Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Arriving in Paris

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

A week ago Friday, we made our way from Southwestern France to Paris. We wanted to end our trip with a few days in the magical city.
When I'm buying plane tickets, I usually include a hotel room in Paris either as we are arriving or leaving. I find that the hotel room doesn't really increase the price of the plane tickets, so it's like getting a hotel room for free. So our flights from Ohio to Paris with two nights in a hotel in Paris were about $800 each.
This time we stayed in Trianon Rive Gauche, which was in the 5th arrondisement. The rooms are always small in Paris, so don't expect anything like an American hotel room, but the bed was firm and the bathroom remodeled, plus we didn't spend that much time in the room.
Since we took the train to Paris, we arrived at the Gare de Lyon in the 12th arrondisement. I had checked ahead of time and walking from the train station to our hotel was about 2 miles. Even though we were wheeling suitcases along, I wanted to walk and enjoy the city.
When we first got off the train, the sky looked like this!

How glorious!
So we started walking, following some vague directions I had downloaded from Google maps.
Soon the sky ahead looked like this.

We kept walking as the wind picked up, wheeling our suitcases behind us. And then the rain began to fall and suddenly in front of us, a bistro appeared with a broad red awning. I pulled my suitcase next to an empty terrace table and Earl joined me.

We had shared a sandwich on the train, but after walking for a while, we were definitely ready to eat again. Paris is used to tourists who eat at all hours of the day, so they didn't look askance when we ordered a charcuterie and cheese planche (board) along with a Kir au vin blanc, which is kir mixed with white wine. 

This is the huge board that arrived with ham, salami, three kinds of cheese, butter, pickles and bread. We sat there watching the rain for quite a bit, until it had passed and we were definitely sated.
After checking our directions again, we moved on to arrive at our hotel with slightly damp suitcases.
Two nights in Paris is never enough, but I know that we'll be back to explore more.
Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave your link below and visit each other's blogs to share your love for France.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Online Book Tour & Free on Kindle

So in between traveling and teaching and keeping strong relationships with my family, I haven't been very good at promoting my books.
That's why I ventured into another online book promotion tour for Paris Runaway.

I've already received two new reviews of Paris Runaway, and I always love hearing what readers enjoy in my novels. It isn't so great when they don't like things, but I guess that's part of the learning process too.
Denise gave Paris Runaway a 5-star review on Goodreads. She said, "This highly entertaining novel is the perfect summer read." And it's officially summer here once Memorial Day arrives. And, maybe she knows this from her own life experience: "If you have ever fallen in love with a Frenchman, you will recognize how special it can be, as epitomized in Auguste."

Amy at Locks, Hooks, and Books blog also reviewed Paris Runaway and gave it 5 stars. She wrote, "It has a perfect combination I love in a story, some laughs, mystery, suspense, adventure, action, and romance. I highly recommend it!"

You can visit the tour at the link to see other upcoming stops.
And you can enter to win Kindle or paperback copies. If you don't want to take a chance on not winning, Paris Runaway is free on Kindle Sunday, May 28, through Tuesday, May 30.
So please, visit Amazon and download it. Let your friends know and have them download it. You never know when you're going to need a trip to Paris through the eyes of Sadie.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Catching Up

I've just finished a few intense days, returning from France and all that entails, two grocery store trips, four loads of laundry, cleaning, greeting family, paying bills, etc...
But I also needed to finish a training course for my online teaching. The training began on May 15 and lasted until today, May 24.
Of course, I was traveling in France. I didn't want to spend extra time inside doing a training course. But we had been warned that if we did not complete the training, we would not receive classes to teach in July.
So I did a few of the modules while in France.
This is a wall in the Paris airport made of actual living plants. I thought it was incredibly cool. 

Monday, I thought I would get a bunch done, but with the grocery and the laundry and the general exhaustion, I did not.
That meant that Tuesday was wholly devoted to working on the training, and this morning, just a few minutes ago, I completed the training.
What a relief.
Now I'll have time to visit other people's blogs, read a book -- oh, wait. I still have grading to do for the class I'm currently teaching, plus I have to prepare for the in-person college course that begins next week.
Still, what a relief that I finished the training.
Thanks to everyone who visited and commented while I was traveling in France. I can't wait until I am over there full time, writing leisurely posts about my life in France.
This was the Tuleries Garden with the Eiffel Tower in the background on our last evening in France. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Pont du Gard

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

As this post is published, we're flying home from France.
Le sigh.
But we had a fabulous time and can't complain about an 18-day vacation.
While we were in France, we visited the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct. We had just been in the village Uzes where the water ran across the aqueduct to the more southern town of Nimes.
The sun came out at just the right time.

We have never gone to the top of the aqueduct, but apparently you can take a tour and go to the top level. I did take a picture of these stone steps that lead up to it.
Although the steps look ancient, they were built in the 1800s. You can see where they are worn away in the middle.
 Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave you link below and visit each other's blogs to share your love for France.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Perfect Breakfast

I don't mean to sound like a whiner. I mean who goes to France and complains about things? But this morning I finally got a perfect French breakfast. That is to say a kind of breakfast that I always hope for when I'm in France.
We've been staying in Airbnb's, so we were responsible for our own breakfast. I resorted to using coffee bags like teabags, or, horror of horrors, Nescafé instant coffee. It was not the pitcher of coffee accompanied by a small pitcher of steamed milk that I had dreamed of.
We checked into a hotel in Paris yesterday and they said we could have the breakfast buffet for €16 each or breakfast in our room for €10 each. I ordered the €10 breakfast for each of us and this morning at 8 AM A man knocked at the door with the tray and set it on the bed. Voilà!
There on the tray with the silver pitcher of coffee and a small white ceramic pitcher of steamed milk. Heaven! 
That's not to mention the plate with the little croissant, little chocolate croissant and a little escargot -- which is what they call these little pastries that are circular with raisins in them. We also had part of a baguette and three types of jam to choose from, along with packets of butter just the perfect temperature to spread on bread
Now I feel complete. On to the Musées D'Orsay today. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Church Mystery

We continue our meandering vacation, driving to markets, hiking, eating.
Our Airbnb host is rather appalled at our lack of plans to visit touristy sights. She suggested we visit a famous church/town near here called Rennes-le-chateau.
Her husband even brought by a book that he had bought in French but ended up unable to read -- they're Australian.
The book is about a priest who was assigned to Rennes-le-chateau in the late 1800s. When he got there, the church was a mess, falling apart, and he had no money to fix it. He received a donation from a countess and began to make repairs. Suddenly, he was buying land and having stone masons build gardens and a tour.
The rumor is that he found treasure under the church. Other people have tried to find it, but the real treasure now that they earn is in the tourists coming to visit. I haven't checked out this website, but it claims to have lots of links if you're interested in the mystery.
Apparently, some of these stories were used in the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.

This is a tile that was found at the church, allegedly face down so  no one knew it was there. I can definitely see a connection to the Crusades here. 
Whether there's a hidden treasure from the Visigoths, Celts, Romans or the Knight Templars, the grounds look pretty amazing now.

This is a tower that the priest built and used as a library. It's a little sketchy that he built all these opulent buildings for himself, in my opinion. Of course, the church wasn't using money that judiciously in the past anyway, so maybe it didn't matter that he didn't share. 

Here's a view of the countryside. 

Me, in front of the tower. 

Here's the inside of the church. I love when churches use that cobalt blue for the sky with stars painted on. The church has a bizarre statue of the devil stooped over with a basin for holy water on his shoulders. Just last month, a Muslim woman is charged with vandalizing it -- she broke the head off. 

Here's how it looked when we saw it Thursday. 

Here's how it looked in a picture about the news story, before it was vandalized. 
Had you heard about this place? I hadn't.
We're off to Paris to spend a few days before heading back home. Thanks for reading and commenting. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Morning

So many things to blog about but I don't want to spend my vacation blogging, so I thought I'd share a few pictures before we continue our exploring.
I'm usually an early riser, but I've been lollygagging a bit -- it is vacation.
We're on a 6-hour time difference from home.
Apparently Grace was still awake at midnight and she texted me, assuming I'd be up at 6. I was awake, planning to get up to see the sunrise this morning -- I've missed it every other morning.
So after her text, I took a few pictures.

And then a few minutes later as the color continued to spread.

It has been confusing to me how the sun can rise in the east behind the mountains and set in the west behind the mountains, but a hike today affirmed that this little village is nestled with mountains all around.

This is a panorama photo on my iPhone. It goes about 180 degrees around the path that we were walking this morning, but I could have continued to take the picture all the way around to show the mountains surround us.
We walked for an hour this morning, about three miles.
And then I ran back to the apartment -- uphill, while Earl went to the boulangerie for our breakfast.
I haven't run much here because I have found flat areas to run. I don't mind running uphill, although I'm not in shape for it, but running downhill is a killer on me.
As we decide where we want to live in the future, I'm torn.
I love walking in the mountains, the views, the feeling of the mountains embracing me to their bosom, swaddling me.
But I wonder if my running years will be limited with so many downhills.
What do you think running friends?
No matter what I did or didn't do to my knees this morning, I got a lovely pastry for breakfast when my husband returned from the bakery.
I usually go for a chocolate croissant or a plain croissant, but he knows that I've been obsessed with cafe eclairs, so he got one for me for breakfast.
Hope you're having a lovely day too.
We're off to another market.

Dreaming of France -- Arriving in Paris

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog . Share with the rest of us yo...