Canvas-Worthy Paris, 2014 edition

{Canvas-worthy} A characteristic bestowed to a photograph of exceptional quality to indicate it might be pleasing enough to consider making into a canvas and hanging on the wall. See additional notes in the Canvas-Worthy Paris post of 2013.

Example: Michael: Look at the photo I just took of the Eiffel Tower!
                   Sara: Wow, that one might be canvas-worthy!

This year I was much less discriminate when it came to narrowing down my favorite photos Michael and I have taken in Paris (18 instead of last year’s 10!). Thankfully, I am only committing to sharing them with you and not actually purchasing canvases for my home yet. So take a look and help weigh in on which were the best of 2014! (Or else I’m going to need to save up a lot more for a larger house with more wall space!)

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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?

Best View for a Berlin Sunset

I only had two full days in Berlin this summer so I had to be super selective when deciding what to see. Especially as I started to realize just how big Berlin really is during my preliminary research. For example, I found that a walk from my hotel’s neighborhood of Mitte to trendy Friedrichshain was an estimated 50-minute walk...and those were two sections of town right next to each other! So the challenge was on: lots of ground to cover, so much to see and do, little time, big decisions. Challenge accepted. 

Thankfully I came across a post on Guten Blog, Y’all on a visit to the Reichstag. Margo strongly recommended coordinating a reservation to tour its glass dome at sunset for a beautiful view of the city. Inset my imaginary personal ad here - forget the long walks on the beach. Mine would be more along the “enjoys views of cities from above anytime, but particularly at sunset.” Need I say that a visit to the Reichstag then would be part of a perfect date? 

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Fête de la Musique

June 21st is one of my favorite days in Paris. Not only is it the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, but it is celebrated well in Paris. That's because June 21st each year is the Fête de la Musique. This music festival is a national celebration in France (and has spread to numerous other countries) where all musicians, professionals and amateurs alike, are encouraged to perform.

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In the Moment

Bon lundi!

Sometimes it's in the ordinary everyday moments that I fall even deeper in love with Paris. Sure, it's a beautiful city but sometimes I wonder if part of it is not the city but how I've changed. That I allow myself time to slow down and open my eyes to see the beauty around me. Like a picnic dinner along the Seine at one of my favorite spots (almost across the street from Hôtel de Ville). The short glimpse we got at the beginning of last week with its warm, beautiful weather makes me really look forward to those magical long Parisian summer days!  

Oysters and Arcachon

Bordeaux is known for its land. That special terroir, the earth that makes a prestigious Bordeaux wine what it is. Land that is very valuable and comes with quite a price tag.

The land of the region should be explored for its famous vineyards. Yet it's easy to focus just on the land and not realize that the sea is so close.

That's where an excursion to Arcachon comes into play.

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La Belle France

Paris gave us quite a few canvas-worthy moments in 2013. But then there is the rest of France to consider beyond its capital. 

2013 was a great year for us to discover more of La Belle France. We took short trips to Bordeaux, Normandy, Brittany, Provence, Côte d'Azur (the French Riviera), and Dordogne. We found great food and beautiful sights every step of the way, and have a few exceptional photos to capture those memories:

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Canvas-Worthy Paris

A classic chicken and egg quandary. What came first, the idea or the Canvas on Demand Groupon? Either way, the result is what matters. My husband had the idea a few years ago to select a picture from each destination we travel to and have it made into a canvas to hang in our home. We were still newlyweds, were starting to experience symptoms of being bitten by the European travel bug, and had lots of bare space on the walls of our apartment in New Jersey. 

We breathed life into our decorating project and a full guidelines emerged after some thought. The photos are taken by either of us, cannot have us in the picture, and traditionally have been all been scenic outdoor shots.

We both love to take pictures and snap lots of them each year. But we know that a stroke of exceptional inspiration has occurred when one of us exclaims, "This may be canvas-worthy!" when behind the lens. 

Paris is quite a photogenic model who is not camera-shy in the least. After going through countless pictures from this incredible year here, I have selected 10 pictures that I think have that "canvas-worthy" potential. So without further ado, I present to you the best of 2013:

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Five Highlights of Dordogne

Foie gras. Walnuts. Prehistoric caves. Canoes. Cepe mushrooms. Cobblestones. Castles. Medieval villages.

This is Dordogne. About a five hour drive south from Paris, this lovely region of France is one where the eating is good and some of the best activities just require bringing your heart rate down and enjoying the moment. This region seems to be often overlooked to more popular areas of France like Normandy and the Riviera so here's a peek at what Dordogne has to offer:

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In Her Natural Light

 Bon lundi!

Paris is widely known as the "City of Light," or La Ville-Lumière in French. During the Age of Enlightenment, Paris played a central position as an intellectual hub. Later in the 1800's Paris was one of the first cities to adopt street lighting.  

However this nickname came about, I am most inspired by the beauty of Paris in natural light. Like when I got to unexpectedly catch a sunset over Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and the Seine river.