Friday, July 8, 2011

Summertime Stay-cations


     This summer we will not be doing any major traveling, much to our dismay. Therefore, we have been reacquainting ourselves with our own back yard.  One of the main attractions we have in our hometown is our beaches. Since we always live such hectic lives, it is something that unfortunately we do not take advantage of  on a regular basis. So after shopping at Costco and gearing up with new beach chairs, umbrellas, a rolling cart & cooler, we are ready to enjoy some fun in the sun!  We pack a lunch and some snacks, grab the family and head to one of our favorite spots either in Miami Beach or Key Biscayne.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

American Influence in Paris

          One of the things that has struck us this trip is the vast American influence in the City of Lights. In all of the restaurants and stores what is heard over their sound system is American music. When I asked one of the employees at Coton Cafe, he said "We love American music!"
          Although they are not as abundant as in our home city of Miami, there is at least one Starbucks and McDonalds in every arrondissement. We could not believe our eyes when we drove past Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, American Apparel, Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, Ralph Lauren and Apple Stores.
          We remember the day where only Americans in Paris wore jeans & sneakers. Today that is all you see the Parisians wearing while they stroll through the boulevards.

Making museum visits more interactive for your child

Ever since Sofi was a 18 months old, we have traveled with her. We would take her to museums to start exposing her to the world of art. When she got a little older we invested in a cheap digital camera just for her. When we now go to museums or on trips, she clicks away, making her experience more interactive. She takes photographs of all her favorite paintings & sculptures.

Most museums in large cities have books or pamphlets which make going through it more like a scavenger hunt. Whether it is looking for a particular work of art or sketching their version of the piece, it makes the experience all the more fun!

Tip: First thing to do is hit the gift shop & invest in one of these little treasures that will both educate & entertain!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rodin Musee and Jardin Great for Kids

    Paris is full of many museums or musees with incredible art.  However, days of museums can take a toll on the kids.  A wonderful alternative to spending the day inside a museum is visiting the gardens or jardin at the Musee Rodin.  For a Euro for adults and kids under 12 are free, your little "thinker"  will enjoy the experience of being outside in a beautiful garden surrounded by some of Rodin's most recognized works. 

The garden has many sculptures, most of which can be TOUCHED by the kids.  All the while enjoying the outdoors, not having to be too quiet and taking in wonderful views of the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower.

Another outdoor museum is the Jardin des Plantes.  A bit further from  the center of Paris, this outdoor garden/museum is a great place for a picnic by the Seine, running around and again exposing the kids to art!

Rodin's House

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Favorite Apartment Gadgets

      Apartment living in Paris is ce magnifique! One of the coolest gadgets we have come across and used with great frequency is this grocery transporter "on wheels". Since most of it's shoppers are neighborhood folk purchasing their daily needs, they pack it with their purchases and wheel it all home. These very cute and practical carts come in an array of colors and prints! We are hooked! You help the environment by not using plastic bags and make your schlep home easier!

Picky Eaters & the French

        When traveling with picky little eaters, it could get hairy! That is one of the benefits to staying in an apartment. With the kitchen at the ready, we have been able to make all of Sofi's favorite foods. We must say; however, that every restaurant we have been to has been extremely willing to accomodate our requests and they have done so cheerfully!

        All you have to do is... ASK.

                              Merci French Restaurants.

Monet, Les Nympheas, and Giverny

          I have always been very fond of the Impressionist Master, Claude Monet. His "Waterlillies" or "Nympheas" as he called them, in particular, are my favorites. Sofi has also fallen in love with them; therefore, we wanted to visit the annex of the Louvre, L'Orangerie where these masterpieces are housed in two very large oval rooms. When you take the first step into these rooms and your eyes absorb the immense beauty before them, your breath is simply taken away and you are transported back in time.

     Magnify that feeling by taking a day trip just one hour outside of Paris by train to the city of Vernon. Once there, hop in a cab which will get you there much quicker than by bus. Enjoy the picturesque ride until you arrive at your final destination of The Claude Monet Foundation. Once inside, words cannot describe the beauty that surrounds you. You feel Claude's spirit and you can understand why he was so inspired by his home and gardens! This was one of the best trips ever!

Japanese Bridge

Scarves or "Foulards" in French

The French have always been known for their chic sense of style. Whether they are dressed in business attire or casual wear, they embody elegance and style.
The one accessory that can be found in every store window and on most French men and women is the scarf or foulard.
They can be found in all colors and prints as well as price ranges.
So whether you are headed to work or play, throw on a scarf to complete your outfit!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Paris Tour

     When traveling with older adults & kids in a large city such as Paris, a great way to see the sights and get around is on one of the tour buses available. We chose L' Open Tour. It has 4 different routes and 50 different stops. You can literally "hop off" at one of the tourist attractions and "hop on" when you are ready to go to the next one. We got the two day pass which ended up being 3 euros more than the day pass. We took many amazing pictures and went to more far off areas that we probably wouldn't have seen otherwise!

Pictures taken of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame from the bus...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bienvenu a Paris

I love Paris in the Springtime!

A very strange thing happened on this return trip to the City of Lights...  Being my parents' sixth time back, my husband's fifth, my fourth, and my daughter's second, we were all looking forward to this vacation. However, upon landing, it felt more like we were arriving HOME. This time we decided to rent an apartment since we would need two rooms and the hotels were on the expensive side. Apartment rentals were very economical in comparison. It also provides us the opportunity to live as though we were Parisians. I wish we had wised up to this earlier.

We are staying in the heart of St. Germain des Pres. With a Monoprix (market), a Patisserie, Boulangerie, Pressing, Pharmacie,Vin & Fromage shop, and Bank all within a two block radius, who could ask for more.

...Stay tuned.

Au revoir

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's been a while

Hello Again...

It has been a while since we have written about any of our travels. We are gearing up for a European Vacation this April... We cannot wait to visit our favorite city in the world... The City of Lights... Paris, France.

We will be traveling with our daughter who will turn 8 on our trip and the grandparents. It should be interesting...

We purchased our flights using points and decided it would be both cost effective and an experience enhancer to stay in an apartment for 10 days. We will be experiencing life more like Parisians. We look forward to home cooked breakfasts & dinners along with snacking on wine, cheese, and baguettes!

This will be our fourth trip back; therefore, we look forward to frequenting the  neighborhood wine & cheese shop, little market, and great bakeries.

We will be detailing our experiences and sharing them with you upon arrival!

Looking forward to it.

Bon soir...