Saturday, April 29, 2017

April in Paris

I recently made a trip to France - initially because I had been feeling a little homesick and I was eager to reconnect with friends and visit the city that captured a bit of my heart. But more so, because the plane ticket was so cheap I couldn't NOT go! And, it's Paris, in April. Need I say more?!

I spent a few days back in Rambouillet, hanging out with friends and strolling down memory lane. The apartment I rented was perfectly situated down town, right next to a pastry shop. It couldn't have been a better location for me!

The entrance to the courtyard of my apartment is tucked under the awning of the pastry shop

The courtyard behind the pastry shop - my apartment was just on the right

The Farmer's Market was always a favorite Saturday morning activity

The Chateau at the school where I lived and worked - so many memories here

A medieval laundromat!

After catching up with friends, I headed in to Paris for a week of roaming about the city on my own. This was a much needed personal retreat - a time of solitude and reflection (anonymity in a crowd can be the perfect place for this). I had researched several non-typical, non-touristy things to do, so that I would have options and some sort of destination to wander towards as I meandered through the streets. This is the way I prefer to travel and explore - having options that allow for spontaneity in the moment, depending on the weather and what I'm in the mood for. I made it to most of the places on my list, and stumbled upon some pleasant surprises along the way.

A perfect lunch spot with a view of Notre Dame

An unexpected view from the rooftop of the Galleries LaFayette 

Some lovely street music

Canal St. Martin - the "other" river in Paris, in a quaint, artsy neighborhood

There She is - always making an appearance at the most unexpected times

The square and church near my hotel

Le musee Cluny (the museum of the Middle Ages) was fantastic and full of surprises

Le Jardin des Plantes (the botanic gardens) was impressive

This was a delightfully quiet, non-touristy church with a spectacular organ

The Rodin Gardens are calm and secluded in the heart of the city

Stacks of flowers at one of the oldest markets in the city

The view from the beautiful Pere-Lachaisse cemetery
This street performance satisfied my hopes of seeing a Jazz concert in Paris

One last walk along the river
My time was filled with  plenty of sightseeing and lots of walking, interspersed with many stops at cafes, creperies, patisseries and brasseries. I mostly survived on cheese, pastries and crepes washed down with plenty of good wine.  I left with a satisfied stomach and a full heart - thankful for the time I had to see friends and reacquaint myself with the city. In so doing, it seems I reconnected with a part of myself that had gradually been muted over the past several months. A lightness and freedom has returned to lift my spirit and carry me forward into this next season of life.

So long Paris. I'll return soon.