Park it in Paris: Parc André Citroën

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

The last park spotlighted in this series, the Square des Batignolles, took me a very long time to get around to discovering it. Similarly, this featured parc du jour waited a while for me to step foot inside. Over three and a half years of living in Paris passed by and just five days before our flight out to NYC, we made the trip over to check out the Parc André Citroën.

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Park it in Paris: Square des Batignolles

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

I used to think that parks were only meant to be visited in the warmer months of the year. That concept was formed in my suburban days, as I grew up surrounded by trees and grass and was even accustomed to seeing wildlife such as deer wander through our property. Living in a city as an adult made me realize the need to see nature all year round - something I had long taken for granted.

That’s why I’m sharing another “Park it in Paris” in the dead of winter. Today’s parc du jour was a brand new one for me to set foot in during my visit this December: Square des Batignolles. I love that even after living in Paris for a couple of years, I can still go back and continue to discover new places.

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7 Steps to the Ultimate Paris Picnic

So...remember how I said that "the only way to get over moving away from Paris is to keep returning?" Well, I sort of jumped on that advice immediately and am going back in a few days! In honor of my last-minute trip, I'm going to share about an activity I plan to do every day in Paris if weather allows...

Going on a picnic is my all-time favorite thing to do in Paris, ever. It combines some of the very best elements that Paris has to offer - picturesque settings, delectable food and wine, and good company. The thing is, picnickers are not born, but raised...

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Park it in Paris: Jardin d'Acclimatation

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

When I think about going to the parks of Paris, the first thing that comes to mind is my red picnic blanket - spread out over a green lawn with a baguette, some cheese and charcuterie, a bottle of wine and a fully loaded Kindle. My husband and I can sit for hours on end just people watching, reading, and grazing on our snacks. I've already written about two iconic Parisian parks, Parc Monceau and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which fit the bill for a perfect afternoon spent doing absolutely nothing of importance.

But I get it. You're on a vacation to Paris, time is limited, and you want to get up and do something! If that sentiment describes how you're feeling right now, the Jardin d’Acclimation is for you.  Located in the Bois de Boulogne on the western outskirts of the city, this park has it all - from peacocks roaming free to restaurants and even a museum.

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Relaxing in Wroclaw

It’s a classic example of what came first: the chicken or the egg? Wroclaw was the last stop on our trip through Poland before we made our way back to Krakow to get our flight home to Paris. I’m not sure if our time in Wroclaw was so laid back because of general travel fatigue at that point, or if it was just a perfect city to take things a bit slower. Maybe at that point in my travel research I got a little more lax after tackling an in-depth document of things to do and eat in all of the preceding cities (I’m not as intense a traveler as I used to be, but still am a bit type-A when it comes to planning!). Most likely, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. All I do know was our almost three days in Wroclaw were characterized by lots of relaxing and chilling out, sprinkled with tons of laughter.

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Resolution...Starting Now

Bon lundi!

I hate New Year’s resolutions. Not only do I never keep them, but I don’t understand why wait until an arbitrary date of January 1st to decide to make a change. I’m all for being aware of things to improve on all year long and then striving to meet those goals.

I’m not even talking about big picture things, like revamping behaviors or starting up an intense exercise plan. I’m thinking about the little things that seem insignificant but add richness to life. Like sunsets.

I was in the Jardin des Tuileries two evenings in a row for various reasons at the end of the afternoon. (Sunset is now around 5:24pm as the days get shorter.) Standing there, watching the sky turn bright orange before evening settled in over Paris, was just so beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring all at once. And I got to do it twice in a row to solidify my resolution firmly. I want to make a concerted effort to see more sunsets!

It's not a huge resolution, or an overhaul make-over of sorts. And maybe it’s part of getting older and learning to appreciate making time to not fill with busyness. But it’s one thing I hope to witness more because it adds richness to my life and is a simple mercy that God allows me to take pleasure in.

Do you have anything you hope to do or accomplish starting today?

Autumn Colors in Jardin du Luxembourg

Bon lundi!

Hope you're enjoying a festive fall like the one we are experiencing in Paris these days! The past few months of cool, wet weather have been replaced at last with a final hurrah before winter sets in: a warm, sunny Indian summer. Like this incredibly beautiful Saturday afternoon in Jardin du Luxembourg complete with summer sunshine and fall mums.

Makes me want to start mixing the pumpkin pancake batter I lugged back from the US (Trader Joe's, of course), along with using copious amounts of cinnamon on everything to celebrate the season! What autumn things are you up to these days?

Park it in Paris: Parc de Bercy

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

For today’s parc du jour, I want to give a little love to Parc de Bercy because it doesn’t seem to get much recognition. It’s located in the 12th arrondissement in an area that is not often visited by tourists, even though it runs alongside the Seine. Similarly to what I commented on about the 11th arrondissement, the 12th doesn’t have much in the line of “tourist attractions” to entice visitors over its way, so it remains more residential and decidedly local. In other words, you’re not trekking eastward with a checklist of things to do, other than stroll, eat, eat some more, and drink. (Clearly I need to later address all the deliciousness that lies in the 11th and 12th, but for now let’s focus on burning those calories with a walk around the park.)

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Falling in love, or failing to love, Paris

Bon lundi!

I was going to write a typical, short Monday post with a picture to show you just how beautiful Paris is as autumn is settling in. But then a string of incidents hit, and I decided instead to get some things off my chest. If you don’t want to read my embarrassing tale, I included three photos, instead of the standard one, just for you. 

For those who want a laugh, or a Paris-reality check, let’s have a glass of wine and laugh this off together.

The trees of the  Jardin du Palais Royal hanging onto their leaves for just a little longer

I love Paris. But I don’t want to skew reality and portray only la vie en rose. Paris is sunsets at the Seine and picnics in the park, but it’s also crowded metro rides and dog droppings on the sidewalks. If you've been following me on Instagram, did you notice halfway through the summer that I stopped showing picnic pictures on the Île Saint-Louis and relocated to Canal St. Martin? Let’s just say Remy and friends moved in on my spot. But unlike the movie Ratatouille, he isn’t doing the cooking - these rats are waiting for me to bring an extra treat.

Anyway, onto this past week. You need to know the backstory of how I somehow broke a power converter and nearly electrocuted myself on a massive spark. I tripped the circuit breaker and Michael had to leave work early to fix the mess and replace the broken fuse.

Imagine what his coworkers thought the very next day when they heard Michael’s end of another phone conversation: “No, if the carbon monoxide alarm is going off, you MUST leave the apartment. Right now.”

Yup, the carbon monoxide alarm that we hooked up in our apartment went off. And it was loud. Extremely.

Now for a confession. I have a bad habit of drinking coffee and doing work on the couch until I fully wake up, afterwards showering and getting ready for the day. So although it was mid-morning, I was still in my pajamas and about to take a shower. And I certainly didn't have time to deal with a disruption due to the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.

I opened the windows, threw on clothes, and left. I then had to stumble my way through an apology to the artisan who has a work space in my building directly under my windows. (I’m telling you, this alarm was BLARING.) Once Michael came home, yet again, to deal with another mess, we determined we had to call the pompiers (firemen) because we had no way of knowing if there really was a problem or not. 

Luckily I support the firemen by buying champagne each year at their ball over Bastille Day weekend. But since this is the second time they've had to come chez moi, I think I owe them a drink next year.

I called, failed at communicating the problem in French, and then tried again in English. Then they showed up….to the wrong address….because apparently I did not make that clear enough. Try #2 they arrived to our house - and where most girls would be thrilled to have three pompiers in her bedroom, I was less enthralled in that moment. It probably had something to do with my bed-head and unbrushed teeth. 

Anyway, despite being a bit confused why we owned a carbon monoxide detector (especially when we only have electric) they gave us the clear. We were not in danger after all of poisoning. So I was good to proceed with getting dressed for the day.

If you ever need an occasion to check yourself and be humbled, just move to a country where you don’t speak the language.  It’s been a rough week (coupled with French bureaucratic paperwork we’ve had to deal with) and it’s been one of those low points of living abroad. But I can be grateful that Paris has been exceptionally beautiful this week (and that I was not harmed by carbon monoxide inhalation), reminding me of why I persevere to live here. And just like that, I’m under Paris’ spell again.

A September day in the Jardin des Tuileries

So...who’s laughing with me? At me? 

Day trip from Paris: Chartres, France, Part II

10 Things to do in Chartres besides the Cathedral

Let’s be clear. If you are going to Chartres, you are making the trip to visit its incredible cathedral. It truly is something special and deserving of your time and focus while in town. It’s perfectly acceptable to treat Chartres as a stop to see the Cathedral and then move on. But should you choose to hang around longer, there is plenty more to do.

I spent the weekend (a full day and a half) in Chartres. With more than enough time to see the Cathedral, I had plenty of time to explore. Let’s follow my route around town so I can show you what else the city has to offer:

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Paris Practicalities: 15 Ways to Maximize Your Budget in Paris

In the "Paris Practicalities" series, I lay out some basic advice for the foundation of a trip abroad for the well-informed and savvy traveler.

Paris has a reputation for being a notoriously expensive city to visit. While it is pricey - especially when compared to neighboring countries Spain, Italy, and Germany or even the rest of France - it doesn't have to be a ridiculously pricey destination. Here are 15 ways you can maximize your budget during your time in Paris:

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Park it in Paris: Parc de Belleville

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

There are some parks in Paris that intrigue me because people give them glowing reviews. Then there are parks that peak my interest because there are large gaps of knowledge that I want to fill in.

Parc de Belleville falls into the latter category.

Before visiting this park, I only had heard murmurs from others that this park is known for its prostitutes who surface at night. Yet its tagline in Google maps kept staring out at me, promising “a hilltop park with panoramic city views.” As you might have already gathered, I’m a sucker for scaling heights to get a view of the city. Especially one with a view of the Eiffel Tower. No matter how many times I see it, I still fall in love with her all over again, snapping more pictures though my hard drive is full of images of the Iron Lady. All I have to say is I’m not sure why it took me so long to trek over to the 20th arrondissement to have a look for myself.

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Park it in Paris: Lac Daumesnil in Bois de Vincennes

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

Writing really can be therapeutic. I’m sorry if I’ve allowed you to step into the role of my attentive psychologist as I keep making declaration about myself. I love weird modern statues! I am always up for a climb to get a view of a city from above! And today’s new piece of info - I love boats! (If you do too, good news - you certainly have not heard the end of my enjoyment of a good boat ride.)

My affection for boats is a fickle one. I know little about boats and how they operate, but I know one thing: I love boat rides, on any type and any size boat. In fact, it’s odd that I still haven’t been on a cruise given this soft spot for being on the water. 

But enough about me. All this to say that over a year ago, I latched onto the idea of renting a boat to go out on Lac Daumesnil in Paris’ Bois de Vincennes. It’s been on my Paris bucket list, and feeling newly inspired to get serious about checking off those lingering items, Michael and I went set out last Saturday take a boat out on the lake.

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