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Doors

After visiting the Cathédrale de Chartres, the Husband and I still had some time left before our afternoon train back to Paris, so we decided to further explore Chartres.  Before going to visit for the day, some friends had lent us a book about the town that gave us a hankering to explore some of the other cathedrals in the area.  What can I say, we’re suckers for a good church (which, surprisingly, are all over the place in Chicago!  Now to just figure out if its culturally acceptable here to go into a church and walk around like we do in France….).

We visited two other churches that we came across while simply meandering the streets of Chartres (which were much more quaint than those of Paris…).  Our favorite church was definitely the first church — it was simply one of those magical moments that we will never forget.

I’ve always heard that cathedrals were once painted and have such have spent hours sitting in cathedrals across France, trying to imagine what they once looked like.  The beauty of this particular cathedral, painted, left me almost in tears.  imagine my further joy when, all of the sudden, organ music started booming around us, echoing through the beautiful passageway that we were standing in.  We were all alone in the cathedral except for the mystery organist, so The Husband and I sat down to enjoy the moment, not speaking, simply soaking it all in.  After about half an hour, the music stopped, and slowly a man in business attire carrying a lunch bag and a briefcase descended from the alcove and left the building with a simple “Au revoir”.

The second cathedral we visited was beautiful in a more simple, sad way.  It was obvious once again that we were the only ones there, and that these other cathedrals in Chartres do not have the resources to restore them in a way that would rival the Cathédrale de Chartres.  We made sure to donate whatever sous we had on us at each cathedral, but it was sad to see that these churches, as beautiful as they are, are under appreciated by the tourists that take the trek out to Chartres.

 

Chartres
Chartres
Chartres

Chartres
Chartres
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Chartres
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Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres

One of the greatest parts of having finished my Masters and waiting around Paris till The Husband finishes his is having lots of free time!  While I am teaching private French lessons so we have a steady income, with our visas as Non-EU citizens we are only allowed to work 20 hours a week.  Meaning now that I don’t have classes and homework and a thesis hanging over my head, I get to truly enjoy living here again and try to get to see everything on my list before we leave (which is coming up sooner than either of us would like to acknowledge….).

It had been almost a year since I had last been to Père Lachaise, one of my favorite spots in the city, so I met up with a friend who is here from New York for a few months and her two children to do some exploring.  It was nice to show one of my favorite spots to someone who had never seen it and recapture some of the original magic that makes me love Père Lachaise so much.  Bonus: this time there didn’t happen to be a stoned man hanging out on Jim Morrison’s grave, so thats always a plus!

Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris

As I look back on these photos, I am reminded of how lucky we are to be living out a dream, even if our plans don’t always work out as we imagined them.  It’s particularly hard to be away from family and friends when we are having a hard time, as we have been lately.  But places like this and the friends that we have made here make it easier to get through the hard spots in life.

I’m grateful for every opportunity we’ve had while we’ve been here, especially the ones like visiting le Mont Saint-Michel, a place so gorgeous it took my breath away and strengthened my belief that there is a greater plan and purpose here on this earth.  We’re trying to make the most of our last two months here with more trips like this one (amidst the problem of finding out where we’re going to in the states, haha) and lots of long walks along the Seine.  That means lots of good pictures coming up!  But for now, enjoy the rest of the Mont Saint-Michel, or the time that we spent exploring the tiny paths through the tiers of houses on the island.  This was definitely one of the most incredible trips that we have taken this time in Paris.

Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel

The best part about the Mont Saint-Michel is that I got in completely free.  Okay, so totally not the best part, but it was still pretty awesome.  I was free, MK was half price, and The Husband had to pay full price since he’s so olddddddd.  Right after paying, you leave the little hut and are greeted with the most splendiferous view (yes, it was so magical that I can’t even think of a real word to describe it).

You’re on the back of the island, looking out over the ocean from the top of the abbey.  Now, I grew up next to a huge body of water (re: Lake Michigan), and The Husband is from Florida so we’ve seen our share of sweeping beach views.  But, I have to say, this one was unlike any other view I had ever seen.  We were up so high that I felt like I could see forever, and it was hard to believe that this water we were looking at could take us all the way to America.  The tide going in and out around the island makes for an even more beautiful view from the island, for some reason.

And then we turned around.  We hadn’t even gone into the abbey yet and knew already that this was going to be our favorite place in France.  These pictures don’t do it justice — you need to go there yourselves!  These are all of the chapel at the very top of the Abbey,  which was just the beginning of our visit!
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel

Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel

The week before we left for England, I accomplished something huge — any guesses as to what it was?  I officially finished writing and editing my thesis — all 107 pages of it!  Although I’m still doing some light cosmetic editing in the month or so leading up to my defense, I feel so relieved and happy about having it done!  To celebrate this milestone, The Husband and I met up with our friends, David and Reba, to visit the Château de Chantilly in celebration of my new found free time!

Most of you probably know what Chantilly is, but for those of you who don’t, its basically fancy whipped cream — hence the draw to the Château.  Before we were able to check out the grounds and Hameau for some Chantilly, however, of course we had to check out the Château itself!

Maybe I’ve just been a Château hater lately, but Chantilly to me was a strange place to visit.  From the outside, the Château is absolutely beautiful — set over water, beautiful iron gates, gorgeous gardens and stables as a backdrop (THE STABLES!! Reba and I are planning on going back to visit some day soon….).  The inside, at least for me, was overwhelming, and not in a good way.  The main halls in the Château had been set up almost like a museum, however, instead of having only a few paintings on the walls so the viewers could take them all in individually, the paintings were piled on top of each other all the way from floor to ceiling, with barely any room between each one!  Now imagine a ballroom decorated like that and you can see why I thought it was overwhelming.  There were some gorgeous paintings in the Château, as well as beautiful decorations, but I couldn’t really concentrate and appreciate any of them because there was just too much for me to look at!  That being said, the Château itself was beautiful, and definitely worth the time and money to get in at least once, I just wish everything were more spread out!  Definitely take the time to visit the Chapel, though — it was absolutely gorgeous!

 Château de Chantilly
Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly
Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly


Château de Chantilly

The Husband and I, being the avid Daft Punk fans that we are (Holla out there for the new album!  May 21st can’t come fast enough!!!) received news that Daft Punk had been strategically putting up ads throughout most major cities in the world, so of course we had to go in search of some here in Paris on my last day of freedom!

While we didn’t come across any, we did find this gem of a building, 59 rue Rivoli — 7 (American) floors of artists studios where you can enter, look around, buy art work, eat candy, basically do whatever you want!  The best part of the building was the huge mural that spanned the length of the staircase.

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Even though it’s a blurry one of me, I somehow feel it fits the ambiance….

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Next time you’re in Paris, check out 59 rue Rivoli!  Its bright, sunny, full of art, and don’t forget the free candy if you go all the way to the top floor.  And who can say no to free art and free candy?

 

To celebrate the beginning of The Husband’s week long vacances, we headed to one of my favorite areas in Paris yesterday, Château Rouge, under the guise of getting some dried black beans.  I say guise because I love this area so much that I’m writing my thesis about it, so really this was a research based trip, but I couldn’t get The Husband to accompany me if I told him that, now could I?

 

Château Rouge is great for a variety of reasons (um, the markets.  Visit them.), but here are 4 of them!

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The doors! I love love love the doors here more than anywhere else. Don’t ask me why, cause I don’t have an answer…

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The awesome street art (that’s really attached to a bar?). Have I mentioned lately how much I love street art?

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Okay, so maybe it’s really only three reasons why I love Château Rouge… I love the doors twice I guess?

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Obama fashion hair. That is all.

And now, back to watching Adele videos on youtube whilst making pancakes — brinner for the second time this weekend?  I think yes!