Category Archives: France

One Night in Paris

Paris. Just walking the streets and peeking into shop windows is an adventure. Home to world class art, melt in your mouth baked goods and top notch lingerie.The city is enveloped in romance and history. While I was there, it was overcast and raining. The. Entire. Time. But I had less than 24 hours to soak up The City of Lights, so rain or shine it was going to be a busy day.  I made the most of it by taking a long walk, enjoying some macaroons from Laduree, and visiting the Eiffel Tower for some pictures. 

The Eiffel Tower is the most wonderful at night.
The Love Bridge

How do you prove your love to the person you want to spend your life with? A sparkling ring? A joint bank account? Some people prepare a padlock by engraving the initials of their significant other adding sometimes a message or date, then they bring the love of their life to a particular bridge in Paris, attach the padlock to the bridge and then throw the key into the Seine. The Love Bridge did not actually begin on Pont de l’Archevêché, it was traditionally on Pont des Arts, but in 2010 most people agree that city officials disposed of most of the locks in the middle of the night, soon after they made complaints about the bridge destroying historic architecture. Paris boasts many beautiful bridges, but my favorite has a long history with love and romance. Nobody knows for sure if this tradition, which can be found in other international cities like Rome and Moscow, truly began in Paris but the citizens and visitors cling to the tradition. After the disappearance of the locks from Pont des Arts, new locks began appearing on a different bridge, Pont de l’Archevêché, which is where my pictures are taken.

If you look closely, there is a silhouette of a pregnant woman above the entrance to a lovely maternity shop.

Autolib cars were parked near the Louvre, lots of tourists were stopping to gawk.

I am a huge fan of Zipcar at home. On the other side of the pond I was introduced to Autolib, an even greener option. This article details how the fee schedule is structured to be tourist and local friendly.

Another transportation adventure was getting from Rennes to Paris. We used a rideshare program called covoiturage. The website is set up sort of like an Amazon or maybe Ebay for people looking to catch a ride to different places. A car owning person will create a profile of a bit about them, their car qualities, and the trip they are planning to make (example: Rennes to Paris) and the price. We shared a car with two middle aged women and a younger man. I wish I could tell you I exchanged stories of culture and learned some of the top secret Parisian places to eat, but the truth is I slept most of the way to Paris.

Paris is known for it’s sidewalk cafe’s. It is one of the most wonderful things, to spend an afternoon sharing a drink and watching people.

This Bakery is near the Louvre, and if you look closely at the menu, you will notice that it is in English-welcoming tourists that flock to the area.
In New York City, you can see young girls taking pictures in front of the Tiffany & Co. Shop, after pressing my nose against the windows of the Louboutin shop I wondered if this could be the Parisian equivalent?
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Farm Fresh in France

While in France, my boyfriend and I stayed at his aunt and uncle’s farm in Brittany. Let me tell you, I had no idea what to expect. I am the kind of girl who will forego renting an apartment if I have to mow the lawn. The farm specializes in dairy cows, but there are other animals who are part of the family. One of the untold benefits of living on a farm is the food, which is insanely fresh. All of the food I ate was of quality that Kroger couldn’t dream of. I had the pleasure of putting on my boots and finding eggs in the coop that were still warm and knowing I would get to eat them the following morning for breakfast. Another part of local life was the farmer’s market, which could supply anything from fresh fish to clothing. The family supplemented the food provided by the farm with food from the farmer’s market and big box stores.

Cows munch on food before and after being milked.
Baby cows are kept away from the rest of the herd for the first part of their life.
I was told that the pigs are not as friendly as the cows.
The chicken lay eggs in a coop, sometimes a laying hen will sit on eggs that have already been given by another hen.

This is the family dog harassing some kittens.
This is a view of the farmer’s market.

The ancient Village of Becherel, France

I spent two weeks in the French Countryside, in Brittany. One day we went to Becherel, which is an ancient town with gorgeous stone buildings and luscious hydrangeas tucked in the corners of buildings. The village (according to Wikipedia) has only about 700 residents but is home to more than a dozen book stores! I really spent the afternoon marveling at how picturesque the village is. You can’t go wrong with two of my favorite things – books and hydrangeas! Also notice how the village is surrounded by meadows that glow with life. I really love the French ability to seamlessly blend old buildings with modern life. Life is pretty quiet in the countryside, and I wanted so badly to use their beautiful town centers as an example to what Wal-Mart does to American society. But don’t hold your breath! They have big box stores here too, even the French can participate in fluorescent light, high fructose corn syrup induced consumerism. What do you think of when imagining the French countryside?

This is actually an ancient mill, an old man and his wife showed me the structure which still runs.

This is where village women used to wash their clothes before modern technology.