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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.

 

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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.

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Things have been moving quickly in these parts.  I feel like ever since we’ve gotten back to the states we’ve been running non-stop.  We got back in June.  Since then we’ve been to Florida visiting family, Utah for a wedding, Illinois visiting family, then are moving into Chicago this weekend where The Husband and I are both working, and are going to California next weekend.  Between all of that visiting we found time to job hunt enough for me to currently have two jobs.  We’ve been blessed in more ways than I can count since returning to the States, but incredibly busy at the same time.

Currently we’re sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of our apartment until we get to move all our furniture that we haven’t seen in 2 years (!!!!!!) in this weekend.  We have no internet.  We have no light in our bedroom.  We have nothing to cook with.  We’re so busy that neither one of us gets home till 9 at night.  And we’re incredibly happy.  I miss Paris with all of my heart, but it was time for that chapter to end and this one to begin.  We’re just hoping this domestic chapter is a short one and that we start another international adventure again soon…  In the mean time, enjoy my sporadic blogging of pictures of Paris that make me swoon.  Once we get internet I’ll post some pictures of our new home, Chicago.

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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.

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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.

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

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!
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The Husband and I are extremely lucky to be living in Paris, and throughout our stay here we’ve had the opportunity to travel to some pretty awesome places.  We’ve explored many of the suburbs of Paris, traveled to multiple Châteaux, visited Germany, Belgium, and England, as well as much of France that we had lived in before coming to Paris.  Lucky for us, MK was adamant about going to one of the places we hadn’t previously been but had always dreamed of going to, Le Mont Saint-Michel.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Le Mont Saint-Michel, its an old old old abbey right off the coast of Normandie.  It’s on a tiny island and is surrounded by sand and sometimes water (depending on the tide).  When you go there, you park your car on the main land and then take a bus to the front door of the city, and from then on you have to walk!

We were lucky because we went during peak off tourist season….  Basically, we had the whole place to ourselves minus a few Japanese tour groups, meaning that we spent about 4 hours exploring the actual abbey and about 3 exploring the little town on the island.  So, be prepared for a series of posts dedicated to this puppy.

Not going to lie, le Mont Saint-Michel was the most beautiful place I have ever been to.

Here are some photos from the walk up through the windy streets in the town — you wind back and forth until you get to the very top, where the abbey is located.  It’s pretty cool!

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Stay tuned for more photos from Le Mont Saint-Michel. I promise they get more beautiful as the day went along — for once it was sunny in Normandie!

I secretly love when we have visitors in town.  Theres something nice about being able to let everything else drop to the side for the moment and living in a way where a. you see tons of beautiful things and b. you come home drop dead tired at the end of every day and are totally and completely willing/able to zonk out by 10 PM and sleep till 8 the next morning.

Sometimes I wish I could be a tourist all the time, then I realize how much I enjoy the other things in life — school, studying, working, wandering aimlessly, and most of all, taking in my city how I want to see it, not how others think I need to see it to gain the best possible experience.

The week before Christmas one of The Husband’s friends hopped over the pond to spend a few days sleeping in our tiny studio with us (on the floor, of course) and taking in Paris for his first time.  Lucky for me, Nontendo was pretty chill and allowed me to show him Paris how I wanted to.  I love when that happens!  He also kept The Husband busy making music till the wee hours of the morning each day, something which they both sorely enjoyed!

Thanks for coming to visit, Nontendo!  Come back again soon!

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Isn’t it great when its still warm enough in December to have picnics?

Right before Christmas The Husband and I met up with two other couples and had a double date to the Christmas markets at La Défense.  I have to say, I like these ones so much more than the Marché on the Champs-Élysées!  It’s less crowded and theres more cool stuff to look at!  Win win!

Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of it, but when we went back on Christmas eve there was a man in lederhosen playing one of those long instruments from Ricola commercials.  Someday I’ll be that cool….

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ParisOh yeah, and The Husband finally got some poutine.  This was probably the single greatest day of his life.  Vive la poutine!

The Husband and I live in a great neighborhood in Paris — it’s definitely not too touristy, and theres always something to do.  Not to mention that we live in a mostly immigrant neighborhood, which is perfect, since we fit right in to that category! (I don’t like calling us expats — theres just something about that word that doesn’t seem to fit our situation….)

Ever since we moved here in 2011, we’ve always taken the bus/walked past this little park that looked like it had some cool art inside and said “lets go in there next time we go past”.  Well, with school done and applications done and a lonely Christmas upon us, we finally did just that!

Imagine my surprise when, in addition to being a park, this place is also a community garden!  This spot might just be my new favorite place in our quartier…

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