Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kaleidoscope of Colours

Perhaps my favorite shop to feast in the colours and textures of the Paris store displays was at Boutiques le Jacquard Francais on 53 rue Bonaparte. This small, intensely vibrant shop, was a kaleidoscope of colours and textures near our apartment in St. Germaine.

Store display at Le Jacquard Francais
Home or abroad, swimming in a sea of colour...
Kaleidoscope, 2010
Acrylic on canvas
40" x 54"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Design with Flair

As we wandered through the streets of Paris on our recent trip, I was drawn to the shops and window displays. Whether it was at the Organic Market or a small neighborhood boutique, everything was a visual feast.

This window was one of many that reminded me
of my early days working in the visual merchandising
department in the Cellar at Macy's Herald Square. 

An assortment of teas in a shop just below our apartment.

Display at the organic market, and to think they
take it down and set back up every Sunday!

Hats for you Dad....

Be still my heart;
 sharpened pencils
in every gorgeous color!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eating Well on a Weak Dollar

One of my favorite parts of staying in our  neighborhood in Paris, was the organic market on Sundays at the Rennes Metro Station just a block and a half away from the apartment on rue Notre Dames des Chanpes.

Wandering through the market with camera and empty stomach, we sampled, purchased and enjoyed the fresh, organic local flavor, visually and gastronomically.

Homemade organic French Bath Salts
by Artisan and Proprieter Claire 

Claire with her salts and her essiantial oils
and beauty products
With the weak dollar against the strong Euro, our souveniers were limited to a few small gifts for the boys and their sitters, but we ate well- local style, and our great memories are priceless!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Live like a Parisien

even if it is only for 5 days.

Hotels may offer amenities (and often tiny rooms abroad), but apartments offer authenticity. If you do your homework you can find the right fit, even if you book down right down to the wire - as we did!

There are several sites online that we visited.  VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) offers rentals all over the globe.  You choose your location, your dates, your budget and the availability pops right up with photos, and often reviews, which we found very helpful.

We saw several that we liked, but kept coming back to a bright one bedroom apartment in the Saint Germain neighborhood of Paris offered by Drawbridge to Europe, Inc.  Fortunately, it was still available.  We booked it and were not disappointed.  Situated on Rue Notre Dames des Champs in the 6 arrondisement in Paris, it was a quiet street with a metro right on the corner.

Situated above a shop called Bagels and Brownies, there was a line there every day around lunch.

A flower market nearby added some Spring Colors to our Apartment
Desk overlooking the courtyard

Courtyard View

French Doors gave privacy to the bedroom.
We also had a kitchen, complete with fridge, stove (which we never used)
and a microwave- which we did: to cook our dollars (not on purpose!, try finding someone in Paris to change partially burnt $ for Euros!!!!)

How do you live like a local when you travel?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Journey may or may not be YOUR Destination

Q. With passports and carry on luggage only, what is the best way to get to Paris?

a. Concorde
Non, but we did see it "parked" on the side of the road as we left Charles DeGaulle Airport.
Tres skinny... like the french dogs (more on that later)

b. bicyclette
Non, mais c'est garcon est tres Francais

c. sports car

Non, Scott was tempted to take it for a ride!
Using OnePass Miles and some gifted United Miles. (Mahalo Nui Loa xox)  We left on Continental Airlines from Newark (NJ not DE.)  An easy flight, we arrived on an absolutely beautiful spring morning.

Which brings me to how we got to our Paris destination...

At the suggestion of my friend Karen F. Rose, we booked the  SuperShuttle online ahead of time.
Meet Roger, our friendly non English speaking driver who took us, (albeit the long way, thanks to another passenger, Nick who was extremely hyper and was a bit annoying American staying on the OUTSKIRTS of Paris)
Nanci & Roger (he put the tie on just for this photograph!)

That much longer than needed drive from the aiport to our apartment gave me a great opportunity to brush up on my high school french (thank you Madame Richardson!) and to catch another glimpse of French life.

What discoveries have you made taking the long way?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Before You Go... One Word


Yep, that's it.  Have one, and make sure it has not expired, and will not, expire in the next 6 months.
Tres importante.

I learned that the hard way, AT THE AIRPORT en route to Amsterdam several years ago.  In the end, it all worked out out, several hundred dollars and a day later, I joined Scott in Amsterdam.

This time, it was Scott's password that was expired. Having learned that lesson,  I pulled his out when we booked our flights.  It cost us a little more to expedite it as we were within two weeks of departure.

Down to the wire, that's us. A nail biter.  But, it did arrive.

As did we.

What's your passport story?