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Museum

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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I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago, and have always loved animals.  I was lucky enough to convince my dad to volunteer at the Shedd Aquarium in the city as a youngster, and continued doing so up until The Husband and I moved to France.  Suffice to say that I LOVE going to zoos and aquariums.  I love animals.  Too bad I’m allergic to all of them, or I’m pretty sure The Husband and I would have a regular ménagerie….

 

Anyways, after visiting the jardin des plantes and seeing the zoo there for a French lesson one week, the Logger boys and I decided to hit up the newly re-opened parc zoologique de Paris before we all left the country.  Wow.  That’s all I have to say.  We were in the zoo for around 3 hours, and felt completely content!  And they’re not even done with the construction yet!  I’d love to go back in a few years and see everything once its finished — it is definitely in my top zoos in the world.  Enjoy a few snaps I took while we were there!

 

 Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris
Parc zoologique de Paris

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
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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

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 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!

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
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!

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:

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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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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.

I love living in a city where you can easily walk from place to place on any given day, no public transportation needed.  Although that does have its drawbacks, like me having walked through almost every single pair of shoes that I own.  On the bright side, with us moving back to the states in a few months, the prospect of leaving some dead shoes behind is sounding better every day as I think of how I’m going to fit all of our stuff in four suitcases….

I can’t say that I have one particular favorite book, but The Phantom of the Opera has always been up there — I adore the book and the musical (but don’t even get me started on that mid 2000’s movie adaption.  Horrible.) and conveniently decided to reread it at the beginning of the year while I was on hold for some new books.  Lucky for me, MK was game to take the tour of the Opéra Garnier after a morning trip to the Musée d’Orsay.  I hadn’t taken the tour since I was here on study abroad in 2009 — its hard to forget how beautiful the inside of the opera is, but somehow I seem to have forgotten all the details that really make the place so pretty.  The Opéra Garnier is, hands down, one of the most beautiful places in Paris!

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After our walk around the quartier, The Husband and I hit up the modern art museum that everybody loves to hate on, the Centre Pompidou.  Now, I think the building is pretty cool, but most of what I hear is “OMG that building is so ugly”.  Haters gonna hate, I guess.

Anyways, The Husband and I spent an hour walking around the free galleries for the night, taking in the art and generally enjoying ourselves.  I happen to love any kind of art, no matter what it looks like, so I was in heaven!

We met up with the Baguettes for a trip to Pizza Hut and then walked over to Place de la République to see our last installation of the night, this cool fog piece.  They had filled the whole place with fog by placing machines throughout the whole intersection.  While it was definitely amazing and worth the walk, we didn’t end up staying very long because we were starting to hear lots of breaking glass, people yelling, and fights breaking out.  Although the installation was cool, the fact that you couldn’t see more than 4 feet in any direction mixed with the copious amounts of alcohol that people seem to drink for Nuit Blanche didn’t seem to be helping the police keep things under control.  Sad that the exhibit had to be tainted that way for us, but I’m glad we got to experience it at least!  It was definitely one of those once in a lifetime things.

Nuit Blanche 2013: I would call you a success!

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