Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Paris in pictures

Alright, another travelogue post. Pictures from Paris. The last time I went to Paris was 19 years ago while I was living in London as a student. And I totally loved it. As excited as I was to go back again, I was slightly worried that I had romanticized it in my adolescent mind and that it wouldn't be quite as wonderful as I remembered it. Well I'm happy to say that I was wrong. Paris really is all that and a bag of chips. I loved it just as much as an adult and it was that much better being with my Italian lover (aka: my husband.)

I loved the big icons of Paris: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, even the classic French Onion soup and escargots (snails - I didn't try them.)
But the small details of Paris are equally charming and wonderful: book sellers along the Seine, historical monuments, grabbing sorbet on the go, etc.  Above left are 'love-locks' on one of the bridges where couples put a lock on the bridge and throw the key into the Seine as a symbol of their undying love.
We only had a day and a half in Paris, but is was enough to see almost everything we'd hoped to see. We'd seen weather reports that our day 2 would be cold and windy, so we saved the museums for that day and tried to cover as much territory outside that we could on day 1. It was a spectacularly gorgeous fall day and we walked from Ile de la Cite (the oldest part of Paris where Notre Dame is located), through the Latin Quarter, up the Seine past the Louvre, through the Tuileries gardens to Place de la Concorde (above with the obelisk), rode the bus up the Champs Elysees, climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, walked down to the Trocedero, across the bridge and under the Eiffel Tower, ate some food, and took a night boat ride on the Seine. I was so pooped I almost fell asleep multiple times on the boat (not super-romantic.)

It was such beautiful weather that I really wished we could have just sat in chairs around the fountains at the Tuileries and soaked in the sun and people-watched, but there was not a minute to spare.
Notre Dame cathedral (top) and Sainte Chappelle (bottom).  Notre Dame is impressive - especially it's size considering how and when it was built 800+ years ago, but I'm especially particular to Sainte Chappelle known for it's incredible stained glass walls. I was equally charmed by the tile floors.
Day 2 we hit the Museums starting with the Musee d'Orsay, dedicated to art from the 19th century and housed in a beautiful old Beaux-Arts train station. (It's the building on the left in the picture above, across the river from the Louvre.) This one is my favorite - particularly the Impressionists and most specifically, the Van Gogh's.  I've always loved his vibrant, primary colors and realized those are the colors that I'm most drawn to when creating for myself. So me and Vincent must be kindred spirits.  Good old Whistler's Mother and her shades of gray would fit right into current popular color palettes.
From there we went to the Orangerie to see Monet's massive Water-lily murals (no pics) and then to Les Invalides (RIP Napoleon) and the Rodin gardens. Those gardens were wonderful - I had never been there before. Another place I could have just sat and soaked up the Parisien ambiance had there been more time.
Our last stop of the whole trip was the Louvre - the grand-daddy of art museums.  My husband was such a trooper. Art museums are not his 'thing', but he was so supportive of me going to all of them. I was a Humanities major in college and loved studying art history and literature and all that fun stuff. But I will admit, even I had my fill of art and culture by the end of the day. I did find some nice quilty-inspiration in the parquet floor of the Louvre though...
I loved just taking in the ambiance of that city. We stayed on Rue Cler (between Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower) in a not fancy, but totally great little hotel - Grand Hotel Leveque. The location was so central and I loved all the cafes and vendors along Rue Cler - a pedestrian-only street. I studied French and was quasi-fluent years ago, and very rusty now, but by the end of our trip I was feeling more comfortable and confident. I even ordered and transacted everything in French (neanderthal version, I'm sure) at a bakery one morning and was quite pleased with myself. 
So there you go. Paris in a nutshell.
When I got home I was excited to see these Paris fat quarters had arrived from Poppy Seed Fabrics while I was gone. I hadn't done much shopping (other than an museum gift shop here or there) in Paris, so now I can make my own little memorable souvenirs of a happy trip.  

Post edit: And of course I found out about quilt shops in Paris after I came home. Here is the info thanks to reader Mariana Nortje: Le Rouvray, 6 Ru des Grandes Degres, off the Quai de la Tournelle. On the left Bank, 5th Arr. The road is almost exactly opposite the bridge, the Pont de l"Archeche that connects the Ille de la Citie to the left bank where the Museum for the Deportation of the Jews and it is also very close to where Boulevard Saint Germaine run into the Quai de la Tournelle. There is also one in the 11th Arr., La Boutique du Patchwork, 37 Rue Saint Ambroise.

If you're looking for other travel tips and insights to Paris, or just more pretty pictures of France, visit Stephmodo for lots of suggestions and eye-candy. 

19 comments:

  1. Your travel post is wonderful and photos great. Perfect on a cold rainy late afternoon to escape to a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing your travel tales. Have fun using the awesome Paris material too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perfect vacation memento fabric!

    Paris is on my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! Love seeing things from other places:)

    http://sewscissorhappy.blogspot.com

    http://sewscissorhappy.blogspot.com/2012/11/giveaway.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ah, Paris - I spent two days there years ago and loved every second. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh to see the beautiful city of Paris. I enjoyed your pictures. I would sure love to go with my daughter in law and of course my grandaughter named PARIS.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a wonderful visit you had and now this great travelogue to go with it. I can't wait to see what you make with the Paris fabric. You will show it to us, won't you?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow! I love all your photos and I'm so impressed that you did so much in 2 days. I've always wanted to go to Paris. Hopefully some day before I get old ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love it! Those are absolutely gorgeous pictures!! The sculptures, architecture, art - it's all incredible. What a trip! :) I especially love your pictures of the Arc de Triomphe & Eiffel Tower. Just beautiful! And the fabric is pretty cute too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Paris for a mini break is this years birthday present. Ok so it's nearly time for my next birthday and life's got in the way and we haven't made it this year. Loved reading your blog post about it and it's made me excited all over again about going. I saw a picture with those locks on flickr just yesterday and meant to google what it was all about. Thanks for the explanation! I love that Paris fabric at the end of the post too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What lovely mosaics of your photos. They are so rich in content I almost felt like I went to Paris myself. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ha! You're my kind of traveler -- cram as much into a day as you possibly can. Great pics -- it looks like you had a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jealous!!! Oh how I miss my favorite city in the world!!!! I plan to go back in 3 years, but oh my how I miss it there. Glad you had a great time!

    -Amanda-

    ReplyDelete
  13. I went to Paris 15 years ago, in the Spring, and it rained alot. Your picture of Saint Chapelle is beautiful - I would have loved to see the sun shining through those breathtaking windows! I think I need some of that Paris fabric.....

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love that you bought fabric as a souvenir.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your photos and travelogue, brings back fond memories of my winter trip to Paris 4 years ago. I'd love to go back again in spring or summer. The Parisian themed fabric looks very pretty too!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love your photos and travelogue, brings back fond memories of my winter trip to Paris 4 years ago. I'd love to go back again in spring or summer. The Parisian themed fabric looks very pretty too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love your photos! I spent two weeks in Paris with my oldest sister last September. We had such a good time!

    ReplyDelete
  18. So glad you had such a fabulous time! I love the Musee D'Orsay, I'm a huge fan of the impressionists, and it's my lasting impression of Paris from my only trip there 16 years ago (that and the Eiffel Tower being freezing on a February evening!).

    I was flying via Paris, no doubt on the same flight you did, and me and the Italian student next to me had a good giggle at the 2 high school seniors behind us on the plane that were flying solo to meet one of their mums in Belgium. Their conversations were fabulous from the 'experienced one' that had been to Paris when she was about 10, to the 'naive one' that had never been out of the US before, I almost wished they weren't catching a train to Brussels so they could see Paris at ground level.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Love this post! Je t'aime, mon amie! : )

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your comments - they make my day! I try to respond to as many as my 'mommy' time allows, but life sometimes gets in the way. Please know how much I appreciate each of them.

I apologize for the current comment settings that require a registered user account. They are the only way that I don't get tons of gross spam. I'm hoping Blogger will make a way where people who are not registered users, but would like to leave a comment can do so. Please, Blogger! In the mean time, thanks for your patience.

I also love to respond to questions. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave an email address so I can get back to you. Or you can email me directly: amy @ diaryofaquilter.com. Thanks!