No matter how many times I see her, I always experience a feeling of awe.
Such a beautiful and magnificent structure.
Isn't she lovely?
View from Trocadero.
Peeking out juuuust enough.
Just when you think you have as many different "Eiffel Tower Pictures" as you can, you find another gem. Big thanks to the random bicyclists for starring in this one for me.
La Tour Eiffel
Love it when it sparkles!
As it gets closer and closer to our flight home, (only 17 more days!!) it has been fun talking about all the things we have really missed and look forward to. 
Here are some that have come to mind:

  • Stores and restaurants being open on Sundays
  • A normal sized washer and dryer that actually will dry clothes
  • My entire wardrobe, rather than just a handful of it
  • Having a yard again
  • My kitchen, and all the appliances and trinkets that go with!
  • Sonic tots
  • English
  • English speaking friends and family
  • English speaking movies, tv, music...Ohhhhh the English!!!!
  • BUFFALO SAUCE. They are really missing out over here...
  • Driving- that will get super old fast
  • Grass
  • My loyal pup and my fluffy, fat cat
  • Family
  • Real beer..The French know wine, but beer...ehh
  • Dogs that don't poop on the sidewalk
  • Real margaritas
  • Peanut butter...and NO, Nutella is not a good substitute
  • Not feeling poor-Paris is expensive, man!
  • Being home for the holidays this year! Woooo!!
  • Having a cell phone again(even though I have learned to live without one)
  • Taco Bell. Crunchwrap Supreme me pleeeease!
  • Those free moments you get to yourself while waiting in road construction....wait, what am I saying???
  • Not having a cleaning lady again...ok, I think I might be going a bit crazy =)

In all actuality, there will be many things we will miss about living in Paris.  Our time here has been a great experience and journey that has really broadened our views and opinions.  We all know though, that there is no place like your home place..and that my friends, is where I look forward to being. Very, very soon. 

If you know my husband at all, you know he loves his yard.  He loves mowing. He loves weeding, seeding, watering, and any other thing that you may do to a yard.  (As you can assume, I think all of those tasks are awful, know little to nothing about them, and am thankful that he enjoys doing them.)  You see, we make a good team:  He makes our yard all beautiful and dandelion free, and I bring out a few cold ones and a book and sit and enjoy the wonderfulness, that is our yard. Seems about right, doesn't it? =)

Either way, the bottom line is we both enjoyed having a nice fenced in back yard at our home in St. Louis.  That was one thing we were extremely sad about leaving behind when we moved to Paris.  Who doesn't love grilling out, playing washers, relaxing in the hammock, and playing fetch with your dog?

While Eric's "yard work" fix hasn't been sufficed, we did however find comfort in a nearby park: Parc Monceau.  It isn't literally right out of our back door, but it is only a short walk away. It has come to be "our yard" when we feel the urge to go for a run, have a picnic, read a book outdoors, take comfort in the shade of a big old tree, or FEEL GRASS! (that's a rarity here folks!) 

It is by far the location where we spend our most "outdoor time" besides just walking the streets.  It is very versatile, where you can either people watch and be part of the bustle or find a little intimate nook for some peace and quiet.  I do know we will always think back to Parc Monceau long after we leave Paris, and think of it fondly.  It is a beautiful place filled with lots of character and lovely landscaping.  When our time here is done though, I (and the hubs alike) will be ready to trade back in the lovely park for our cozy back yard.
As you can tell, this park is like candy for the eyes. So many pretty things to look at!
Paris is known for many things....
...the city of lights
.....the city of love
.....the city of fashion

It's also a city with a LOT of churches! I find Paris to be perfectly packed full of beautiful, old, unique cathedrals and churches. I have found that one of my favorite things to do while walking around town, is to just pop inside the different ones I see and just have a little visit.  Most all the churches are open daily and free to the public.  To some people, this may seem incredibly boring and to some, they may all look the same (i.e. Once you've seen one, they all look the same..) I promise though, if you really take the time to soak in all the details and the ambiance, you will find that each church has a certain character not like any other. Not to mention, if you are a fan of historic sites, these are perfect!

Here are just a couple that I really like:

Saint Augustin

This church is located right down the corner from our apartment, and it has become an extremely enjoyable part of my days....walking past, admiring the deep blue dome and touch of red. Maybe I'm partial to it because it is my neighbor...and also, it has continued to be a lifesaver for me.  If I am every exploring the streets of my neighborhood and get lost, I can almost always count on spotting the dome of Saint Augustin and BAM, I can find my way back. =)
While this one might be less "unknown" than some of the others in Paris, I find it absolutely breathe taking. It's not in tip top condition on the inside either, but considering it was built in the 1860's, you can gain some major respect for it. 

Saint Sulpice

Compared to most of the other churches in Paris, the style and theme of this building is much more castle-like and much less Gothic, in feel. I found Saint Sulpice to be very interesting and beautiful because of it's uniqueness and serenity.  The surrounding area was much less busy & much less touristy(than say, the lovely Notre Dame Cathedral) and very quiet and relaxing.  In front of the church stands a large fountain/monument which adds to the atmosphere. 

[Click the images to enlarge]

Sacre Coeur

This one is a unique beauty and also located on the highest point in Paris; Butte Montmartre.  This obviously adds to it's charm.  Making your way up the hill towards the church only builds your excitement and anticipation to finally get to the top! It's a hike, but it is well worth it. The view of the city from the top is quite the view!  This one is a very popular spot to visit. 

[Have a little click-sy on these below to enlarge]

The verdict is in, and I have decided on my favorite museum that I have visited in Paris.  While the list is long, and I have enjoyed all that I have ventured into ( even including my FIFTH time at the Louvre- which btw, is more than plenty of times), I had an epiphany while visiting the Rodin Museum.  

"This is what a museum should be like!"

-Not too large or overwhelming.
-Just the right amount of art and ambiance.
-While it is mostly a sculpture museum , there are a handful of beautiful paintings as well.
-The garden. Oh my goodness, the garden is magnificent.  Absolutely beautiful and well groomed. A pathway of trees on each side, with statues along the way, and then a fountain in the middle directly out from the museum. There is a cafe as well for snacks or a nice lunch.The garden in front of the museum is where you can find "The Thinker" along with many other statues and beds upon beds of roses. 

There aren't really words to describe how peaceful, intimate and gorgeous it is.

View from the back of the museum, from the garden.

"The Thinker" greeted you almost as soon as you got through the ticket line, seated off to the right inside the garden.  This is a larger cast of the original. 

A peek at some of the highlights.
We have been inside Notre Dame many times since being in Paris, and have walked by it and picnicked near it even more times----however, it took us 8 months to finally make our way up into the tower. 

I've always adored "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" as a kid, and never thought that I would actually see the famous gargoyles first hand.  From up inside the towers, it is a wonderful view of the surrounding city, and of course the Eiffel Tower.  (We obviously HAD to snap some pictures of the little creatures and the E. Tower in the background.)

Overall, the never ending spiral staircase to the top was worth it, and my love for poor little Quasimodo has grown even bigger now.  =)
It seems crazy to me that it is still August and so many leaves are already on the ground! I am not complaining, as I love to smash around in the leaves... =) I have just had a hard time wrapping my head around it because the summer wasn't a typical "hot" summer like I am used to, and now suddenly it feels like fall!

Maybe the trees are just different here, who knows!  Here's a peek of Boulevard Hausmann all littered in crunchy brown leaves.

Happy Wednesday to ya'll and make sure to enjoy the seasons as they come...because before you even realize it..Poof. Gone.
That is certainly what happened to me, anyhow.

First of all, I have been meaning to add this since the first week of August, because we truly did notice a HUGE difference in the city compared to normal.
We were told by friends that Paris in August is dead. That it's like a ghost town.  We expected it, but I guess we never realized how different this month could be than all the others.  Let me tell you, all those friends were right. Paris is so empty, dead, and quiet in August.  AND I LOVE IT!  Who knew such a busy, bustling city could have such a calming feel to it!  Why is Paris so calm, you might ask?  Well, because the French are AWESOME and most all Parisians take the entire month of August off for "holiday"(aka vacation).  It still amazes me how much the people here value their vacations...I mean most American's couldn't even fathom their employers giving them an entire month for vacation...unless however you are a teacher =).  Here though, it is just known, and expected almost. 

So there you have it, people here take the entire month to travel and leave Paris, all the while everyone else from around the world comes here to be tourists.  Oh, did I fail to mention that not ALL of Paris is calm in August.  But as long as you stay away from the touristy areas, it's a peaceful as the countryside. 

Here is some living proof of the awesomeness that is "owning a Paris shop/boutique/restaurant":
(And can I just say how much I love that some of these are hand written! It makes you realize how individually owned these businesses are.)
Whilst all the true Parisians are vacationing at the beach and other lovely places, I find myself truly enjoying the city in the summer.  Nice, quiet, and perfectly deserted.  I guess this proves that I am not meant to be a full time city girl. =)
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!

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

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