Nous Aimons la France!
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life”. After our recent vacation in France, we couldn’t agree more with Jefferson. In fact we would say that this is true of of the entire country.
Our two week adventure began on the Mediterranean coast in Nice, then onto Monaco and Cassis, a few angelic small towns in Provence and finished in the great city of lights, Paris. From the magical coastal landscapes to the Parisian nightlife, we embraced every moment and celebrated a few of the important life lessons that I think Jefferson might have been referring to.
Life Lesson 1 – Toast to Edible Culture
Photos: Pesto & Prosciutto Salad in Aix-en-Provence * Brasserie on our block in Paris * Toasting to Van Gogh in St. Remy
Around every corner we discovered sidewalk cafes or brassieres serving creative entrees and fresh fruit, cheeses, meats and breads. I swear that some of the city streets in Provence and Paris smelled like butter, wine or croissants around the clock.
Wandering off the beaten path from time to time, we were never disappointed by the culinary adventure that lay ahead of us. We found each baker or chef to be more than happy to help us choose their favorite meal on the menu and just like that…an ordinary lunch turned into the best salad or sandwich we had ever had. What were our favorites?
- For me – Beef Bourguignon at Restaurant Lescure in Paris, Sandwiches & Beers at Sur De La Fontaine in Cassis and white fish cooked in Provencal sauce in Aix-en-Provence
- Kristian – Proscuitto & Goat Cheese salad at the Baudy Hotel in Giverny, the Duck at Le Mes Turet in Paris and Crepes from this tiny little vendor around the corner from our hotel in Paris.
Life Lesson 2 – Appreciate the time you have together and la Romance (the romance)
Whether we were drinking champagne in Monaco, enjoying the city of lights on the River Seine boat cruise or exploring the coastline cliffs in Cassis, I couldn’t help but get swept away by it all (photos above). It was hard not to imagine that I was in some kind of rom-com. I am such a cheese ball!
Life Lesson 3 – Find beauty in everything like les Impressionnistes (the Impressionists)
Malcolm Gladwell could have completed one of his famous outlier studies on France & the Impressionists. We had the pleasure and honor of viewing these artists’ masterpieces in Paris, but some of our favorite memories of the trip involved traveling to the cities and countrysides in which these artists lived, painted and were inspired to complete their most popular pieces.
We walked through Cezanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence, where they still have artifacts on display from his still life paintings. Check out the vases and the sculpture on the dresser – do you see anything you recognize in the paintings to the right?
We hung out in St. Remy where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life, completing more than 150 paintings and 100 sketches.
And about 45 minutes from the Paris, we had the opportunity to visit Claude Monet’s estate and gardens in Giverny. We spent more than an hour hanging out with the actual Water lilies!
Life Lesson 4 – Sometimes it is important to take a moment to breath
Photos: Enjoying a cafe & the view from our hotel room in Nice * Toasting to Monaco outside the Monte Carlo Casino
For those of you who know us well, I am sure it doesn’t come as too big of surprise that the French schedule worked perfectly for us. Sightseeing, afternoon walks and museum hopping were booked for the earlier part of the day, followed by a nap, happy hour and then late night dinners & drinks (even a show at Moulin Rouge). We had plenty of time to take in the culture and the outdoors, while still reserving time for plenty of rest, play and WINE.
Life Lesson 5 – Explore, Adventure and Revivre L’histoire (relive history)
Visiting countries like France you quickly realize what it means to relive history. We climbed the Chateau des Baux in Provence and saw parts of a true medieval castle from the age of the Celts.
Currently reading the book “The Journey” about the life of Mary Antoinette, I was in awe when we entered her royal apartments, picnicked in the gardens and explored her Petit Trianon in Versailles. In fact I was in such awe when I entered the Hall of Mirrors that I pulled what we call a “Rachel” and tripped over one of the protective stantions. Whoops!
The architectural vision and engineering that went into the Eiffel Tower for the World’s Fair was brought to life as we climbed ALL the steps up to the second platform.
And Mona…well hanging out with Mona was just cool.
Merci France! We will never forget all the life lessons & memories.
Avec Grâce et Célébration,