one’s umbrella inside-out.

Monday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, and I have really enjoyed learning about that time in this city. In July I went to a wonderful exhibit at the Musée de Carnavalet entitled “Paris Freed, Paris Photographed, Paris Exhibited”. This extensive exhibit gathered photographs, interviews, films, and other documentation of the Resistance and the Liberation. Unfortunately, it was hot in the museum and I was not able to linger as long as I would have liked. However, Tuesday morning I was planning a morning walk around Notre Dame when I remembered that there was another exhibit about the liberation at the Hotel De Ville. I was there early enough to avoid a line, and the building was blessedly cool. The photographs of Paris during its Occupation by the Germans, and of the Parisians who bravely resisted during the weeks preceding the day of liberation, were so moving. There were also many priceless film clips of the time playing on one wall. Just the previous night I had watched on television a two-hour compilation of old film and recent interviews with people who participated in the resistance and the liberation. It was fascinating, despite my lack of understanding of much of what was said. The film clips at the Hotel de Ville were the same ones I had seen in that show, some of which had been explained in the exhibit. I was really happy to have seen the show and to have visited the exhibit on a quiet, cool morning.

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After the exhibit I walked toward the river.

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The rain began to fall just as I got to Notre Dame.

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This long line of tourists were in line for the guided tours up into the bell towers of the church, something I have never done.

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The little park next to Notre Dame was fully in bloom.

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This poor little bridge is one of the many victims of the “love lock” mania that is defacing and damaging bridges all over the city. A movement has started to stop the locks, but it’s difficult to fight the will of tourists from all over the world who think it’s “de rigueur” to commemorate their love with a lock on a bridge. Please, if you visit, celebrate your love with a kiss or a grope or a bottle of wine on a bridge- anything but a lock!

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ick

ick

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The sun appeared in my apartment windows later that afternoon, so I walked off to the park with my book, sunglasses, and no umbrella. Of course that meant that after thirty minutes the rain returned, causing me to cut my park visit short. Then, when I was almost home, the sun reappeared. I stopped at Starbucks and snapped up a chair in the sun while I could. Paris weather is nothing if not fickle.

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view from Starbucks

I leave you with these two Metro cuties.

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Over and out.

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Filed under gardens, Musee Carnavalet, Notre Dame, Paris

Still Loving Paris In August

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Paris was absolutely gorgeous yesterday. I wanted to do nothing but walk and gawk. And that is pretty much all I did.

On my way to the market I encountered the newly re opened Plaza Athénée Hotel, who looked stunning in the morning light. Wearing her trademark cream with electric red accents, she stole the red carpet. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of her.

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She was all, “I am zee Plaza Athénée. Yes, Carrie Bradshaw did stay here when she was in Paris.  And yes, I know I am beautiful. Now take your peectures and move along.” Five-star hotels can be haughty like that, especially when they have cars like this parked in front of them.

a Bentley convertible (I think)

a Bentley convertible (I think)

a Mazzeradi

Lambergini

Lamborghini

At last I tore myself away from her allure and rounded the corner to the President Wilson Market. I must say that the only time I have felt that August in Paris was less than optimal was when I saw all the empty stalls at the market. It made me kind of sad, because the atmosphere was just not the same. There were more vendors of non-food items, clearly catering to tourists, but that just gave the market a sort of “Super Target” kind of feel. I did enjoy the sparse crowd of shoppers, however.

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Just across the street, the Palais Galliera, the Fashion Museum,  was all decked out in lovely shades of orange.

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Wouldn't it be nice to live in that apartment building and look out over these grounds?

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in that apartment building and look out over these grounds?

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If you are here before November 2, don’t miss this exhibit of gorgeous designer clothes from the Fifties. If you will not be here before then, check out many of the outfits here.

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Just up the street was another fancy hotel, the Shangri-La.

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This beautiful gate with flowers peeping through it was next door.

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I went home for a quick lunch and then took a bus across the river to a neighborhood close to the Eiffel Tower, where I wandered aimlessly and happily.

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I adore this sign.

I adore this sign.

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And then I went home and took off my shoes.  The End.

 

 

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Filed under Eiffel Tower, flowers, food markets, gardens, Palais Galliera, Paris, Paris museum

Too Busy To Blog!

The great thing about having family and friends visit is that we are always out seeing and doing and eating and sharing the joy of Paris. The bad thing about having guests is that I don’t have time to spend at the computer, downloading pics and describing our adventures. I had intended to write a post tonight, but it’s now 10:00 and I have packing left to do before our early morning departure for San Sebastian, Spain. I hope to find a few quiet hours while I am away to get caught up, but here are some photos of Paris from the last couple of weeks. It has been very hot, very pleasant, sunny, and rainy, sometimes from one hour to the next. We got our there and sweated with the best of them, although I do confess to drifting off into fantasies of mountains of crushed ice from Sonic. Not much ice and not much air conditioning- the perils of heat waves in Paris. Fortunately, they do not usually last long.

beautiful flowers in the Tuileries

beautiful flowers in the Tuileries

goats grazing in the Tuileries- first time I ever saw that

goats grazing in the Tuileries- first time I ever saw that

Louvre

Louvre

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Versailles

Versailles

boat ride sunset

boat ride sunset

cute girls on the back of the boat

cute girls on the back of the boat

Assemblie Nationale all lit up

Assemblie Nationale all lit up

and of course….

and of course….

I hope to be back on track with regular posts soon.

But for now—vamos a la playa!!!

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Filed under Eiffel Tower, family, flowers, gardens, Grand Palais, Paris, Paris sunsets, Seine, Spain, travel, Tuileries