18 hours in paris

Yesterday, Seb and I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip into Paris for dinner and to stay the night. We got a last-minute hotel deal with Hotel Tonight, a handy app that offers discounted hotel rooms available that day. It’s about a one-hour drive from Fontainebleau to Paris, where we went straight to Hotel Bailli du Suffren to check in, and then headed out for a twilight stroll.

Our hotel, in the 15th arrondissement, was only about a 15-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, so we made a beeline there before it got too dark to snap a photo, and then continued along Les Invalides toward the Seine.

We crossed the Pont Alexandre III and continued straight on Avenue Winston Churchill, between the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, to the Champs-Élysées. It was getting darker and broodier by the minute, which only made the winter atmosphere better, in my opinion. We turned right toward the Place de la Concorde, crossed back over the Seine on the Pont de la Concorde, and found a tiny bar in the 7th called Tabac L'Assemblée to quench our thirst.

Next up was dinner, so following the recommendation of a local friend, we went back through Les Invalides to
Le Tourville, a crowded café with a heated sidewalk patio. After a bottle of Burgundy, some roast chicken and a croque monsieur, we were feeling more and more Parisian.

This morning, we had time for a quick breakfast before heading back to Fontainebleau for Seb’s class. Armed with another recommendation from a Parisian friend, we drove a few minutes to Dupont Café on the Rue de la Convention, a street lined with boulangeries, bouchers, cafés and fruit markets. After a petit déjeuner of café au lait and a sliced baguette smeared with Nutella, we set off back to Fontainebleau.

We saw just a tiny portion of the city in less than one day, but it was the perfect snack. We’ll be back!

Top left: the view from our tiny hotel window; top right and above left: views of the Eiffel Tower from the Champs de Mars; above right: Les Invalides; below: a shot looking west from the Pont Alexandre III, one of Paris’ most ornate bridges, built around 1896IMG_1477IMG_1478IMG_1479
Above left: another shot from the Pont Alexandre III, looking north toward the Grand Palais; above right: the Petit Palais; below: looking west again, this time from the Pont de la Concorde, with the Eiffel Tower now lit up; bottom: Dupont Café on Rue de la Convention (this photo’s not mine – I snatched it from Google)
IMG_1480Dupont cafe, Paris


french lesson #1: driving a manual car

Before mastering how to speak in this country, I must master driving in it. Growing up in the US, I have never driven a manual car in my life. Move to Europe, and I apparently don’t have a choice. Seb’s car is a stick, therefore I shall learn! I’ve had one try, on the fairly deserted road that runs along the Seine, next to our house. I didn’t drive into the river or hit the two old French madames out for a stroll, so I guess that was a success.

Next up: driving in town.


au revoir, san francisco. bonjour, fontainebleau.

After several months of consideration and two months of official planning, I am finally in Fontainebleau, France, a small town about an hour south of Paris. Currently jetlagged and already full of French bread, all I’ve got right now are a couple of highlights of my last two months in California and a few snapshots of my new maison. More to come soon, I promise!

Photo Jan 13, 11 18 13 AMPhoto Jan 12, 5 06 09 PMPhoto Jan 13, 11 17 26 AMPhoto Jan 13, 11 20 06 AMPhoto Jan 13, 11 18 59 AM
All above: Another day at Lake Tahoe, this time with Mom. We caught a gorgeous sunset over Kirkwood as soon as we arrived, and then in South Lake Tahoe, we ran into some hearty ducks who forgot to fly south for the winter.

Photo Feb 23, 9 02 38 PM
Above: Last hike in San Francisco: Land’s End Trail on a gorgeous February morning.

Photo Feb 25, 2 51 02 AM
Above: Packing nightmare in SF.

Below: My new digs… Front view of Chateau de Montmelian and two wintertime countryside views from my new bedroom windows. 
773693_10151457785990348_1304399419_oPhoto Mar 05, 4 23 28 PMPhoto Mar 05, 4 25 23 PM