Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Flea Market was a bust.... HUGE CONFESSION HERE... I know most of my friends in Blogland love vintage stuff. I get it.. I understand it... but it's just not me. Don't get me wrong, if LuLu or my sister-in-law Lori redid something vintage, and put all cool shiny paint on it, and made it one of a kind, and...okay....made it smell newish...I would love it! But my experience with vintage is I buy it, put it in a drawer, or closet, and it never, ever sees the light of day again.
We did go to the market, but to me...well...if I could afford it, it looked like junk :) We got there at opening time, and almost no one was there yet. By the time it got going, it started to rain. We were done....Please don't hate me...it takes all kinds to make a world right? Even though I'm not a shopper at all, I do LOVE the smell of a brand new Louis Vuitton purse, or the smell of cologne in a department store...Nuff said!
BUT the day was fabulous! We did tons of great stuff. More later. We are packing at this moment to move DOWNTOWN to another apartment for week two. We are leaving Montmartre to an apartment in the CHIC part of town...so excited!!! Reports coming soon.
I have SO many short videos to share. I'll just pick a few though...here are two. One is from the day we arrived, when I made Scott take the train, and haul our bags UPHILL to our apartment. The other is later that night, after his recovery, in a restaurant in Montmartre. Just wanted to show some atmosphere~
P.S. One postcard already arrived...waiting to hear from the other three :)
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Oh...how things can change just when you get confident...
About 30 minutes later....
Please remember, I am not able to edit these videos at all. Now that I might put a few online, I will try and do better. There are a few more that really show great stuff, like the metro, but they are shaky as well. But hey...it's not like you are paying to watch these...I should be paying you! LOL
Scott says hi!
Until our next episode...signing off.
Here we are on Ile. St. Louis, having Berthillon Sorbet.
We obviously aren't ready for professional film making. This was taken with a tiny Flip video camera, about the size of a cell phone, but we are having lots of fun with it.
There is another new post before this one... don't miss it. I think I'll just post videos from now on. It's faster and easier... and funnier.
Teri and Scott
Yesterday was a Perfect Parisian Day. It all started around noon, when we ventured out to the department store, just to look around. Coming up out of the metro, we looked left, and there was the Opera Garnier, the old Opera house. We had only been in the front lobby briefly last year, and had wanted to take the tour, but didn't. At the spur of the moment, we just walked over and went in...
(~Absolutely everything we do here is this way...we are going one direction...and we change mid course...we NEVER do this at home....there we are always on a mission to "get-er-done."~)
The Opera house was so incredible. I don't know what I expected, but I didn't expect it to rival Versailles, and rival it did. I could just imagine all the people that have been coming here for hundreds of years. It was magnificent. Do not miss it if you are here. We were lucky enough that the main theatre was open, and we got a peek inside. Often it is closed for rehearsal, and in fact, closed just a few minutes after we got our chance to look.
We moved on to the shopping center...boring...I hate to shop....at least until I get to the flea market on Saturday.
We moved on from there to the booksellers on the Seine, where I bought my son a Tin Tin book, a French book character they are making a movie about in the states. From there we walked to Ile. St. Louis, and finally had the famous Berthillon ice cream. It was really good. I ordered choc and coffee, and Scott had the strawberry. They shape the ice cream into flower petals on your cone...so chic.
We moved across the way to Shakespeare and Co. after walking the length of Notre Dame, and it is quite an interesting book store. Really creepy and creaky and old. Lots of nooks and crannies and quite famous. We left there, and back across the Seine to a park at the end of Notre Dame. We sat on a bench for a long time, and watched a class of students sketching. Some were really good, as we walked past them and ogled the drawings. We wish we were that good. We stopped off for some refreshments and sat about an hour before we moved on.
From there we just started walking, having no idea where we were or where we were going. We ended up in the Marias, and let me tell you, this is where I want to live! I read in our travel book, it's where the Jewish people have settled, and the gay community, and let me tell you... money, money, money. All the shops are nice, it's so clean and there's an interesting mix of people you see. It's also where the young and beautiful crowd lives. I'm not making any judgements here...it's just what I read and observed. It also has very narrow streets with the buildings leaning almost inward towards each other. We just wandered and wove up and down the maze of tiny streets. It was impressive. Very, very old.
On from there to the Champs Elysees to our favorite pizza place. It did not disappoint. I'm afraid we were making noises as we ate, it was so good. The pizza has mushrooms and shrimp on it, and the pasta salad we ordered had zucchini, artichokes, broccoli, tomatoes, onions and a red sauce. We dove into it like we had been on fast for 2 weeks. The pizza is quite different from Little Caesar's :).
We walked back down to the metro, and go home about 10pm...
See...no mishaps, no mistakes, but also I bet this reading isn't nearly as interesting as yesterday... ha ha. I will also say that my limited french has saved us numerous times. My french gets better and better each trip, and it really does help.
I am going to see if I can download some short videos. My pics won't download onto this computer, but maybe my Flip will.
More later.... Scott just walked in with Palmiers, Croissants, and Pain du Choc.
P.S. Even with all the trauma the two days before, no one was rude exactly, they were just as exasperated as we were, trying to explain all the changes. But even if they HAD been rude, Paris is so worth the trouble.
I'm just saying...
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Yesterday, Monday we decided to head straight over to the metro, to buy our weekly passes that we couldn't seem to buy Sunday at the train station. I timidly went up to the window, and I knew I was in trouble when the lady was on the phone. The French do not like to be interrupted when they are on the phone, even at work. She glanced at me, and finally asked what I wanted. I told her I wanted "Carte Orange" (a weekly metro pass) which is what we've bought for the last 3 years. She shook her head no... what? Was this a "no" to me personally because I interrupted her, or a "no" in general? She kept shaking her head everytime I asked for the "Carte Orange". She kept trying to sell me something for 5 euro, and I knew it should cost around 17 euro for the week. Finally, Scott and I gave up, and walked to the next station...
At this station, I asked the same question, and the man behind the window just shook his head, and kept holding up a purple card for 5 euro. It was maddening.
There was no way to break the language barrier.
Scott and I walked off and stood in the corner, feeling so stupid. Things that should be so easy, were totally baffling us. We got back in the same line and tried again. When we got to the window, the man decided it was now time to leave his post, and go fill up one of the ticket machines. This took awhile, but I was not to be deterred. He finally came back, and I tried again. By now, quite a line had formed. People were starring to say the least!!!! Finally, an elderly french woman walked up and talked to the man and then explained...the Carte Orange ticket was discontinued as of TODAY. Now you have to buy a special card for 5 euro, and then fill it one week at a time. Then instead of inserting a ticket at the turnstile, you just wave this special card over the magic eye. We sheepishly bought the cards, apologized to everyone in line, and got on the metro. We kept looking at each other, still wondering why things seem so difficult. I can honestly tell you, that if this had been our first trip, we would have been a heap on the floor, crying, and begging someone to take us back to America. Instead, we just counted our blessing that we finally succeeded.
We bought groceries, hauled them up the hill, and had a nice lunch at the apartment. Feeling revived, we decided to head out to the Tuileries Gardens (between Concorde and the Louvre). There, we searched until we found a group of people having dinner in the sky. They lift up about 15 people on a huge crane, and they eat dinner overlooking the city at night. Pretty cool. I then decided that we would WALK to the Eiffel Tower, and see the lights click on. We walked and walked and walked, and finally one bridge from the tower, it started pouring rain!!!! We stood, huddled under a tree, laughing our heads off. We ran to a metro stop, and headed home.
Once we got home, our legs and feet were killing us. Scott says this is all due to the fact that I tried to save us money, and all the walking and dragging luggage the day before, set us back 10 years. I can't say I disagree!
This morning we got up, and decided it was necessary to go to the Eiffel Tower and mail the postcards from the Blog Giveaway. Quick and easy...we thought!!! We got to the tower, and I decided we would take the stairs to the first level where the E.T. post office was. When we read that it was 360 stairs, Scott refused. We got in line for the elevator, and luckily asked if the post office was still located on the first level. "No" said the clerk, the post office has been shut down!!!!! She pointed us across the way, to a teeny tiny booth, were you self bought stamps, and mailed the letters in a tiny mailbox. Sorry girls...I don't know if the cards will have the special postmark or not, but the stamps were really cool.
The rest of the day, we spent walking all over Paris. We were so tired of all the changes, that we decided not to get out our book or our map, and just WALK and enjoy the city...and that we did. We were in a fancy-smancy part of town. We walked aimlessly for about 3 hours having no idea where we were in relation to any landmarks. No objective, no destination in mind. It was great. I got fantastic pictures of the coolest buildings. So old and so Parisain.
We are home now. Tired, but loving Paris just the same. Honestly, I would love to write you nothing but a perfectly romantic account of our first few days, but the truth is always more interesting, don't you think? The funny thing is, we had just had a discussion about how Paris never changes, how she can be counted on...well, changes there are, but she can still be counted on...if you keep your sense of humor and your patience intact.
No particular plans tomorrow, but I'll keep you posted just the same!
Monday, September 14, 2009
As I'm writing this, someone just rang our doorbell! Oh, it's the cable guy...our cable is a little spotty. I am sitting in front of our french doors looking out over the Parisian rooftops. It's about 64 degrees, and the wind is blowing, so it feels colder.
So anyway, here we are in Paris. Let me just say at the outset, that we have hit more snags on this trip in 24 hours than we've hit altogether in our last 3 trips. The first snag was when our airplane did not have movies on demand. All it had was a 1975 style screen up at the front. Scott had already picked out the four movies he wanted to watch, until we noticed this first snaf-fu. He was a "little" disappointed to say the least. They only played ONE movie in 8 hours.
We arrived in Paris right on time, no problems. I had talked Scott into taking the train from the airport, instead of the taxi. Told you I was cheap... also this was the trip when we were going to pack light. Upon leaving Florida, we realized we have packed more this trip than ever before. What's up with that? I guess it's because we are staying 2 weeks, and kept thinking of stuff we might need. This time of year in Paris can be COLD or HOT... you never know. After not too much trouble we caught the train at the airport to Gare du Nord. We were feeling pretty triumphant. Now all we had to do was catch the metro to Montmartre, no problem.
Not so fast. It was Sunday morning, and evidently, everything in the train station is closed, including the manned ticket booths. Without going into detail, let me just say, we walked and walked and walked, WITH SUITCASES, until we found some machines. We could not make any sense of the machines. We wanted to buy the same kind of weekly passes we had bought for the last 3 years, and now they were nowhere to be found. I ended up behind a barrier, with Scott on the other side, not knowing how to get back to each other... it was hysterical. When I tried to get back across to him, my suitcase got caught in the turnstyle...we were like rats caught in a maze. Not at all like we thought we would look. We finally got on the metro. We kept staring at each other, like, "What happened to our chicness?" How quickly we realized we were NEVER chic.
We finally made it to our metro stop, and AGAIN our suitcases kept getting caught in the turnstyles, (they are made for tiny french people, not GIANT Americans with GIANT suitcases). Now we had to make the walk UP the hill. Did I mention this was all my idea? Scott was about to have a coronary. While I took pics of the Eiffel Tower, he was lugging ALL the luggage straight up the hill. Oh...did I mention we had never called the apartment people that we were on our way? We were so spent, we stopped at a cafe for coffee and croissants. Once Scott caught his breath, we continued UP the hill, with our suitcases making a horrible racket on the cobblestone streets. We finally got to our building, and the guy that was checking us in was standing in the lobby. He asked if our plane was late...he had been there since 7am...it was now 10am!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We just acted like we were on time. He was super nice, but then had to tell us that the elevator was broken! So now, they had to lug our luggage up eight flights of stairs. Our suitcases each weighted just under 50 lbs. FINALLY, he checked us into our apartment just great. Scott fell out on the bed, while Fred explained everything to me, while constantly looking over at Scott to make sure he was still breathing.
We unpacked, layed down, and slept. We got up later on, went to the Champs Elyesees to Scott's favorite hangout, and then on to Trocodero to see the Eiffle Tower. Suddenly, my body started shutting down. We went back to Montmartre and had dinner in a cute little piano bar that I've wanted to eat in for 2 years. For 10 euro each, we had onion soup, roasted chicken, french fries, and apple tart...not bad!
Note...I was wearing a short black skirt with a sleeveless top and high heels. Do NOT wear such a thing in Paris...it causes stares.
Back to the apartment. We went to bed at 7:30pm, woke up at 1:ooam, and then slept until 11:30 the NEXT MORNING.
More later...not sure about pics and video. My laptop has a three prong cord and all our converters only have 2 prongs. My computer is about dead already, so I'm using theirs. It's not as easy to work with. So sorry.
More later...must be off.
P.S. I have no idea if this post has a million mistakes or not. Next post I will try to be more careful. Still trying to get acclimated. :)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
So...here I am, about to return to Paris again. It sounds so crazy when I write that. Because I am so frugal, this whole travel thing has been a real stretch. Thank goodness my husband looks at life without quite as much doom and gloom as I do. Without him, I would be like one of those little old ladies that die with a million dollars in the mattress, having had cat food as my last meal.
As I look forward, to only a few days from now, there are a few moments I am anticipating. It’s those certain moments in Paris that wake me back up. Moments that make me know and understand that I really do belong there. I'm American born and bred, but I’ve got Paris in my head.
I thought I’d share a few of those moments with you. Please indulge me...I’m not even sure if I can get it across on paper, but I will try. I’m going to intersperse pictures here and there. I’m sorry Scott and I are in almost every picture. I promise, on this trip, we will take less of us and more of just Paris. Some of these photos deserve a blog post later on, so if you are curious and want more information, just wait...
So here goes...Moments I’m looking forward to...
There will be that particular moment when Scott and I enter the metro. We do it with such ease now, barely slowing down anymore to check our way. We will plop down in those tiny seats, as if we’ve been doing this everyday for years. We will have that same tired expression on our face that everyone else has. But there will be a moment when we look at each other and SMILE. We know exactly what the other is thinking...”We’re actually here. It feels like we belong. We aren’t just passing through, we are a part of the city.”
Paris has a way of making you feel like you belong, just as much as the little old man that was born there. It’s funny...no other place I’ve ever been adopts you quite like Paris does. Sure, you have to work at it. You can't approach it with a long list of expectations, and they certainly don't roll out the red carpet. It takes time, but once you feel that sense of belonging, no one can ever take it away. I think that's why it feels so good...you know you worked for it...
There’s another moment I look forward to. It’s the moment we sit down in a cafe. We are at ease now. No worries about screwing it up. No worries about rules or procedures. We just sit back, and let it flow. The other day I was in a popular restaurant here in our city. The waiter about drove me crazy! He was too helpful, too eager, and in way too much of a hurry. I just wanted to scream, “Can I please be alone with my thoughts for 30 seconds?” I know that isn’t very American of me, but it was honestly the way I felt.
Moment number three is just the walking. I tend to put my arm through Scott’s and sort of lean into him. As we walk, we don’t talk much, which is fine. Our minds are too busy taking it all in. Trying to memorize every architectural detail, smelling all the smells, listening to all the languages as they float through the air. It’s so completely different than our day to day life. It is fuel for the soul, for creativity and possibility...and you never know who you might meet!
One other moment, is sitting in the park. It doesn’t matter which park, any will do. We will sit in those cool green chairs, just doing nothing. No phone will ring. No interruptions. No loud voices.
It’s sheer heaven.
So that’s about it. Notice there isn’t any particular monument or museum or place that I mentioned. All the things we love to do are quite normal. None of the things we love costs a lot of money. None of them require special outfits or tickets or a command of the language. We love just being in Paris, and experiencing it like regular Parisians.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The first afternoon in Paris was enjoyable, but strange. We didn’t dare get on the metro so we stayed in our neighborhood. We WALKED up the stairs to the top of Montmartre to sit on the famous steps of Sacre Coeur, and it about killed us. My dad had told us to take the incline train, but we thought that would be silly...plus, who had a ticket, or even knew how to buy a ticket? For those of you that don’t know, it’s a multitude of stairs to the top. We had no idea! Okay, again, Dad had told us, but the description "many stairs" did not translate to us as "MANY STAIRS." We both had new shoes that we bought purposely for comfort and walking, and within minutes, we were dying. Our shoes were too big! I guess in the cold our feet shrank. These photos don't show the half of it.
More on aching feet later...it was a running theme... You'll also notice the lack of color in my face. It's called complete exhaustion, and jet-lag. I also look less than thrilled. What you can't detect in this photo, is that two seconds before Scott took it, I was gasping for air!
So we basically just walked and walked, most of the time totally lost. There was so much to see all around us. I can’t explain how weird it felt. It did not “feel” like what I expected Paris to “feel” like. This area has it’s own character that I’ve grown to love, but it wasn’t love at first sight. I was rubbing elbows with all sorts. I never heard one spec of English. It was exhilarating, and bizarre at the same time. Describing Montmartre as “eclectic” is an understatement.
We decided to find the closest metro stop to the apartment, so we would know where it was when we needed it. We saw the stairs going down underground, and wondered...will we ever have the nerve to go down there? Being from the south, we had never used public transportation in our lives. I had never even ridden a bus, other than a yellow school bus!
We kept walking and ended up in front of the Moulin Rouge. We snapped a few pictures, and kept going. Not too far down that street, it gets really sleazy for a couple of blocks. Scott wanted to turn around, but there was another metro stop I wanted to find at Pigalle, so I insisted we keep going. Scott was so protective. He said to keep my eyes forward, that he would check it out as we walked and give me a running commentary...SO FUNNY.
There really was no problem. There were two lanes of traffic, separated by a huge median, lined with beautiful trees. Walking along the center were normal looking young adults, old ladies pulling their rolling shopping totes, and even children riding their tiny bicycles. I was beginning to learn that Parisians don’t get worried about a lot of things that we would find appalling in America, (at least in my small town). I didn’t see anything gross, thank goodness.
Around 6:30 we were ready for dinner. We were so tired, and didn’t feel up to going in a restaurant or cafe. We also noticed, no one was eating. Anyone sitting outside was having fancy water or coffee. No one was eating a meal. We read they eat late in Paris...it was true!
We bought some sandwiches somewhere, and took them home. We ate on our balcony. We could see the top of the Eiffel Tower in the distance, behind the building across the street. We even saw it twinkle! It was so nice, but I must admit, I wasn’t in relaxation mode in any way, shape, or form...yet.
We opened the bottle of wine they left for us in the apartment. At home, wine was not a part of our lives...
but hey...when in France...
I will do an entire blogpost on that first sip... you have no idea.
That evening turned out to be more than romantic. Things just unwrinkled and untangled. We began to relax...could it have been the wine? I don't know, and at that point, I didn't care. I slowly felt my mind draining of all its cares. America seemed a million miles away. Even facing Paris, began to seem do-able. On one side of the apartment, the huge church was lit up beautifully, and on the hour, the church bells rang hauntingly. On the other side of the apartment, the view was of thousands of rooftops and apartments lit up with a golden glow. It was incredible.
I felt like I had been dropped into a dream world. This city had so much to discover, and that evening, I felt ready to tackle it.
I went to sleep dreaming of only one thing...
The Eiffel Tower!!!
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