The best trip ever…no, I am serious!

September 6, 2013

As many of you who follow me on facebook know, Last month Mark and I went to Paris. It was a trip I had literally been waiting a life time for! When I was in high school, I studied French, and learned so much about the country and its history as well. It has been a place I have been waiting 20 years to get to- and I have to say, it lived up in every way. If you have been to Paris, then you already know- there is just something about the city. Wandering down the street with an 800 year old church on one side, and a modern bistro on the other. There is so much for your eyes to see, its so hard to take it all in {and in 11 days, we did not even come close}! But there is even more for your taste buds! It was wonderful- I am pretty sure there was not a single bad meal the entire time. And Mark and I brought so many ideas back to use for cooking, its been fabulous trying these new things at home! Our favorite- a chirizo pizza on the grill with a over easy egg. One thing I learned in France- we do not use the egg to its fullest potential!

Mark and I stayed in Vendome, which was very central. By the 5th day we had figured out the AMAZING subway system {Le Metro} of the city, and have to say, dont wait. It is by far the easiest system we have used. Of course, one of the things that makes it easy, is that it has less stops- so plan to walk! The other sidenote- dont go in August, or July for that matter. It isn’t because the city shuts down {while some of it does for vacation, the limited amount of people actually made it nice}. Its because they dont have air conditioning! We were lucky, our hotel had AC, and the weather the second week was in the mid 70’s, there is something about walking 10 miles a day in the hot sun that makes you yearn for cooler weather.

I asked a lot of friends and clients what they would recommend to do when I got there, and one person told me to get lost- which was such fabulous advice. If you know me, you know I am planner, and I had to plan every moment of this. But, in all honesty, that did not work out well. I think getting lost was worked best. And when it comes to eating- stop, read a menu, and see if it is what you like. There are so many, you would spend hours trying to get to that perfect little bistro your best friend told you about. Instead wonder, get lost in the moment, enjoy the new places you discover, and make sure you pass that advice along!

Of course, being a planner, there are two things I would plan on- seeing Versailles {although we did not get there this trip} and a wine tour of Champagne. The wine tour we did was private, had only 6 people, and was by far, one of the best experiences I have ever had! It was educational, delicious, and beyond amazing!

When Mark and I planned this trip we thought it was a once a life time, we were so wrong! Since being back, we have already started planning the next trip! Of course, we will be going in the fall this time! As many people asked, we did not take the children- and while I hate to admit, I am glad we did not! We walked so much, and did exactly what we wanted! I am not sure children appreciate the trip. Maybe teenagers…but since I dont have that age, and have not taken them to Paris, I cant comment! But I do recommend going- the French people are so inviting, so helpful, and beyond wonderful! I have heard so many awful things about their rudeness, etc, but I can honestly say, that it is so far from the truth! I hope you guys enjoy the images below, and I hope you also get a chance to take your dream vacation, It was amazingly worth the wait!

Our favorite- Croissant- I dont think I had a bad one!

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The Opera House {the old one- we did not see the new modern one}- this was by far one of the best things we saw!
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Oh…the costumes! I cant even imagine seeing a performance there!
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The ceiling and more costumes…
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This is also in the Opera House, it is amazingly gorgeous! Paintings on the ceiling and a wall of windows
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Um yeah, Macaroons- if you have not had one, go get one. If you have, then you know the deliciosness they yield. AMAZING! These are from Pierre Herme- his tend to be more “creative” and include flavor combinations. Ludaree tends to be more of the basic flavors. Both are incredible!
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The Louvre-  the plant holder on the  left is orginally from Tuileries- the ones there are no fake- and the originals are in the museum. The right, well its something old…BC I am sure, LOL! Dont you love my history lessons!
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This is the King Loius section in the Louvre…
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Yeah, thats Louis XIV crowns- can you imagine??
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and I bet you know what this is! yes, thats how small it is, and yes, that is as close as you can get! I stuck my camera in the air, and hoped for the best!
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because this is what it looked like on my level!
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mark did better than I did!
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After we found our way out of the Louvre {yes we got lost for over an hour}! we ate at mcdonalds- and that may have been the only bad meal. But I thought it was crazy that they had macaroons, and expresso at the fast food stop!
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On the right is my favorite metro entrance- although I never got on there, LOL! Its right by The Louvre. On the Right is the judicial building where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before she was beheaded.
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On the right, the Arc de Triomphe- as amazing as I thought it would be! On the right, the Eiffel tower, which mark and I renewed our vows in front of!

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The Louvre!

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This is Notre Dame in Paris {yes there are more than one} and the doors to the entrance.
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Mark lighting a candle for his mom…
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On the left is the holder for the Crown of Thorns. It is available for view on the first friday of each month- we missed it.
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Pont neuf- called the new bridge, but its the oldest bridge in Paris.
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Our trip to Champagne- this was out tour guide and all the new grapes!
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In Champagne, and vineyards in France, there are just plots of lands for grapes. So, unlike California, where, a winery owns the land around it, the French vinaeyards are all over. There may be a local vintners plot next to a million dollar companies. Its what helps the grapes to vary, and keep the champagnes tastes varied. There is just so much to learn! The picture on the right is one of the places we visited- it was in their garage, and has been their for over a century!
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Our Champagne Tasting…
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The basement of the small company…
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Notre Dame near Champagne- even more amazing than the one in Paris- and less crowded!
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The second company we went to- Pommery. I was so glad we went to the small one first as we learned so much about the process from her!
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Do you see the dust! While Champagne does NOT age well, all wineries keep some of the favorites, esp if it is a vintage label. There is a process they do to re-ferment the liquid so it does not taste like vinegar.
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The arc close up, with views from the top!
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The stairs to go up to the top- and yes, it scared the heck out of me!
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French Onion soup on the Champs Elysees with a fabulous glass of French Rose- worth its weight in gold! and on the right, the opening of the new Tiffanys!
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These yummies speak for themselves!
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Just looking at these makes my mouth water…
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Yes, that would be waterlillies! Can you photograph it, no, I accidentally clicked my shutter- I have no idea how it was in focus! Upside down, but in focus!
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Hotel Des Invalides- where Napoleon is buried…
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Mark on the left, on the right, the Church in St. Germain, the oldest church in Paris.
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A Rembrandt or was it a Van Gogh…and Place de Plages. The city brings in sand, chairs, umbrellas, and even a floating pool for two weeks in the summer for all the Parisians who dont leave to go out of town.
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The Eiffel at dusk, and the lock bridge. The story is, you put your lock on the bridge, and toss the key in the Siene, and your love will last forever…
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Of course we did one! Can you find the lock? Oh the things my hubby does to satisfy my crazy whims!
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and my favoriye, the Eiffel sparkles every hour, after dusk, and its perfection! Here we were eating by Pont Neuf, at a fabulous Bistro on our last night, and caught this amazing skyline- I am pretty sure its my heaven.
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The tower on the first day we were there, close up, and sparkling…
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I dont know how to put this trip into words- it was amazing, incredible, beyond my wildest dreams. Mark and I had more fun planning our trip and discovering the city. I cant wait till we go back! It truly is the city of love! We were lucky enough to be there for our anniversary…and to renew our vows. We also hired a photographer while we were visiting- pretty much the greatest decision ever! I will share that tomm!

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  1. […] Paris has always been one of my favorite places in the world! I studied it for four years in High School and Mark and I renewed our vows there years ago, and we had hoped to go back in 2020 but we all know what happened to that trip! I knew I wanted to do a fun senior style shoot based on Emily in Paris, and since its a magical place for me, I figured we could make it magical in Jacksonville. […]

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