Biking through Normandy

Yesterday I hopped abroad a train headed to the coast of France, not the southern warm coast but the cooler coast of the Atlantic ocean in the north. We got off the train and wondered what in the world we had gotten ourselves into, seriously the train station is not in the middle of town and it was a little scary. We also realized that none of us had looked at a map before leaving the city, little oops on our part.
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The first stop was the Bayeux Tapestries, seriously if you are considering going to see them they are completely worth the 4 euros for the trip. I giggled through the commentary, it was entertaining and educational. Upstairs was a special exhibit for D-day (we had wanted to be there a week earlier but it didn’t work out), the exhibit was 3 artists who had been commissioned by the military to paint and draw the scenes they experienced. Not one of us had dry eyes by the end of the exhibit. It served as a good reminder for the reason we had originally made our trek, to visit the beaches the allied troops landed on 70 years ago.
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Like the good Parisians we have become we found a Boulanger and grabbed baguette sandwiches for lunch then ran off to find our mode of transportation for the day: Bikes. We rented bikes from a nice man who didn’t speak a lick of English in Bayeux, asking for directions to Omaha Beach (he must have had lots of people ask because he was very direct “left right left”) and we were off! Oh and we ended up on a main highway.
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Finding our way to a bike trail following back roads through the French countryside, it made for a beautiful 2 hour ride (we got a little lost) finally finding our way to Omaha Beach I stood in awe imaging the courage of those men who made their way onto the beaches that rainy may day.
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We didn’t have long to get back and booked it down the highways toward Bayeux, we somehow made our train with 5 minutes to spare. It was a true miracle! Today was beautiful and oh so French. Biking is by far the best way to travel and see the countryside. Be warned it will end in a sunburn if you forget your sunblock!
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Disclaimer: Not Photos are not mine (reminder that iPhone gone problem)

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Lost in Paris

I’ve been phoneless for a week now. Boo! Actually it hasn’t been the end of the world my life hasn’t changed except I can’t take any pictures. So I stole all these from friends (thanks roomies).

But in the mean time…

I study Rubens in the Louvre

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Visited Versailles and played in the flower gardens of Marie Antoinette, then promptly went home and watched the newest Marie Antoinette movie.

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The famous hall of mirrors was miserably crowded only an excellent photographer can make all those people disappear.

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I took a hint from our friends from China on how to pose for pictures

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I would go back to spend all day in the gardens and never venture near the crowded Château filled with pushy tour groups ugh!

 

Also last week 1 visited the Medici fountain in the Luxembourg garden, I’ve been running through the gardens every week but didn’t even notice it until it was pointed out. Must be because I am running too fast hehe!

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A Beautiful Evening

I spent a recent evening listening to a string and opera concert in the ever gorgeous Saint Chapelle chapel. It was beyond words.

(i’ll post a video when WORDPRESS cooperates)

The evening was beautiful and instead of heading home we headed out for Rosé and deserts. One of my roommates Mother’s made the trek across the ocean and it was so fun to spend time with the mother-daughter duo!

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How perfect are these tiny desserts?! Why get one when you can try them all!

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To finish off the night we walked along the Seine toward the Eiffel Tower, running onto a bridge to catch a glimpse of it’s hourly sparkle (hasn’t gotten old yet) before heading to bed.

The day I fell into a storybook

 

Early Friday morning I hopped aboard a train bound for the Parisian Suburb of Chartres. Our mission? To visit a very very old medieval turned gothic style Cathedral. My expectations for this day trip were set low. I had seen string and opera concert in the stain glass in Saint Chapelle, and watched Mozart preformed Notre Dame. Nothing was going to top my church experiences and it was headed downhill from now on. Guess what I was so so wrong!

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In typical style I sleep the whole way to Chartres, when you get motion sick easily you train yourself to sleep when moving. Well I missed the French countryside and woke up one stop before getting off. Yep, someone else had to hand the conductor my ticket.IMG_4498_edited

We toured the church and had a darling elderly English gentleman Malcom, who 1. Is famous for his knowledge of Notre Dame at Chartres and 2. Told us stories of WWII. We was amazing but by the end of the tour my tummy was rumbling.

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Off to the restaurant Le Tripot for some local French cuisine. Well this little lunch spot is quite tiny and adorable but said they couldn’t accommodate us as a group of 8. All the tables were full anyway (in the small French towns everyone closes shop and goes to eat from 1-2) so the roommates and I ditched the gang and ran off to take a nap in the green and warm church gardens. Half an hour later feeling rested we returned to an empty restaurant and a table for 4 just calling our name.

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The meal was everything we had hoped. I had been leery about eating here, from the way it was described half boutique/ half restaurant it sounded weird and kitchy. It was not at all, I thought I had just come and sit down in someone’s grandma’s kitchen. It’s a mom and pop place and food tasted like a delicious homemade meal. Accompanied with our locally made hard cider it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

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Our professor made the same decision, he was engrossed in a book and I doubt he wanted to be involved in our girly gossip.

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But wait I forgot something! We had 2 hours from when we got off the train and toured the church. What did I do? Fell in love with the storybook town of Charters of course!

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I had started in the Cathedral taking in all the stain glass and towering ceilings, but I was wearing a light skirt and got cold inside those stone walls. I found the church garden in the back and from there came upon a stone walk-way.

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Oh my it was precious. Cobblestone paths leading to doors covered in flowers.

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Steps that just urged you to keep going and see what was around the corner.

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I killed my two hours quickly and had to hurry back to the church.

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After lunch I shared my secrets with the roomies, we wandered the town believing we really had fallen into the town from Beauty and the Beast.

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Finally it was time to seek out a sweet treat and climb aboard the train headed back to Paris. Chartres will always be on my list of places to go back to again and again.

The Seine River and the Eiffel Tower

Near the end of last week our professor bought us tickets to watch a choir preforms Mozart in Notre Dame. Don’t know if I can watch Mozart anywhere else now! It was an incredible experience. After we walked down the Seine and jumped abroad a flat bottom boat for an evening cruise down the river, seeing all the biggest sites light up at night.

But first we walked to an arena from the period of Roman occupation.

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Every Snow White needs her Red Rose.

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Photo Credit EK (from earlier in the day)

During the Concert the Large Rose window facing us changed colors and vibrancy as the sky changed and the sun began to set. Breath taking! It also helped take my attention off the super uncomfortable chairs.

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The sun set as we strolled along the Seine.

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We didn’t pay too much attention to the narrator, so I definitely can’t point out all the bridges and buildings along the seine, but I did take pictures of a few. Anyone know what that huge tower is called?? (kidding). But fun fact, every evening for 5 minutes on the hour the Eiffel tower literally sparkles. The Partisans are so cool! They also had some sparkling bushes along the Seine, but you know those were a tad over shadowed.

My pictures are taken on my little iPhone4 that desperately needs an upgrade, so the rest can be credited to EK

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As a group of girly ladies, we didn’t think we had gotten enough of the sparkling tower, so we headed home put on warmer clothes and sneakers, hopped on the train, and headed back to the edge of the Left bank to sit on the lawn and wait for it to happen one last time that night. And again it was worth the wait. While I didn’t think to take a video of the hourly event luckily Kris Jenner has me covered. So if your a Kardashian fan (I’m not) head over to her Instagram to watch. Thanks Kris your the best!

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An Afternoon of Art

I came to Paris to study art, so art I shall study. But first one must pick up all her yearly membership passes to some of the world’s greatest museums.

It was a short day in the Louvre for us, and we just took a peek at the ancient near east section. The group ogled the code of Hammurabi

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I wandered a way from the group a bit and stumbled upon our friend Bacchus. With a wonderful woman who was sketching.

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We are a mature group we are, for sure.

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But back to the ancient near east..

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I found this cherub in the next room.

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And the good old fashion group shot. Just to make sure you knew we were all there!

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The next pass waiting for us was at the D’oresy, my I believe it is one of the best museums in the world and I can’t wait to go back over and over again.

The rainy wait in line was fully worth it.

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A photo cannot do the magic of this room justice.

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My favorites from classes were even better in person, and these photos don’t do them justice.

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The next couple of stops were to Sotheby’s, which was all fine furniture and vases for their upcoming auction, Christie’s where I will be returning in a few days as soon as their jewels exhibit, and Gagosian. Gagosian Paris was much smaller than the New York galleries, but they had a few interesting Richard Serra paintings whose steel exhibit I had recently seen in NYC.

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Exploring the Right Bank

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In an episode of my favorite show ever Gossip Girl, I totally a Blair, Blair tells Serena “you can have the left bank just leave me the right.” Today I spent the afternoon window shopping, chatting, and walking off snack time macrons.

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Photo credit AB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First we spent time exploring the ancient ruins under the plaza of Norte Dame. I insisted that we finally go inside the church, We have met outside everyday since we arrived but because of long lines and future chances had not been in yet. It was raining and there was practically no line, so I was going in an either everyone could join or I would meet up later, well the group of us joined in and we all wandered in awe through the beautiful church.

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Photo credit EK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stainless was to die for! Literally breathtaking.

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Next stop, snack time! Ordering our espressos and treats we sat down outside the shop to people watch and sip our shots of coffee slowly like the partisans. I have not learned all the tricks yet and mine was cold by the time we we’re ready to leave. Boy, were our pastries beautiful, I almost didn’t want to eat it, but that problem went away as soon as I had a taste and it was gone in a flash!

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Now for was what the right bank is famous for, its shopping. Most of the lovely ladies headed home but I was antsy and so was a friend. We made a beeline for the most expensive window shopping we could find. Retail therapy heaven was found in Place Vendome, home to The Ritz Paris (sadly under construction) and every designer jeweler imaginable. The diamonds were to die for.

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The pillar was erected by Napoleon to celebrate his victory at Austerlitz and the detail  is so incredible it looks like a photograph.

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The next stop was handbags where we dropped into Longchamp, drooled over Valentino, and explored the depths of Hermes looking for real-life-Birkin. We didn’t have any luck in the store but found this blanc Bag in the window display

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We strolled until our legs were tired and our tummies rumbled, then hopped on the train headed toward home in search of a baguette for our troubles and to make brie and ham paninis. The second we arrived home it began to downpour, talk about great timing.

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