I started travelling when I was 17. I was given a high school graduation gift by my mother to go on a 5 week Contiki tour with my girlfriend from high school. When we arrived in Europe, we crammed ourselves into a tour bus with other young, immature kids like ourselves. We began our tour of 10 countries without ever having checked the itinerary. It didn't matter where we were going. I was so excited to be away from home for the first time that I got caught up in my new freedom with new friends and I forgot that I was there to experience things that are different from what we know it America. We spent our days looking for Mcdonalds and Wendy's restaurants that would serve alcohol to minors. All of them do as it turns out! I forgot to take a look around and see where I was. I didn't know better than to not look for terrible American chain fast food restaurants. That is except for our last stop on our tour, Paris. This city has captured many hearts, mine included. I don't know if I should be embarrassed to say, or feel exceptionally fortunate, that I have just returned from my 18th trip to the city of lights. This city is the reason I started my obsessive travel adventures.
I'm gonna stick with fortunate.
The 10th trip (the pictures in this blog) was a spur of the moment trip for my husband and I. We decided to take my stepmom up on her offer of flying very cheaply on her passes through American airlines. We rented a studio apartment for 7 nights for less than $1000 and ate in at night and had picnics during the day to make this a relatively inexpensive trip.
This is what dinner looked like most nights.
It's also what our daily picnics looked like as well.
I have become quite the picnic specialist. I never leave for a trip without my travel cutting boards, knives, wine opener and even bring our own plastic wine glasses.
When you have the most amazing boulangeries, boucheries and fromageries in the world, why would you choose to eat at a smokey overpriced tourist trap on The Champs Elysees?
We find that a bench with a view suits us much better.
Now don't get me wrong. We didn't miss out on amazing french cuisine. Some of our most memorable meals were had at tiny bistros that could sit no more than 15 people. The menus are in french (as they should be) with no laminated sticky pictures. We usually found these gems by taking a wrong turn down a dark alley, away from where many English speaking people were headed.
My first experience with macarons. The salons of the Laduree are a visual wonderland.
My absolute favorite statue in the Lourve. The Winged Victory.
Love it so much I have a two-foot copy on a pedestal at home.
During research for this trip, I came across a fantastic blog site.
I spent I don't know how many hours scrolling through the gorgeous pictures and staying up way past my bedtime reading until my eyes quit on me.
On it, I found a bike tour company,
Fat Tire Tours
that I wish we would have come across several trips ago. We booked a day and a night biking tour with them and they were the highlights of our trip.
The night tour includes a 1-hour boat tour on the Seine with wine..... HELLO!!!!!
It was exhilarating riding through the streets of Paris along with the rush hour traffic. No helmets on and thinking "this could end up ugly" and loving every second of it.
Why is this always what happens when I give my camera to someone else?
We had just watched Woody Allen's movie Midnight in Paris before we came here. We thought we would search out the steps where Owen Wilson's character Gill would wait for the antique car to pick him up for his nightly adventures. We found them at the Church of St-Etienne Du Mont.
I spy with my little eye........
Urban art by the artist Invader
Check out the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop to learn more about these interesting street artists.
The not so new trend of placing Love Locks on bridges and throwing the keys into the rivers below to ensure everlasting love makes for interesting photography.
We have our love lock at home waiting for our next trip.