Paris…Encore!

Eiffel Tower, Paris, FranceI hardly need an excuse to hop on a plane headed to Paris. When the opportunity arose to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Europe for a second time in less then a year, well…the photos tell the story. And boy were there ever many photos. It has taken me a while to sift through all the images (and to deal with my feelings of coming back to earth after the best vacation EVER!).

Having already done three other posts on Paris, which you can find here, here, and here, I have decided to share images that best represent my favourite aspects of this trip. And you will surely notice all the food shots liberally sprinkled throughout. The boy and I truly indulged in a range of gastronomic delights. Enjoy!

Rooftops, Paris, France      Place des Voges, Paris, FrancePlace des Voges, Paris, FranceChantilly cream and strawberries      Coffee, Merci, Paris, FrancePamela Popo Exterior, Paris, FranceGraffiti, Paris, France      Falafel, L'As de Falafel, Paris, FranceLe Sevigne restaurant, Paris, FranceTango dancing along the Seine, Paris, FranceCafe Louis Phillipe, Paris, FranceSky, Paris, France      Cafe Louis Phillipe, Paris, FranceStreet crowds, Paris, France   Sunbathing along the Seine, Paris, France      Street, Paris, FranceShelves at Maison Plisson, Paris, FranceDeli counter at Maison Plisson, Paris, FranceBuildings in St Paul, Paris, FranceStreet art, Paris, France      Installation, Place des Voges, Paris, FranceArt Installation, Place des Voges, Paris, FranceMacarons, Paris, FranceFrench pastries, Paris, France   Eiffel Tower, Paris, France      Boule players, Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris, FrancePony rides, Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris, FranceAu Beurre Sale creperie, Paris, FranceRestaurant patio, Paris, FranceCafe tables, Paris, France      Crepes for lunch, Paris, FranceCrowds at Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris, FranceEiffel Tower, Paris, France      Spectators, Jardin de Luxembour, Paris, FranceBoule players, Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris, FranceBee hives, Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris, FranceTuileries, Paris, France Conran Shop, Bon Marche, Paris, FranceThe Tuileries, Paris, FranceGarden, Petit Palais, Paris, France      Statue of a girl with a monkey, Petit Palais, Paris, FrancePalais Royal, Paris, FranceThe Tuileries, Paris, France      Duck confit with crisp potatoes, Cafe Hugo, Paris, FranceMaison Angelina, Paris, FranceCafe gourmand, Cafe Hugo, Paris, FrancePatio, Cafe Hugo, Paris, France      Cheeseburger and fries, Cafe Hugo, Paris, France  Cobblestones and Cappuccinos, Paris, FranceUntil next time Paris! À bientôt!

Sign-off

Door Knockers of Malta and Gozo

Lion head knocker on red door, MaltaThere is one more thing I have to share with all of you from my trip to the magnificent islands of Malta and Gozo. At every turn, and down every street, beautiful knockers dot the doors of Maltese buildings like opulent jewels. Known as “Il-Habbata” many are intricate works of art in bronze and brass.

The sea-faring nature of the island is reflected in many of the motifs like dolphins, seahorses, and sirens. But you will also find faces, coats of arms, and animals. More importantly both the knocker and the colour of the door, some dating hundreds of years, represent the personality and taste of the home owner. And based on some of my examples, I would be more than happy to make their acquaintance.Brass hexagon door knocker, MaltaBronze angel knocker on wood door, MaltaCoat of arms knocker on red door, Mdina, MaltaPig head knocker on red door, Valletta, MaltaEagle knocker on pink door, MaltaLion head knocker on purple door, GozoAngel head bronze knocker on wood door with studs, Valletta, MaltaDetail of angel knocker on wood door, Valletta, MaltaBronze dolphins and Malta Cross knocker on wood door, MaltaBacchus face knocker on green door, GozoBrass Bacchus face knocker on cream door, GozoBrass Bacchus face door on brown door, GozoBronze creature face knocker on white door, GozoDolphin knockers on blue door, GozoBronze stylized dolphin on blue door, Valletta, MaltaBrass circle door knockers, MaltaStylized dolphin on purple door, Valletta, MaltaGirl Scout clover knocker on navy door, Valletta, MaltaBrass mythical creature knocker on wood door, MaltaBronze mythical creature knocker on wood door, MaltaThere are many more whimsical knockers and colourful doors than I could possibly include in this post. I encourage you to discover them yourself on a trip to to the mystical island of Malta.

Bonjour Paris Part 3

Green chairs in Jardin du Luxembourg, ParisGreen spaces abound in cosmopolitan Paris. From tiny squares filled with laughing children, embracing couples, and tired tourists to sprawling parks dotted with iconic metal green chairs and their sunbathing occupants. Everyone has a favourite.

Two of the biggest and most famous happen to be Jardin du Luxembourg and the Tuileries Gardens. And I count these among my MUST stops while in Paris.

The first dates back to the 17th century and was constructed as a royal residence. The palace still stands as a crowning jewel of the park, but its real treasure are the beautiful fountains and statues sprinkled among the lawns and tree-lined alleys. It’s worth the hunt to find them all!

This is a place were real Parisians come to play and relax. Whether listening to live orchestra or pushing sailboats across a circular basin, it’s a little piece of heaven for old and young alike. I usually stop at the nearby Grand Epicerie to stock up on cheese (Comte is my current favourite), and baguette. And with those in hand I head for a quiet corner to put my feet up and watch the world go by. Listening to the orchestra in Jardin du Luxembourg, ParisPalace du Luxembourg, ParisWater basin with sail boats in Jardin du Luxembourg, ParisPalm tree in Jardin du Luxembourg, ParisFor a stroll along the dusty paths of the Tuileries Gardens you have to cross the river from the Left Bank. Or, post a lengthy museum visit, head straight out of the Louvre toward the masses of tourists swirling in front of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The magnificent green gardens lie just beyond and provide some of the most memorable photo opportunities in Paris (the iconic Louvre Pyramid and the Eiffel Tower are only two of your background options)!

These gardens also began their existence as part of the royal residence of the French monarchy in the 17th century. The strewn green chairs, the reflective pools, and flower filled beds all appear very similar to the Jardin. But to me, the Tuileries have a more formal feeling. This is where you come to see and be seen. It’s not by chance that the manicured lawns and gravel alleys appear in photos during Paris Fashion Week every year and that many films have made use of the sprawling elegance of the area.

Chic shopping districts like Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Faubourg Saint-Honoré are only steps away. And  mouthwatering macarons from Ladurée or hot chocolate from Angelina’s are available to-go for an impromptu posh picnic on the grass. I’ve enjoyed my share during this trip.

So if your time in Paris is limited make sure to head for this fabulous green heart of the city. I guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for.Bridge to the Louvre Palace, ParisRoof and facade of the Louvre Palace, ParisWater sprinklers in the Tuileries Gardens, ParisView of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Tuileries Gardens, ParisAlley in the Tuileries Gardens, ParisGreen chairs in the Tuileries Gardens, Paris Pond with statue in the Tuileries Gardens, ParisCarrousel, ParisCaroussel at the Tuileries Gardens, ParisAnd I couldn’t leave off my travel blog without the image that sums up the city for me, the Eiffel Tower. I glimpsed it often while roaming around Paris, and each time I was filled with joy which reminded me that I was in my favourite place on earth!Eiffel Tower from the roof of Printemps, ParisThank you for coming along on this trip. I hope you have enjoyed it. Let me know what your favourite part was!

Bonjour Paris Part 2

Colonne de Juliet, Place de la Bastille, ParisJust steps from Place de la Bastille and the Colonne de Juliet commemorating the Revolution of 1830 (otherwise known as the Second Revolution or the July Revolution) sprawls a twice weekly market. Known as the Richard Lenoir or the Bastille Market, it is one of my favourite shopping destinations when I plan my culinary escapades in Paris.

Fresh and hot food vendors set up shop from 8am to 3pm every Thursday and Sunday. In a matter of hours a quiet boulevard is transformed by the colour, sounds, smells, and excitement of enthusiastic merchants, hungry shoppers, and curious tourists seeking the perfect shot of “real Paris”.

Although you can find all sorts of things at the market, from socks and batteries to kitschy Paris souvenirs, I’m here for the food and not just the fresh fruits and veg. The vendors at this market set up full refrigerated displays of artisan cheese and baked goods and gourmet meats, containers of spices, nuts, and olives, and the most beautiful flowers to grace any French home. And if all the sights make your belly grumble ready-made roasted chickens and glazed potatoes, bubbling paellas, and sweet crepes can be picked up for a quick nibble. It’s a veritable feast! Richard Lenoir Market, Bastille, ParisFresh fruit and vegetables at the Bastille market in ParisWild asparagus at the Bastille market in ParisOrganic bread at the Bastille market, ParisPalmier cookies at the Bastille Market in ParisPain au chocolat, Bastille Market in ParisFlower vendor at the Bastille market in ParisPeony close up at the Bastille Market in ParisPeony detail Bastille MarketFish monger stall at the Bastille market, ParisBasket with crabs at Paris Bastille MarketSnails for sale at the Bastille Market in ParisMaking crepes at the Bastille Market in ParisTubs of spices - Bastille Market in ParisArtisan cheese stall at the Bastille Market | ParisWhen I’m looking for something unique to bring home from Paris, nothing beats the famed French flea markets. And my favourite has to be the Marche aux Puces de St-Ouen also known as Clignancourt, a sprawling seven hectare mecca of trinkets and treasures just outside the 18th arrondissement.

The market houses approximately 3000 vendors and is actually made up of a number of smaller bazaars that wind through alleyways, streets, and covered halls, each one  with its own specialty. You can find just about anything from the useful to the banal (I’m not sure who needs a full sized stuffed zebra). Bargaining is encouraged, preferably in French, but English is spoken when necessary, especially if you look like a serious buyer. Photos are prohibited in some places but regardless I always ask permission before snapping away. “Puis-je prendre des photos, s’il vous plaît?” was my regular mantra around Paris.

Mostly though, I tend to put down my camera and remember that the flea markets are a magical wonderland, and if I look hard enough I just might find the perfect looking glass!

Alleyway at Marche aux Puces St Ouen in Paris | Clignancourt ippBrown dauschaund on the streets of ParisAntique ram's head sculpture at Clignancourt in ParisMerchandise in a stall at the Marche aux Puces St Ouen |Clignancourt in ParisCurios at the Marche aux Puces St Ouen | Clignancourt in ParisFlea market stalls at the Marche aux Puces St Ouen | Clignancourt in ParisAntique furniture at the Marche aux Puces St Ouen | Clignancourt in ParisDisplay of old keys at the Marche aux Puces St Ouen | Clignancourt in ParisDisplay tables at the Marche aux Puces St Ouen | Clignancourt in ParisVintage paper cutouts, Marche aux Puces St Ouen, Paris | ClignancourtFlea market stalls, Marche aux Puces St Ouen, Paris | Clignancourt My gorgeous friend Catherine, who joined me for a few days, walked away with a silver ladle for just a few Euros and memories worth much more.Catherine, Poa Studio owner, and her silver ladle, Marche aux Puces St Ouen, Paris | ClignancourtI hope you tune into Paris Part 3 where I finish my beautiful adventure.

Bonjour Paris Part 1

rooftops of Paris | Cobblestones and CappuccinosIt’s been about two weeks since my return from Paris, and I can’t believe I’m just getting around to sharing my beautiful adventure with all of you. My only excuse is a bad case of jet lag and the dreaded cold I seem to pick up every time I travel.

However, if you follow my Instagram or Twitter accounts, you would have gotten a preview of the amazing time I had. Although I’m excited to be home, Paris is a city that I absolutely adore and am always sad to leave behind. A city which can’t be summarized in a few paragraphs or pictures. It is a feeling. Something magical that surrounds you as you step onto the narrow cobblestone streets or the grand Haussmann boulevards. The romance of the people, the quiet cafes, the steady flow of the Seine and the clouds rolling by as you gaze out the window of a tiny studio apartment under the iconic rooftops of Paris.

Today I want to share with you two of my favourite neighbourhoods in Paris, the Marais and the 2nd arrondisment. As well as the gorgeous oasis of Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis in the middle of the Seine, the home of the world famous Cathedral of Notre Dame. I hope you fall in love as much as I have! Rooftops of Paris | Cobblestones and CappuccinosIvy covered building in Paris | Cobblestones and CappuccinosMeert Chocolatier ParisBistrot De L'Oulette ParisSteet signs in Marais District | ParisCreperie Suzette ParisCrepe Picasso, 3 cheese crepe at Creperie SuzetteArcades near Places des Vosges in ParisRelaxing at Place des Vosges in ParisMan and woman sitting on a bench in Places des Vosges | ParisMusee Carnavalet garden in ParisMusee Carnavalet building and garden in ParisRue des Petits Peres sign in ParisCafe front and flowers on the streets of ParisBicycles in the Marais, ParisEnjoying a gelato from Amorino in ParisStreet view of Le Brasserie de L'Ile Saint Louis in ParisScenic view of Ile Saint Louis and the Seine in ParisPeople sitting on the bank of the Seine | ParisBalcony detail in ParisView of the back of Notre Dame across the Seine | ParisExterior front of Notre Dame Cathedral in ParisSkyward view of the side of Notre Dame Cathedral in ParisCrowds gathered in front of Cathedral Notre Dame in ParisGreenery growing on the side of an apartment in ParisCouple relaxing on a bench in L'Ile Saint Louis in ParisFloor Mosaic at Galerie VivienneBrunch in ParisStreet view of Rue des Barres in ParisIn my next installment, I will be sharing two of my favourite markets in Paris…stay tuned!