10 Hours in Paris

IMG_7989

As my spring break is coming to an end, as well as my time in France ::stares off into sad but sweet distance::, I wanted to take advantage of the easy hour and a half train ride to Paris from Blois. I’ve profited a lot this year from conveniently living an easy hop away from Paris to take trains leaving from there. Each train station in Paris has it’s standard lines that go in certain directions. I think I’ve been to every Parisian grand central station this year to travel to many far away and close places. This time however, I wanted to stay in Paris for a museum day trip.

If you’re curious, it costs around 10-20 euros for one way Blois-Paris. This day I got a round trip for 25 euros ! You will always be at Paris Gare d’Austerlitz to get to Blois-Chambord, either from the train going to Orleans or Tours. 

There are around 130 museums in Paris. One. Hundred. And. Thirty. !!! So, many museum day trips in Paris can occur many times and be totally different. My only goal was to see Monet’s water lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie. If there was ever a place that explained why panorama camera abilities existed, this is it. There are two large rooms that are oval shaped with a glowing light overhead. It’s truly a dreamy experience and I’m confident in saying it is a must visit.

c l o s e- u p s   o f   t h e   p a i n t i n g s

 

After Orangerie, I originally wanted to go to the high fashion, haute couture museum Palais Galliera, but it was closed for exhibition remodel (it reopened in 5 days, haha to you universe). I was disappointed, but reminded myself I still had around 128 museums to choose from. I stumbled upon Musée Marmottan Monet, and oh my goodness I am so glad I did.

Here are the two photos from the museum. The first, featuring an upper-class French ceiling and chandelier that made me feel so giddily chic. What you need to know is that this was the first room of the museum and I excitedly took a photo, and at that same time security yelled at me NO PHOTOS and everyone looked at me like I was a buffoon. This happened to us in Amsterdam, why don’t they have signs that make it very clear no photos? I looked around and saw none. Any who, traveling to the following room I saw the famous painting Paris street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte. The rebel in me needed a photo, because what I should probably explain was that I was in a house turned into museum, that had a lot of antique furnishing. I was in what seemed like a dinning room, no one else was in there, there was no security, it was just me in an upper class French dinning room where one would put the nuts on that buffet if you had a Christmas party, with a world known painting. I felt giddily chic again.

The French house is attached to an added museum wing, that holds the world’s biggest collection of Monet, as well as many impressionist artists. This was truly a French experience in terms of art, and I confidently say it is another must see.

IMG_8002

After the museum visits, I took the metro to the stop Hotel de Ville to be in more central city, and to be a little closer to Gare d’Austerlitz where I was taking my train back. I get a lot of  questions from family and friends where they should go for an authentic French vibe. This would be my advice to go; the best shopping, the cutest streets, world’s famous falafel, adorable cafes, street art. Just go and discover it all :). I walked right from City Hall and looped all around, where I ended up at Pompidou, the modern art museum. My opinion on Pompidou will be short and sweet, because that is how my visit was. If Ikea had a baby with a Teletubie, it would live in this building (because of the building, not the art :p)

t h a n k s   f o r  s t o p p i n g   b y 🙂

Advertisements

Annecy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    A n n e c y, I discovered this city when I was student teaching while researching for geography lessons. What I like to convey most with teaching geography, is that France is about the same size as Texas (in fact France is a little bit smaller) yet the geographical features are so diverse. You’ll be in the south and feel like you’re in a dramatic French movie surrounded by olive trees and valleys. Move a little bit over and you could fall into caves, rigid landscapes, or even be at a beach! Then there is the eastern border that is lined with mountains; the longest being the famous Alps that separates France from Switzerland. Here is where I located Annecy filled not only with mountain scenery but a beautiful lake.

I was really fortunate with the weather, and most of my time in Annecy was spent sitting on the lawn next to the lake (I am even a lil sunburnt!) While getting my first lobster look of the year, I also walked around and took many pictures of the bright pastel flowers and buildings. Annecy is one of the most flowered cities in France, there’s even an award for it called the “Golden Flower”.

People here were beyond lovely. Whenever I am on the border of France close to a neighboring country, I do notice shifts is the local culture. What I mean is, personalities and habits change when there’s an influence in the typical cultural norm. For example in Strasbourg, I saw a lot of German influence with healthier food stores and bike riding. When in Annecy, I noticed overly friendly locals and healthier lifestyles (a lot of runners, bikers, roller-bladders, water sports, no smokers, really I saw almost no smokers) now I don’t have any knowledge on Switzerland culture, so I can only assume it’s influence of two cultures, or  the scenery of Annecy being so beautiful and positive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lake Annecy is said to be the cleanest lake in Europe. It was formed more than 18,000 years ago from glaciers that melted. The glaciers and mountains act like a natural filtration system, which is why it is so crystal clear! You are able to see 8 meters down (the deepest part of the lake is 87 meters deep). Small rivers and an underground source still feed into the lake, which is why it is so prominent and kept clean! I’m used to seeing Chicago’s lake, lake Michigan, so let’s just say I WAS BLOWN AWAY // JUST LOOK AT THE AQUA COLORS

P4121751.JPG

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

B O A T . T O U R  for 14.50 euros you can take an hour boat tour around the lake, seeing nearby villages, castles, and some special mountain spots. Here are a few pics from it 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
cute nearby village
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
formed in the ice age
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
lovers’ cave
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
11th century castle, privately owned by a family where they live year round, what a dream!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you look closely, you can see hand-gliders ; a very popular activity !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
there’s another castle in the middle there. it’s been owned by the same family for over 28 generations !
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
At one time this was one of the most famous (and best) restaurant in France. The Queen of England still eats here !
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
One of the most expensive villages to live in, in France

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Annecy has a few nicknames : Pearl of the Alps // Venice of the Alps
I hope you enjoyed my photos, and I was able to share a little special-ness from across the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
thanks for stopping by, here’s some cute pigeons taking a dip :p

 

 

bike ride to Chateau Beauregard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here to share a few photos from a bike ride I took today that was set to be 45 minutes, and ended up being some hours longer. After a few hiccups along the way (such as rocky old cobblestones, seriously v painful), it was a nice adventure. What makes it all worth it is peeking into the small French towns and country sides (even though most of the country sides today looked similar to midwest usa :p)  Today brought up a lot of memories from the last time I rented a bike in France to make it to the American Normandy cemetery from Bayeux; had far less highways and fluffy cows!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes, I fangirled over all the dog portraits. There is even a pitbull 🙂 its a smaller castle, so they add art exhibits in it to something a little more. A family even lives in half of the castle! What a dream

thanks for stopping by :))

5 useful French for a French Classroom

things i hear

Wanted to note down some words/expressions I hear everyday, either from myself saying it or students saying it to me. One of the obvious things students say to me almost EVERY class is “he said a bad word”, if I were to directly translate it means “he said a FAT word”. Myself and another English person giggled that sometimes when we ask what bad word a student said, we don’t actually know what the bad word is (I know the bad words, and it is not bad words lol). So a lot of times we shove it off as a “don’t say that again.” We explained this to a French teacher and he giggled back and said be careful, because 99% of the time it is NOT a bad word at all; such a calling another student a villain. So now I just say things like let us all be nice :p

WHAT AN AMERICAN MISSES IN EUROPE

 

Family, friends, boyfriend & my little furry nugget aside, there are a few things that I miss from the USA. That brings me to this post, where I thought I would make a list of all the things that make me feel like an American in a foreign country missing the things that I know. When I am back in the USA, most likely missing France and all the other things Europe has that America doesn’t, i’ll look back on this post for the sweet to the bitter. Perhaps i’ll make a list later of the things I miss from France.

disclaimer: I am perfectly well off without these things, and I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about first world problems, I’m only here to share some cultural differences an american realizes that is different from day to day life in a foreign country 🙂 

c o f f e e – the coffee that I miss is my non-espresso, big brewed coffee that I drink in a traveling mug on my way to work in the morning. There are a few reasons why you won’t find any of this in France; France drinks coffee slow, sipping it, to really take time for a break of caffeine. In my experience, coffee breaks have nothing to do with the taste of the coffee, but rather the shot of caffeine and the time to relax. Cafes will actually reuse espresso grounds over and over, thus tasting burnt and strong.

c o f f e e . c r e a m e r –  Milk and eggs are not refrigerated here in Europe, so when I thought ‘Where would the coffee creamer even be in the grocery store?’, the answer is no where. I did research online, and a few travelers who come to France looking for it buy heavy whipping cream and make their own with mixing it with milk. I don’t drink dairy and couldn’t find almond/soy whipping cream >.< luckily there is almond/soy/rice milk and I just use that.

g a r b a g e . d i s p o s a l – a strange mechanism to all Europeans

c e n t r a l . h e a t i n g – I was cold all winter and my bathroom has no radiator in it >.<

t a k e . a w a y -Chinese food – Chinese food does exist here, but it is not American Chinese food. Usually you have the options of beef/chicken/shrimp/veggie, here in France no veggie options exist on the menu ;(

d i v e r s e . f o o d – something that makes being in France so great, is that you are obviously getting authentic French culture. Something that makes being in America so great, is we’re a sexy melting pot of flavors and cultures. I miss Mexican food, my family’s pierogi and sauerkraut binge (seriously I can’t find sauerkraut here and Germany is right next door), Asian food, just an abundance of different backgrounds.

d r y e r s – d r y e r . s h e e t s

s t a n d i n g . i n . l i n e s – One thing I will never get used to in France is standing in line and people cutting without any shame whatsoever; France just doesn’t do lines. Every morning when I’m waiting for the bus I try to remind myself that this is a cultural difference, and that I should not take it personal. But I do take it personal when I am clearly at the bus’s door and some person pushes me out of the way, and in my most confident french I say excusez-moi. France is all about etiquette, so it just makes no sense how there is no etiquette when it comes to waiting for something.

s u n d a y . e r r a n d s – everything is closed on Sundays, where this is my favorite day to run errands like grocery shopping in the USA.

s c e n t e d . c a n d l e s – they’re really expensive when you do find them

r e u s a b l e . w a t e r . b o t t l e s – I’ve seen some coworkers with them, but I cannot seem to find one

p u m p k i n & n u t . b u t t e r s – cue basic girl commentary

 

 

I love France, but being American I naturally miss some things. I hope you thought this was interesting :p

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
thanks for stopping by 🙂

 

 

 

ginger-ale how to

img_7300

Through my travels in Amsterdam I fell in love with homemade ginger-ale. Upon researching I found it is easy-peasy to make, and quite inexpensive! This is my first try at it so I kept it simple. Next time I would love to experiment more with adding different flavors with the use of mint, lemon, cloves, there are just so many options! 

img_6908
homemade ginger-ale from Amsterdam, check out my Amsterdam blog for more info where to try one 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped ginger
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar (or honey)
lime per serving
sparkling water
ice

Directions:
-Put ginger and water into  a pot, then bring to a boil. Once boiling turn off heat and cover. Let sit for 30-40 minutes. The longer you let it sit, the spicier the ginger will taste.
-Strain ginger from water. Add the water back to the pot with sugar. Heat until all sugar is dissolved.
-Allow mixture to cool.
-Once cool, add about two tablespoons of ginger water into glass with ice, juice from half a lime, slice the other half and top with sparkling water. Enjoy! Ginger syrup will keep about two weeks in the fridge in an air tight container 🙂

 

img_7302Ginger-ale is not only tasty and refreshing, but brings a lot of benefits due to the superfood of the ginger plant. It has been used for medicinal purposes for over 2000 years :)! I certainly grew up with ginger-ale and crackers being a cure for a stomach ache.

Some health benefits of ginger to list:

  1. nausea relief
  2. soothes irritable bowel syndrome
  3. burns fat
  4. relieves tired muscles
  5. helps with morning sickness/motion sickness
  6. reduces inflammation
  7. improves circulation
  8. blocks heartburn
  9. clears sinuses
  10. fights Alzheimer’s disease and cancer
  11. strengthens immune system
  12. protects against radiation
  13. clears skin
  14. reduces risk of heart attack
  15. relieves gas
  16. improves/stimulates digestive system
  17. relieves menstrual cramps
  18. fights infections

I would love to get more ginger into my diet  🙂 I think next I will try to make homemade ginger shots following this recipe:
homemade swedish ginger shot

Hopefully you can benefit from adding some ginger into your diet, and find this interesting! I am always so curious when it comes to holistic methods of treating things, there is so much to know!!

thanks for stopping by