La Vie Parisienne – Partie Quatre

I can’t believe we are on day four of my Paris recap already. We packed so much into our first three days, and by the time I awoke on day four, I felt satisfied that we had seen and done most of the things we wanted to fit in. Add in plenty of time lingering over meals, relaxing in our apartment, and revisiting favorite spots, and we were very content with the way everything was going.

There was still one thing missing, however, something that was repeatedly pushed back by late starts, long lines, and the assurance that we could always return later. Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Quatre”

La Vie Parisienne – Partie Trois

Our third day in Paris can be summed up in one word: opulent. It started with a day trip to Versailles and ended with dinner and champagne on a Seine river cruise. I mean. It doesn’t get much fancier than that, does it? Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Trois”

La Vie Parisienne – Partie Deux

We awoke on our second day in Paris, showered from the night before and ready this time for the barrage of construction noise outside our window. We strolled through our adopted neighborhood, marveling at every perfect little detail, and stopped for breakfast at a little cafe on the way to Notre Dame. Croissants and espresso at a corner sidewalk cafe? Day two was off to a strong start. Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Deux”

La Vie Parisienne – Partie Un

We made it. Paris, the city of lights, the city of love, whatever you want to call it. We’d made it at last, and nothing could bring us down.

Dan and I had arrived in the city the night before, done a tiny bit of sightseeing around Notre Dame, and gone to bed, happy, exhausted, and ready for more.

We awoke to the sound of a jackhammer right outside our window. Yep. Turns out, our Airbnb rental included free admission to the construction concerto next door. Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Un”

Arrival in Paris

Dan and I awoke on our final day in Chaumont, a mixture of excitement and dread churning our stomachs. We sat down to breakfast as usual, cleared the shower of our toiletries, and made sure there was no sock left behind. Our train to Paris was scheduled to depart around 4:00 PM, and while I was excited to return to my beloved city, I was not ready to leave Mamie and Papy just yet. It was wonderful getting to know them a little better, and I think we were all pretty bummed that the first leg of the trip was already drawing to a close. Continue reading “Arrival in Paris”

Medieval Charm in the Walled City of Langres

Now here is a city I never expected to see again. Built sometime in the third century, Langres is literally a city on a hill, surrounded on all sides by massive stone walls. Its fortifications and 360 degree views made it a powerful military stronghold against invading troops for many centuries, and today it enjoys the distinction of being named “the most beautiful fortified town in France.” (See the runners up here.) Continue reading “Medieval Charm in the Walled City of Langres”

Une Promenade à Chaumont

On our first full day visiting my grandparents, Mamie and Papy served us a delicious breakfast of carbs and coffee (the holiest of food groups). Dan and I cleaned up and got ready, though for what, we weren’t sure. Our conversations with Mamie and Papy started out pretty rough. Lots of blank faces, eyebrows raised, listening closely for even one word that we recognized; Mamie and Papy exchanging despairing looks of their own as they tried to slow it down for us. I realized on that first day that we embodied the stereotyped clueless Americans, and felt even more embarrassed that we hadn’t practiced the French language before visiting…well, France. I was grateful we got to practice our clumsy language skills with family first, who love us no matter what, before venturing out to Paris.

After a lot of nods, hesitant smiles, and “ouis?” we realized that Mamie and Papy wanted to take us into Chaumont’s centre-ville, or downtown area. Continue reading “Une Promenade à Chaumont”

Introduction to Chaumont

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I have so many excuses. I’m painting my apartment between shifts and it’s taking way longer than expected. I’ve adopted an intensive new fitness regime that sees me sweating it out six days a week and spending a lot of time grocery shopping and cooking. Add in one veeeeery slow computer and the need for a hefty new external drive, and you’ll understand why I’ve been avoiding editing, uploading and sharing my 3,000+ Europe photos. Continue reading “Introduction to Chaumont”

Euro Trip 2016: Our European Itinerary

Nearly two years ago today, I boarded a flight from Seattle to Paris, on a trip that would upend life as I knew it. This was more than a family vacation. It was a pilgrimage, to see the place where my mother grew up and where my grandparents still live today. It was on this trip that I finally bridged the gap between fantasy and reality, and found myself in the place I’ve known I belonged in my entire life. Continue reading “Euro Trip 2016: Our European Itinerary”

Where to Next?

What a year it has been. So far I’ve visited family in Washington State, taken a weekend trip up to Canada, and vacationed in France and Italy. Before I get to writing about Europe, however, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what comes next. Dan and I spent a year and a half saving and planning for Europe. All that saving meant we didn’t have much money left over even for small trips to the beach. It’s an odd feeling, now that our Euro trip has ended, to have full wallets and no big trips on the horizon. Continue reading “Where to Next?”