31 August 2014

Pont des Arts | Shimmering Weighty Love

Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts

What do you think about the padlocks on the Pont des Arts, this iconic metallic footbridge in the heart of Paris? To many, they resemble walls of adoration symbolizing everlasting love and to others simply an eyesore that pollute the sweeping city views and the River Seine below (the keys from the padlocks get thrown into the river)...

In either case, the Pont des Arts is suffering from the shimmering yet weighty force of love. 

Since its debut in 1804 under Napoleon I, Pont des Arts has had its share of turmoil - bombarded from both World Wars, hits from river traffic and a barge that nearly collapsed half the structure in 1979 (and most recently, a railing that fell this past summer from the massive weight of the locks). 

The current day Pont des Arts, rebuilt in 1984 from all its damages and deficiencies, is an identical reconstruction of the original design, albeit a few structural changes that make the bridge more sound and more align with its neighbor to the east, the Pont Neuf.

There is now a NoLoveLocks petition to stop romantics from locking their love onto the railings of Pont des Arts as well as other bridges around Paris (along with the Eiffel Tower!). 

Despite all the controversy, whenever I step onto the Pont des Arts, I can't help thinking this:

One thing will never change, and that is the frisson of nostalgia, the romantic flush that overcomes you when you stop on the Pont des Arts and gaze upriver towards the Ile de la Cité, the historic center of Paris that was the home of kings until the 14th century... (essayist Gina Doggett)


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25 August 2014

A Ride + A View: La Grande Roue de Paris

La Grande Roue de Paris
La Grande Roue de Paris
Paris Fete Foraine
Paris Sacre Coeur
La Grande Roue de Paris

It's always so hard to step out of the car when the ride ends...

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19 August 2014

Summer & Nostalgia

Summer in France
Summer and Nostalgia
Summer and Nostalgia
Summer and Nostalgia
Summer and Nostalgia
Summer and Nostalgia

I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days... John Keats

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The end of summer + nostalgia. This post is dedicated to my family and friends back in the States, who I miss very much. I wish you were here...


05 August 2014

Paris Plages | The City of Light in Sand

Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages
Paris Plages

Every summer, palm trees, deck chairs and tons of sand descend upon Paris to transform parts of the city into Paris Plages (Paris Beaches), a month-long event originally created in 2002 to relieve Parisians from the sweltering August heat and to satisfy their seaside cravings. This free event has since expanded beyond its beginnings around Pont Neuf and become so popular that other European cities (like Berlin, Brussels and Madrid) have adopted a similar event.

My boys have been itching to go to the beach, so before we head to the ocean ourselves, they got a little taste last Sunday right here in the city. With plenty of activities and lots of options for refreshments, overall it's a wonderful way to spend a summer day. My favorite section was the Louvre à la plage installation set up under the Tunnel des Tuileries - it was basically a mini art gallery where you're invited to discover pieces from the Louvre's vast collection. There's even a table set up for little ones to color and draw their own masterpieces.

Ice cream by the river with seagulls overhead pacified my boys' yearning for the ocean,... for now :)


Official Site: Paris Plages
Dates: 19 Jul - 17 Aug 2014
Hours: Everyday, 9am - midnight

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30 July 2014

Amsterdam: A Bevy of Bicycles, Boats and Blooms...

Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam tulips
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam tulips

As part of my family's little break in the Netherlands, we took a day trip to Amsterdam. An afternoon wasn't nearly enough time to visit museums and explore the city, but we soaked in what we could... we went on a canal cruise and strolled through the narrow streets, tried some local fare and visited Bloemenmarkt (flower market)... it was a cloudy day, but the city was so pretty we hardly noticed the gray and drizzle.

We loved Amsterdam's gabled architecture, 17th century canals and relaxed energy. But I think what impressed me most (despite being nearly run over twice) was how smoothly and efficiently the compact city runs - cars, scooters, trams, buses and bicycles (oh so many bicycles!...hauling everyone from mothers with their babies to businessmen on their way to work to teenagers on the go) - all zooming by in cooperative harmony on narrow streets filled with pedestrians of every age and size. And that's just above ground! The canals have their own traffic and rhythm, and again still, it glides along fluidly.

We'd love to go back... it's roughly a 5 1/2 hour drive from Paris (3 1/3 hours by train)... 

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20 July 2014

Sweet Sweet Summer...

Paris fruit market apricots
Paris fruit market
oranges

I hope you're having a lovely summer so far... my boys' school year ended just two weeks ago, so for me, it feels like just the beginning. It's only July right?...  there's still time to take it easy and savor the fruits of this slippery sweet season :)

I'll be taking to the road with my family for a little holiday... come join me on Instagram. Be well friends...

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14 July 2014

The Wonder of the Wooden Sailboats

Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens

Pushing about the wooden sailboats in the Grand Basin at Jardin du Luxembourg has become a favorite pastime for my boys. I've mentioned to them how generations of children played with the same 1920's boats... and realize it may not mean much to them now, but hopefully one day their memories of these times will be marvelous and fond.

The gliding toy boats, the backdrop of the French Senate and the Medici gardens are images I used to see in my French classes in the US - in short films with silly characters illustrating a new concept or vocabulary word. It was always hard to catch the lesson because the scene behind them was much more captivating. So for a long time these enchanting boats have been engrained in my mind... they've always been magical, and even more so now...

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