Category Archives: Europe

Je me souviens

One year ago this week I was in Paris with Sergio celebrating my 40th birthday. So I thought I would post a handful of photographs from the trip. I know that many people think the French and Parisians in particular are rude, but that has never been my experience. I love the food, the architecture, the downtown neighborhoods (and yes – the people too).

We had a wonderful time and splurged mightily staying at a beautiful hotel and enjoying all Paris had to offer. Some of the highlights included drinking champagne at a little bar in the Marais and people watching, having dinner near the opera house with Alicia, the views from atop the Eiffel Tower, and dinner at the oldest run brasserie in the city of Paris located in another favorite neighborhood, the Bastille.

Vive la France

Tomorrow, July 14th, is Bastille Day, otherwise known as French independence.  Most French restaurants in Boston (and elsewhere) will have festivities planned so head down to your local brasserie and order yourself a nice bottle of French wine and enjoy yourself.

I’ve included this image of the model draped in a French flag because it truly does make me want to say “vive la france.” I’ve also included photos from my visit to Paris in May if you are so inclined – take a peek, it takes approximately 2-3 minutes to view all the scrolling images.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Paris May 2010

Videos from Paris

My siblings gave me a Flip so I could video my trip to Paris. I used it quite a bit but I’ve determined I’m not cut out to be a movie director.  A steady hand, good eye and baritone voice to narrate is required (none of which I have).  However, here are a few clips.

April 29th @ Logan Airport

May 1st @ Le Louvre Museum

May 2nd @ 4Pat – Restaurant in Marais

Photos of Paris

I arrived home to Boston and I want to share some of my memories while they remain fresh. However, before I start I’d like to thank everyone for their nice comments, e-mails and to my friends and family who left such nice messages wishing me a happy birthday.

The quick trip to Paris was wondeful. I spent most of my time strolling the streets, eating and drinking far more than one person should ever consume in a day and enjoying time relaxing with Sergio.  I was also able to connect with our friend Alicia and even meet her handsome, new boyfriend.

I will write more about the trip, but since pictures tell a story so well – I thought I would start by including some photographs from my long weekend in Paris.  The picture show takes approximately 3 minutes and will change automatically.  I hope you enjoy.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Paris May 2010

Bonjour from Paris

Despite a cold and rainy forecast, the weather so far has been mostly agreeable. I just hope by typing this I don’t jinx the rest of our trip and condemn us to rain and cold.  The hotel, Prince de Galles, has lived up to its hype. It is beautiful and the service thus far has been excellent.  Shortly after arriving at the hotel (9:30am) local time, we were shown our room.  Since I didn’t sleep at all on the flight, Sergio and I promptly took a nap and did not leave until 2:00pm.  We were both a bit tired all day but it did not prevent us from a quick promenade down the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triumphe nor spending a few hours ascending the Eiffel Tower (pictures will follow upon my return).

In the evening we went to one of my favorite sections of Paris, ile Ste. Louis, which is a tiny island in the Seine River next to ile de la Cite.  This smaller island always seems a lot less crowded and charming.  Dinner at a tiny, but delicious Italian restaurant named Sorza was excellent.  Perhaps this is one of my favorite things about Paris.  No matter where I go and what I try – the food does not disapoint.  I’m sure there are bad restaurants and places I’d rather not eat, but either due to luck or a good eye nothing I’ve eaten has left me wanting. I’m off now to try some ice cream at Berthillon Ice Cream on ile Ste. Louis.

I feel giddy like a kid the night before Christmas.
Jeudi (demain) nous partons pour Paris.

Bonjour Paris

On Thursday, April 29th I will be flying to Paris. The weather forecast at this point looks to be disapointing with temperatures in the low 60s and rain.  I hoped to spend the days walking and visiting the public gardens but if the weather does not cooperate I’ll head in doors to see some of the magnificent museums.  Regardless of the weather, I plan to eat plenty of these:
 
Wine, cheese and conversation will also be enjoyed.  I am hopeful that I’ll be able to connect on Friday night with a houseguest who spent this past Christmas with Sergio and me.  I’ve yet to make reservations for any of the nights we are in Paris. 
If you have a restaurant, cafe, bar or club to recommend, send me your comments  or e-mail me; as always it is greatly appreciated.

J’aime Paris

Two weeks from tomorrow (Thursday) I leave for Paris. This will be my first visit to France in more than six years, and I’m really looking forward to spending a few days relaxing, site seeing and of course eating. Sergio purchased our tickets as a surprise gift so we could celebrate my 40th birthday in Paris. Unlike my previous visit when I stayed in Le Marais, I’ll be staying at the posh, Hotel Prince De Galles, which is in the ever so chic 8th district (arrondissement).  I’m really looking forward to our stay at the Prince De Galles Hotel and will comment on the property on my profile on TripAdvisor as well as on my blog so check back for my photos and critique – esp. if you plan on visiting Paris in the near future.
I know that many people have a perception of the French as a rude and arrogant group, and I’m certain that there are many who probably live up to the stereotype, but I’ve yet to meet one.  On my trip to Paris in 2003, I found nearly everyone helpful and quite patient as I stuttered through my French. Despite the contradiction between the reputation and my personal experiences interacting with the French, I still find this video of Catherine Tate hilarious.

Hotel Prince De Galles – Paris, France

On Christmas day my partner surprised me with news that he had purchased airline tickets to take me to Paris for my birthday this spring.  Since then, I’ve been perusing websites and looking into possible hotels to book our stay.  Initially, I wanted to return to Le Marais, but I was unsuccessful in finding a property that I wanted to spend my birthday so I started looking into other neighborhoods.

Earlier today a friend suggested the Hotel Prince De Galles.  He had stayed there a few years ago and was very complimentary.  When I visited the site, I found a special – stay two nights get the third free. Have I mentioned that I love it when I feel like I’m getting a deal?  Armed with the knowledge that friends really enjoyed the property and the opportunity to stay in Paris for three nights but only having to pay for two nights proved to be all the incentive I needed. 

After I booked the hotel, I stumbled across the blog, The Best Luxury Hotels in the World. Check out the link to the blog for some more photographs of the hotel.

In 5-months I will be flying to Paris, France to celebrate my birthday for a quick 4-night vacation, and I can hardly wait.  My preference would be to stay in Le Marais, but I have not booked anything yet.
Le Marais is a centrally located Parisian neighborhood packed with fantastic restaurants and cafes and is easily accessible to the Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou and most of the gay night life in the city.  No doubt I will be looking online and reading what people have to say on TripAdvisor.com to try and figure out where I want to book my stay.  If you have any suggestions – please send me an e-mail here or through my profile on TripAdvisor

Until then I think I’ll just have to rent out Baz Lurmann’s Moulin Rouge a few more times… 

OMG – Le Viaduc de Millau

As a self-proclaimed travel nut, my journeys have taken me to Europe many times, but I’ve always travelled by plane or train. However, the Millau Viaduct, which is located in southern France and is part of the new E11 expressway that connects Paris and Barcelona might just tempt me into renting a car to enjoy driving over the tallest vehicular bridge in the world.

Interestingly, the Millau Viaduct is built with a slight curve because a straight road could induce a floating sensation as you drive across it. The curve adds a sense of elegance in the picture and really does look as if it is floating in the sky. Would you drive across this 8,000′ long bridge? I would not want to be stuck on the bridge if there were high winds or inclement weather but on a beautiful day it must be absolutely spectacular.