Thursday Cravings: A Weekend in Paris

With a short holiday ahead to celebrate the Easter weekend, I can only daydream of taking a trip…to once again discover the beauty of Paris, the City of Light…and – with Sinatra playing in the background as I prep this post – here’s just what I wish I could take with me!

Credits:  1) Anywhere Weekender Bag – Brahmin; 2) Kindle Canvas Clutch – Diane von Furstenberg; 3) Draped Neck Dress – Alexander McQueen; 4) Benj Bracelet – Dannijo; 5) Trench Coat – Antonio Croce; 6) Ankle Strap Shoe – Ballin

And…a very brief personal history….  Not so very long ago…back in the Spring of 2005…I went on a ladies’ trip with my mom, grandmother, and aunts to France.  We flew into Charles De Gaulle, hopped on a train to visit our Lady of Lourdes, took a bus through the French countryside to explore the medieval city of Carcassonne and then returned to Paris on the overnight train to enjoy the sights!

Once there…I tried to fit in as many sights and experiences as possible…tasting everything I could from my first encounter with escargot to the fresh baguettes from the local boulangeries…visiting the museums (Rodin and Louvre) and catching a ballet at the Opera Bastille…strolling along the Seine and stopping at little shops…pausing every so often to take in the glorious architecture that surrounded me.  Basically, doing as much as I could in a short time period (we were there for 3 days).  It was then…really…that I fell in love with Paris for the first time…and here is a little overview of the trip (a la my personal photos) and some of my suggestions on what to do when in France!

Explore the French countryside! (This photo of the Pyrenees was taken en route from Lourdes to Carcassonne)

See the Hall of Mirrors, formal gardens and pools of Versailles

Hop on a Metro...take a stroll along the cobblestone streets of Montmartre towards La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. Once here, you will find a gorgeous view of Paris, too!

If you love sculptures...say 'hallo!' to The Thinker at La Musee Rodin...and then visit the Louvre to have a peek at the Mona Lisa!

Grab a fresh baguette, some wine and cheese...and enjoy a light repast at the Tuilerie Gardens.

The Pont St. Michel over the Seine with the Musee du Louvre behind me.

There’s so much to do when in Paris…but remember to relax, breathe and enjoy. This city – full of amazing architecture, art and culture – has been around for centuries…and I’m sure you (and I) will have a chance to go back to it.

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Erin Go Bragh! (“Ireland Forever”)

May 2009 - I took this photograph as we were hiking along the path through Connemara National Park to view the Twelve Bens (pronounced 'pins'). I think it works perfectly for this traditional Irish blessing.

Most of my family and friends know that I am head over heels in love with Ireland – the people, the food, the Guinness, the culture, and – most especially – the countryside.  With its rolling hills and its amazingly varied landscape, the Emerald Isle is a treasure trove of natural beauty that will take your breath away.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I will wrap-up the week and dedicate my Friday randoms to Ireland and all the bits I remember from trips taken in 2007 and 2009!

When in Dublin, make sure to stop at Bewley’s for a cuppa!

Hop on a bus…take a tour…and find out why Wicklow is known as the “Garden of Ireland

Wildflowers thrive in the surreal landscape that is the Burren, a natural formation of limestone bedrock that is peppered with archaeological sites from megalithic tombs to portal dolmens.

Winding roads and narrow lanes…a trusty little car…the one you love…and tunes (like this and this) on the radio.  A wonderful way to see the countryside.

Would you like to stay at a castle and make friends with a falcon?

Grab lunch at the oldest fish n’ chip shop in Dublin – Leo Burdock’s.

Take a pause and view the illustrations and ornamentations of the Book of Kells while visiting the Long Room at Trinity College.

Enjoy peace and tranquility in County Clare at this “Old World” Country House.

Legend has it that if you kiss it, you’ll be blessed with the gift of eloquence.

Explore Killarney National Park on horseback!

Go back in time and stroll through the 16th and 19th centuries at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

Take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate…

and – last, but not least – enjoy a pint of true Irish Guinness at the Gravity Bar.

I hope that all of you enjoy a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Sláinte!