Tuesday, March 29, 2016
We spent a lot of our time walking along the Seine River and shopping the local vintage magazine and book stands. I felt like the luckiest girl alive when I discovered a vintage magazine issue of Grace Kelly's royal wedding to Prince Rainier. The magazine itself was larger than life, in great condition and also held many photographs from the wedding that I had never seen. You know I purchased that in a heartbeat!
Aside from the french bakeries, we really couldn't figure out Parisian cuisine. Dinner was probably our least favorite meal, but the breakfast, snacks and lunches throughout the day were so delicious and so simple. Pains au chocolat, salami & cheese baguettes with butter, croque madames and monsieur's, bottles of orangina on the go, and you can't forget the macaroons. This is what we devoured throughout the day, and we ate so much of it that by dinner time, we weren't nearly as hungry as we were exhausted.
I loved getting on the Metro in Paris and listening to the parisian music played live on the accordion. If we got lucky enough to hop on a train and listen to it, I'd close my eyes and I would pretend as though I was transported back in the 20's during Paris. Think of the movie 'Midnight in Paris.' That is how I felt. It was so magical. Paris is a wonderful thing.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
You don't have to force me, I'm moving in this second. Bless you Louis XIII for this royal chateau that continues to grace us to this day with awe. I mean, she's got it all - the mansard roofing, the gilded gold, the installation of sculptures planted in every corner, the marbled court in its black and white symmetry, and the palaces salmon pink hue, while the interior is adorned with ceiling murals of cherubs and candle lit crystal chandeliers in the Hall of Mirrors. I don't believe it can get any better than this.
For the life of me, I can't even imagine what life must have been like during this time of the royal family. I wonder if they even recognized how grand their lifestyle was and how supreme their surroundings were? I am just so grateful that history continues to stand still so that the present and the future can have a taste of the past. Looking at photos of our time spent at the Palace of Versailles still has me shaking my head in pure disbelief that this actually exists, and I am so grateful that it does.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
First and foremost, gardens and landscaping is something that I truly adore. Growing up, I watched my mom take care of our backyard which I always viewed as her secret garden in Georgia. She was so particular and precise and had such an eye for making her space lush, vibrant and spectacular! My favorite part of her garden was her blue hydrangeas that grew so large it took your breath away. For this reason, I have grown a love and a passion for landscaping and gardening and I look forward to the day where I will be able to have my own space where I can allow my creativity to run wild with foliage just like my mama.
So, when you place me in the gardens of Versailles, you'll see me nearly keeling over and dying because I almost can't handle the beauty and symmetry of it all. Lets just get this out there - manicured hedges and sculptures are my bread and butter. I've never seen hedges quite like this. Living in Santa Monica, I had a great taste of manicured lawns from the neighborhoods in Brentwood & Pacific Palisades, but nothing will ever measure up to the shaped hedges at Versailles. It reminded me of the Queen of Heart's garden in Alice in Wonderland. The hedges created a maze throughout the whole garden which made for some great exploring and wonder. Zeke and I got so lost in the gardens and we almost didn't want to find our way out.
And the sculptures were so pristine and stark white. The contrast of the sculptures against the hedges with the blue skies had me drooling all over the place. And the symmetry of it all just had me giddy the whole day through. It was absolutely perfect. It almost wasn't even real. The gardens of Versailles exceeded my expectations and now I have so many backyard goals, Zeke isn't going to know what to do with himself.
Monday, March 28, 2016
Paris is always a good idea. Always. I fell in love with Paris, though Rome still sat front row in my heart. I truly don't believe anything can top Rome. But, Paris was just as what they'd say it would be - romantic.
We spent about a week in Paris and instead of staying in a hotel we decided to try out an Airbnb, which was so smart on our move. By doing this, I feel as though we got a sweet and authentic taste of the Parisian lifestyle. We stayed in a one bedroom flat apartment hidden in the local alleyway where the farmers market takes place and we really felt as though we got the best experience possible. And it was perfect for breakfast because we'd leave our flat and quickly grab a chocolate croissant or a french baguette with lettuce, salami and butter and eat it on the go allowing ourselves to feel like true Parisians. Or so we kept telling ourselves.
We did a really great job of butchering the French language and made awful impressions with the Parisians who I did find very rude and unappealing. Though, I wasn't surprised and I didn't let it allow me to believe all French people were this way. I've heard it's just the Parisians, but it added to the experience so I took it in nonetheless.
We spent our first day getting acquainted with the neighborhood that we were staying in and chose to walk everywhere that we could. I really wanted to get a feel of Paris and I wanted to see everything. We climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and witness the most gorgeous and symmetrical view of The Champs Elysees. My mind went racing back to my art history classes in college and learning of the architecture and history of Paris. This was the perfect view and angle to see and fully understand what I had been taught. I was blessed to have a birds-eye view of the Mansard roofing of Paris that was popularized by Francois Mansart during the French Baroque period and continued on to be adored in the Second French Empire under Napoleon III.
I absolutely loved learning about Napoleon Bonaparte, I found him fascinating, so the fact that we were standing on top of the Arc de Triomphe, which paid honor to the victories of Napoleon, had me giddy. Even though history is in the past, it seems to come alive once again when you are able to actually visit these places and experience them yourself. I get such a rush.
We made it to the Louvre where we were able to see the Mona Lisa and honestly, Zeke and I had the complete opposite reaction. We've been told by everyone that she'll be such a let down due to her size and so on so forth. So, we expected the worst and when we finally saw her in person, we thought she was larger then expected. The story behind the Mona Lisa and her history is what I appreciate though. She is not my favorite portrait by any means but there is so much mystery behind her and I really love every bit of it and so to be able to see her in person was the cherry on top.