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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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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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The Husband and I are slowly getting settled back in the States.  We both officially have jobs and are starting the apartment hunt today after work (I’m writing this from a desk in a high rise in a city — who would have guessed just a few weeks ago!).  Of course its my lunch break, but as I have this down time its hard to believe that just a short while ago we were living our dream in a tiny minuscule studio in Paris.  Oh Paris, la ville de mes rêves.

We knew it was going to be like this but it’s still hard.  It seems like Paris was just a dream — an extremely long dream with lots of ups and downs, but a dream none the less.  I think thats why we basically our whole last month out of doors in the city — I don’t think we’ve ever walked so much before in our lives.  I can’t say I regret it.  These are some of our most magical memories.

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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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Le Mont Saint-Michel
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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.

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Le Mont Saint-Michel
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Le Mont Saint-Michel


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Le Mont Saint-Michel
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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
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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.

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Le Mont Saint-Michel
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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
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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
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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!