Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paris, Day 7 - Final Day Mini Photoshoot

I want to say THANK YOU to my wonderful mom. She followed me around Paris to all the spots we found on our bike ride for this mini photo shoot. The metro line we were on shut down on our way to the Eiffel Tower, so we ended up having to walk... a lot. She was a trooper. So thanks mom! These pictures are my favorite souvenir.

*making friends while trying to get a cab after the metro shut down. no luck.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paris, Day 6

On our sixth day in Paris, we did exactly what I wanted to do from the moment I started saving my pennies 6 months earlier. We spent a leisurely day in the city, taking it all in and stopping in every cute little shop we saw. We took lots of pictures, rode bikes, took slow hand held walks through the tuilleries gardens, people watched, ate at cafes and got little pastries here and there.

This was one of the cutest shops in all of Paris. It was a tea/herbs & spices shop. I was drooling at the windows. I love everything about this shop, from the onings and the art hanging in the window to the color scheme and the little green 34's showing the address. SO cute.

I spent a little too much time in this French book shop. They had me at the children's book window display. I LOVE children's books, so I figured this would be a great souvenir for Wendy (better for her than the sugary treats we brought home for most others). I grabbed so many, it was hard to narrow them down. Now that we're home and our chocolate and macaroons are eaten, I wish I wouldn't have narrowed down so much.

One thing I remembered from doing my pre-trip research on Paris, was that StephModo said there were blue doors everywhere. I didn't realize that she meant EV.ER.Y.WHERE. In every shade of blue you could possibly imagine. It was beautiful. I started snapping pictures of my favorite ones. I wish the United States were a little older so our buildings and doors had this much character.

We parked our velib bikes and went to the old opera house. It was like being inside another French palace, extravagant and ornate. I loved it. Warning: we took lots of pictures there.

*ryan's opera debut

*my debut as Evita. I loved this view of the city. I felt like I owned the place.


After touring the opera house, we continued our bike ride around the city. I had asked (begged) my mom to do a mini photoshoot of us around Paris on our last day, which my wonderful mother did and made me feel like she loved it as much as I did (even though I know she was working hard). So on this bike ride, we scoped out some good locations for our mini photoshoot (pictures to come later).

Thursday, July 8, 2010


On our 5th day in Paris, we took off and spent the day in Brussels, Belgium. It's about a three hour drive from Paris. Tata and Pierre rented us a LIMO to make the trip more fun. And let me tell you, driving through the French countryside in a limousine is such a fun way to see the landscape!

I have to be honest, I was a little reluctant to "waste" one of my Paris days in Belgium. Ryan was excited about it and his enthusiasm (plus the thought of a relaxing/beautiful drive in a limo) convinced me to go. I'm SO glad I went! Brussels had a lot of the Parisian charm with less than half of the tourists (hypocritical, I know). It was a fun change of pace and now I can say I've been to Belgium.

*in The Grand'Place - one of the most beautiful town squares in the world!

So of course we loaded up on Belgian waffles and chocolate while we were there. The waffles were more of a dessert than a breakfast food. They're thick like old fashioned donuts with a sweet glaze and whatever toppings you want! And the chocolate... Oh the chocolate! We bought two 13.5 lb. bags of Belgian chocolate chips. They were one of our only souvenirs for ourselves from the whole trip. They are currently in my freezer and my chocolate chip cookies have been to die for since we've gotten home (not to toot my own horn, but seriously). I also eat them like candy whenever I go to the movies or need something sweet.

Long story short, no regrets here. If you get the chance to go to Belgium, take it from me, it's not a waste. It' was beautiful. And delicious.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Paris, Day 4 - The Louvre, Our Fave Cafe, & a Night Tour

On our 4th day in Paris, we spent a leisurely morning going off by ourselves on bikes, stopping in cute shops, taking LOTS of pictures of little details, and getting a taste of what the street vendors had to offer.
Our first (big) stop was the Louvre. It is SO big. We got some wonderful advice from some friends we made on Pierre's birthday cruise. They told us the Louvre is almost impossible to navigate by yourself, you'd get lost. They told us about the book "Rick Steve's Guide to Paris" and even were so kind as to photocopy the pages on the Louvre. It totally helped. He walks you through the Louvre, tells you which way to go so that you get to see all the best parts of the exhibit in a couple hours instead of a couple days. Don't go to the Louvre without it!

*my best attempt at a Mona Lisa smile/grin + the crazy Mona Lisa paparazzi

*Venus de Milo & the glass pyramids

After the Louvre, we took a stroll through the Tuileries gardens. We stopped for lunch at the Cafe Reale. My Tata told us that it's the best cafe in the gardens because it's the only one there with a kitchen attached where the food is made fresh. It was SO good! (It's a tie for my favorite place to eat in Paris with the restaurant in the Orsay Museum).

After lunch, we rode over to Notre Dame. I was as surprised by the tiny details in the huge cathedral as I was by the amount of gypsies out in front of it. For real. I kept my eye out for a sexy one hanging out with a hunch back, but I didn't see any. After giving ourselves a tour of the inside of Notre Dame, we crossed a bridge, sat on the edge of the Siene river, listened to some street musicians and had some mango & coconut ice cream. It was perfect.

That evening, my Tata took us on her own "Paris by night" tour. She followed the double decker red bus and looked up information online on all the stops they made, and gives this tour to all her guests. It's awesome because it's free and she gives time to get out and take pictures. The tour begins and ends with crepes (first for dinner and then for dessert). It was so much fun. Thank you Tata!