Paris 2013


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 (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.

He's fun.


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.

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104 thoughts

  1. Emma says…

    Looks amazing.Love summer adventures. Bring on the southern hemisphere summer! I am ready :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Mary M. in NC says…

    How about a French stamp set?

    Reply 4 Replies
    1. susan says…

      2 thumbs up for the french stamp set ... would love stamps that match the Metro fonts Sue

    2. Tracy Smith says…

      Oui, oui, oui!!!

    3. Callie says…

      I love this idea! Oh, the possibilities!

    4. Marie A. says…

      Oh yes! That would be great!

      Marie A. from Québec city

  3. Angela says…

    The Mona Lisa looked just like that when I was at the Louvre in 1990 and 1998 :-) I think she always looks like that!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Liz says…

    oh my gosh that looks like the most awesome trip nice to get away from it ALL and enjoy the world...nice

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Karen Lee says…

    Thanks for sharing.
    Awesome photos!
    I dream about Paris someday...

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Joanne says…

      me too :(

  6. Angie Coleman says…

    Thank you for sharing your adventure with us!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Shanon Gibson says…

    I can relate to not wanting to go higher than the second deck at the Eiffel Tower. I was terrified even though I know it is perfectly safe. The tower feels bigger once you are up there! Thanks for sharing your photos. I just loved Paris!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Anita says…

    We have been a couple times and often have the craving to really is magical! The beautiful photos make me want to go now.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Alida says…

    Welcome back Ali, this is such an awesome collection of photo's.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Jenna says…

    Gorgeous photos and what an amazing trip! I've been to Europe a few times but Paris is still on my "to see" list.

    Where the heck is that super cute beige polka dot dress from? :-) Totally perfect for travel!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…

      It's from the Gap! Got it before I left.

  11. Karen Freeman says…

    Thanks for taking me down memory lane. Stunning photos and you have inspired me to go through my photos of Paris and our OE with fresh eyes. Love the way you put a post / story together. Cheers Karen

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Jean A Marmo says…

    Gorgeous photos!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Celine Navarro says…

    It feels so good to see your photos and read your words about Paris, about a piece of my country, my culture. The fact that you enjoyed it so much makes me proud of being French (well, for the good sides of being French, uh?). MERCI for coming :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Jenny A says…

    What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Jo-Anne from ZA says…

    Really looks like you guys had a super awesome time in Paris:-)

    Lovely photographs!!

    THANK YOU for sharing with us - really enjoyed your story.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Angie Martin Hall says…

    Oh, Ali, et al! Thank you for sharing your vacation with us! The photos are wonderful. I feel as if I was there with you. I think I will have to put Paris on the table as our family decides what vacation to take next.

    Our daughter is a senior in high school now, and last March she went to France with her class. Sadly, they hadn't had enough time to visit Paris, just time for Grasse. So we're thinking, we'll all go next spring. Your photos, your stories, are very inspirational!

    And you, my dear, seem to be having the time your life!

    Mais qui?

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Gayl says…

    I like that you went with friends and family, I like that you took so many photos, I like that Aaron is fun, I like that Katie is well-liked, I like that you missed Simon and Anna, I like that I can feel like I've traveled without making the trip. Thank you for a wonderful start to my day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Lida says…

    Thank you for bring us along on your fabulous trip to Paris. It was so much fun seeing where you visited. Yes, I need to pull out my Paris photos, many moons ago!

    Yes, the Louvre where Mona Lisa lives was just like that when we visited.

    I would love to see how you will document this travel. Mini or Maxi album?

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. {vicki} says…


    Looks like you had the most wonderful time! maybe one day I'll get to go to Paris!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Carrie says…

    Magical. Loved seeing this, my friend.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Keianna says…

    Looks like a wonderful trip. TFS. We visited Paris many years ago and it was indeed magical and we yearn to return.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Christina says…

    Hi Ali,
    lovely picture and a wonderful story. I Love Paris, too.

    Thanks for share this.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Jenell says…

    Beautiful photos for a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing. I, too, love it when there are more than one photographer in a group and they share the photos where it shows that I actually did go on the trip! I'm glad you had a great adventure!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Mary Sara P. says…

    Welcome Home! So glad that you had a wonderful trip to Paris. Love your pictures. It brings back many memories from my trip last year and I can't wait to go back again some day. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Hee Jin Ramsey says…

    Love the pics Ali! We too went to Paris this summer and saw the Musee d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, and Arc de Triumph! Your pictures make me want to go back, which I'm sure we will. Thanks for sharing your amazing pictures and now onto scrapbooking my pics with your on the road kit that I won! :)

    Reply 0 Replies

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