Trip Report I: Paris

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Photos are off the DSLR and on the hard drive, so let’s get going with the sharing!

Our journey began in Paris.

Actually, our journey began at SFO’s international terminal, then an 11-hour Air France flight, but those are details for another post.  However, do see Saving Mr. Banks, that was an awesome movie and I got teary at the end.  Hope the Frenchman next to me didn’t think I was odd.  Oh wait, I was taking pictures of my food on the plane, too.  Carry on.

Our journey began in Paris.  Every time we go to Paris (see here and here), the idea that we’ve gone multiple times and we get to go again isn’t lost on me and I feel like we’ve won the lottery when I board the plane (intense fear of flying doesn’t set in until we take off).

My work brought us to Europe for this trip.  In fact, we spent most of the days working but managed to turn what was a simple trip into a 5-city affair.  Mr. P also works for a multinational company, brought his laptop, and tagged along.

Back to Paris.  Our first stop is always lunch before we grab a nap to ward off the jet lag.  This is from one of my favorite cafes:

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I love getting pictures of buildings.  The architecture of the city is what evokes that romantic and wistful feeling (at least in me).  We arrived a couple of days before my work started (because, duh, Paris) and took a walking tour of Le Maris one afternoon:

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We finally visited the Pompidou Centre.  I’m learning more about what I like art-wise.  I found I loved the contemporary pieces like these lights much more than the Picassos and Pollocks.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I loved this street art next to the church outside the Pompidou.  Paris means many things to many people and it is always changing.  The burger trend has hit Paris hard since we were there this spring.  We saw lots of young Parisians queuing up outside trendy burger joints.  Anyway, street art!

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Always using Le Metro to get around.  I love love love public transportation and using it in a city is as fun as trying the food.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I worked on my cafe photography this time.  I love effortless pictures of Parisan cafes but haven’t been able to get it quite right myself.  Practice, practice, practice.  Practicing on a Monday when there are fewer people in touristy areas helps.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

On Instagram, I celebrated making a restaurant reservation by phone in French for the first time.  This was the place — for our favorite steak frites.  I’m planning on writing a post about it so Mr. P was kind enough to wait while I got a picture.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

After our weekend, Mr. P jetted (trained? as in choo-choo.) off to Brussels to work and I met up with my team for some marathon workdays.  Luckily it wasn’t all work (I learned to Segway, jury is still out if you get to see those pictures).  I took this picture from the top of the Galleries Lafayette, wherein my manager trespassed into a closed area of the roofdeck so we could get this view and I could get this shot.  Then we scurried out when someone came to shoo us.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Late after dinner on my last night in Paris, I walked with some of my coworkers to Notre Dame.  The weather was beautiful and I didn’t need a jacket even though it was pushing midnight.  Notre Dame is my absolute favorite building in the city and I loved being able to show it to someone for their first time.

At the end of the week, I packed off to meet Mr. P in Brussels.  I love that Gare du Nord uses this old flip-style departure board.  I’m saying “love” a lot.  It’s Paris.

There are some digital placards elsewhere, but I sat for a while watching and listening to the letters flipping.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I always get a achy sad feeling when I leave Paris.  Not this time though, I had four more cities left to go and I knew I’d be back.  A couple weeks later in fact.  Our transatlantic flights were in and out of CDG, so we came back to Paris for one last afternoon before heading home.

By that point, we were exhausted.  We took it easy and did one of our favorite things: read our books in the loungey chairs (technical term) in the Jardin des Tuleries outside the Louvre.  So much time passed by the time we left, it was definitely fall.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Mr. P and I just returned from a 25-day trip to Europe (work + fun).  It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from home and I’m sharing each stop in a blog post with some of the hundreds of pictures we took.  Doing my best not to include photos already Instagrammed.  Stay tuned for Brussels next.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Papier de Paris

Paris Paper by Natalie ParkerParis Paper by Natalie Parker

I’ve been to Paris a few times now.  This was the first trip I got to go paper shopping!  I followed this excellent post from Damask Love and visited two of the shops on her list.

Both of these shops are right across the street from each other on the right bank, a very quick walk from Île Saint-Louis. 

At Papier Plus, I picked up this card and envelope set.  Grey and yellow – love!  It comes packaged in a larger grey envelope and includes a pencil.

Paris Paper by Natalie Parker

I also purchased a card with a picture of the shop on it.  The photo above is the inside of the shop.  Minding my Parisian manners, I asked the shopkeeper first if it was okay before I got out the camera.

Paris Paper by Natalie Parker

At Calligrane, I bought this neat note/envelope pack.  The note folds into an envelope and has adhesive to seal it.

Paris Paper by Natalie Parker

But the best thing I saw were these wood grain envelopes.  They’re made from real wood!  The shopkeeper spread several out on the counter, told me what wood they were made from, and let me pick which ones I wanted.  They are all unique!

Paris Paper by Natalie Parker

Lovely paper from a lovely city.  I don’t need another reason to love Paris but I’ll take it!

Papier Plus 9 rue de Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris
Calligrane 6 rue de Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris

Springtime in Paris

Flowers booming along wrought-iron fence in St .Germain de Pres, Paris by Natalie ParkerView out an apartment window in Paris by Natalie ParkerBread, butter, ham and champagne in Paris by Natalie ParkerRue Maurice Utrillo in Montmarte, Paris by Natalie ParkerReading Hemingway in Paris by Natalie ParkerReading in Les Jardins des Tuleries in Paris, by Natalie ParkerBlooming trees outside Notre Dame, Paris by Natalie ParkerParkers at a Champagne bar by Natalie Parker

Mr. P and I spent last weekend in Paris because . . . why not?  We lucked out with the weather.  It was mild, the sun was out, and everything was blooming.

Thinking back to my post last week about the “right” amount of pictures to take on a vacation, how did I do?  I’m giving myself a B+ here.  We’ve been to Paris many times now, so I only took pictures occasionally.  I ended up with about 260 which I cut down to 132 after we got home.

I still wish I got more pictures of us during our trips.  Mr. P and I are painfully shy, so I only get up the nerve to ask someone to get our picture once or twice.

Le sigh.  Paris is easily my favorite city in the world.  I’m already missing the bread.

The Travel Tradition

Papyrus Drawing

Summer has finally reached my neck of the woods and I’m enjoying the blog posts everywhere about vacations near and far.

Since I’ve already taken my big trip for the year, I want to share one of my favorite travel traditions.

We always bring back a piece of art, usually inexpensive street art. We like having something on our wall that reminds us of where we’ve been and there’s usually a story around the hunt for the right piece.

In Paris, we bought from an artist on the right bank of the Seine near the Louvre.  We couldn’t agree on which drawing we wanted.  The artist thought we were trying to haggle and kept dropping the price while the husband and I continued our disagreement.  We ended up with two!

During this last trip in Cairo, we found ourselves in a giant papyrus shop pouring over stacks of drawings.  The drawing we loved was framed in a display.  The shopkeeper pulled out piles of drawings, thumbing through them, saying he had one exactly like it ready to go.  Each one he pulled out was just slightly different, the geese were a different color, the lotus flowers looked different, etc.  He finally pulled the one out of the display, wrapped it for us and we skipped out of the store.

Did I mention our place is tiny?  We may run out of walls.

Want to see more pictures of the papyrus shop and the drawings we bought in Paris?  Head over to my Facebook page to see a special photo album.  Don’t have a Facebook account?  You can still click the link and see the pictures!