MĂ©moires de france


Yesterday, we met with the students traveling with us to France next summer. Some have already traveled there, others not. Regardless of their past experiences, though, they just seemed so *excited*. (Which, of course, they should be 😉 )

Their excitement has me reminiscing about some of my first French and Parisian experiences …

Like visiting Mont St Michel, a “floating” monastery in Normandy …

{via}

Are you familiar with it? You’ll notice  in the first shot shot it seems as though built upon a beach, but in the second …

{via}

… engulfed in water. Its tides really are that dramatic! You have to be militant about walks around there so as not to, literally, be swept away by the dramatic ebbs and flows of the tides. 

Learning to navigate the Paris métro was another biggie for me at the beginning .

{my photo}

… Concorde remains one of my favorites, what with the tiled letters providing hours minutes of entertainment. How many can you find here?

Some things were less dramatic, like finding my favorite neighborhood boulangerie ..

{via}

… perfecting the late afternoon/early evening aperitif …

aperitif{via}

… or always greeting a store owner upon entering …

{via}

… That’s a joke. But if a dog owned the store, you would definitely be expected to greet him or her, in the formal form. 

I’m so excited for the kids to uncover other nuggets of French culture, and to unearth some new ones for myself. (I’ll be doing a home stay for the first time in over a decade! I’m so old!)

Vive la France et surtout l’Ă©tĂ© 2013 !

Advertisements

Ski weekend


I’m so looking forward to snow and friends this weekend, which we’ll spend in Wisp, in Western Maryland.  A “ski” weekend is a bit of tradition for D, his brother and some of their friends, so of course I’m excited to join the fun, especially since the first one I attended was marked by much rain rather than snow, preventing us from hitting the slopes. I have little to no experience skiing (one trip my freshman year of high school doesn’t count), but I’m so excited to try again in just a few days. I love winter-time activities and the forecast is looking great (cold and snowy.) 


{via}


{via}

{via}

What do you think? Skiing? Or lodge/hot chocolate/red wine? I’m thinking a combination of the two will be just the ticket 🙂

Russian travel


Russia isn’t usually the first travel destination that jumps to my mind, but the release of Anna Karenina …

(one of my top five favorite books of all time) this December has me thinking about old world splendor …

Kazan, Russia #russia

{via}

… snowy landscapes …

{via}

… and sumptuous architecture …

russia{via}

What do you think? Do you want to travel to Russia?

Paris in the falltime


October brings me vividly back to Paris, and my mother’s first “big” trip to see me there. (She had previously spent a quick week with me at New Year’s when I studied abroad.) This trip, however, would be two weeks, and I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with her as the previous trip-let. I had carved out my own little life, going from class to volunteering with the English speaking kids at the school down the street, to let’s face it, a daily apĂ©ritif at my favorite cafĂ©-bar.

Compared with the demands of true “adult” life, it all sounds quite quaint and remarkably stress-free, but I was eager for my mother to see me as the adult I perceived myself to be at 22. I was so proud I had found a way to achieve just the life I wanted post-college and wanted her to be, too. I couldn’t wait to show her around my new neighborhood, have her partake in an apĂ©ritif amongst friends both old and new, and of course get in some requisite cultural outings and site seeing.

When I think back to those two weeks, what stands out to me is the many afternoons and early evenings we spent at different cafĂ©s, both famous and hole-in-the wall. We enjoyed Croque-Madames and French onion soup at Le DĂ©part, a cafe adjacent to the Place St Michel …

… and Notre Dame …

… and known more traditionally for late night revelers than late afternoon mother-daughter outings.

We sipped delicious and rich hot chocolate on an unseasonably cold day in Chartres …

We sipped on cheap red wine in our not-so-tiny (by Parisian student standards that is) apartment. That’s actually my home-sweet-home of two years right there. We’re in those apartments hidden behind the little dormer windows on the top floor.

We tried died-in-the-wool French classics like Brasserie Balzar on the rue des Ecoles.

My mother and I (as I’m sure many of you are) are extremely close. The high schools years, by both of our standards, were not the calmest in our relationship. And we’re still not perfect. I should revise that. I’m still not. I can be bossy with the people I’m closest to, and my mother graciously puts up with that. But when I think back to when we grew as close as we are now, when we shed the drama of my growing pains, I think it must have been when we started to travel together, in my late college years. By finding solutions to (and sometimes squabbling about) problems as simple as which mĂ©tro stop to take to more complicated ones like deciphering how-to guides in another language, we learned to communicate more clearly. Emphasis still on me learning to be more patient since my mother is about as patient as can be with her children. She doesn’t utter an unkind word, makes us feel accepted no matter what we are currently interested in and in fact makes a great travel companion. I’ll miss her on my French exchange next summer but I’m sure she’ll be ready to hear all about it and actually want to look at every picture I take. What are your best memories with your mom?

Images via ~

Place St Michel

Notre Dame

Chartres

Denfert Rochereau

Brasserie Balzar

Autumn in Burgundy


With the leaves beginning to turn, I’m thinking of quiet villages and inviting medieval architecture, both of which abound in the French region of Bourgogne (Burgundy). There’s something about this paysage that lends itself to the raucous oranges, yellows and reds of autumn. Do you agree?

{via}

 

{via}

{via}

{via}

{via}

 

Fall foliage


Most of my wanderlust is geared towards international destinations to places like here, or there. But with the nip in the air and the first leaves falling, I’m dreaming of a road trip right here in my stomping grounds on the East Coast. It’s hard to beat dramatic views like these …

{via}

{via}

536288_08abc0f571de75de664dcfd6a79a959f_large_large

{via}

I’m craving a quick weekend to Charlottesville, a stone’s throw from Richmond, and not too many hours from Baltimore. Where have you seen the best fall leaves?

Post card memories


I like to keep this fairy tale looking post card tucked snug in a mirror ~

as a constant reminder of two dreamy weeks in Italy last summer. Those fishing villages in the Cinque Terre are just exactly what you would envision – the color pops of the houses all built one on top of the other, the impossibly narrow and steep streets, and just-so cafes were the perfect end to our two weeks of la Dolce Vita. We debated traveling to Nice for a day but decided against it in favor of more relaxation away from trains. I was disappointed at the time, but hopefully Nice will be crossed off the list with next summer’s pending travel plans. What trip do you dream of taking, or love remembering?