last day in France, Travel home 23 April 2024

Last day.  And travel home

22 April 2024 in Lyon after eventful and fun day in Annecy.  On reflection it was so lovely to enjoy such a beautiful place.  I enjoyed the cold water dip and miles of walking through the beautiful trees and park along the lake.  The mountains nearby with snow peaks, the cool mountain air and how quaint it was situated.  The town looked like it was staged, bicycles and street lights, a river flowing through town, bridges, flowers, rows of trees, walking lanes and tables and chairs situated like someone just left.  Balconies with flowerpots and bright colours.  I loved how pretty and pristine it all was, even with a big outdoor market in the morning.

Today is a slower start, prep for going home.  Online check in with Air France. Plans to walk to gluten free bakery and taste more of the fabulous French tasty items.  About five kms walk over two bridges across Rhone and Saone Rivers.  Through some high end shopping district.  Onward.  

I enjoyed a vegetarian pizza that was warmed up, so pleasant and tangy sauce.  Yummm. The place was crowded but we got the last two seats.  I had a bubbly lemonade to drink and the most tasty lemon merengue tart for dessert. Heavenly.  Purchased a big slab of focaccia bread to take on my flight…. The cupboards were almost bare behind glass.   So popular and busy, the food being bought up by many.  is the website name. Go there if ever in Lyon. Whether celiac or not, so fabulous.  

Packed my clothes into my backpack and prepared for the trip home to Canada. 

23 April 2024 in Europe.  Up at 430 am local time, to the bus stop for 5 am and then to the train station.  Busier and busier the streets, people going about their business day.  Waking up, coming alive and all abustle at the rail station …. Found the track, the train pulled up, car 5 seat 88. It was next to Le Bar, where coffee and sweet pastries were being sold to a full packed audience.   Two stops after Lyon before aeroport Charles de Gaule  in Paris.  I did not see anyone get off but I watched the sun rise.  Beautiful over the French countryside.  Lucky me.

Bit of a delay as we waited for another train to whiz by, then our turn.  We stopped, I gathered my bags and headed to the section of this massive place to try to find my gate.  I stopped near Air France asking for help getting paper boarding pass and check on my gf meal … I was passed around and finally was told I should have done something different.  Not helpful at all, it seems and they seemed uncomfortable with being asked …..  then I asked for directions to my boarding gate.  Ha ha. They said how easy and quick it was.  Clearly no idea what goes on after that first stop.  

First line up was massive and they just were more so the further into the belly of the airport. Passport line up.  Security line up. Line up to shuttle to another terminal.  Then to find the gate … flight already boarding,  people hurrying everywhere.  No announcements.  I just got in yet another big line and hoped it would get me on the correct plane.  It did.  Then they had a gate open that should not have been and we were all rerouted again back to another line and a man asking tricky fast security questions so must have been an incident or looking for someone ….  Breathe. 

I have the most lovely seat.  Bulkhead row, window and behind premium economy so lots of leg room and quiet.  No washrooms nearby so no body stepping over me …. Two windows.  Free wifi for texting.  No gluten free on board (maybe a strike in the food department) so I am making do with the very dry day old gf focaccia bread out of a paper bag.  Ha ha.  Grateful!  I also have a gf bar or two …. On my way to Seattle.  It has been a few years I think since I have been in the United States…. It is a short stopover and then fly onward to Vancouver before south terminal Harbour Air to Victoria.  

And with that, the end of this journey and my quick France vacation.  Busy over the next few weeks and months – catch up with my work, 10km walk Times Colonist, few plays and productions at the theatre, road trip to Revelstoke and conference in Kelowna.  Conference in Winnipeg end of May and then in June to Nova Scotia for some quiet time with my mom.  I will continue cold water dips each morning when in Victoria … my 4th summer coming up. And of course daily walks and time with friends and family.  

Not sure where the next big vacation will take me, hoping for the northern lights in Norway maybe in January 2025 and for some polar dips (brrrrrr).  Till then, or until I travel again ….. thanks for following and I hope you enjoyed the journey.  I always appreciate the support when I am away.  

Feel free to look back on some of my previous travels to Italy and Greece or almost a month in Africa last year, India twice, South America a few times, other travels in France and other parts of Europe.  I use the search feature to enter a fave place and then as I read, I find myself right back in some wonderful destinations by cruise or land tour.

A bientot, Au revoire from Pamellla de France.

a Day at Annecy, France. 21 April 2024

Last night we played cards, Sweet Home Alabama movie in the background, more laundry and chat. Trouble falling asleep. Likely the rich food but …. Pourquois pas? Quand en France …..

Up by alarm and out the door within 15 minutes. Walk to metro and arrive just as train departs. The timing is brilliant. Old American song playing over speaker. At each metro stop as the doors opened I heard the same song still going. lol. How do they do that?  

Grateful for the connections and catching glimpse of blue sky as we head out today for a new town, Annecy. It’s a lovely destination town in northern French Alps.  Expecting a two hour train ride departing at 850 am that we pre booked a few days ago. Ok. So Sunday happened and tried walking to rail station but metro wasn’t running and tram was 20 minutes away. We walked fast, but not fast enough. So hopped an Uber. To Part Dieu rail station. He literally dropped us on a street, we hustled stretching our legs and off we sped. Hopped on train with two minutes to seat. lol.  Heart racing for early Sunday morning. Woo hoo. On our way!

Later:  back on train to Lyon. 849 pm with our reserved second class seats on beautiful evening. Fullish moon. Spectacular sky. Let me tell you about my 30,000 step, 22 km walking day. And a cold water swim in the glacier fed mountain alpine lake in a most beautiful city in France. If you don’t have Annecy on your list, put it there. I hope to be back. 

We had breakfast on the train. We brought cheese and olives. Wow.  Beautiful breakfast. Then played some cribbage the board game and enjoyed the French countryside. 

Upon arrival around 1115 am we were delighted to notice a huge local market. Stalls with enthusiastic vendors selling all manner of goods and foods. Olives, cheeses, meats, scarves, shoes, clothes. Fruit and very colourful vegetables, rotisserie chicken and potatoes, sweets.    Local shops selling tourist items, teas, clothing. 

I saw a shop of Sarah Pacini, one of my fave designers. Shop closed today, Sunday.  But excited to look in her window. 

We purchased more varieties of olives, more flavourful cheese, juicy oranges, delicious prosciutto made locally. Caramels. Nougat. Yumm

We walked through town stopping at Monoprix to get drinks. Then found bench around lake, enjoyed lunch.   We walked around the lake and found a spot to swim. We got changed in a handicapped bathroom. Then cold water dip about ten minutes. Lots of expressions as people passed by. It was a chilly day with people in scarves and warm coats. Got changed again into dry clothes. 

Walking to get warm we walked up many stairs and a hill to the local basilica to enjoy the view and peace within. 

Walking back down alleys and unexplored areas to old town again. Following river to the lake. Watching birds and ducks. People watching. Enjoying the sky and weather and scenery of this beautiful northern French Alp town. Final walk through the streets taking pics of the flower boxes and fast moving river reflecting light and colour. Beautiful golden lights turned on for dusk.

One more day tomorrow to pack and head home Tuesday… almost over. Great vacation. Wonderful experience. Beautiful sites. Deep chats. Happy memories. 

Trainride almost over.  Wine almost gone. Tired. It’s late. Home by midnight   Good night. Bonne nuit de France.

Lyon. Market day. Aventure urbaine.

Last evening stroll along the Rhone …. Wow.

Up after a sleep In, how to spend a Saturday in Lyon?  Put a load of laundry on….. out the door.

We walked to the Metro and travelled about 6 stops. (Heading to the outdoor market) Music violin accompaniment with his speaker box. Bungee cord holding speaker to wheels, middle aged man playing violin with a paper cup to collect donations.  A young mom and her daughter contributed and a man at the door who came in when the musician arrived.  They stayed about 3 stops.  He played Desposito (Latino-pop music), very catchy and uplifting.  Toes tapping and some heads nodding to the beat. 

Listening. Watching. Saturday morning activity in the city.  We walked to the outdoor market about 15 minutes following the Google Maps.

People with puppies. Couples holding  hands   Older solo shoppers. Hats. Scarves. Running shoes. High boots. Coats. Tshirts.  Shopping the booths.  Market. Colourful. Fresh fruit. Beautiful firm red strawberries, crisp apples and many other round fruits.   Plump purple blueberries. 

Round shapes of hundreds of cheeses. Mostly whites, dairy cow and goat.  WOW. Seafood, shrimps, salmon. Tiny tiny breaded fishes.  Olives!! Regional, stuffed green, dark black dried, large bright with pits, multicoloured, local, tasty, firm. Tasty. Fabulous. Breads. Loafs. Sweet treats. 

Hands in pockets for cash. Exchanges everywhere.  Merci,merci beaucoup.  Purchased cheeses, olives, strawberries.  

Church bells call my attention.  We look over, another beautiful church ringing the sound, I can see the bell up high in the steeple.  We go in for a wee sit and enjoy the peace of the moment.  Candles burning, wishes made, people praying. 

We took the bus to centre of Lyon, Part Dieu stop ….we were tempted by fries at Five Guys.  Fabulous dipped in mayo and ketchup.  Totally gluten free!  

Then we walked to Les Halles De Lyon Paul Bocuse.   Food. Food. Food.  Rows and rows …. a huge room chock a block full of every imaginable French cuisine served, sold, salivated over.  People drinking wine, eating seafood trays including oysters, scallops, shrimp, scampi, muscles ….. cheeses, rows of cheeses, sweets and breads, charcuterie boards serving all manner of flavours.  Olives … finally!

Walked to Les Gasteliers. Sans gluten patisserie Boulanger Lyon 6. 123 rue de Seze. Quiche. Pizza. Bread. Biscotti. Chocolate. Tarts. Cream puffs. Eclairs. Cookies. I had spinach and ricotta quiche warmed up. A bottle of organic lemonade and a chocolate nut brownie and je suis tres rassasie.  We decide we will return here on Monday so not to fill our pockets today.  Merveilleux!  So full of food and lots in the back pack.  Oh vey!  

The destination is an urban adventure (aventure urbaine) to parc de la tête d’Or and outdoor zoo. Botanical rose garden. Plethora of Peonies in full bloom. Beautiful gardens, trees in full blossom.  People walking on paths, the blue sky, the greenery.  We must have spent an hour wandering and enjoying the rose archways … then animals, giraffes, zebra, monkeys, pink flamingoes and pelicans.  Beautifully decked out in spring behaviour.  Fun and colourful.  We kept walking….

Am I ready for a walk up about 80 meter steep stairs?  Hell, I don’t know.  Sure …. Why not.  Holy moly. Up.  Up. Up. Stairs. Stairs. More stairs.  If you are going to do this hike, practice! It is a lot of stairs and exertion. I made it.  Beautiful views.  Strenuous and exciting.  

Toward the la Maison Des Canuts.  It is a kind of small silk museum, tells story of how silk history and artistry in Lyon in 1800s. Looms and threads and results of beautiful textured scarves.  

Apres, we began the walk back to the river, down shopping streets built on a steep slope.  Food, ice cream. Happy hour wine drinking, views, cheese trays and a few vintage thrift type stores.  We stop in a few for some laughs and ideas for a fashion accessory.  We got Rachel a new suitcase for her trip to South America.  Down. Down. Down the cobblestone streets, crossing roads and by people out enjoying the day.  We walked to the river, it all became familiar to me. 

We started walking toward home.  A swan graced our walk.  We walked in the sun along the river … people riding bikes, jogging, sitting, walking. 

We crossed the bridge. Stopped to get ice-cream, water and wine for this evening.  Leftovers, cheese, olives, berries, and wine (the least expensive I see is 2 euro per bottle, red, rose and Prosecco bubbly, and water … all very inexpensive.  Success.  22,500 steps, 15.5 kms. All in sunshine.  

List for Monday to come back to get gf food for our trips onward. 

Bonne nuit from Lyon.  

Pamellllla de France

Lyon, France, 19 April 2024 Friday

Bonjour a tous, de France! coucou!  (bisous a la francais – a kiss on each cheek) …. Salutation Dupuis las France!

I started out for a walk on my own – saw a local street that looks interesting, in Lyon, around where we are staying.  

I noticed the wisteria as I began the walk – it is a good idea to walk near wisteria when it is in bloom – it brightens the day and brings positivity.  Spring in my step and sniff of the air tell me I am near.  My hand reaches out so gently to graze and barely touch the delicate purple flowers.  Not to disrupt their life, only to acknowledge their presence.  Bonjour.

Crosswalks with no lights, crosswalks with lights, little green “persons” when ready and red ones remind one to take good care and wait for the traffic – including bicycles that can come zipping by on the road.

About every 4 or 5 shops is a vision / optical / selling glass frames kind of place.  In a two block range there must be 6 vision shops.  I have never noticed how many of these are present where we live, but here on this street, plenty.  In between are one chocolatier torrefacteur (since 1897) shop with famous Lyon and France goodies (chocolate covered orange and lemon peels / rinds – yummmmmm and salted-caramel caramels …….. little chocolate wafers, very thin in dark, white, caramel, milk chocolate and of course almonds coated in pink caramelized sugar (pink pralines) are popular in this area, famous from Lyon used also in tart or brioche in this region.  Beautiful variety of temptations.

A fabric store!  Yay!  In the sale bin is white raw silk ….. I was thinking about raw silk last evening and how I would like a piece of white to wear around my neck for big events (not that I really attend many big events these days).  There on the street, in the sale bin, over a meter square of the most beautiful white raw silk on for less than half price …. 60% off I think, maybe end of a bolt?  Anyway it belongs to me now!  There were other colours and textures of silk so I strolled inside for a wee look around at all the other treasures, patterns, fabrics.  It is a Maison des Tissus.  Beautiful, textures, colours, some same as we have for sale for the quilter, and some extravagant for furniture recovering perhaps, maybe curtains …. Some lace.  Magnifique!  I lost some time there (in case you are watching me with the AirTag suitcase follower app . LOL.)

More optical shops, coffee stops, fromagerie (no self respecting French street is complete without those necessities), ice cream, sorbet and bakery shop, wine store, one jewelry shop (nothing special that I could see in the window) and one woman’s clothing shop on each side of the street – very dull, plain, ordinary daily clothes.  Interesting.  Oh and a shoe store!

I think I will head back to old town for a leisurely walk along the river and maybe site a swan in the sunshine.  Later ………….  

It is hours later. As I went out in the sunshine down over the bridge, over the river Saone, comforting cooing sounds of pigeons, quiet swimming solo duck and as I walked back a solo swan, then two more, then under the bridge I spied three more, so I crossed to the other side to get a better look and maybe 9 more in two clusters.  Such a treat to see the swans, enjoying their peaceful swim, watching them float and feed, dip their heads under and stretch out their beautiful long white necks.   

Walking through old town at a leisurely pace, feeling the cobblestones pressure my ankles and knees to be careful in my stride.  Notice the walking on uneven ground, feel the hardness of stone as my feet take turns landing on the walk ways. I walk by some coffee shops, gelateries, creperies, (scent of sweet, savoury, chocolate, fruity) and shops where they sell soaps and bath products … local scents of lavender, rose, lilac and more.  Colourful puppets, postcards, candles, silk scarves, painted velvet, pink pralines, flowershops. I popped in to a shop featuring limoncello in several varieties… made in France. Caught up with a group doing some tasting:). I guess I was in the right place!  A few restaurants featuring Michelin star rating, I checked out the prices. 

All the senses tickled out loud. 

Bonne nuit de France! 


Lyon France. 18 April 2024

A slow morning, listening to a Pema podcast and making breakfast.  It was nice, comfortable and restful. I enjoyed being in the kitchen of the apartment where my friend has stayed while going to school in Lyon.  There is a beautiful window out to the street and it opens with shutters on the outside.  It’s a small place, but adequate and local.  It’s nice to be in the rhythm of France here.  Different than other vacations.  

Afternoon walk, once I was provided orientation, I went down to the vieux Lyon, old town.  I had been there the day before, so some was familiar and now, on my own, I am really paying attention!  

I looked and listened for sensations and noticings as I walked.  I spied a solo swan across the river at the other bank.  I crossed the river earlier as there is a walking path down along the rivers edge.  When tourist boats and barges go by I can hear the gentle sound of the water up on the wall just beside me.  A little wake.  Sometimes up over the wall and on to the walkway.  Beautiful.  Walking bridges are fun too, there are some just for pedestrians… dark red colour.  I felt confident.  Haha, I have an AirTag in my purse and download of Google maps so I can be found and can navigate to get around.  Both worked.  And I found my way around and home.  

Tomorrow is Friday.  I leave Tuesday morning.  Still much to explore here.  Musee des tissus … looks like is temporarily closed.  I might try La Maison Des Canuts which looks to be another kind of museum where I will learn some of the silk trade history.  Maybe a walking tour?  Maybe a day trip to Annecy.

For now, I will sign off … heading out tomorrow on my own again for walking and exploring. 

May tomorrow be experienced with ease and joy, friendliness and peace.  May we be happy, healthy, safe and strong.  May we be well.

Pamela, bonne nuit de France

Lyon day 2, 17 April 2024

I put the post cards in the mail last night.  A way to connect with family while I am away travelling.  It’s fun to search for them, write them and get them mailed.  I imagine their little happy faces when they get mail! 

Last night was the first wakeful night since I arrived and I sure feel it today.  Took the local transit to EM Lyon, the business college in the area.  I found a seat in the library and got into wifi for free … yay!  Later today I will walk and maybe do a bit of email correspondence and generally enjoy the slow pace here in France.  I will finish listening to the live Pema question and answer from the weekend and maybe do some writing and reflecting.  I have many books on my kindle app that I have started and will review.  

Instead, I notice the books on scattered shelves.  Some in English.  One jumps off the shelf at me.  Head & Heart: the Art of Modern Leadership. By Kirsten Ferguson. (First let me say, I am impressed it is written by a woman and probably the reason I picked it off the rack to browse).  Not disappointed I start making notes, looking at her bibliography and self reflecting.  Theme of Self awareness …. I also heard at recent conference in Vancouver …. Most people are way less self aware than they think.  So I am now keenly interested in how to be more self aware and how will I know it … how do I do it, how can I be it?  “Always start your day with a gift of love”. Some key words I consider: curiosity, biases, wisdom, empathy, rethinking,reflection, perspective, capability, mindset, openness.  

Why do we do the self awareness journey?  I am listening to Tim Olmsted who gives the pretalk with Pema this past Sunday while I am in Europe.  He gives 4 reasons …. If you want to know more, ask me.  I am enjoying the study.  

This afternoon we head out for an adventure in Lyon. To climb up and up to the Fourviers, basilica for the views of the inside of the church and the city and rivers from the church.  Amazing. Beautiful.  Exhausting. Haha.  Day 2 Lyon. 

Lyon France, Day 1, 16 April 2024

What must it be like to live as a single woman in France?  I wonder if she’s typical, the woman who lives here and rents her apartment (partly) to a student. (I have not met her yet,just staying in her private home).  Money enough to help pay expenses she is also a school teacher. Getting around town by bus or metro. Walking through the community for fresh produce, banking and other necessities. She places artificial flowers in the bathroom and kitchen, even on the edge of the tub. Short on cupboard space, wine glasses and plates on wooden shelves, a gas stove, a small fridge. Not unlike my own kitchen in some ways. Things packed in little nooks and crannies and in plain view. 

The walk in to old town “vieux Lyon” begins along the one of two rivers. Beautiful. Less busy and less intense energy than Paris. Charming is a word that arises. Colourful, old arch stone walkways, big wooden doors with knockers and knobs. Italian style galleries and courtyards. Long high narrow staircases inside buildings and outside, between old structures …. up to the higher level a basilica or cathedral overlooks the land.  Snapping pictures is a delight.

Place Bellecoeur. A large open town square. It looks like it could be used for concerts and events. Shops of silk, wines and art works. Cafes and restaurants. Churches. Cobblestone streets. Mosaics. Murals painted (fresco) on buildings. Ruins of old amphitheatre. I am enjoying meeting this city in France. It’s history, as old as Paris. Its life has been as siblings grow, different than Paris and on its own journey, with its unique history and purpose. The seeds planted 2000 years ago have grown their own flowers, wisteria, pale purple blossoms in trees, large cathedrals and basilica, huge town center, shops displaying silks, flowers, fruits and veggies, sweets and savory delights of a regional fare. Italian flavour of influence, no doubt, but uniquely France. More to explore. More to come. Time to rest a bit and enjoy the wonderful salad, clear water, fresh veggies, local cheeses. We may cook our own dinner this evening. Relaxing and staying present.

My phone is still in greyscale mode. Year 5 without colour. It can be hard to see what I am taking pictures of using cell phone camera however when I get to wifi I use my iPad for narrowing down the ones to keep. Posting a few on Facebook and a few here on the blog.

I am listening to podcasts that have been trying to get my attention. Pema Chodron was live a few days ago and I just received the recording for my listening pleasure ( I have signed up for a Year with Pema and enjoy the weekly reminders to stay with the practice).

Noticing and reminders this trip is not as much about doing as being. I love the noticing, the gratitude, the foreign exotic nature of this travel destination and I love that I am comfortable being present to what arises.

thanks for reading and following along …. More to come.

train car 17, seat 788. To Lyon

Almost at the end of the train.. and my energy.  Lol. 16 km walked so far today.  Day 3 on the Paris schedule.  1926 pm we depart.  On exactly the moment, the train pulls away and backward we go.  Wheeeeeeee.  LOVE THAT FOR US!!! (As Rachel says but I love to say …) 

Rachel has organized and planned our trip so far and back to Lyon.  She is beside me …. Click.  Click, clicking her keyboard.  She has homework and studying to do.  She has one week left of her Masters program at the school in Lyon – with dates corresponding to my trip here. I will be quiet and rest, enjoy Lyon. She will stress and worry a bit about her last week and packing up, moving to SouthAmerica for a while.  Me …. Well, I am on vacation.  Albeit a short one, just to visit Paris and Lyon and enjoy this time in Europe.

Sometimes I wonder why I travel like this although I don’t think I regret it, I just have a wee bit of stress.

Today, up and just barely awake before Christopher arrived, with his large black poodle type beautiful dog ….  I quickly threw my belongings in backpack and out the door for an urban adventure.  Off we went. We walked, talked and enjoyed each other’s company in deep conversation for two and half hours.  Over cobblestones and toward the Cathedral Notre Dame. We walked down beautiful old streets, through passageways, following his phone and me in complete trust in my swim friend.  I have no sense of direction but the sun shone, the sky blue, my heart happy in Paris, and deep in conversation about my years and career, my beliefs, his situation at work and as a young parent …. All relevant and satisfying.  He works starting around 12 noon, so I was back to meet Rachel who was in virtual class till then at the hotel.  

The weather turned a few times today … wind, cold, sun, rain drops, grey, torrential downpour ….all afternoon.  We popped in and out of cute locally owned stores, fromageries, paper and pen shops, groceterias, the LEGO shop in a huge outdoor mall, Five Guys for fries and watching the wind and rain pour in buckets and fill the rain gutters between the cobblestones.  Umbrellas turned inside out in seconds, no matter how beautiful or well made.  I saw one with Mona Lisa’s face, bright rainbow ones, dark black large plain and see through plastic.  None could withstand the brief powerful storm as we sat comfortably munching on French fries and marvelling at our good timing.  Tourists in running shoes running, locals in beautiful stylish boots and open designer trench coats on a casual stroll …. We watched it all.  Couldn’t have planned it better.  

Then we walked back to the hotel to get our suitcases stopping briefly on the way for yet more cheese on sale and Italian gelato.  Gathering our bags, new purchases and using hotel facilities we bid adieu to the front desk staff guy and back out to the spring afternoon streets of Paris.

We took two metro trains to the Gare de Lyon to catch TGV fast train with OUIGo…. Typically a five hour rail trip, we will get there in two.  No stops, here we go.  As the sun starts to set we see green fields, new bright yellow farm grassy areas and some stone buildings.  The clouds of color and then darkness …. I think I might have dozed off through the beautiful-est part.   I wake to a small bottle of rose wine, (we each have one) fabulous white local cheeses and some tasty garlic olives we had purchased today.  Oh my goodness and fresh red perfect strawberries.   12 minutes left till we arrive.  The picnic dinner is over.  I love to travel the trains in Europe to listen to the various languages being spoken and seeing the vast countryside and wide open sky.  Marvellous

Sunday morning, 14 April 2024. Paris. Revisited

Sunday morning 

I had a gluten event last evening so interrupted night till 2 am. Then fell asleep finally and slept in till after 9 local time.  Very comfortable and feeling overall better today.  Ready for the day.  We both really enjoyed the sleep in … my travel buddy friend Rachel says .”LOVE THIS FOR US”. Agreed. 

 Off to meet Christopher at market. He’s not there. (Christopher is a guy I know from cold water swimming in Victoria over the last year. ). He and his family have relocated to live in Paris.  

Off to find gf bakery. Breakfast cookie and apple blueberry crisp. Oh my. For later, a brownie on a cookie crust and praline soft mushy thing, and a huge cookie. So many good gf things to try and no gluten in the place :). 

Back to the market and connect with Christopher and his son, Xavier.  Wonderful two cheeked kiss greeting, we exchange hugs.  They have been happily living here this past 6 weeks and will stay – they just signed 3 year lease.  Xavier tries to play with some local kids on the playground but they reject him …. His dad tries to help out, asking what happened … with his young hand flung in the air he states … “They are French”. Enough said.  We part.  I will see Christopher in the morning for another walk about.  

Today I want to walk the river bank.  Off we go. Listening and noticing the sounds of Paris.  The sights.  The world so foreign from my own.  Intriguing and interesting… we walk on. 

We listen to Sunday morning Church bells of the basilica that we visited yesterday…. I stop. Breathe. Stop. Notice birdsong. Pigeons, other song birds in the trees. Tour guides speaking French.  Fast. Fluent. All can be heard on the corner of the street.  Love this. 

We see an intriguing entryway, mosaic tile floor, chandelier lights … many shops inside.  They are not open, it is Sunday.  Gallerie Vivienne.  Libraries shop (book store), Very high end Bridal and toy shops.  Wine store.  Outside on the steet again, We spy a bunch of bright orange statues … two basketball stars are bigger than life … I took pics to send to my grandsons.  We walk through the gardens by the Louvre.  Statues, flowers, people.  We stop for a rest and some water.

Then to the Jardins Palais Royal. Breathtaking. Rows of trees   Children with moms. Walking, playing. No cars. Sculpture. Pigeons. We sit and enjoy our breakfast goodies plus lunch foods we found.  

We find a bench in the shade. 3 kinds of French cheese. From a Fromagerie. Hard Aged orange Mimolette.   Soft white Brie. Mixed goat and sheep medium white firm. Wine rose from a wine shop. Cheap. Pink. Screw top. Roasted potatoes, skins on in olive oil and spices. Warm. With wine, water and a rest.   We see a marriage proposal, she says yes and cries to his kneeling on one knee and presenting her the ring.

Then we walk on. It’s 130 pm, Off we walk to the river. On the Eiffel Tower side of the river we stroll … Bridges and walkways lead to the Eiffel Tower.  So much people watching and enjoying families and couples everywhere. 

The river is the same, beautiful and hardy, lots of boats of tourists going by.  We walk in the groves of trees when we can to stay out of hot sun. People walking by. Many seated on the banks, just watching or having a rest.

We stop to pay our respects on Pont Alma where the memorial to Diana is … 

Parc Monceau. We stop to rest on a bench and watch the local families wander through the beautiful park.  Left over gf treats …. Almond creamy with praline tart base.  And Chocolate peanut brownie with cookie base. We also have some leftover aged orange cheese.  Lovely snack, sparkling water.  We are full again of the sweet and savory Paris foods. Supper will be veggies and fruit. Maybe salad. 

Walking through a few parks and Galleries Lafayette … up and up in the escalator, looking at the glass ceiling and fancy railings, luxury name brand items at ridiculous prices.  People excited about their purchases.  

Dinner in our room.  We picked up groceries on the walk.  A big head of fancy lettuce.  Goat feta and a fresh large yellow lemon to squeeze, jar of olives ( we did not find a place to get fresh local olives today … but we looked), small box of cherry tomatoes, …. Made lettuce role ups!  leftover rose wine from lunch bottle we bought, Crème brûlée for dessert.  It is all gone.

Grateful:  19 km walk about in Paris after a luxurious sleep in.  Wow …. Amazing.  The rivers, the parks, the gluten free bakery and wonderful foods, cheap rose wine from the region, sunshine, the river, tree lined streets and benches to rest from the sun.  It’s almost 930 local time, pm.  Pleasantly tired and physically weary, plenty full of rich food and salad….. bed time here in Paris

Paris arrival13 April 2024

On the long flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam I reread the book I purchased years ago for the month long stay at Roujan, a villa in the south of France.  Title of the book: 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go.  Lots of great ideas for Paris including museums, culinary experiences, shopping / market advice and green spaces, as well some interesting tidbits about Lyon. I made some lists.  I don’t really have lots of time or transport to get around to a lot of places, but I enjoyed the book and ideas it gave me.  I opened my focus and will be ready for whatever presents itself on this trip.  Museums, parks, shopping, culinary areas.  The bridges and the river call to me.

I waited at the airport Charles de Gaulle.  Rachel arrived by train (we easily meetup) and we walked to Hotel Marena within one and half kms from the train station downtown.  Cute place, good price, very clean, nice bathroom with tall shower.  I would be happy to stay here again.  Beds very separate (almost two separate rooms), a desk with chair, bit of a closet, two windows with balconies to the street.  Quaint, lovely.  

Upon arrival the weather is warm, almost hot, sunny, blue skies and no breeze.  Lots of tourists in town, a sunny Saturday in spring. 

We head out for a walk to Sacre coeur basilica.  Up and up we follow cobblestones and then staircases.  Up and up it seems to go on and on.  I can see the top, the beautiful structure where we will have gorgeous panoramic view of the city.  Maybe as the sun starts to set.   

We walk around the perimeter and take lots of pictures, all of Paris in the sights.  I don’t think I have been here before, that I recall.  Such a treasure.  We walk inside the huge impressive structure …. Very peaceful and full of candles and people sitting in quiet meditation.  The energy is lovely and kind.  Stained glass windows and sacred columns, huge high ceilings, a pipe organ, wooden pews.  

Outside for more views and photos.  The sky gets darker and clouds reflect the pink of Paris.  The Eiffel Tower, green trees and late spring blossoms, big lazy black cat, roof tops with reddish clay chimneys as far as you can see.  

Hunger starts to overtake us.  We start with artisanal ice cream and then find authentic dosa from south Kerala region, we order takeout.  Back to our lovely home in the city for the night, satisfied and satiated with sights, sounds and sensations of this beautiful place.  Full of gratitude for safe travels and easy moments.