Come with me to Paris!

I said I’d be sharing regular updates from Paris, and I fully intended to do so. Which, it’s pretty obvious that I did not update my blog while away. Instead, I chose to fully live in the moment during my 2 week holiday. Zero regrets. But for those of you who were hoping to see what I got up to, I’ll be sharing recaps now. Better late than never!

Days 1 & 2

I worked the morning of my travel day, and then headed to the airport shortly before noon. Check-in and security was simple, and I quickly made my way to grab lunch before eating it at the gate.

My flight to Amsterdam was uneventful, aside from spending 3/4 of the flight wanting to throat punch the man across the aisle from me for not wearing his mask. We left an hour later than originally scheduled, yet arrived 5 minutes before we were originally expected to land. The pilot is a magician who deserves an award for making up serious time.

My connection time was less than 2 hours, so not a lot of time to do much besides clear through EU passport control, buy a fridge magnet made to look like little wooden clogs, pick up some stroopwafel, a massive wedge of cheese and .. this amazing stroopwafel latte at Starbucks.

So. Delicious.

While my flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam was comfortable with mostly empty seats around me, the flight to Paris was crammed like a tin of sardines. Thankfully it wasn’t too long before cabin crew were preparing for our descent.

As we landed I tried to not cry tears of happiness. While my last visit to Paris was only 2 years before, those years have been filled with stress, anxiety and uncertainty. I could hardly believe I was back.

I hummed and hawed about how I’d get into central Paris. Normally I take the train but that day I considered handing over my credit card for a taxi. I was exhausted after traveling for what felt like 11 days without sleeping – added to this was feeling overwhelmed being around so many people after months of working from home and having limited interactions with others. In the end, my cheapness won out and I lugged my suitcase behind me in the direction of the train station.

When I arrived at Saint-Michel Notre-Dame I foolishly headed for an exit with 70 thousand stairs. Lugging my suitcase up each stair made me want to sit down and cry. Eventually I made it to the top. Relief swept over to me until I saw that it was pouring with rain and my umbrella was packed somewhere in my suitcase. I decided to hurry to the hotel instead of opening my suitcase at the side of busy Boulevard Saint-Michel. Dodging pedestrians and their umbrellas, as well as big puddles, had me regretting my decision almost immediately. I stubbornly persevered, quickly transforming into a typical Parisian and almost bulldozed my way through the crowds muttering, “excusez moi” as I went. Eventually I made it to my hotel, looking like a drowned rat soaked to the bone with a crazed look in my eyes. I desperately needed to lay down.

An exhausted and very happy mess.

Normally when I arrive into Paris, it’s the morning. I quickly change and get back outside for a stroll. This usually helps me to get onto the new schedule. But that day I arrived late in the afternoon. I was too tired to do anything but unpack, shower and order room service.

I managed to stay awake for several hours, falling asleep at 8pm. I slept a solid 7 hours and woke up at 3am. After a couple of hours, I made my way downstairs where the lovely woman working at reception made me a cappuccino. I was desperate for caffeine.

I stayed in the room for a couple of hours before heading back down to the dining room for a breakfast buffet. I’m normally not one to be eating so early, but I’d been awake for quite some time. It might as well have been lunch time as far as my jetlagged brain could tell.

Plus a croissant and another cappuccino.

Later that morning my best friend, Stephanie, arrived. It was so great to see her! She unpacked, freshened up and then we hit the town for a wander to some of our old haunts.

Our walk took us across my favourite bridge, Pont Neuf, which you may recall me writing about before.

Then we headed to Popelini to stock up on mini cream puffs for later, which has become a bit of a tradition for me. They’re all delicious but I think the passion fruit one is my favourite.

Lunch was sandwiches across the street at Così, a cheap and cheerful staple. The focaccia bread and fresh fillings are exactly what I love in a quick meal. Another favourite.

After lunch we wandered towards Boulevard Saint-Germain where we discovered a Christmas market, complete with a stand selling vin chaud (mulled wine).

We each ordered a cup, took 2 sips and dropped them into the nearest garbage. It was .. intense. I’ve been told since that it’s much better when made at home, but I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice a perfectly good bottle of wine.

Immediately behind the market is Église de Saint Germain des Prés, which we dipped into for a quick wander. I could have sworn that I’d posted about it before, but can’t find anything. I’ll have to remedy this.

We headed back to the hotel to drop off our cream puffs and relax for a bit, then left again to walk to Jardin Luxembourg.

It was neat to return to the Medici Fountain in a different season. I immediately noticed that it’s had a clean-up and the stone is noticeably brighter.

As always, I noticed a door on left side towards the back. It was teeny tiny, so I took a selfie to show the height difference.

We stopped to admire this lady outside Palais du Luxembourg.

Then it was over to another favourite; this piece dedicated to French painter, Eugène Delacroix, by French sculptor, Aimé-Jules Dalou.

What was funny is that while we wandered through the park we kept hearing whistles and men shouting. It was annoying and I mentioned as much muttering, “Shut. Up.”.

At first we thought they were crazy, then noticed people running so thought it must be some sort of organised run and then as we made our way towards an exit and I tried to walk in the opposite direction as everyone else the penny dropped. Another man with a whistle called out to me en français while pointing towards the exit.

OH! The park was closing and the whistle blowers were trying to round everyone up to vacate!

On our way home back to the hotel we stopped in at Monoprix for some essentials. It was a Sunday and for some reason Monoprix doesn’t sell alcohol on Sundays after noon. Not to worry, we found a cute little wine shop and bought a bottle of rosé to split back at the room.

Our little hotel room.

Thursday Doors – Paris

Hello! It’s great to be back posting Thursday Doors!

This week I’m sharing a grand entrance I discovered while walking around Paris. It’s just one of many (many) doors that I photographed, so you can expect more Paris Doors content to come.

Look at this door and tell me what you think is behind it, because I would never have suspected that it’s a private mansion and home to the Morgan Stanley bank.

Hôtel de Camondo was built in 1875 for Abraham Behor de Camondo, and the property became popular for its art collection and hospitality.

The details from top to bottom are a treat. I particularly like the M in the crest above the door (obviously). What do you think it would take for Morgan Stanley to move out, so I can move in?

Next door to Abraham’s house was his brother’s .. now known for being the Nissim de Camondo Museum. I was lucky enough to visit it during my recent visit to Paris, and look forward to sharing my photos soon.


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

Paris Photo Scavenger Hunt, A Recap

After my trip to Paris last month, I thought it would be neat to see how I fared on my Paris Photo Scavenger Hunt.

A quick refresher.. prior to my trip I shared a list of typically Parisian sights that make for a fun photo scavenger hunt.

One thing I’d like to stress, is that my list is simply a suggestion. Part of the fun is getting creative to check items off the list.

Beret

Horrible photo. Sadly my only beret shot this trip. Like ripping off the bandaid, let’s get it out of the way first so we can move on to more fun things. Oui?

Stained Glass

In a city like Paris, beautiful stained glass is ridiculously easy to find. Simply stepping through the doors of most churches will bring you up close and personal to beauties like this one at Èglise Saint-Séverin.

I’ve written about Saint-Séverin a few times here on MOTM, including this post where we took a look at the church’s interior.

Street Art

I spotted this large piece by Parisian artist Aydar, from quite a distance, while sitting on a terrace eating pizza. After lunch I dragged my best friend, Stephanie, with me to get a closer look. She’s quite striking with her simple black and white colours and intricate design isn’t she?

The Seine

I was waiting for the bus one afternoon when I looked over and noticed Place Louis Aragon (the area at the point on Ile Saint-Louis, one of 2 islands in Central Paris). On the busy Seine River, it’s a nice place to stop and reflect while taking in the action around you.

Poodle

A Prancing Parisian Poodle!

Carousel

There’s something like 20 carousels to be found around Paris, and this one is located in Jardin des Tuileries. Stephanie and I were headed to a big Christmas fare, which you can see some of its lights popping up in the background, when we passed this one. I liked the lighting here, and had to stop for a quick photo.

Sacré-Cœur

It was my last afternoon in Paris. Stephanie had left that morning and I was feeling quite sad about her going. We live hours apart so the next meetup could be years away with the ongoing plague situation. I was tempted to stay in bed watching trash television (I’m looking at you, Mamans & Célèbres!). But then I reminded myself that I was in my favourite city on the planet, and pushed myself to go out. A spur of the moment decision took me to Le Centre Pompidou to take in a birds’ eye view of Paris – including Sacré-Cœur in the distance.

Ornate Metro Sign

I’m not sure what you have where you live, but coming across these beautiful Art Nouveau entrances to the Paris metro system sure make the modern ones here in Vancouver look sad and pathetic in comparison. This one, the Cité metro station, is located on Île de la Cité next to a flower market.

Mona Lisa

Remember how I said at the top of this post that the list is simply a suggestion? I’ve been to the Louvre once and I, unlike millions, have zero interest in returning. Which means capturing a photo of the real Mona Lisa isn’t going to happen. When I saw these on a walk during a walk through Le Marais, I realised they were the perfect substitution for the scavenger hunt.

Baguette

One morning Stephanie and I enjoyed a petit-déjeuner of cappuccino, fresh pressed orange juice, pastries and a baguette on the terrace of a random restaurant. I love a good croissant but that baguette slathered in French butter .. chef’s kiss!

As Stephanie and I finished our breakfast, a gentleman drove up to park the silver car at the top of the shot. He hit the curb quite dramatically. I looked up and we made eye contact before we both started laughing. He opened his window and said something in French which I didn’t understand. Embarrassed, I muttered that I only speak English. He asked where we’re from. Canada, I smiled. He smiled back, and said something along the lines of smiling being the true international language. We wished each other a bonne journée and carried on with our respective days. It was such a lovely exchange between strangers, albeit brief, the kind I’ll remember for years to come.

Eiffel Tower

I have a really annoying habit of excitedly saying, “There she is!”, whenever the Eiffel Tower comes into view. Even when I’m traveling alone. I can’t help myself. So with Paris being mainly flat, and her being so tall, it’s not uncommon to hear me repeat that multiple times a day while I’m out and about.

I wrote about the Eiffel Tower in more depth here. Check it out for the kind of useless knowledge that my inner nerd lives for!

Terrace

At the same restaurant we enjoyed our breakfast above, I noticed this teddy bear at the opposite end of the terrace. There’s a neat history to these bears (known as Teddy Bears of the Gobelins), which you can read about here. And if you’d like to learn more about the terraces of Paris, I couldn’t explain it better than this article on Paris Perfect.

Love Lock

I put love locks on the list simply because they’re ubiquitous in Paris, making them an easy item to cross of your list. But, man, do I hate them.

You can read more about them in a previous post, here. On a positive note, at least Big Guy was nowhere to get seen during this most recent visit to Paris!

Cobblestone

I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m very clumsy. I’ve broken multiple bones in each foot, multiple times. So I spend a lot of time looking at the ground while walking, just to be safe. Especially somewhere like Paris where the ground can be made from a mishmash of materials at different levels. While walking down the sidewalk one day, I noticed how pretty it was with the mix of cobblestones and couldn’t help but make a quick video.

Fountain

Fontaine Saint-Michel was installed back during the great renovation of Paris, when Baron Haussmann changed the look and flow to the city we know today. Place Saint-Michel is a popular meeting spot for people due to its convenient location. Crossing from one side to the other, in my experience, usually means sidestepping and dodging other pedestrians and street performers. During this most recent trip, however, the Place was home to a Christmas Market and I was able to sneak in a photo of the fountain sans people – which is something I’ve wanted to do for years.

Croissant

I looove me a croissant. During a previous trip to Paris I even took part in a class to learn the art of making them myself (which you can read about here). So when I learned that a bakery near to our hotel had bragging rights of winning the best butter croissants in Paris back in 2018, it was obvious that we’d be trying theirs.

The line at La Maison d’Isabelle can be looong, so if you decide to go and would prefer to avoid the crowds, go late in the day like we did. We excitedly ordered several and carefully carried them back to our room.

They were .. a disappointment.

Both Stephanie and I really disliked them. The layered flakiness was admirable but the burnt tops and bottoms (along with an unidentifiable taste that we can only describe as ‘propane but not quite’) made them inedible. Perhaps it was just a bad day for the bakery – there are enough rave reviews online to make me suspect this – but I know that I’ll never go back. They were that bad. And life is too short for bad croissants.

French Flag

Shortly before leaving for Paris I read an article about a change to the flags hung around the country, specifically the shift from bright blue to navy being used in the tricolour flag. The change has been made quietly, without much fanfare or an official statement. This one, located at the Gendarmerie Nationale-Garde Républicaine on rue de la Banque, includes the brighter blue – while many around the city don’t. It’s one of those things you need to know about in order to notice.

Street Market

Marché Baudoyer, a smaller market with approximately 15 vendors, sells a variety of products from fresh produce to flowers to meats and fish. It’s also the first market in the city to have traded in the afternoons, as markets were always traditionally a morning thing.

Windmill

The famed Red Windmill, or Moulin Rouge, has been a favourite for many since the late 19th century. While I’ve only ever stopped for a photo before carrying on, I’ve heard that dinner and a performance costs a pretty penny – so I’m likely never going to make it inside to check out its Belle Epoque-style theatre. Have you been?

Pipe Organ

This is the second time that Èglise Saint-Séverin has been mentioned in this post, this time because of its impressive 18th century organ.

Gargoyle

Look up. Way up. Dotted around the facade of Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis you’ll find these fantastically fancy drain spouts, also known as gargoyles.

Cat

Stephanie spotted this cat, and several more, high up on a building facade. A bit of research tells me that the building was once upon a time home to a confectionery called, “Au Chat Noir”.

Eclair

Stephanie and I regularly discuss Paris and one thing that always makes its way into our conversations are eclairs. Years ago we shared 2 from Eric Kayser so when I was on my way back to the hotel one evening, I stopped in to pick up a couple for dessert. One chocolate and one coffee, just like the first time. They were just as delicious as we remembered.


You may have noticed that I’ve not included photos for 2 things; crepes and macarons. This was accidental. Both are super easy to find, yet for some reason I overlooked photographing either. Next time!

And that’s a wrap, folks!

Feel free to print this page and bring it with you. And once you’re back home, you’ll have an album of quintessential Paris photos.

If you decide to take part, tag me on Instagram so I can see your photos!

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Recap

I was nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the past 10 days, I shared 10 travel photos and nominated 10 other bloggers.

Today we’ll recap the photos I shared, and I’ll explain a little about each. Thank you to everyone who guessed. It was really hard to keep my mouth shut.

Day 1 – Artichokes at the Campo de’Fiori Market in Rome, where vendors have sold their wares since 1869.
Day 2 – A stunning blown glass installation called, ‘Glass Forest #5’, by famed artist Dale Chihuly at his gallery in Seattle.
Day 3 – Sea Lion Caves on the Oregon Coast. Unfortunately the seal lions weren’t home. I remember that the smell of pee was intense.
Day 4 – Just one of the interesting sculptures dotted around Les Jardins D’Étretat in Normandy.
Day 5 – Beautiful home of impressionist painter, Claude Monet in Giverny.
Day 6 – Fontana della Botte, or Fountain of The Barrels, in Trastevere, Rome. One of countless places around the city where you can fill your water bottle with clean – and free – drinking water. Do as the locals do.
Day 7 – “Excusez moi, où sont les toilettes?” At the Palace of Versailles I spotted this adorable signage for the toilets.
Day 8 – It was laundry day at the old Gold Rush town of Barkerville.
Day 9 – Looking back at the San Francisco skyline from a little island, better known as Alcatraz – once home to some of the most notorious criminals in American history.
Day 10 – Bell tower at Xcaret, Playa Del Carmen in Mexico.

Thanks for following along with me on this fun trip down memory lane. I’ve really enjoyed it and hope to take part in something like this again in future.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 10

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate Dan of DanVenture Travels to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 10.

Know where this is? Comment below.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 9

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate Karen of Maximizing Luxury Travel to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 9.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 8

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate my Natalie of Natty Travels to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 8.

Where am I? Comment below.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 7

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate Melanie of Life … One Big Adventure to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 7.

Any idea where this is? Comment below.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 6

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate Juliet of Juliet in Paris to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 6.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 5

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate Ribana of Popsicle Society to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 5.

Know where this is? Comment below.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 4

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate my friend Vee of Just Vee Cause to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 4.

Any idea where this is? Comment below.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 3

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate my blogging friend Dan of No Facilities to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 3.

Any idea where this is? Comment below.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 2

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate my blogging friend Don of Operas and Cycling to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 2.

Any idea where this is? Comment below.

Travel Challenge – 10x10x10 – Day 1

I’ve been nominated by fellow travel blogger Rebecca of Rebecca Goes Rendezvous to take part in a fun photo challenge.

The rules: Post 1 travel photo a day for 10 days without explanation, then nominate someone else to participate.

Over the course of the 10 days, there will be 10 travel photos and 10 nominations.

So fun!

At the end of the 10 days I’ll recap with a description for each photo I share.

Today, I nominate my friend Leighton of Leighton Travels to take part in this fun challenge.

Without further ado, here’s my photo for Day 1.

Any guess where I took it? Comment below.

Hello Paris!

Guys. I’ve made it.

I’m back in my most favourite city in the world and I’m so happy to be here!

After my last post, things continued to go sideways and I honestly thought I’d end up institutionalized before I’d ever get on the plane. Keeping myself together was all that I could manage. Blogging was furthest from my mind – so thank you for all of you messages and support. I shared something I’d never usually say online, and immediately regretted it. But the kindness I’ve been shown really means a lot to me.

My travel day was exhausting and long and by the time I checked on yesterday afternoon, there was no way I could do anything besides order room service, watch some television and go to bed. After 7 hours of sleep (which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s more than I get in my regular day to day), I woke up at 3am. At 5am I finally tiptoed downstairs (kidding, I totally galloped down those stairs) on the hunt for caffeine. So here we are. It’s 5:08 and I’m back in my room sipping my cappuccino.

Excuse the blurry photo.

My best friend arrives later this morning and I’m so excited to see her – and Paris! The next couple of weeks are going to be good and I’m looking forward to sharing what we get up to with you.

Check back, and often.

I Used to Love Packing

Once upon a time, packing for a trip was almost as exciting to me as the trip itself. I’d start with well thought out lists categorised by suitcase and carry-on, which were further broken down by clothing, toiletries, electronics and extras. I’d have lists of things I needed to do before I left, things that I hoped to buy while on holiday and a growing list of bookings for travel, accommodations and activities. My approach has never been minimalistic, but I’ve been realistic in that I can’t bring everything with me for any eventuality. Worst case is that I buy something while abroad if I found that I absolutely needed it and hadn’t packed it. I’m borderline OCD and took great pride in my very organised style.

I’ve collected various travel items over the years to make my life a little easier from secure day bags and baggage to packing cubes to an array of zippered pouches to organise. Normally just the sight of these things excites me. And perhaps that’s because I got great joy out of using them in the before times.

But we’re no longer in the beautifully blissful before times, are we?

This time I’m stressed the fuck out. My anxiety creeps up higher and higher as my trip gets closer.

Normally I travel when the weather is nicer, which means that I can pack lighter clothing and not worry about freezing to death while abroad. Perhaps that’s slightly dramatic but I’m overwhelmed so please forgive me. Warmer clothing means heavier clothing. Baggage weight allowances and space in my suitcase for purchases I plan to bring home means that I’ve packed and repacked my suitcase 4 times over the past week, mentally going over each item to make sure it’s justifiably being lugged with me. To the point of insanity. For hours today I played table tennis in my mind trying to decide if bringing my iPad was a good idea or not. I’m still undecided.

The same lists I’d use with pride feel overwhelming. On top of the usual to-do items, I’ve got to consider health passes, proofs of vaccination, Covid insurance, declarations of being symptom free and booking a PCR test for my return to Canada. Plus I check almost daily to be sure that the regulations haven’t changed so I can be prepared and not be barred from boarding any flights. Oh, and I’ve had 2 separate flights cancelled on me. So that’s been fun.

Work is a shit show (I work in international ocean transportation which, if you watch the news at all you’ll know Vancouver is currently facing pandemic related congestion strains on an under-equipped infrastructure that have never been seen before .. oh God why am I thinking about that during my weekend?!) and I have to make sure my desk is up to my standards before I hand it over to my Manager. All while fighting the growing urge to quit and hide in a blanket fort with my cats. In those moments, travel should be an escape for me but it’s become equally panic-inducing.

It’s been A LOT.

And because I have panic disorder and my anxiety levels continue to rise, I feel myself shutting down. Breathing exercises are child’s play at this point. The thought of packing (for the 5th time) overwhelms me. I’m starting to worry that I’ll be such a mess once I arrive to Paris that I’ll be unable to function and/or leave the hotel room. It wouldn’t be the first time. But this time is during a global pandemic. I’ve been working from home for 20 months, have given up socialising and seriously limit interpersonal interactions. Why did I think my first outing being in one of the busiest cities in the world was a good idea. Yes I love Paris but have I lost my damn mind?

I need to go lay down. But before I do, does anyone else who’s traveled during the pandemic – or has plans to – feel the same crushing anxiety? Do you have any tips or advice on how to calm down and get perspective back?

I so miss the before times. Le sigh.

Paris – A Pastry a Day Challenge

Yesterday I invited you to take part in a Paris Photo Challenge. Today I’m sharing another fun challenge I’m looking forward to do on my upcoming trip to Paris.

Because life is too short to skip dessert!

But Marla.

A pastry a day!?

Yes! Hear me out!

You’ll be out pounding the pavement each day, visiting museums and galleries. You’ll get your steps in, so why not treat yourself? You’re on vacation after all!

Everyone knows that Paris excels when offering up delicious desserts and pastries. On a short visit, it would be impossible to enjoy everything. So instead, pick an handful to try and choose a different one for each day?

Why not print out the above suggestions list and take it with you on your next visit? If you do, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram with photos of your favourites!

Paris Photo Scavenger Hunt

When I was a kid, my sister and I used to play a game in the car. We’d each pick a different colour and then spend the entire ride desperately searching for vehicles in “our” colour. Whoever had spotted the most when we’d arrived at our destination would be crowned the winner. That was all fun and games until we realised that a city works yard nearby had a parking lot full of white vehicles. It then became about who would shout out first that white was their colour. Usually a fight would ensue and I’m pretty sure our Dad started to take a different route just to avoid the white vehicles all together.

But I just don’t see why being an adult means that the fun has to stop.

Since then I’ve taken part in many fun (albeit dorky) challenges like counting wildlife on a cross-province road trip, or excitedly pointing out monkey trees on drives through the neighbourhood. Since moving closer the the countryside, finding decrepit old barns is a new favourite.

One time in Paris, my best friend and I decided to do a photo scavenger hunt of typically Parisian sights. It was a perfect way to really pay attention to our surroundings. So I’ve made a similar list of things to look out for on your next visit to Paris.

Feel free to print this page and bring it with you. And once you’re back home, you’ll have an album of quintessential Paris photos.

If you decide to take part, tag me on Instagram so I can see your photos!

Thursday Doors – Paris

While looking through my various Paris photos, I realised that I’d never posted about the classical music concert I attended at Sainte-Chapelle. Which is strange, as it’s up there with some of my most memorable experiences. So I’ll have to get on that sooner than later.

In the meantime, here’s a small taste. Starting with front portal of the upper chapel with its statue of Jesus flanked by doors.

It was through the open door that I entered for the concert.

And here’s a quick peek inside of the 13th century chapel with its stunning (and mostly original) stained glass windows.

I’m gearing up for my next Parisian adventure (15 days to go!), so if you’d like to see what I get up to why not follow me on Instagram? Let’s be friends!


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

Paris’ Grand Cemetery – Père Lachaise

It might seem a bit odd to search out a cemetery when travelling, but in Paris it’s an enjoyable way to spend some time. Hear me out! Gone are the crowds. It’s like walking through a beautifully landscaped park. Tombstones vary from grave to grave, some simplistic while others are intricately detailed. And don’t even get me started on the history. If you’re needing a break from galleries, consider a visit to a Parisian cemetery.

The first time my best friend, Stephanie, and I visited Paris together, we thoroughly enjoyed a couple of hours wandering through the Montmartre Cemetery.

So while in the planning stages of our next recent trip (this time with the guys in tow), we decided that making the trek out to the Grand Père (ahem) of them all was a priority.

Trek sounds quite dramatic but most visitors to Paris focus on the city’s central area and rarely leave it. It was my fifth time to Paris and only my first visit to Père Lachaise. But in reality our “trek” was an easy bus ride without transfers. Before the pandemic and working from home, it took me longer to get to/from work each day!

In my research I learned that Emperor Napoleon I inaugurated the cemetery in 1804. He mustn’t have been overly confident, as he arranged to transfer the remains of French playwright Molière and famous lovers Abelard and Heloise to Père Lachaise in order to up the prestige factor.

But he didn’t need to worry, as Père Lachaise houses approximately 300,000 graves and consistently has a waitlist for people to be buried there. It’s also one of the world’s most-visited cemeteries. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people stroll its beautiful grounds each year.

Most people arrive with a map and list of graves they want to visit, and we were no different. The grounds of Père Lachaise are huge so it was a fun scavenger hunt to find them all. Here’s our list in order of graves visited ..


Oscar Wilde
Irish Writer
October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900

You’ll note the glass around Wilde’s grave? It was put there to prevent people leaving lipstick kiss marks all over the stone. Not only was it gross, but Wilde’s family had to incur the costs of repeated cleaning.


Victor Noir
French Journalist
July 27, 1848 – January 11, 1870

Monsieur Noir would be interested, I’m sure, to know that his grave is probably the most popular in all of Pere Lachaise with female visitors.

Move over Oscar Wilde!

According to Wikipedia, “Myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its genital area will enhance fertility, bring a blissful sex life, or, in some versions, a husband within the year..

.. As a result of the legend, those particular components of the otherwise verdigris (grey-green oxidized bronze) statue are rather well-worn and shiny.”

No, not awkward at all.


Edith Piaf
French Singer, Songwriter and Performer
December 19, 1915 – October 10, 1963

Her nickname La Môme Piaf (“The Little Sparrow”) comes from the fact she was only 4’8″ tall. Her colourful life was marred by tragedy from the very beginning. Love, loss, sickness, addiction.. and the French public wrapped their arms around their beloved chanteuse.

I read that while she had been denied a funeral mass by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Paris because of her lifestyle, her funeral procession was followed by tens of thousands of mourners. It was apparently the only time since the end of World War II that Parisian traffic has come to a complete stop.


Jim Morrison
American singer, songwriter and poet
December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971

The bottom of the plaque is inscribed with ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, which literally translates to “according to his own daemon, i.e., guiding spirit,” to convey the sentiment “True to Himself.”

Next to the grave there is a gum tree. As in, a tree covered with chewed gum. I don’t understand the significance, but kept a safe distance. Because germs.

Gross, non?

One of the last public places that Jim Morrison was seen alive is a bar called La Mazet which, incidentally, was also the last place all four of us were seen together in Paris before my husband and I headed for Normandy the next morning.


Frédéric Chopin
Polish pianist and composer
March 1, 1810 – October 17, 1849

Chopin was one of music’s earliest superstars, who sadly died of tuberculosis. He reportedly requested that his body be opened after death (for fear of being buried alive) and his heart was returned to Warsaw where it rests to this day.

One of the strangest things I’ve learned about Chopin is that while on his death bed it was apparently said that “all the grand Parisian ladies considered it de riguer to faint in his room”.


Héloïse & Abelard

Héloïse d’Argenteuil
French nun, writer, scholar and abbess
1090/1100–1 (?) – May 16, 1164

Peter Abelard
French scholastic philosopher, theologian, and logician
1079 – 21 April 1142

The romance and letters of these two eternal lovers remain legendary almost a century later.


Georges-Eugène Haussmann
Prefect and urban planner
March 27, 1809 – January 11,1891

We can thank Baron Haussmann for the Paris we see today, with its beautiful parks, impressive wide boulevards and tidy buildings complete with intricate wrought iron works – not to mention its essential sewage system. Interestingly, while he’s celebrated the world over, he wasn’t very popular with Parisians themselves.


If you’re interested in seeing the rest of my photo album, check it out here. Of course, I’ve only just scratched the surface – there are so many more beautiful things to see at Père Lachaise. Have you been? If so, what were your favourites?

Helpful tip:
If you’re lazy like me jetlagged, do yourself a favour and enter the cemetery from the top of the hill through Porte Gambetta. By doing so, you’ll make your way leisurely downhill (rather than walking uphill), eventually arriving at the main entrance, Porte du Répos.