Discover France, Outside of Paris!

I made my big announcement on Monday. In case you missed it, the time has come for Michael and me to pack our bags and move back to the US after three wonderful, full years of life in Paris. The specifics will come later, but know that it is a happy decision for us and we’re really looking forward to our next adventure in New York City -- and don’t worry: the traveling (and blogging) are not going to stop! 

Yet regardless that we are happily and willfully moving on, a big change like this doesn’t come without heartbreak and sadness. Our time in Paris has forever changed our lives for the better, and over these past few weeks I can’t help but reflect on all the happy memories we’ve shared.

One outcome of living in Paris is that we’ve had the opportunity to explore a decent amount of the country outside of its capital. France is very diverse, and I highly recommend to anyone to visit Paris (because it really is always a good idea) but then to get outside and explore other regions of France as well. In hopes to introduce you to a taste of what France has to offer, here’s a little photo montage of where we’ve been in France. I’ve roughly organized the post starting from the north and heading southward. I hope this produces a bit of curiosity to travel around this gorgeous country or motivates you to see more of it!

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2014 Recap: The Gift Year

I know that by this time, we've all stopped rehashing 2014 and have started looking ahead to 2015. But I can't just summarize last year with pretty photos of Paris and Europe - I need to pause and share my reflections of a special year.

21 Trains
19 Flights
5 Buses
5 Rental cars
14 Countries
21 houseguests
131 blog posts
2 camels 
And countless sheep

2014. I think of this year as my “gift year.” That’s not to say that every day we get on this earth isn't a gift, because it is. I mean it in the sense that when I think about 2014, I think “we shouldn't still be here.” Michael had a contract to work on an assignment in Paris for almost two years, ending in December 2013. Except by the end of that year, we had realized that Paris wasn't merely the home base for our travels throughout Europe. We had somehow built a life here, entered into community, and fell in love with life in the city. Things were looking bleak for a while and it seemed that we did in fact have to move back to the US as planned. Until things turned around and we were able to stay. We weren't supposed to still be hanging around the City of Light this year, but somehow in the end we were gifted with more time.

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Canvas-Worthy Europe, 2014 edition

Last Wednesday I shared my round-up of my favorite photos taken in Paris in 2014. Now it’s time to see the year in review through a collection of my canvas-worthy contenders from our European travels outside of Paris. Here’s where I traveled to during the year!

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Countryside Drive

With the use of a car and the better part of the afternoon, we had all we needed to explore Bourgogne a little more on our way back to Paris. I often rely on my Rick Steves’ guide books to get a general lay of the land of an area I am visiting. These two sights were listed on his suggested route back. Although neither of these sights are “must-sees” in my opinion, the charm of this journey for those who have time is getting to soak in the French countryside. 

Anyway, who doesn't love a good road trip? (Especially for me, who wasn't driving.) A little while in we discovered a club-mix version of Pirates of the Caribbean that pervaded numerous French radio stations. What better soundtrack than for a countryside adventure through winding roads and open fields? Go ahead, you know you want to listen to it now to set the mood. And someone please educate me in pop culture that I’m lacking - is this from the Lego Movie

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C'est Beaune

I moved to Paris with the idea that I would travel as much as I could to “get it out of my system.” The problem I've found with that theory is for each place I go, three more get added to the wish list.

Take Dijon. Michael and I went on a weekend trip there in August 2012 and have been wanting to revisit Bourgogne ever since. Like anywhere in France, it can be characterized by delicious food, as well as pretty towns and plenty of vineyards. 

All it took for us to plan a return trip was confirmation that Michael’s sister was coming to visit. She was hoping to go on a weekend trip that included a vineyard tour, and that was all we needed to go on. This time we would travel just south of Dijon, to Beaune. And unlike last time when we took a train to and from Paris, we rented a car to be able to explore more.

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Exploring Bourgogne

Bon lundi!

There is still a lot to catch up on in my backlog of trips! Before my brother showed up in Paris for a surprise visit and weekend in the Loire, and way before I knew I was going on a girls' getaway to London, there was a planned guest on the DePasquale calendar. Michael's sister, Dawn, surprised us in her own way, booking a last minute ticket to visit over her spring break. Which meant a fun opportunity to take a road trip for a weekend in Beaune and the surrounding area of Bourgogne (Burgundy in English). 

Here's a picture from my favorite attraction in Beaune, the gorgeous Hôtel-Dieu. More to share soon!