Category Archives: Notre Dame

Good Morning, World

Fall has finally arrived here in Austin, Texas, and not a moment too soon. This morning was particularly beautiful.






Tomorrow morning we point our car back to the west for a week in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. If all goes as planned, we will be having dinner in Santa Fe this time tomorrow night. We are taking this guy with us, but he doesn’t get to go to dinner. Don’t tell him.


It’s hard to believe that a year ago today we were walking around Hyde Park in London.


And two years ago we were in Paris, living the dream.


If someone can figure out how to slow down this experience we call “life”, please let me know. It’s all happening way too fast.

Enjoy whatever life brings you in the next week, and thanks for checking in with me!


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Filed under Austin, London, Notre Dame, Paris, Texas, Uncategorized

Happy New Year, Paris!

Mark and I took the mid-afternoon train on Thursday from London to Paris, arriving just as the City of Light was getting dark. Mark has some business here (hooray!), so we thanked London for her hospitality, kissed her goodbye, and returned to this place that holds so many wonderful memories.

Can I just tell you how happy I am to be back in my favorite city??? I don’t think I have stopped smiling in the two days we have been here. Paris in January is divine-the big winter light is everywhere and the crowds have disappeared. Restaurants that usually require reservations days in advance are happy to offer us a table on short notice. PLUS it’s SALE TIME again! I have virtually no room in my suitcase but I am not opposed to jettisoning all of the clothes I have been wearing non-stop for four months to make space for bargains. Or even for “not quite bargains”. For the first time in several years I don’t know when my next trip to Paris will be, so I might need to take some Paris home with me. And compared with London, everything is a bargain. I think you can see where this is going.

I covered some serious ground yesterday.




It’s King Cake time again!


I stopped by Merci, hoping for bargains.



Of course I had to go say “bonjour” to the Place des Vosges. It looked a tad woebegone without its leafy green canopies, but still managed to be elegant.


My favorite fancy hot chocolate spot was sparkly and beautiful.



With some quick steps I managed to just catch the pink of the sun on the tops of Notre Dame.



That evening I met Mark and some co-workers at the Mini Palais, one of our favorite places for drinks or dinner. I took the metro, and when I popped up I was pleasantly surprised to find the Champs Elysees still wearing her Christmas best.



The Christmas vendors were still hawking their wares.


The Mini Palais sits in a corner of the Grand Palais, and has one of the best terraces in town.


The food looked almost too pretty to eat.

pumpkin soup with chestnuts

pumpkin soup with chestnuts

the BEST scallops

the BEST scallops

Not a bad day at all.


Filed under Champs Elysees, Christmas, Grand Palais, Marais, Notre Dame, Paris, Paris dining, Paris in winter, Place de Vosges, Uncategorized

More Paris Love

On the second full day of my mom and niece’s visit we headed over to Notre Dame and the Marais.

Our first stop was the Hotel de Ville, which is offering an amazing exhibit of Paris photos taken over the past eighty years. I had seen it with Mark but knew my mother would love it, too. She did.


hotel de ville

hotel de ville

From there it is a quick walk across the river to Notre Dame. One would think that after so many visits I would no longer feel compelled to take pictures, but I just can’t help myself.





After lunch we walked to the Marais and I introduced my niece to Amorino gelato.

she said "grazie"

she said “grazie”

Our favorite place to eat gelato is the Place de Vosges.


Finally, we walked to the newly-reopened Picasso Museum, which had been closed for a hundred years or so. Well, almost. It was closed for six years, which (even in France) is an inordinately long time for the renovation of a small museum. The home of the museum is the gorgeous 17th century Hôtel Salé, named after the original owner who was responsible for collecting the salt tax. Not being a huge Picasso fan, myself, the house was my favorite part. I confess to engaging in a little fantasy of being “Madame Salé”, telling the servants where to serve me my afternoon sherry.







Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, mes amis!

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Filed under art, Hotel de Ville, Marais, Notre Dame, Paris, Paris museum, Place de Vosges

Under A Winter Moon

Sunday evening we went to another vegetarian restaurant (Paris has more than one!) near Notre Dame. Although the day had been grey, the full moon shined brightly that night. Who could resist Paris under a full moon?

Hotel de Ville

Hotel de Ville











IMG_4924The restaurant was called Le Grenier de Notre Dame. It was much cozier than the one we tried the night before, and the menu was more extensive. The food was quite good.

We ate upstairs, accessed by the tiniest spiral staircase you have ever climbed.

We ate upstairs, accessed by the tiniest spiral staircase you have ever climbed.







As you can see, my camera is not really up to capturing the moon properly, but you can’t blame me for trying- that moon was really something. I hope you were able to enjoy it in your sky, too.




Filed under Notre Dame, Paris, Paris dining, Seine

New Year’s Eve In Paris

How can this be the last day of 2014? It seems like we just got here.

Today was cold but not windy or wet, which is just about perfect winter weather for me. Our older daughter, Claire, arrived from Sweden (man that girl gets around) yesterday and this afternoon I dragged Mark and her out to enjoy the lights and bustle of the city.

Our first stop was Merci, one of my very favorite stores located in the northern Marais. Transforming an old wallpaper factory, Merci changes its themes and appearance many times a year, and is always edgy and cool. It sells clothing for men and women, and also household items and just generally fabulous stuff. I love it. Mark and Claire loved it, too.

The store is kind of hidden from the street- you have to walk down this pretty little hallway.



The courtyard is always decorated with fun stuff, which usually includes a little car.

Precious sisters posing by the cute car!

Precious sisters posing by the cute car!

I love this viewing spot from the upstairs. Isn’t it cool the way the candles appear to be suspended in mid-air?



Trying to beat the sunset, we hurried over to Notre Dame. I wanted to see the Christmas tree and was afraid that tonight might be its final appearance. The church was so pretty in the evening light.








We were in need of a little warm-up, so we crossed the river and went to a brasserie for coffee and beer and maybe a banana-chocolate crepe. When we came back out, the sun was almost gone.





If we can stay awake long enough, we plan to walk over to the Champs-Elysées at 11:30 for a celebratory light show. I”ll let you know how that works out….I am not known for being a night-owl.

Bonne Année to all from Paris!

See you next year!


Filed under Champs Elysees, Marais, Notre Dame, Paris, Paris sunsets, Seine

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.



After the exhibit I walked toward the river.


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


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.


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


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!







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.


view from Starbucks

I leave you with these two Metro cuties.



Over and out.


Filed under gardens, Musee Carnavalet, Notre Dame, Paris

Notre Dame by Day

One place that most of my Paris visitors want to see is the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Fortunately, it’s one that I never get tired of. I love it by day or by night, and I encourage people to see it at both times, to fully appreciate its splendor.

When my brother-in-law and his wife were with us in April, we spent an hour there one afternoon after enjoying the fifth floor of the Musee d’Orsay and its gorgeous cafe for lunch.



The line to enter Notre Dame was a bit daunting to my guests, but I assured them that it went very quickly, and it did.













As part of the cathedral’s 850th year anniversary celebration, a video at the back of the church was tracing the history of the bells. It was so interesting to see the drawings of the old bells, and because we had been fortunate enough to see the new bells before they were installed, that part of the video was meaningful, too.

Such an amazing place in so many ways. Now if I could just get my husband to quit calling it “no-ter dame”. I think he believes it was named after his alma mater. Help.

Another week drawing to a close way too fast.

Don’t forget to call yo mama. Or toast yo mama. Or, if you’re lucky enough, give her a big ol’ hug around her neck.

Because moms rock.




Filed under Musee d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Paris, Uncategorized