The blossoms are blooming here in Pennsylvania, despite Mother Nature being very confused (it’s currently 45 degrees). From what I’m seeing on my friends snapchats and images, the blooms are beginning in Paris, and I’m hoping to see them in ten days, eek! I’m crazy busy getting both home + work life in order before I go, but right now I’m making time to review my French. As you may have seen in my French is Beautiful series, I’ve been studying and improving thanks to (my friend + tutor) Carrie Anne James. Even after years of speaking French, I always review and refresh my knowledge before a trip. Speaking the language (even at a basic level) shows respect, makes things easier, and therefore, more enjoyable.
The French for Paris audio program covers all the basics for navigating and enjoying Paris, and while it’s quite comprehensive, it’s not overwhelming. Carrie Anne teaches you to improvise in conversation, not just imitate, as well as offering cultural tips to help you understand why certain things are said (or not). There are also some fun extras, like the “traveling with kids” bonus lesson, which I’m honored to have inspired! Also included in the course is a guide to Carrie’s favorite places in Paris, which I’ve devoured. While all of her program offerings are amazing (see them here), if you have plans to travel to Paris (and France in general), this one’s for you. Tell her I sent you…merci à tous!
image courtesy of Ashley Ludaescher Photography
*my tutoring is c/o French is Beautiful…these words + opinions are my own*
I just discovered it’s Museum Week, and what would you know, I had this post drafted and ready to go! After many years of visiting Paris, I finally made it to the Pompidou last spring. I was excited to experience it for the first time with my family, including my brother and his crew. A Parisian fixture since it’s opening in 1977, the Centre’s “inside out” architectural design makes it stand out in the area known as Beaubourg. The iconic vents are my favorite design element, juxtaposed with the classical facades behind them. It was a gorgeous day, as you can see with everyone lounging out front…I wouldn’t normally recommend a museum on a sunny day, but it made for incredible panoramic photos up top.
The Pompidou is wonderful for kids of all ages, with wide open spaces both inside and out, focused exhibits, a cinema, and boutique. The first thing we did was head to the first level to check out the Galerie des Enfants. Dedicated to children, the space has ever-changing interactive exhibits for littles. Henry and Marie loved the “lift the world” exhibit, with many moving parts encouraging them to play and learn. Since they enjoyed it so much, we spent a good bit of time there, and added their names to the collection of wishes for peace and love around the world before heading to the top floor!
Let me preface by saying that reaching the top was extra challenging for me, as I’m deathly afraid of both heights and open spaces. After ascending the glass elevator with the stroller (gulp), we made it to the (all glass, double gulp) walkway. While it’s only six floors up, the glass walls make you feel very exposed, and stimulate vertigo. I literally had a death grip on either my brother, my husband, or the stroller until we made it to the galleries. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone with similar phobias, although the stunning views do help distract from the fear. While I may have had a minor panic attack while getting these shots, I still managed them. Facing your fears pays off, especially when in Paris!
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read a page.”
I’ve been keeping a secret from you. I recently found out that the conference I was scheduled to speak at was cancelled, and suddenly my Ireland plans seemed frivolous to me. While I will always have a strong desire to explore that country and my Irish roots, it felt a bit extravagant without a business-related purpose. If I’m going to be away from my family for a significant period of time, it needs to be meaningful and productive. I reached out to my friend and (then) Ireland travel partner Kirsten Alana with a bold idea – why don’t we go to Paris instead? She responded with a swift and resounding YES, and I did a happy dance. It’s been almost exactly a year since I was last there (avec ma famille) and I’m missing it greatly. I couldn’t wait to share my news with you this week, and then…the terrorist attacks in Brussels occurred.
While I’m feeling sorrowful and anxious, I will not be changing course. In fact, I feel more inspired to travel than ever before. I feel a responsibility as a human being, as a woman, and as a mother, to demonstrate courage and perseverance in the face of fear. I believe strongly in the sentiment above, and will forever encourage my children to see the world (I’m very proud that they’re already one passport stamp in at three years of age). The places and people I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing over the years have changed how I live my life. I’m a more tolerant, cultured, enlightened person. Sure, some of those things can come with age (I’m thirty-six)…but my travels have accelerated my maturity. I refuse to allow these horrific events to derail my dreams, my beliefs, and my desire to travel. Paris, mon amour…I’ll be seeing you soon.
image courtesy of ashley ludaescher photography
hello spring + happy macaron day
( ladurée of course)