the paris pastry challenge

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Day 5 @ Rose Bakery

Oh là là!

Somewhere on vacation my friend challenged me to eat a pastry a day.

This is not a challenge one says no to. Especially not when in Paris with a pâtisserie on nearly every block.

And so we accepted. With gusto!

We went to the Ladurées, the Rose Bakeries, the Angelinas. We went to the hole in the walls. We went to the hidden gems down alleyways.

We treated ourselves – sometimes to near excess (day 5).

But mostly we enjoyed every single bite of every single pastry.

Day 1 & Day 2 (Angelina)

Day 3 (Rose Bakery) & Day 4 (Angelina @ Versailles)

Day 5 (Rose Bakery @ Bon Marché)

Days 6 – 8

le fin

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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller


Today we depart France and mark the close of our Summer 2013 family vacation in Europe.

As I reflect on the past 19 days, the words I wrote on May 10 and all my reasons for taking these two young travelers on their second European trip, I’m reminded of Maya Angelou’s words:

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

I sought to expand their view of this world, of the people on this planet. I sought to give them a glimpse into life outside suburban San Francisco. I sought to show them how others live. I sought to show them history. I sought to make our own history.

I sought to show them why this Californian has fallen in love with Paris, in love with traveling. I sought to show them they are the two most important people in my life.


“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~ Miriam Beard


If their world is just a little flatter,

If they are a little more tolerant,

If they are inspired to learn a new language,

If they are, simply, inspired,

If they seek to understand,

If they understand that the best route between two points isn’t always the quickest,

If they know that God’s treasures are always at the end a long (2km!) walk and sometimes it’s turquoise,

If they see turquoise and remember kayaking,

If they have a passion for writing and sharing their experiences,

If they wake up one day and realize they have friends who span the globe, who speak different languages and who have differing cultures,

If they hear “Mona Lisa” and are instantly transported to an afternoon at the Louvre,

If they see 100 year old buildings in San Francisco and are reminded of the 1000 year old buildings in Paris,

If they are forgiving when Dad has to stop to have (some more) gelato,

If they made memories,

If they had fun,

then this was a fantastic summer vacation.


“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” ~ Samuel Johnson


from ajaccio to cargèse

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“Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.”1 ~ Antonio Machado


Road side dropoff

Here’s what it looks like when you get dropped off on the side of the road.

We followed our harrowing adventure to get to the ferry with an equally adventurous trip to get to Club Med.

Pro tip #1: There is no taxi stand at the ferry port in Ajaccio.

Pro tip #2: A taxi from Ajaccio to Cargèse is a lot of money, 120€. Take a bus.

Pro tip #3: The bus doesn’t actually take you to Club Med Cargèse. Close. But 2km, by some young travelers, is not “close“.

Here’s what it looks like when you’re walking 2km past horses and cows dragging luggage:

Pro tip #4: this was our pot of gold at the end of the 2km rainbow:



1. “Traveler, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.”

marseille, in 52 hours

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“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi


For as many times as I’ve been to France, I’ve only been outside Paris once.

As we made our way to Corsica, we stopped for two nights in Marseille, in the south of France along the Mediterranean Sea, France’s second largest city.

We left Paris on a high speed train, the TGV, from Gare de Lyon and arrived mid-afternoon into Marseille. We spent the first half day walking around the Old Port of Marseille, Vieux-Port.

We fit in two boat tours and one hop-on/hop-off bus tour.

Our train

View of the old port


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Château d’If

William has this to say:

In Marseille we went on two boat rides. I went in the front and it was so fun because the waves would push the boat up and it felt like you were flying!

The first boat went to a small island to see a small prison [Château d’If]. My dad said it reminded him of the Alcatraz of Marseille.

From the flyer we had in English:

In 1844, Alexandre Dumas published The Count of Monte Cristo which was an instant success. In the book, the hero, Edmond Dantès, is imprisoned on the island.

The second boat went almost to Corsica (or that’s what it felt like) and then came back [it was a tour of Les Calanques, “a ruggest coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets”, around the coastline of Marseille].

The next day we went to a ferry boat to Ajaccio, Corsica. Getting to the boat was an adventure!

Someone told us to walk one way, then another man told us to walk back, then a lady told us to walk all the way back (at this point my mom was super mad).

My mom went to some taxis to ask them to just drive us and all of them said “no”. Then a security guy yelled at them and then we got a ride.

Here are some pictures we took:

montmartre

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“Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings.” ~ Hodding Carter


4 shoes in front of Sacré Cœur.

Montmartre. Sacré Cœur. Rue Foyatier.

Mountain of the martyr.

For two years this place has been on my “Paris To-Do” list.

For two years I’ve wanted to see where Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh worked. Where Le Chat Noir and Moulin Rouge were.

Monday I finally made it.

After a ridiculously fabulous breakfast at Ladurée and a Metro to Anvers, we walked up towards Sacré Cœur. It stood, at the top, beckoning in its travertine splendor.

Despite the overcast weather, the view from the top was incredible.

A view of Paris ~ a sea of buildings with Centre Georges Pompidou (mere meters from our apartment in Le Marais) in the distance on one side and La Tour Eiffel on the other.

William had this to say:

Eiffel Tower from Montmartre

Then we went to a church on a hill and went inside. It was much prettier than Notre Dame but still pretty dark [inside].

We ended the day with a stop at Mariage Frères for, perhaps, some of the best iced tea I’ve ever had. Violette French Summer Tea.

musée du louvre

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[This is a special three-author post. The Dad had an opportunity to visit before the other shoes arrived.]

The Dad (Sunday, June 16, 2013)

Pyramid at the LourveI’ve been to Paris many times.  I’ve walked around the Louvre Palace and the Pyramid.  I’ve imagined Robert Langdon discovering that the Grail is buried under La Pyramide Inversée.

But I’ve never been inside the Louvre.

I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre with someone who studied art history.

Four hours and 37,228 steps later we were both out of energy.

Layli

Winged Victory

Naked Aphrodite!

We went to the museum. We saw lots of nice things like a picture of Mona Lisa and Winged Victory [Winged Victory of Samothrace]. There was a section for everything. My favorite sections where the Egyptian and Persian sections.

William

The museum that we went to was okay. It’s also kind of cool because all the statues and things were real. There were mostly naked statues so that was boring. Then we left and had hamburgers for dinner and then we came home and started typing this.