Friday, April 26, 2013

A Tourist in Paris....


Yes, as much as I hate to label myself with this term, I am most definitely a tourist in Paris.  Over the last 2 days I have really knocked it out of the park with seeing the sites of Paris.  So in order to make best use of our time on Day 3, we decided we would exercise/ run to all of the tourist hot spots, prior to the Parisians even waking. This is where our 6 mile run turned into 8 miles. Thus, my last two days in review...

Eiffel Tower
I did think it was going to be bigger in real life, but the eiffel tower looms over Paris as few tall buildings exist in the city limits. Chris served as our historian for the trip, as my French history is subpar, thus the eiffel tower was originally built for the World Fair of 1889 and is the tallest building in Paris.

Arc de Triompe
So next stop on our run Arc de Triompe, I took pictures and  learned the history then approximately 100 feet later wiped out on ground on the " 5th avenue of paris" the Champs-Élysées. Thus forgetting all knowledge of what I had learned about this structure secondary to sheer mortification from my fall 
and now apparent limp, we moved on.

Garden de Tullerias/Louvre 
I love gardens, flowers, and fountains thus the Garden de Tullerias was a huge hit.  Nothing else life shattering just a gorgeous park that opens into the entrance of the Louve.

At this time I was becoming "hangry", which is  a combination of hungry and angry,  so we decided to head on back towards our home and grab breakfast. We went to  the most adorable patissierie. The woman who waited on us had on the most gorgeous burnt orange apron on and a blouse that was dark blue and speckled with a pattern the same color as the as her apron. I was in love and of course seemed very French.  I ordered an almond crossiant and cafe crema. I swear this was the best pastry I have every eaten, thus now nourished I was ready to proceed.

We then headed to Sacre le Coure

Sacre Le Coure is probably my favorite tourist site in Paris. It is an old basillica built long ago on top of a hill overlooking Paris. From here you can see the entire city, it really gives you a feel for how big Paris really is. Truly gorgeous. 

The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to eating. Yes eating, which I have done so much of  on this vacation. I am going to have to eat salads for months maybe years to work off all of the creme sauces, pomme frites, macaroons, and creme brulee  I have eaten on this trip. However, I would like to emphasize how much I love a good macaroon. I swear they are little puffs of goodness that melt in your mouth with a creme filled center that make you feel like you are eating air.  Check out Pierre Hermes, supposedly the best macaroons in town per our tour guide Steeve.  As an added bonus I was thouroughly entertained by the fact that there is an iphone app for this store. 

Lastly, no day is complete without cheese!! We went to Barthelemy for some amazing stinky cheese. It was a true parisian fromagerie as their English was as about as good as my French and the place had a true stench. Thus I am trying to do interpretive dance to communicate about cheese,  as well as by pointing and touching all the cheese in sight. I learned very quickly that touching the cheese is a huge no no in France. As the guy finally got my attention by making claw like hands that resembled bear claws everytime I touched the cheese. No wonder the French love Americans, we have to have our hands in everything. 

Ok another day down, more to come 

Au revoir 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Paris day two.... road trip!!! So today was a surprise trip to the Champagne region of France, for Chris's dad's birthday. If you know me at all, you would know I have a profound deep love for champagne. It is my drink of choice, as I believe every day is worth celebrating.  Thus my joy as we all loaded into a tour van to Champagne was absolutely uncontainable. This was only enhanced by our ever so charming tour guide Steeve.  Yes, steeve has 2 "E"s in his name, and as he is quite the history buff educating me on the basics of champagne.

So things you should know about Champagne, in France it is an everyday drink- no special occasion required. It is a way of life for these people, and it has been in these families for hundreds of years. Champagne is an Art. It takes 4-6 years before a harvest actually is placed on market, thus champagne is also an investment. The smaller the bubble the better the champagne. The more expensive the champagne the more it is marketed to Americans.  Don Perignon was first a monk, second a champagne man.

Ok enough fun facts, we started at a small family owned vineyard, R. C LeMaire,  where they make champagne. It was my favorite. They wanted us to understand the art of their work and how it truly is a family affair. The champagne was phenomenal, and our group bought 16 bottles.

 The next vineyard was Pommery, a well known commercial vineyard. We explored the caves, where they keep the champagne. The caves spanned miles and we were amazed at how much champagne could be stored. The champagne was also excellent.

                                                    View from the bottom of the champagne caves

We headed home for a night in, of cheese, and more cheese, with more champagne. Honestly, a perfect evening if you ask me. More adventures for tomorrow

Au revoir


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pasko in Paris!!!

It has been a long, cold, wet winter in Portland. It has been some time since my last entry, and much of this is due to my hectic schedule. The second year of residency is notorious for being the worst year of residency, and I would have to agree. While I love my job there is something about this year that has weighed particularly heavy on my soul, perhaps it is the constant frustration, the inability to do anything right, or the feeling that you are not progressing in your own personal life.  Thus mid- march this year I made a brash, but much needed decision to travel to France. As my mother would say to me when I was little, I was in need of some ER, or lovingly known as emotional refueling.

Thus I boarded the plane Saturday for a trip to Paris, with layover in Amsterdam. One of my favorite things about this trip is that I was on a sky bus, which is the most luxurious plane I have ever been on. Remote controls, luxury hand soaps, and free wine on all european flights. I watched every movie I haven't had time to see in the last year to see in one setting. I recently had a discussion with one of my friends where we talked about if we had 1 rainy day in Portland with nothing to do, we would watch movies all day and wear pajamas. I basically did that yesterday and would like to report it was awesome.  Argo and Perks of being a Wallflower are my top picks.

Secondly,  the guy sitting next to me on my 12 hr plane ride, Alec, who lives in the south of France and was just happened to be working for my good friend's father -in -law in Hood River. Really, of all the people to sit next to, I sat next to someone who we have a mutual acquaintances. Truly, the world has never been smaller or bigger for me.

So I arrived in France at 10:30 AM and then it basically was a scavenger hunt to get to my apartment I was renting. So I cashed in some Euros and then hopped on the RER train into Paris, which is the public transportation. Having done some evaluation. I knew the station I needed to get out on, but was relying on my GPS to get me to the address. So as I came above grown with the largest suitcase known to mankind to ake in my first sights of Paris I knew I was in love. Soot stained white rock homes with gorgeous black little balconies, with plants looking over the city, crowded street bistros, and sun shining down on me. A truly glorious day, until my phone's international data plan failed.

Thus the next 1 hr that existed was of me, meeting Parisians in my broken french "Pardon, Parlez vous angles?" in the dire attempts of finding my apartment, with the last resort plan of me getting a cab. There were brief moments in my head where I was kicking myself for not Rosetta stoning prior to this experience, but all in all I couldn't have been happier. Thus from the help of approximately 15 Parisians, who I can't decide if they could sense the sheer panic in my voice or just the desperation in my eyes, who walked, pointed, directed me to the big brown door which is my apartment, I thank you. Whoever said parisians hate Americans, yesterday they became the nicest people EVER.

My place is delightful, think Louis the 16th meets small apartment. There is a huge chandelier, and gold encrusted mirror, with furniture that does appear to date back to Louis. Quickly settling in I met up with the Chris Connelly who will be known as  Christophe for this trip and Courtney Nall who will be Coco-belle for the rest of my adventures. We walked along the Seine, prior to have a nutritional consult with an adorable bistro. Salad Nicquoise, and cafe de cremas were high on my list. We walked around Notre Dame, and the little side streets of Paris. The town was all in a bustle yesterday, it was in the 60s, sunny and I felt like every Parisian had left their home and was outside. We had plans of attempting getting ice cream, but every ice cream store had lines around the corner. We ended the evening with a delicious European dinner, with old friends and new. Laughing and copious amounts of champagne and wine were absorbed. Did you know champagne is cheaper than wine here? This is excellent news.
We are off to a day trip today, the location cannot be shared until this evening due to its sensitivity as it is a surprise, more details to come.

Au Revoir!