We returned home last Monday night from a summer vacation adventure to Paris.
"We" included me, Katie, her fiance Peter and my boyfriend Aaron. "We" also included my sister Jessica and her family and her friend Rebecca for part of the time.
We went to Paris to just be. To see some sights. To take our time. To absorb. We stayed up late and slept in late. We drank wine. We walked and walked and walked.
There are lots and lots and lots of photos - especially because all of us were taking photos. I love that seeing through the lens is one of the ways we each like to travel. We were able to capture each of us in the experience (vs. one person behind a camera for the duration) and found that fun balance between candid shots and monuments.
The process of going through them is a bit daunting but here are some of my favorites (taken by me, Katie, Peter, Aaron or Jessica):
We started our trip with an evening visit to the Eiffel Tower. Over the course of our trip we would come back here a bunch of different times - mostly in the evening. It was surreal to actually be there and it never got old. Love that I have real life memories to go along with the iconic images now.
The window we looked out of everyday.
We stayed in the Marais, very close to the St. Paul metro stop. We found our apartment on vrbo.com (vacation rental by owner). We were going for something economical for our two week stay and this was a good fit to split between four people.
The beautiful three flights of stairs we climbed up and down multiple times most days. We might have complained a few times. And Katie and Aaron may have done timed races to the top a couple times.
Our adventure began and ended with the four of us.
The walking began on the first day as we walked from our appartment over to the area near Notre Dame. Loved the red awnings in these windows.
On our first full day we headed over to Sacre Coeur.
The weather was awesome. Beautiful sunshine most days. Too hot on a couple and just right on others. Aaraon and I climbed the dome at Sacre Coeur and were greeted with these amazing views.
Love that panorama feature on the iphone.
Me and Aaron.
Back in the Marais on one of my favorite streets with a great crepe place and a bunch of falafel places. We came here a few times over the course of the two weeks.
A savory crepe with ham, cheese, olives, and mushrooms.
We had ice cream or gelato most days. Is was just the thing to do.
We rode the metro everywhere we wanted to go. So loved checking out all the different metro signs.
We visited a popular home/clothing store called Merci. Tons of eye candy there and a great little restaurant on the street out front.
My sister arrived a few days after us and it was fun to be there with her. She and her family have spent a month in Paris each summer the last few years - it was one of the reasons we chose to go there.
And she takes fun photos.
We visited the Rodin Museum.
And Musee d'Orsay.
Katie and Pete in front of one of the clocks.
Lots of figuring it out as we went along.
Back at the Tower. Our picnics started before it was dark and then lead to this:
You might know that the Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour for a few minutes every evening. It's a lovely combination of the yellow lights that light it up generally + the white sparkles. You might not know that if you stay up until 1am for the last sparkle you get to see the coolest thing - the yellow lights go away and it's only the white sparkle lights. Definitely one of my favorite things.
I just love that people are out and about late into the evening.
My sister's friend Rebecca joined the crew for a few days.
Lots of looking up. And just soaking it up and breathing it all in.
And eating outside (this is in the gardens near the Louvre).
And some of this.
And funny shots that captured bits and pieces of our adventure.
At the Arc de Triomphe.
A great old photobooth at the BonTon children's clothing store.
We did some hanging out in our apartment. Often it was at the end of lots of walking. We'd rest our feet and check-in online.
Katie rocked the black bow.
Heading out on another evening adventure.
We hung out at my sister's apartment a few nights. Card games and wine.
Aaron and I ventured over to the Louvre on our own. This is what it looks like when you enter the room where the Mona Lisa lives. At least on this particular day and time.
We walked the stairs to the second level of the Eiffel Tower.
My anxiety got the better of me and I didn't go all the way to the top. A combination of heights and that enclosed elevator took it's toll.
But man the view from the second level was a-okay.
We were there for the golden hour. It was awesome.
After coming down we met up with Jeffrey, Jessica and Gabrielle.
Katie is well-liked.
Jeffrey ready and waiting with the cotton candy.
We visited a couple of the lock bridges. Found this one on the bridge near the Louvre.
We browsed the flea market at Porte de Clignancourt.
And then headed back to the gardens to take Gabrielle to the little fair outside the Louvre.
And we rode the big ferris wheel.
Love my sister.
Awesome views from that ferris wheel.
It was a really lovely adventure with some very special people. I definitely missed Simon and Anna and had many moments I wished they were along for the experience.
I've got all kinds of things collected for a travel album. I'd planned to work on it while we were there - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I even brought along my little Epson printer in case I was really gung-ho. I ended up just collecting things along the way and have added it to my list of things to do in the coming months.
As for now I'm getting back into the swing of things - hanging out with my kids, working, enjoying some of the last few weeks of summer before they head back to school. I hope to get back to sharing more words and projects here this week.
Merci Paris. I'll definitely return again.