Monet Earlier Years – Paris

A few years back I had the luxury, and yes I will call it luxury, of visiting the sublime Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris.  It was a trip highlighted by Mr. Claude Monet first at Giverny, then at Musee Marmonttan Monet and finally at Orangerie.  Monet felt Paris needed a little cheering up after the war and gave them a place of peace and sanctuary to observe and be with his massive water lilies.  (I think that is a beautiful sentiment some of us could use even now.) Since this visit I have been hyper aware of all things Monet counting the days until I can visit the tulips at Giverny again.  Why am I writing about this now?  Well, I recently visited an exhibit of late Monet works in San Francisco which I will post about in short order and I thought it would be fun to see early works flanked by later works soon. Stay tuned friends…


Notre Dame

An alert on my iPhone said it was burning. It’s just a building but I dropped what I was doing at work to look for additional details hoping it was just a small fire. How could a church made of so much stone burn? Surely it must not be bad? Text messages from a French friend and German friend start to come in. “Are you watching?” Disbelief and frantic searching for photos on my phone and in my computer to jog my memory as to how much of the facility was wood. People of Paris start to gather and the world watches. This church doesn’t only belong to the French. It belongs to the hearts of everyone who has visited, read about it, seen photos, or practiced it’s teachings. Hearts broke as the tower fell. Please don’t let it be terrorism. I couldn’t take that and was saddened that my mind even went there. All of the relics. The glass work. The lamps. The ORGAN.  The woodwork. There would be no way to save the woodwork. Please please save the magnificent front doors. Later stories of heroism emerge along with stories of waste and politics like usual. And now it rains and it is in danger again. I look back at photos and remember the service I took there while last in Paris where I heard the unmistakable sound of the organ paired with Gregorian choir making a sound only the heavens could create. A beautiful noise. Now, I only hope it will be restored so I can take my son to see it some day and with any luck hear the original organ and view the original woodwork, flooring, etc. It has survived this many years and I am confident it will rise proudly again for the people of Paris, for the people of France, and for the rest of the world who it belongs to in spirit.

Bataclan Anniversary – Paris

After returning from Paris last spring I set off to write a flurry of posts about all the glorious things I saw in Paris.  One that stumped me however was about the Bataclan nightclub.  I didn’t know how to write about it.  We visited and saw that it was boarded up and gated.  We stood for a time in the pretty little park across the street observing the theater, the same place all of the press people stood for so many days.  I kept putting off writing about it and it kept nagging at me.  The incident that took place there made me sad and I could never find the words to respectfully write about it.  Further terror attacks plagued France and made it even harder for me to write about it.

Well, it has been a year, and I saw in the news that Sting will be re-opening the club!  I feel like the time is finally right to focus on the positive instead of a negative.  This makes me very happy that a large headliner will be re-opening the club in an act of defiance and pride for the Parisian people, for the French people, and for everyone left in the world that stands for peace.  Nous sommes Bataclan.  Nous sommes France. Nous sommes un.


Kitchen Challenge – Part Two

Some of you may remember a challenge my husband gave me when I visited Ireland last year.  He asked me to take photos of cute cafes to print and put on the wall in our kitchen thereby combining three of my favorite things: food, photography, and travel.  Well, the challenge was fun for me so I extended it to Paris thinking I would have no shortage of cafe scenes there.  Here are a few unedited photos that have potential.  Let me know what you think…

Shakespeare & Company Bookstore and Cafe

On my first trip to Paris in 2010 I had the pleasure of staying at The Hotel Esmerelda on the Left Bank across from the Notre Dame.  Little did I know that it would literally be sleeping atop the famed Shakespeare & Company bookstore.  I fell in love with this bookstore and couldn’t wait to take my friend Manuela there.  She has been going to Paris for many years and had never visited so I knew she was in for a treat.  I was initially reluctant only because I had heard that the bookstore, which reeks of charm and age, had opened an adjoining coffee shop.  I hoped that S&Co. had not sold out in order to go all Starbuksy on us.  My heart couldn’t take that.  If it was that BAD I figured Parisians would have revolted and stormed the bookstore so I had high hopes. It would be a great respite from the rain so, I had to see the change for myself.

Well, people I am happy to report that the bookstore’s footprint has changed very little if any at all.  And the ridiculously tiny coffee shop is equally as charming and full of lovely young staff brewing up the best cup of coffee I had in Paris.  (And I drank a fair amount of Joe while I was there so I consider myself an authoritay.)

Please go there.  Please buy a book as a souvenir and a cup of coffee while you overlook the Notre Dame and the bustling city.  You will surely leave smarter than you came merely by immersing yourself in history and looking at all of the covers.  Need a break because you have put too many miles on your feet?  Relax in any number of small comfortable nooks and crack a book like Hemmingway in the same place people have done so on the Left Bank for almost 100 years!  (Never mind a few location changes due to the war…)

For more on France please have a Macaron and Baguette with me by clicking here…


Paris – Doors Part Cinq

This will be the last set of Parisian doors for this trip.  I hope you have enjoyed the doors I have chosen to share on this Thursday Door tour through Paris.  They are a beautiful source of inspiration and happiness for me.  And many thanks to Norm for his challenge which provides me an excuse to share them with you.


The wisteria was just beginning to bloom while we were in Paris which attracted me to all sorts of gates.  If only it had been this lovely in Giverny…


Imagine the history this door has seen.


I love this worn knocker.


Something like this would be blight where I live but it is living art and not to be messed with elsewhere in the world. Doors like this keep me traveling.

Check out some of my previous doors from France and all over the world by clicking here.

Thanks to Norm 2.0 for inspiring me to share my doors!

Postcards from Paris – Republic Square

While I was in Paris protesters began by peacefully protesting labor law changes in Republic Square.  I walked by the square when it looked like this and had to leave because there was an air of violence.  I don’t know how to explain it other than my spidy sense was telling me to get out of there.  So, we left and went on to doing beautifully Parisian things.  That night, protests erupted in to violence, which led to looting, cars burning, smoke bombs, injuries, and police forcing people to leave.  Thankfully, I was not party to or witness of any of this.  (You’re welcome Mom.)  However, the city was tense for a few days especially considering the already tense terrorism related concerns.  Things were fine for the rest of our trip with relatively few sightings of military or police until the day I left, Labor Day.  I read in the news when I got home that further protests became violent that evening.  I was very sorry to hear this and hope things are coming to a peaceful resolution since my leaving.

Before I left many people asked me if I felt comfortable flying to Paris in light of the bombings there and in Brussels.  I did feel comfortable.  I never would have expected internal rioting while I was there.  But, stranger things have happened when I traveled.

Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time when you traveled? (I was just listening to an interview of some South American kids visiting Orlando during the nightclub shootings and can only imagine travelors in Dallas recently…)