5.25.2015

a Parisian Cityscape

Bird's eye view of Notre Dame
Bird's eye view of Notre Dame
Bird's eye view of Notre Dame
Bird's eye view of Notre Dame
Bird's eye view of Notre Dame
Bird's eye view of Notre Dame

I recently discovered this view of Notre Dame, from the ninth floor terrace of l'Institut du Monde Arabe on the Left Bank. Entry is free, and there's even a restaurant where you can dine while enjoying the city's rooftop vistas and splendid skyline...

***

5.17.2015

Behind the Shot | Paris

Paris Marathon

One Sunday morning in April, I ran into the Paris International Marathon and saw this line of firemen across Rue de Rivoli, cheering on the runners as they passed. I caught the tail end of the race, and it was touching to see how the firemen looked on and clapped for everyone, even the slowest lone runner... I'm a sucker for public displays of support and solidarity.

And on the opposite side of the street, at the entrance of the Louvre, the attention of observers was focused toward the grand sculptures inside the museum,... or was it toward the mini screens in their hands. It's a scene so very common these days, and it reminded me of a quote from Susan Sontag, "Today everything exists to end in a photograph." True?

***

5.12.2015

Portugal Part II: Obrigado Porto

Porto Portugal
Porto Portugal
Porto Portugal
Porto Portugal

As they say in Portugal, Muito obrigado por tudo which means Thank you very much for everything... which is how I felt when leaving the historic city of Porto, grateful for all their kindnesses during our visit and grateful for the enormous privilege of being able to travel...

Everything I saw and tasted and experienced in the port city exceeded my expectations, but what left the most indelible impression was the alluring stretch of ocean to its west and the local Portuguese, who were welcoming, kind, and so very gracious. I’ve not been able to shake the landscape and the warmth of its people from my mind since leaving. One morning I got lost wandering around and asked (well gestured really) an elderly gentleman to point me in the right direction; he not only told me where I was in relation to my destination, but walked me back to a place I was familiar with, and upon dropping me off headed off in the opposing direction, which meant he really did go out of his way for me. This is one example, but there are more... this made a wonderful visit even sweeter.

The research I did on Porto before leaving focused mainly on the historic city center, which alone can leave one in a constant state of awe (so many hilltop views of the colorful architectural landscape that spans centuries and styles, sizes and colors). The city can also rightfully boast about their world renowned port wine and abundant fresh seafood (grilled in front of you in some cases), delicious local pastries and chic cafés, and the beautiful bold tile work that meanders throughout narrow streets.

Then there’s the Duoro River that flows between the medieval Ribeiro district of Porto and the 18th century port houses in Villa Nova de Gaia, which eventually opens into the Atlantic Ocean. It's from here, many centuries ago, men looked out into the Outer Sea and envisioned sea dragons living just before the ocean dropped off! Thus sparked the Age of Discovery, the period of European global exploration beginning in the early 15th century. All that to say that when you sit at one of the waterfront terraces sipping sweet port, it is not only beautiful, calming and restorative looking out into the ocean, but it begs you to contemplate the mindset of fiercely brave explorers from long ago.

This western section of Porto called Foz do Duoro is where my family stayed, where we got to sleep to the sound of gentle crashing waves while only a 15-minute historic tram ride away from the city center. This made me never want to leave... and admittedly, part of me is still there.

If you’re thinking about visiting Porto, let me know and I’d be happy to send you tips and resources.

***

5.06.2015

Porto Part I: The Call of the Ocean

Portugal Atlantic Ocean
Portugal Atlantic Ocean
Portugal Atlantic Ocean
Portugal Atlantic Ocean
Portugal Atlantic Ocean
Portugal Atlantic Ocean
Portugal Atlantic Ocean
Portugal Atlantic Ocean

I need the sea because it teaches me - Pablo Neruda


It is hard to resist the call of the ocean… but once you acquiesce to the harmony of fluttering heart beats that form the tides, it becomes even harder to leave.

My family visited Porto, Portugal mainly to wander its hilly historic city center, to taste (and learn about) their world renowned port wine and dine on freshly caught sardines. It is a destination often beat out by its sibling, Lisbon. I didn't mind reading that before we left because it's like exploring a less treaded path, which we found well worth our travels. And on a later post, I hope to show you that.

But for now, it's the expansive and eloquent Atlantic Ocean that lies on Porto's western edge that's made me keep drifting back to this little town days after our return. In the short time we were there, we were fortunate enough to experience the water from outside our windows, under shimmering sunlight but more often under clouds of varying hues, and even then it was beautiful to behold. It felt very much like a sort of homecoming...


***

4.25.2015

Frolicking | Paris

Children in Paris
Children in Paris
Children in Paris
Children in Paris
Children in Paris
Children in Paris
Children in Paris

For their first week of spring break, the boys enjoyed frolicking around the city under an uncharacteristically warm April in Paris. Excuse my enthusiasm, but the weather was spectacular this past week - sunny seventy degree days! Comfortable enough to keep coats and gloves home, perfect temperatures for running around without breaking a sweat, but still cool under the shade.

What surprised me were the Parisians... as soon as the thermostat hit the low 70s, they shed their coats and so much more. Out came the sandals, short sleeves and summer dresses - it was a stunning show of skin! I think this was a way of exhaling from a long gray winter and because (like we experienced last summer) we don't know how many warm summery days there will be this summer, so take advantage whenever and as soon as you can... Il faut profiter!

As I write this though, Paris has quietly shifted back to cooler slate colored days starting this morning... which makes for a perfect time to change scenery. Ever since Paris became our home base, my family and I have vowed to try and discover other cities around Europe when we got the opportunity, so we'll be heading to Portugal soon.

If you'd like to come exploring with us, I'll be sharing photos on Instagram at @catherine_goron :)

***

The lovely and talented Adrienne of My Memory Art, who spent 12 years in Paris with her family, recently started posting wonderfully nostalgic photos of her family during their time here. And this has instilled a greater urgency for me capture the precious moments of my family in the city. As a parent, given an opportunity like this for which I am so grateful, I am profoundly compelled...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...