We were very lucky to have had so many visitors come and stay with us while we have been abroad.  It’s so nice to have something big to look forward to like seeing friends and family(especially after being away from home for so long.) 

Here is just a brief recap from all of our visitors.

Brooke's Visit- March
When Brooke booked her spring break trip to come stay with us in Paris, it was the best news ever!  She was our first visitor and it was such a great feeling to see someone you love after being in another country for three months.  She stayed with us for two weeks and we had a great time.  Despite the early season, we had exceptional weather, with a few days we even wore shorts!

Click on the pictures to enlarge and check out a few highlights from her trip!

David & Darlene Visit- May

Eric's parents came two months later bearing lots of gifts and goodies! (The best gift being themselves of course!) We spent a few days in Paris with them, and also took a road trip to Normandy, France.

Click on the pictures to enlarge and check out a few highlights from her trip!

Kristin & Megan's Visit- June
The only thing better than being in Paris, is being in Paris with your best friends!  When my two best friends from college told me they were coming for TWO WEEKS, I was more than excited!  While they were here, we also went to Dublin, Ireland. 

Click on the pictures to enlarge and check out a few highlights from her trip!
Winter family + Grandma Angie- July

Our last group of visitors was not only the biggest in quantity [My mom, dad, two brothers and grandma], but biggest in personality.  Between all seven of us, we really had a great time enjoying the city and each others company! There departure marked the "2 months left in Paris countdown". 

Click on the pictures to enlarge and check out a few highlights from her trip!
 
 
Even when the weather wasn't "oh, so nice", eating outside was still a sight you could expect to see.  I don't know if Parisians like the fresh air more than most, or if they just want to be able to smoke a cigarette with more ease....either way, I love their eagerness to enjoy being outside. 

Now that the weather has started to finally shape up, not only is outdoor cafe eating still a MUST, picnics are a must as well.  Luckily for me, I am an avid fan of picnics and always have been.  I feel like back home, we never did it enough. This will be a "French thing" that I will definitely bring back with me!


Tonight, we had a picnic with Eric's work colleagues right next to Notre Dame, in the Latin Quarter.  We found a spot on the edge of the River Seine and had a lovely time!  The weather held out, with no rain in sight....and a sunset over the cathedral that was absolutely stunning! My pictures can't do justice to the pink and purple hued clouds reflecting sparkles off of the river. *[Sigh]....I love Paris.*

Click on the photos below to view it as a slideshow!


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Picnic 7/19/12
Eric & I, before the sun started setting.

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Sunset over Notre Dame. 7/19/12
Life can't get
much better when
you've got a view like this. =)
 

 
 
You don't have to be a Frenchman(or woman) to appreciate the 14th of July in Paris!  The city is overflowing with happy people, things to do and see and ways to enjoy your day.  Here is a little peak at what we did to celebrate Bastille Day:
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Military Parade in the morning. 
    Though this parade was very different from any typical parade I am used to from home....it was still really cool.  There were no floats, no candy or beads being thrown out, but there was a sense of French patriotism and honor that made it all worthwhile.  The different sections of marching military groups chanting in perfect harmony and in step with one another was impressive to watch and interesting too!  And to start off the event, the massive crowds were presented with a very eye pleasing surprise.  The opening fly over was very patriotic with floods of blue and red smoke jetting out of the back.  Very neat.




Later on we found a nice spot and had a picnic filled with all the essential goodies:  champagne, strawberries, cheese, sausage,baguettes, chips, CHOCOLATE!

We enjoyed the weather and patiently waited for the firework show!




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Post-firework fun. 
The last sparkle of the night, but the night had actually just begun!



This was definitely one of the most lively nights in Paris we have ever seen.....Huge crowds aren't normally my thing, but it honestly made it so much fun!  Cheers to a celebration well done, Paris! Cheers!
 
 
Living in Paris has been a huge change for me.  It has been an experience for sure, and obviously there are ups and downs.
Here are just some that I have brainstormed.


10 Things I love about living in Paris

  • My feet are my car.  This sounds weird, I know…but I love not having to worry about driving because everything is just a walk(or a walk and a metro) away!
  • Seeing the Eiffel Tower whenever I want…and not to mention, it sparkles! SPARKLES! Never gets old.
  • There is always something new to do.  This city never fails with unveiling new surprises around every corner: expo’s, concerts, new shops, parks, museums…
  • A fresh pain au chocolat in the morning. Or for lunch. Or for dinner. My favorite, flakey and buttery friend that also has specks of chocolate inside! To die for.
  • The beauty of the city.  I have never been to a more architecturally gorgeous place.  Every building has such charm.
  • Cheap, but still good wine.
  • Bread. I haven’t quite warmed up to the “French Cheese” scene, but fresh warm bread is available for 1 stinking Euro. Around almost every corner!!
  • Art. This city radiates with artistic talent.
  • The ease and ability to travel.  Everywhere we have gone has been just a backpack and a quick train or plane ride away.
  • This goes for any city really, but I love the diversity that Paris offers. It’s so different, and refreshing from what I am used to.

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View from our balcony
10 Things I don’t like about living in Pairs

  • You can’t wear a t-shirt or sweatpants or anything of that genre out into public. Even if it’s just for a quick milk run down the street.  Trust me, I even get weird looks when I am wearing workout clothes on my way to run at the park.
  • The phrase,  “a quick load of laundry” does not exist.  Our washer/dryer takes all day for a load. Literally.
  • Stores & Restaurants don’t keep consistent hours or days.
  • Dogs poop on the sidewalks and nobody picks it up. (Back home, can't you get a fine for that??)
  • Some parks torture you by having the most beautiful, soft, green grass and then not allowing you to sit on it. I call this one Picnic Problems.There are, however exceptions! Parc Monceau
  • Maybe it’s just me, but the grocery stores have a strange smell to them. It is very distinct, yet I am starting to get more used to it.
  • Traffic.  I do not drive, however, the constant honking of cars, and the sometimes near death experiences with zooming motorcycles and scooters trying to get by can be unnerving.
  • Service is always slow.  Whether it be at a store or a café, the life here is just much more slowed down.  While this is nice, sometimes you just want to get in and out of a place, ya know?
Which leads me to:
  • Simple daily errands take all day to do.  That’s just the Parisian way.
  • Not knowing the language is ROUGH. And that’s an understatement. Even when I do speak in French, it is clearly obvious that I am not French and therefore, am treated differently. 

No matter where you live, there are going to be aspects you love and aspects you hate; so I just take one along with the other and never forget the blessing it is to be living in France!


 
 


All laughs and jokes aside, I really do appreciate the Paris Metro system and use it daily.  It is super time efficient and despite a first glance at the metro map and feeling insanely overwhelmed, like I did at first...It is honestly really easy to get the hang of! If ever traveling in Paris, I highly suggest it as a good means of travel!
Now, back to the main post....all the characters that find themselves using the metro....

1.  The crazy talker.
    There is always a person who seems borderline, if not totally unstable and crazy.  They are typically having a conversation(at a very loud decibel) WITH THEMSELVES.  Typical "crazy talker" behavior:  loudly talking, rambling, laughing, flailing around and swinging their arms.
Sometimes, I wonder if they are crazy, or just really drunk. lol

2.  The stare-devil.
Yes, this person is like a typical daredevil with their fearless ways and "I don't give a crap" attitude.  They will blatantly stare at you and anyone else they feel they want to without any hesitation or care.  Unlike a typical "starer", this type of metro stare-devil does not turn away when caught staring.  They continue to stare at whomever they want and will not break their trance unless they want to. I find this person both creepy and brave.

3.  The members of the human wall.
At times, the metro car is so crowded that you find yourself with no handle or wall to hold onto.  This is where the members of the human wall come into play.  These people act as a type of wall or place to balance yourself, and when the train comes to an abrupt halt, you can always count on these people to keep you from falling over.  If you are having a hard time picturing or understanding this one, take a gander at this photo and you will know what I mean....No possible way you will fall with the human wall in place. =)

4.  The cutter.
Obviously, we have all experienced line cutters our entire lives...but something about the metro line cutter just really peeves me.  We are all getting on the same train and going the same direction...pushing me to get in front of me and on the train first isn't really an advantage sir!(or ma'am).

5.  The good mannered gentleman.
This person will get up out of their seat and offer it to an elderly person, a pregnant lady or someone who is disabled.  I see this happen a lot where a man will give up his seat for ladies...very nice. Chivalry isn't dead after all!

6.  The loud phone talker.
Self explanatory. Annoying and Rude.

7.  The musician.
I would say every 2 out of 3 times I am on the metro there is someone playing some type of music in hopes to earn a tip or two.  Anything from the stereotypical accordion player to a saxophone, or a guitar..sometimes just people singing.  Not all are good. Not all are bad.....it's just one of those things you can expect to encounter in Paris!


These are just a few of the ones that I really think stand out to me...