Posts Tagged With: France

Porcelain Box from Paris

This one is from Paris and is of the Eiffel Tower. This one was about $11. The box has a trinket inside, which is a mini champagne bottle. Limoges boxes were very hard to find in Paris stores. Ignore my Louvre pen, I was just using it to prop up the box.

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Categories: Europe, France, Paris, Porcelain Boxes, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcards from France

Here are my postcards from France. They are mainly from Paris and Versailles. Hope you enjoy viewing them! You can read about my trips to France here.

To view some of my other postcards click here

Categories: Europe, France, France, Postcards, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning Local Words

I find that it is important to learn a couple phrases and/or words in the native language of the country you are visiting. They can be used in a pinch in case you are in an area where they don’t speak English and at the very least it makes the locals happy that you are trying. I often see Americans get angry at tourists that don’t know basic words like bathroom, yes, thanks, etc. Yet those same people don’t learn any when they go away. Here are some of the words and phrases I have picked up over my travels.

Egypt (Arabic):

Yalla-Let’s go

Habibi-Good friend/dear friend

Salam=Hello

Shukran=Thank you

La Shukran=No thank you

Ma batkalemsh Arabi=I don’t speak Arabic

Insha’allah=G-d Willing

Israel (Hebrew):

Shalom=Hello

Boker Tov=Good morning

Erev Tov=Good evening

Layla Tov=Good night

Toda=Thanks

Ken=Yes

Lo=No

Eyfo=Where

Anglit=English

Mayim=Water

Sherutim=Bathroom

Greece (Greek):

Kali Mera=Good morning

Kali Spera=Good evening

Efharisto=Thanks

Parakalo=Please

Nero=Water

Kafe=Coffee

Xenodohio=Hotel

Tyrí=Cheese

Epidórpio=Dessert


Aruba (Papiamento)

Bon bini=Welcome

Con ta bai?=How are you?

Danki=Thanks

Bon=Good

Dushi=Sweet

Bon dia=Good morning

Bon tardi=Good afternoon

Bon nochi=Good night

Ayo=Bye

Pasa un bon dia=Have a good day

Di nada=You’re welcome

Por fabor=Please

Mi ta bon=I am good

Dushi soño=Sweet dreams

Halo=Hello

Baño=Bathroom

Playa=Beach


France (French)

Merci=Thanks

Bonjour=Good morning/afternoon

Bonsoir=Good evening

Bienvenue=Welcome

Au revoir=Goodbye

Toilettes=Bathroom

Metro=Metro

Fromage=Cheese

Pain=Bread

Avion=Plane

Aéroport=Airport

Billet=Ticket

Musée=Museum

Pharaons=Pharaohs

Advertisements in other languages of movies or products that you have back home also help you pick up on words. Like the one below.

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Categories: Africa, Aruba, Asia, Caribbean, Egypt, Europe, Greece, Israel, Mish Mash, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Au Revoir Paris

July 30 2012

So sad that today is our last day in Paris. I really could have used another day or two.

We had breakfast in the hotel. I realized that I was seriously going to miss waking up and having a buffet of bread, cheese, and sweets. I took some bread for the plane. We checked out and began our search for the bus to the airport. We didn’t know if it was going to pick us up exactly where we were dropped off. We would up walking in a circle around the opera house. I saw the bus at the stop and picked up my suitcase and ran like the wind. With one bus an hour I was not missing it. My mom followed me and thankfully we wound up catching the bus. It was extremely crowded and somewhat stuffy. We both felt car sick.

We arrived at CDG and spent the next hour or so going through security. When I was at this airport the previous year they broke my suitcase and I had a 5 hour layover that turned into 7. I was in a part of the airport that was like a mall. There were probably 20 or more stores. That was not the case this time. There were only 2 stores and they were horrible. There were a couple of “cafes.” I spent some of the change I had and bought some macaroons and cookies for my students. My mom did the same (minus the student part). We were bored! We tried to get ourselves upgraded and the people working in the airport didn’t speak enough English to help us. O well. I used the restroom before we got on the plane and apparently my door didn’t lock correctly because a women walked in on me. Hopefully, I’ll never see her again.

We boarded our plane and the seat next to my mom was empty. We were praying it would stay that way. No such luck. A young girl (around my age) took the seat. The lunch/dinner was awful and I tried to entertain myself with movies. The pre-landing snack was actually pretty good for my mother, but not for me. Stupid nasty vegetarian meal. My mom basically had a grilled cheese sandwich. One thing that cracked me up on the plane was the kid diagonal from us stuffed their baby doll in a weird position into the seat pocket (see the picture below). Back to NYC and back to work 😦

Categories: Europe, Family Vacation, Food, France, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raunchy and Sacred in Paris

July 29 2012

My mom and I are very strange, we don’t always like the ritzy neighborhoods. We are often attracted to some strange and sometimes dangerous neighborhoods. This was the case for Montmartre. We had heard horrible things about it. We were told not to visit at night or when it is dark out. That there is nothing but sex shops and pick pocketers. We got off the train prepared for the worse and wound up having a great time despite the fact we visited at night and while it was very dark (due to the rain).

We got out of the metro and immediately saw the Moulin Rouge. I was so excited! I posed for a picture in the rain. It was so colorful in neighborhood without much color. My mom and I then debated about getting back on the metro to go back to the hotel. However, I really wanted to see Sacre Coeur. We stopped outside if a sex shop that had an awning and covered ourselves up from the rain. We made sure all our belongings were hard to get to and then started our walk to Sacre Coeur. We quickly realized that the neighborhood was fine. It was like most of NYC just with more sex shops.

As we walked we found a lot of great souvenir stores. They were so cheap and had so much variety. We purchased a lot if items and browsed. We passed a lot of yummy looking bakeries and finally stopped at one (see below). Everything looked incredible. There were all different kinds of breads and desserts. I wanted everything. There was a lot of Sephardic pastries as well. We settled on chocolate and caramel beignets. I also got a chocolate cheese croissant. My 3 favorite things: chocolate, cheese, and bread. The prices were very reasonable for Paris. We finally found Sacre Coeur. There was a street of restaurants and shops leading up to it. We did more souvenir shopping, purchased a bag of cookies from the same company my mom bought from two days ago, and just browsed. Sacre Coeur is breathtaking. I loved seeing it from a distance over the last couple of days, but up close was something else. I used the restroom in a fried chicken place. I had to pay 1E but it was the cleanest restroom. We hopped on the metro and headed back to our hotel. Sadly, we were leaving for NYC the next morning.

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Strolling down the Champs-Élysées

July 28 2012

We started walking down Rue di Ravoli. Everyone told us this was the street with great food and shops. Originally we had planned on taking this block all the way back to our hotel. However, that would have been an hour walk. We were tired and still had a lot to see. So we decided to take it until we got super tired.

We passed a lot of bakeries and picked up some water and sweets at Paul. Everything looked so good! I just wish things were cheaper. We went into some clothing stores and eventually decided it was time to take the metro. We hopped on the metro at Saint Paul and got out at the Arc de Triomphe. We took some pictures and observed the crazy traffic circle it was on. I knew from reading posts online that you can’t cross the traffic circle and instead you need to use the underground tunnel. Once inside the tunnel there was a long line. I was so glad we didn’t have to wait on it because we had the museum pass. The tunnel was hot and smelled. Once out of the tunnel we were rushed into the staircase to climb to the top.

There were several levels within the Arc. They contained a gift shop and a bathroom. We visited both. The bathroom was very small. The stairs weren’t as bad as Notre Dame. We got to the top and were greeted with the wonderful view. There were a lot of people so you had to be patient for a perfect picture. It had a great view of the Eiffel Tower.

We climbed back down and took some pictures at the base of the Arc. Then we intended to take the Ave des Champs-Élysées all the way back to the neighborhood of our hotel. We window shopped until we got to Swarovski. My mom had me take pictures of her on the very cool crystal stairs. We people watched and I was starting to get really hungry. We passed some teen clothing store that had two hunky guys outside to draw the girls in. There was a big group of girls standing outside flirting with them. We stopped to see the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, which we were supposed to see after Les Invalides, but were too tired to. At this point my feet were killing me so we decided to hop on the metro and take it to where we were going to eat dinner.

I read about a place called Pastapapa. It sounded and looked delicious plus it was reasonably priced. There was a deal for a drink, pasta, and dessert. I ordered a big bottle of water and got penne alfredo. The penne alfredo was huge!!!!!!!! My mom helped me out with it and we still had some leftovers. It was the best pasta I have ever had! My mom agreed. There was a couple next to us eating penne with salmon which looked incredible. They ordered a chocolate caramel ice cream cake. It looked good so we ordered it as well. It was so yummy! GREAT DINNER! We went back to the hotel and soaked our feet. Then went straight to bed.

Categories: Europe, Family Vacation, Food, France, History, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanging with Quasimodo and Storming the Bastille

July 28 2012

About a block away from Sainte Chapelle was Place St. Michel. My mom and I went and took a picture. Then we headed to Notre Dame. I was really excited about finally seeing it. We walked along the Seine and people watched as we walked. When we finally turned the corner and saw it I was struck by how beautiful Notre Dame really was. We waited on a line to get in. The line to get in moved quickly and I spent the time on line just staring at the building.

Once inside we walked all around. It was very dark so the pictures I took didn’t really come out well. It was peaceful and if we weren’t in a rush to see all of Paris in two days then I would have sat and took it all in. While walking around I kept looking for the line to go into the tower. Since we couldn’t find it we finally stopped and asked someone. They told us the line was outside by the side of the building.

We went outside and saw that the line was huge! It was an entire block long. I didn’t know what to do. I really wanted to go up into the tower, but I hadn’t planned on spending a lot of time on line. I hoped the line would only be 30 minutes so I waited. My mom left me to walk around a bit. She came back 30 minutes later and I was still on line. She took everything but my camera and museum pass from me. I’m so glad she did! After another 30 minutes I was let in. You stop at a gift shop first to buy tickets. The guard saw my museum pass in my hand and let me go straight up! I got a 10 minute jump on the rest of the group. I’m glad I did because climbing those stairs were not easy. I was out of breath. When I finally got to the top I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The view was incredible! I could have looked at it all day. I loved the gargoyles. They had so much personality. One of them was in Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Disney movie). I visited the bell tower and wasn’t too fond of the small wooden staircase. After that I thought we were headed back down, but I was wrong. Time to climb even higher! The view from the very top was fantastic. The space was tight and I was looking forward to being on solid ground again. The climb down seemed to take forever since it was now 3 levels at once. It made a lot of us dizzy. However, I am so glad I did it. The wait was worth it. It was probably my favorite part of the trip.

I met up with my mom and we started our walk to the Pantheon. Along the way we passed a lot of great stores and bakeries. We stopped in one because they had souvenirs at a decent price. I had over 20 people to buy for so I stocked up. Traffic was crazy and it was fun to watch the activities of the city as we walked. We passed a Hippy thrift store, but unfortunately they were closed. We turned a corner and looked left and there was the Pantheon. It looked like it belonged in Washington DC. We stopped at the top of the steps and sat at the base of the columns. We pulled out the remaining food from breakfast and ate. We had a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower from our position.

Time for the museum pass again. We walked around inside. The inside was filled with tributes to the French Revolution and the enlightenment thinkers. The pendulum was cool to watch. We went downstairs into the crypt and saw the tombs of the enlightenment thinkers. I have spent so much time learning about these figures and teaching them. It was strange to see them before me. We used the ladies room and then it was time to head to another site related to the French Revolution.

As we walked to the metro we passed a wedding party. The area near the metro seemed quaint, almost as if it didn’t belong in a city. The metro went outdoors and my inner 5 yr old was excited. I loved seeing the different neighborhoods as we passed by. We got off at the stop for the Bastille. I had read that a piece of the old Bastille still exists in the metro station and there is a line in the station showing where the Bastille was. We easily found it and I was so excited by it. None of the other tourists realized what it was. We exited the train and immediately saw the Place de la Bastille. There isn’t much to see. I liked the subway portion better. It is worth going to if you are a history person and just want to say you were at the site. Otherwise, you can skip it. On a different note, I had spent the last day and half looking for the famous Paris metro art nouveau signs. I finally found them around the Bastille! They were great. My mom loved them as well.

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Spending Time with the Prisoners of the French Revolution

July 28 2012

We woke up early and had breakfast at the hotel since it was included in the price. The buffet was great! There was some hot food, but I ate my weight in different breads and cheeses. They had all these sweet breads with sugar, chocolate, and jam. Bread and cheese, my kind of heaven. I took some food to eat later in the day.

We took the metro and walked a couple of blocks to Place du Chatelet. There were sphinxes. So I posed for a couple of pictures. It gave us a great view of the Conciergerie. We walked along the seine. There was a fake beach set up. We walked to Hotel del Ville. The architecture was absolutely incredible. There was a HUGE tv with bean bag chairs set up so people could watch the Olympics.

Next we walked to Sainte Chapelle. We passed the Conciergerie and Palais de Justice. We were coming back to Conciergerie since it is not a popular attraction. We took pictures from the outside of the Palais de Justice. We joined the line for Sainte Chapelle. The line moved very quickly. Then there was a second line for tickets. We got to skip that line because of the Paris Museum Pass. The bottom level is pretty much the gift shop. We bought some pens for people. We took the winding stairs (very claustrophobic) to the room with all the stained glass. I was expecting to be amazed, but I wasn’t. It was just pretty. They were doing some construction work which took away from it. People hyped the windows up so much so I had high expectations. I couldn’t believe it was just one room. We exited by the Palace de Justice and headed next door to the Conciergerie.

We used the Paris Museum Pass again. The Conciergerie is where they held Marie Antoinette before they beheaded her. We got to see her cell and what the other cells looked like. We also got to see items from the revolution. I enjoyed it. They had picnic tables so we sat down and ate our leftovers from breakfast for lunch. Then we used the ladies room and left.

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Statues, Paintings, and Artifacts, O MY!

July 27 2012

After officially checking in to our hotel we started our walk to Le Orangerie and the Louvre. I mapped out a path that would allow us to see some other sights and walk through the Tuileries.

We passed Place Vendome first. It was surrounded by very fancy expensive stores. We took some photos and kept going. I was excited to see Place de la Concorde since it is Egyptian. The Obelisk of Luxor was given to Paris by Mohamed Ali.  The obelisk, 22.83 meters high and weighing 230 tons, which marked the entrance to the Temple of Luxor, was installed in 1836. I loved that the obelisk and the Eiffel Tower were diagonal from each other. It made for a great picture.

We went to Le Orangerie because of Monet’s Water Lilies. The museum was free with our museum pass. We had to check our bags and cameras. Monet’s work was incredible and definitely made me glad that we stopped. They encompassed the whole room. Then we went downstairs to see the other pieces of art. I was surprised that I recognized some of the paintings and some of the artists. We stopped at the gift shop so I could buy some postcards. We were only there for 30 minutes, but we really didn’t need any more time. We went right before they closed so it was almost empty.

We walked through the Tuileries. I kept thinking about King Louis XVI and his contemporaries leisurely strolling around the Tuileries. The ferris wheel surprisingly didn’t seem strange. There was a mix of tourists and locals walking around. We approached Place du Carousel and took pictures on both sides. I can’t believe the statues on top were once completely made of gold.

The Louvre looked absolutely enormous. I can’t believe people once lived in it. The pyramid didn’t bother me. I guess that’s because I am so used to seeing it in movies, pictures, and documentaries. Our museum pass allowed us to skip the super long line and walk right in. We chose to come on the Louvre’s late night. I decided to have us start with what used to be the moat and then the Egyptian exhibit. My mom was super tired and wasn’t interested in the Egyptian artifacts. I left her on a bench and ran through all the rooms snapping pictures. I really wanted to spend time examining each item, but I couldn’t. I really wish I could go back and spend half a day looking at them. Since my mom was so tired we tried to just walk to see all the highlights. We saw the Napoleonic Apartments, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and the famous paintings of the renaissance. My friends Janelle and Megan warned me that the Mona Lisa was going to be very small. They were right! It was super packed in front of the painting. I took a couple of pictures and kept moving. We went back to the lobby area. I dropped my mom off at a bench. I looked around the gift shop and everything was just too expensive. The cheap books on Egypt were in French. O well. I still needed to see Hammurabi’s Code and I wasn’t leaving without seeing it. I ran through a bunch of exhibits and passed Greek and Roman statues. I found Hammurabi’s Code and took a bunch of pictures. I ran back and was officially exhausted. I was looking for the inverted pyramid that Dan Brown talked about, but didn’t see it.

We started to walk back to the hotel and passed a bunch of souvenir shops. We picked up a t-shirt and a couple of other things. We also passed a cookie place and bought a small bag. We made those cookies our dinner. We went back to the hotel and settled in. We soaked our feet in hot water and went to bed.

Categories: Europe, Family Vacation, France, History, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Short Man Huge Sarcophagus

July 27 2012

After the Eiffel Tower our plan was to walk to Invalides. My mom decided to stop a couple blocks away from the tower to look at souvenirs. I didn’t eat on the plane so the hunger was starting to kick in. I waited outside the stores and ate crackers while she browsed.

I had walking directions to the Invalides, but they seemed wrong. We kept stopping people to ask for directions but everyone told us our directions were correct. We just under anticipated how long the walk would be in a straight line. We finally found it.

We walked around to the front of the building, which has great architecture. We took out our Paris Museum Pass to use for the first time. We bought a 2 day pass at the airport. We walked right in and they stamped our pass.

The courtyard looked like it was undergoing renovation. The statue of Napoleon was very life like. We made our way to the area that his tomb. My mom was surprised how large his tomb was. It actually was a beautiful sarcophagus. There were two floors to walk around and a mini gift shop.

Next we did the bottom floor of the museum. We saw lots of armor from different time periods! It was all very fascinating. We decided not to do the second floor because we still had so much to do. We used the bathroom and left. It was raining so I decided not to walk to our next destination. We hopped on the metro and headed to the Madeline.

Once we came out of the Madeline I decided I was still hungry so we stopped at Fauchon. Everyone told us to go here. They have beautiful but expensive macaroons. I just bought a cheese roll. It was good and hit the spot. We crossed the street to the Madeleine. The view from the steps was fantastic. You could see the obelisk in the distance. The Madeleine is free and I was glad about that. It only took us about 10 minutes to walk around and see everything. It was pretty, but boring.

We then walked back to our hotel to see if our room was ready.

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