Our Paris home was located in a kind of random area — but we loved the location!  Within 20 minutes we could walk to Sacré Coeur or the Arc de Triomphe (walking is always better than metro-ing in Paris) and we definitely took advantage of that short route to take lots and lots of walks in Montmartre.

Every Sunday we walked from our place to Sacré Coeur and back, stopping along the way to look at street art and appreciate the con artists working the streets.  We had some good friends move back to the States about a month and a half before we did, so we took advantage of their last week in town to meet up for a picnic at the foot of Sacré Coeur followed by a leisurely walk around the bobo section of Paris.  The best part was definitely stumbling across the stairs featured in the second part of this video, causing me to sing For Emma for the rest of the evening.

We miss Paris.  We love America, but we miss the place that became our home over the past two years.  Good thing we’ll be having another adventure next!

Montmartre
Montmartre
Montmartre
Montmartre
Montmartre
Montmartre
Montmartre
Montmartre

I’m not going to apologize for the lack in posting lately.  The Husband and I were down to the wire — our last month in Paris, and I decided that I would rather be out and about, taking photos and enjoying our last bit of time together in our favorite place on Earth.

Our favorite activity was definitely taking long walks — we would walk from our place up by Sacré Coeur to the Seine, taking in the sights, enjoying the bands that were playing, and taking in the beautiful weather.

We’re in the states now visiting family and getting ready to move on to the next big place in our lives.  While its great to be seeing family and be back in America, we sure do miss our home in Paris.

Seine Walk

Seine Walk
Seine Walk
Seine Walk
Seine Walk
Seine Walk
Seine Walk
Seine Walk

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

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

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
Le Mont Saint-MichelLe 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

 

 

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 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