Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hyped Foods

You know how there are those "institutions" of food that people insist that you go visit when you're new to an area?  H and I ventured to one of those places last week, kind of by accident.  We were passing by the entrance to the parking lot, we were hungry, and frankly we'd had about enough of hearing "You haven't been to Philippe's?  You have to go Philippe's." 

So, we went.  We walked in and there were something like 8 very orderly lines of patrons all waiting to get up to the little ladies behind the wide glass case.  I have to say, they were adorable -- some of them wore these cute retro 50's diner-esque uniforms, complete with headpieces.  Some of the prices were even pretty old school.  Iced tea is something like 65 cents per glass.  Since their specialty is the French Dipped sandwich, H and I both had one, along with a shared side of macaroni salad.  Meh.  It was okay.  Comfort food, I guess.  But it wasn't knock your socks off, and after waiting in line for 25 minutes after hearing about it countless times, I kind of expected more...Hyped food, there you have it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Parisian Lovelies

To wrap up my Paris posts, I'd like to leave you with snippets of Paris, beyond the beautiful museums, palaces, and rows of gorgeous apartment houses.  Here's the Paris that we discovered this time around because we weren't part of a fast-moving tour group hitting up only the big sites, or a student on a shoe-string budget.  We explored mostly on foot and by Metro, and stayed both on the Right Bank and the Left Bank.  Au, revoir, Paris, until we meet again!

We had one of these daily, to sustain us as we walked everywhere!  So yummy.

Lai, these were so overpriced, and yet so worth it!  Photogenic, aren't they?

We stumbled upon a Sunday Farmer's Market en route from our hotel in Montparnesse to the Musee d'Orsay.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm really stretching these Paris posts out, aren't I?  Can I help it if I have a little withdrawal?  Seriously, it's been a few weeks now since we've gotten back but we've still got Paris on the brain.  I'm wrapping up these posts quickly though, with only one more left after this.  I just had to share these pics of Notre Dame.  We were lucky enough to get to see the church during a service, and it was magical inside.  All of the tourists knew to be polite and quiet, and there was a quiet solemnity that somehow paired well with the beautiful architecture.  I was moved!  I even lit a candle (for 2 euros).

And of course, Versailles.  Best things about it:  quick train ride on a Sunday morning, short lines because of off-season, gorgeous vistas both inside and out, and ample time to explore the gardens at our own pace.  Oh, and a Laduree inside!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Doesn't get more iconic than this...

Still not springtime in Paris...
At the base.

Breathtaking - every few minutes the Tower would go into serious sparkle mode.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love the Louvre

What's not to love?  The Louvre is spectacular.  I kept thinking "This reminds me of the Met!" and kept having to remind myself that the Louvre is the real thing - i.e., most of its pieces actually originated in France and weren't just bought by art curators.  (Not knocking you, Met, still lub you). 

Leave yourself enough time to see the main attractions but know that your feet will get tired and you won't see every little thing!  We hit up the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, Cupid & Psyche, and a host of other famous pieces, as well as the Napoleon Apartments, and felt like we'd seen a lot, especially since we both had been before and remembered those visits. 

Oddly enough, one of my favorite things about the Louvre were the picture-perfect views out of its enormous windows. 

Window view

Who doesn't love old-school bling?

Monday, March 21, 2011

J'Adore Part I

We took over 700 photos in Paris.  700!  I guess that's what you get when you have one budding photographer husband with a new DSLR and one snap-happy wife together visiting an entirely too photogenic city.  Seriously, Paris was meant to be in photos.  Every apartment building we saw looked like some slice of beautiful cake. 

Palmier on Apartment Building; taken on the Ave de la Grande Armee

Beautiful wrought iron balustrades

We were strolling along the Ave de la Grande Armee just to explore the neighborhood around our hotel, and literally walked right into the Arc.  Lovely surprise!
From there, we connected to the Champs Elysees and strolled some more.

Soon, we found the one truly Parisian institution that I hadn't visited on my last trip to Paris.  But that deserves its own blog post....

Friday, March 18, 2011


Paris.  It's been nine years for me and twelve for H, but of course, the iconic sites are pretty much the same as we remembered them.  But instead of being whisked from site to site (me) or backpacking as a hostel-staying student (him), this time, we explored Paris slowly and mingled among the Parisians.  And it was LOVELY.  So lovely, in fact, that we can't stop talking about our trip.  Good food, something beautiful and whimsical everywhere you looked, convenient public transportation, and the people...whoever said they're rude?  They were more than pleasant to us--a feat considering the fact that neither of us speaks a lick of French. 

More to come, but first, taken from the Pont Neuf, and almost too beautiful to be real...

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