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Out of all the cathedrals and churches in France that The Husband and I have been to throughout the years, I definitely think Chartres has the most beautiful grounds.  What made the grounds even more magical was the free baguette that we ate for lunch on the grounds!

Funny story — The Husband and I spent probably a half an hour walking around the little side streets, looking for the perfect place to eat lunch.  As we were just about to give up and go to a place neither one of us wanted to go, a nice looking lady stopped us on the street and asked if we eat baguettes.  Um, YES!  Only like 2 a day.  Turns out she was from the office of tourism and they were doing a baguette survey — we took ten minutes to taste test baguettes for the city and we got our favorite one for free as a thank you gift.  Pretty good deal, right?  This is why we love France and we love being able to speak French.  If we had only spoken English we would have been a no go!  God bless those baguette loving people.

Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
Chartres
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Chartres

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Buckle your seatbelts for even more photos of Chartres!  I couldn’t help myself — not only do I normally take way more photos than actually needed, I was mid-4 month freak-out about how we were leaving France soon and wouldn’t have many more opportunities to take photos of places like this.  If you want to see even more (but still not the full collection), check out my flickr page by clicking on the photos.

Chartres
Chartres
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Chartres

The Husband and I have been trying to take time out of our schedules to visit everything that we haven’t been able to do yet in Paris.  A few weekends ago I was able to head out of the city to visit the Château d’Écouen, home of the Renaissance Museum for France.

It was nice to visit a Château that wasn’t extremely crowded — there were only about 3 other people in the whole château!  The funniest part of the whole ordeal was the fact that in almost every room there was a sign explaining that this wasn’t the original decor, that had been sent to this or that château, and what was currently found in the room was from this or that other château.  My personal favorite room was the gallery of stained glass, which, as the sign so kindly explained, used to be completely lined with stained glass that now resides in another Château, so now the walls are entirely covered in tapestries with nary a window in sight, haha.

Although this Château did have its quirks, it was definitely worth the 30 minute ride out of the city if only for the walk through the woods that we were able to make to get back to the train station.  It was beautiful!

Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen
Château d'Écouen

One of the fun things that I do here is work as a private French teacher for ex-pats.  Lucky me I have the coolest students who like to go on outings to practice their vocabulary!

A few weeks ago we learned about des animaux and a group of us set out to the Ménagerie du Jardin des plantes to practice naming animals.  It had been so long since I’d been to a zoo that I’d forgotten how fun they can be!  Highlights included two apes kissing, seeing raccoons in captivity, the hedgehog exhibit, and hanging out with four teenage boys all afternoon.  They keep me young.

Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

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

Of course we had to check out the gardens of the Mont Saint-Michel.  Lucky for us you’re kind of forced to head out that way — the gift shop leads out into them and we couldn’t have been happier!

Somehow, we magically got the perfect day at the Mont Saint-Michel.  I’m not sure how that happened, but if you guys ever go I hope you get a day as awesome as ours was!  I’ve been missing it lately.  We’ve had kind of the worst month ever, so looking back on this pictures (when we’ve had the time) has helped to make this month better!

I’m going to miss things like this when we move back to America.

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

 

 

Only one more Mont Saint-Michel post to go, and then we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled Paris-centric posts!

One of the things that most impressed us most about le Mont Saint-Michel was the sheer size of the structure.  Granted, it wasn’t that big originally and only achieved such size through many add ons, but still, a monument of that size is impressive!

MK, The Husband and I spent about 3 hours in the actual abbey itself before heading outside to the extensive grounds and then exploring the island itself.  By our extremely exact and scientific calculations, we only saw maybe 20% of the abbey in all of that time.  Impressive, non?  We did, however, make sure to entirely explore every nook and cranny that was available to us, just to make sue we got the entire experience, you know?

Our favorite part?  When we were in the monks mess hall and The Husband started quietly whistling to see what the acoustics where like.  I mean, the monks had to chant in there sometime, right?  So we knew that had to be amazing!  Anyways, we were all alone in this enormous room except for one lady reading at one of the monks tables.  As soon as Andrew started whistling she looked up and shushed him!  We couldn’t believe it — we didn’t see anyone else the whole time we were there, but the one time we saw someone she got upset because we tested out the acoustics!  Let me tell you, they were great!

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 Husband absolutely reverted to being a kiddo while we were at le Mont Saint-Michel.  It made MK and I laugh to see him running from place to place, touching everything and trying to explore every nook and cranny.  He’s been so stressed with school and waiting to find out where we’re going that taking some time to enjoy himself was much needed.

It’s funny seeing a glimpse of what The Husband was like as a child and what our children will someday be like.  He was ecstatic over all the things he could touch and pull on, and was sorely tempted to pull the bell pull to ring the bells of Le Mont Saint-Michel.  Lucky for us, he reigned in his excitement so we could finish seeing the rest of the abby.  Totally worth it in my opinion.

Apparently our Mont Saint-Michel experience wasn’t typical — its usually more like the line 13 than completely empty like we had it.  My advice?  Definitely hit up le Mont Saint-Michel in January!  We practically had the whole place to ourselves!

Stay tuned for even more of the bajillion pictures we took while there.

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 Husband hates when I’m in charge of planning our visitors schedules….  Something about me scheduling every moment of every day until they’re so tired that they can’t function???  Ludacris.

So, when MK got a tiny bit sick while she was here, The Husband jumped on the opportunity to laugh and blame it on me.  And now every once in a while, just to rub it in, he’ll say “Remember that one time you went so crazy with scheduling that you made MK sick?  Have you learned your lesson about vacation planning?”  Meanie….

Anyways, while MK was here she had a mixed bag of good and bad luck.  Like I said, she had awesome metro juju, especially for the line 13, and she was lucky enough to see the first few days of the sales, meaning that of course we had to hit up some normally extremely expensive shops that just for those few weeks count as mostly expensive shops.  Shown here:

Paris

We also, of course, had to hit up the Catacombes, since MK is a nurse and loves dead things.  But don’t worry if she is ever your nurse, she usually doesn’t kill people and is quite good at her job!  Sadly, we went to visit one of my favorite museums here, the Musée Rodin, and the house was closed for restoration.  Awesome news, mainly because the inside was falling apart (I’ve done multiple photo essays for myself on photos of the cracks in the walls and foundation of that house….), but also sad news since then we only got to see the sculptures in the gardens, which were also partly closed for a party for the Indian Embassy that they would be having later that night.

Highlights included getting hit on by construction workers, one of said construction workers thinking I was Québécoise (at least its some kind of native speaker!), and finding a Thinker phone case for my ancient phone for €1 at the gift shop.  All in all, a win!  Oh, and don’t forget the delicious chocolate/almond/pistachio pastry we had at the end….

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Paris

Oh yeah, and of course we had to throw up the single ladies pose… Especially since neither of us are single ladies…. Such is life.

One of the great things about France is stellar weather we have pretty regularly.  Everything here is pretty middle of the road as far as temperatures go, even if we do get more rain than normal.  Lucky for MK, while she was here she magically brought a week long respite from the rain, leading to the perfect opportunity for us to spend as much time outside as possible!

Not to be outdone by The Husband’s and my picnic along the banks of the Seine in early March last year ( I was just so antsy for picnic weather!!!!), MK and I left for Fontainebleau with picnic in two — two delicious baguette sandwiches loaded up with all the veggies that would fit!  And of course, some tasty treats.  What would a picnic be without great scenery and tasty treats?

Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau