(Is she smiling, or frowning? I wish I could have gotten closer for you, but I am telling you now that you should be VERY impressed that I got this photo at all--the crowds were horrific, so this was taken by reaching my arms up waaay over my head, going heavy on the zoom, saying a prayer to Nikon and snapping away!)
Today I was 23 minutes into my hellish 45 eliptical workout when (horrors!) I realized that I hadn't finished up my very famous THE WILLARDS TAKE PARIS series--so sorry to leave you hanging like that!
I've been a bit hyper-manic lately. Springtime does that to me.
So much to do!
May is going to be busy, busy, busy:
Little Miss Thing will be coming home for summer, mid-month.
We have an Open House tenatively scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, which will hopefully result in an offer on our home (please oh please!).
LMT's and my summer job as the official gardeners to the STARS (for the business my husband runs) starts up again in a few weeks. Which involves a ton of work, but is so much fun I can't stand it.
I know there's more on that list. I just can't remember right now--heck, I can't even remember what I had for lunch, not 2 hours ago.....
There is a lovely blog here on "Cyberspace", you know, the "World Wide Web" (I say that just to irritate my kid) that I stalk on a regular basis, and it's named The Cottage Nest. A darling, darling spot in the Universe. You can get there by clicking HERE. The blogstress, whose name is Jen, is traveling to Paris to celebrate HER anniversary soon, and asked me to give her a few pointers for a smooth trip.
That just cracked me up. Because "smooth" travel is SO not what I'm known for!
Well Jen, we were only there for 8 days, but we did in fact have a pretty smooth trip this time (well, except for the crappy weather towards the end, but hey, waddya gonna do?), probably thanks to some wonderful advice given to us by friends and family. Here's what worked for us:
***Learn the very most basic French. Oui. Non. Merci. Bonjour. Bonsoir. Au Revoir. Parlez Vous Anglais?
***In most restaurants, in my limited experience, the toilettes are located in the basement.
***When entering a business, ALWAYS say Bonjour or Bonsoir. It shows respect and courtesy, and is expected.
***Our daughter taught us this one: when sitting down at a cafe, always ask for a caraffe of water (Un caraffe de eau), which is free. Otherwise, you will end up paying a bundle for bottled.
***Gratuity is always included at restaurants (and taxis, I do believe)--LOVE THIS!
***Do not drink or eat on the Metro--a major faux paus, I'm told (no wonder I got such dirty looks with my Starbucks!)
***On the street, do not attempt to smile at or say "hey" or make eye contact with the locals--I guess this is VERY typical American behavior, and they will think you are a big old geek. (I had a very hard time with this one!)
***On your first day or two in Paris, take one of those touristy double-decker bus tours (you can pick it up at Notre Dame)....these are really the best way to get a good, overall view of the city, and you can jump on and off whenever you want to, all day long. Well worth the money!
***The boat tours on the Seine are also a very convenient and inexpensive way to get around the city.
Hope those few tips help you, Jen!
As I mentioned before, the last few days of our trip were chilly and rainy (totally brought the wrong clothes!), but before the rains really started, we took the Metro to the Montmartre neighborhood. Which is the hilliest area of Paris, complete with incredible views of the whole city............check out the "funicular" that takes lazy-butt girls like me up to the top of the hill.............
And here's what is at the top...the famous Sacre Coeur cathedral.........
Amazing city views.......
The lovely streets of Montmartre..........
The Moulin Rouge!.......................
Of course, we could not leave Paris without visiting some of the museums. Our daughter is so fortunate: included in her tuition is FREE admissions to all of the museums in Paris! One day, she took us to the Musee D'Orsay, which is housed in a grand old train station. I don't have any photos inside this museum, as they weren't allowed, but OH the joy of standing mere inches from Van Gogh's self-portrait! From Monet's Water Lily Pond!
Words cannot express how very VAST and overwhelming the Louvre Museum was...we picked a rotten day to go, as it was rainy outside and every single tourist in Paris had the same idea, but oh well. Here are some shots from when we were waiting in line to get inside...truly breathtaking!............
The famed I.M. Pei pyramids, up close.....
Endless hallways of art, jam-PACKED with art lovers!.............
Here's a little friend of mine, named Venus. Venus De Milo, to be exact....
Egyptian antiquities, galore...........
Hey Jen! There are a few things I forgot to mention earlier......
***Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in France drives teensy-tiny cars, because gas is seriously about $10 a gallon there. So if you rent one, find the smallest car you can, like one of these.........(I am not kidding when I tell you that we did not see ONE SUV over there, not even one!)............
***Another great way to get around is to "Velibe"-it. Velibes are bicycles that you can find to rent for the day on the streets, and they are cute as can be! Just watch out for those crazy cab drivers!
Well, I do believe I've shared the best of our travel photos...hope you've enjoyed your little virtual trip to Paris with me!
I'll be back soon with some wonderful new recipes to try!