We will always have the Closet

imageWe will Always have the Closet by Natalina Reis is a wonderful summer read! The main characters, Petra and Sam, are interesting and every time I thought I knew where the story was going I was wonderfully surprised with a new twist!

Petra is the ex wife of Jonas Linden and despite the fact that he was unfaithful to her she believes him innocent of art fraud. Sam Corra is investigating the art fraud case and he is hot on the trail of Jonas. When Petra ducks in a closet to avoid someone coming into the room she finds Sam is in the closet. There is instant heat and attraction made difficult when they find out they have polar opposite opinions of Jonas being guilty.

Just when you think you have it figured out, you don’t, or at least I did not!

It is well written, characters are well developed, the diaglogue is entertaining and interesting. I highly recommend We will Always have the Closet by Natalina Reis. I loved it as I soaked up the beach. Although I admit, I would like it no matter the season!

 

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Monet ~ Musée de l’Orangerie

Musée de l’Orangerie is the home of Monet’s famed Water Lillies. The paintings are beautiful and very moving, at least for a Monet lover like me! Monet donated these paintings to Paris for all of us to enjoy. I do not want to destroy your ahhhhh factor. But I do want to encourage you to see these masterpieces. The paintings are beautifully displayed and they are huge paintings! I hope you will take the time to see them. The Musée de l’Orangerie is very near the Seine River and a wonderful day can be had by doing the Musée and then taking in a river boat ride on the Seine River.

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Le Food! Le Gastronomy!

Don’t miss cafe’ in your area of Paris. If you do not fancy the first one walk half a block ad there will be another one! Although I will say I have not had a bad dining experience in Paris yet. Enjoy a taste of heaven and have a pastry. There is noting quite like the flaky delicious taste of a croissant from a patisserie. There are so many fabulous choices for your taste buds to experience at the Patisseries!

The service in Paris is impeccable, for one thing it is a profession and you will be served by staff that takes great pride in their work serving you. It is not the custom in France to tip. That said occasionally I would leave a tip for excellent service. There is a lesson in watching that service to others!

Paris has dozens of markets that are very popular with the Parisians. You can find fresh bread, fruits, meats and cheeses all reasonable priced and fresh. We cooked in several times and found the products excellent! Made such friends with the local grocer that he now says, “See you tomorrow!”

Street food is also delicious, a street crepe is a must. I really loved the Nutella and banana one (my first time having Nutella where has it been hiding?) They also have some with egg, cheese and ham that make a wonderful breakfast.

While visiting a museum (Musée’) it is wonderful to enjoy their cafe’ as well. I made some new friends at the Musse d’ Orsay over a cup of café creme (coffee with steamed milk) and a pastry.

 

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This was by far the best service of my life! It was so good I asked him if I could take his photo! My friend said, “Never eat I a place that is not busy”, and he was right! This waiter had 60 patrons in the outside section at 30 tables. His service was impeccable, food was delivered promptly, orders were delivered to the correct person, refills were provided without having to ask and he was amazing to watch! A true professional!  He never wrote anything down! He gets my first ever ********** that’s right 10 stars!

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Heart of Design by Ellen Butler

Smoking but not tawdry that is what comes to mind when I think of Heart of Design by Ellen Butler. The description “Love California Style” gives a hint to the romance ~ everday girl meets Hollywood star. There are several twists and turns that I shall not divulge as I hate a “spoiler”. This is a great summer read ~ after all, girls we love a summer love story and this is a great one!  I love the characters, the plot twists, the descriptions and the romance. The cover tells you she is an interior decorator, he is a Hollywood star. To know more you have to read this wonderful romance over! This book is well written, steamy romance but not vulgar. I loved this  book. It is the first book by Ellen Butler I have read but it will not be the last! I highly recommend this book. It was a great vacation read for me I Paris ~ the city of love!

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Eiffel Tower

What is Paris without going to the Eiffel Tower?  Enough to said? I will tell you if you are using a cane or otherwise handicapped you can go to the second level, but not all the way to the top. I highly recommend going early to beat the crowds or doing a tour with a specific time. The lines can be daunting!

The view is wonderful, go on a pretty day! There is something about this historic monument that will draw you to it and up it!

 

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Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

When visiting Paris, in my opinion, it is a sin not to take in some churches, no matter your belief system they are beautiful works of art.

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Notre-Dame is one of  the most historic churches in the world! There is much written about Notre-Dame and I am no expert on that history. I just know what I like. I am not Catholic (I am a Christian and am a Baptist). I do believe there is only one heaven and those of us that are Christians will one day be there. Having said that I love to experience different denominations and Christian churches. I was there during the end of a mass and would recommend that you try to go during a mass, as sit for the mass as all are welcome.

I did find myself wondering what the difference between a Cathedral and a Basilica was. This is what I found out. A basilica is designated by the pope as an important church because of history, spirituality, or other significance such as architecture. Once a basilica always a basilica.

A cathedral is where the bishop’s throne is located. That throne is called a cathedra. A cathedral is a higher designation by the Catholic Church than a basilica.

Now to make matters more confusing a basilica can be a cathedral, or not. A cathedral may or may not be a basilica. For example Notre Dame is the Cathedral for the Archdiocese of Paris, it is not a basilica.

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Basilique du Sacré Cœur in Montmatre

Basilique du Sacré Cœur is located a top the Montmartre hill in Paris, France. Most people, including the local French,  call it Sacré Cœur. This basilica was consecrated to the Heart of Christ ~ the sacred heart ~  from which Sacré Cœur derives its name. Sacré Cœur Was built between 1875 and 1914 and concentrated in 1919.

Since 1 August 1885 there has been continual prayer of adoration; 130 years at this writing! While there is an incline plane to visit the Sacré Cœur on top of the hill, Montmartre ~ I walked up the hill! Not only did I do that but I walked up the 300 steps in the dome! The panoramic view which included the Eiffel Tower was well worth the climb!  It was not an easy climb up those steps for this ole gal, but Helen from Canada and I bonded on those steps and encouraged each other to the top!

As you leave Sacré Cœur turn left out of the exit from the basilica and meander down the hill. There is an awesome bohemian artistic district! You will find the streets lined with painters, sculptors, caricature artists and many other artists doing their craft amongst the many cafes’. As long as you head back down the hill toward Montmarte you will be able to catch the bus. The stop is on the 30 bus route.

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Musée du Louvre

Musée du Louvre humongous! I have always heard it was big, but then most museums are big. I liken the Louvre to all the Smithsonian Museums housed in one building and trying to tour it in one day! Impossible!

The Louvre was built in 1190 as a fortress, in the 1700’s it became a palace. For centuries it was a residence for Kings. In 1793 Louis XIV moved the royal Palace to Versailles. August 10, 1792 the monarchy was overthrown. The Louvre became the Palais des Arts on August 10, 1793 on the anniversary of the monarchy’s collapse.

The Louvre is the world’s largest museum (approximately 652.300 square feet) and houses thousands of pieces of art. Perhaps none more famous than Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”. It was small but larger than what I thought it would be from reports of friends that had seen it in the past.

I left the apartment on foot, a mere two blocks I was at the metro. When I came up from the metro I was at the “#Paris we love you” art in the square. Walked across the street to the entrance to the Louvre. I do not want to spoil your views with my photos in the Louvre go see and enjoy! If you need to enjoy from your computer search artist like Paul Cezzene, Henri Matisse, Pieter de Hooch, Pierre Patel, Alfred London, Samuel van Hoostraten, Camille Corot, Alexander Gabriel-Decamps, Karel Dujardin, Theodore Chasserian, Francis Baird and of course Leonardo da Vinci. Enjoy the arts!

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Paris ~ Transportation abounds!

Transportation a must have on all trips! So first up learn the local transportation systems from where we are staying. It is all about choices here in Paris! Bus, Taxi, Train (RER), Subway (M, Metro, Metropolitan), and good ole hoofing it! Of course all these modes involved some degree of walking! First time out we did the Subway to the Louvre which involved 3 train changes! We were successful, thanks in part to the very helpful Parisian fellow that helped me to read the subway map ~ “You are Here” (vous êtes ici). Also thanks to Dad when he taught me to drive ~ he taught me to read maps! So that was my first experience with a very helpful Parisian!

Paris Transportation MapYou will learn to love this map! It includes the Bus, Metro and Train! You can get a ticket in the Metro (Subway) that will include all three. (We were cautioned that if you get your ticket on the bus it is only good for the bus.)

The good news is each ticket is for one ride ~ no matter how many transfers on the Metro! At this writing 10 tickets are $14.10 Euros (or 8 tickets for $14.80 Euros so get 10!) Once you use the ticket fold it in half so you know it is used, but keep it on your person until you exit the station as you could be asked to produce your ticket.

I took the RER Train to Versailles for one ticket and was able to use that ticket to transfer to the Metro, as I did not exit the station! Such a deal.

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Metro Sign in Paris

There are all kinds of bus stops in Paris – basically find the one closest to you and know the number. You can ride buses to get back to that number ~ I know my stop is on the 30 line and the bus line like the Subway to this area is on the Green Route. Each section of Metro/Subway and bus (train for that matter) follows the color system on the map above. I keep a map in the outer pocket of my bag for easy reference (the pocket one is in all stations at the Service Counter).

There are also specific signs for the many Hop-on-Hop-off tour buses. (More on them later)

Taxi stands are often near the metro station. Hail a cab with you arm up like every where else in the world. Be aware that the word “Taxi” on top of the cab will have red lights is it has a fare already and green lights if it is available for you! Taxi Stands look like this:

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Metro Signs

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Internaltional Paw Paire!

imageThis is my charge for the next two weeks! A lovely 13 year old German Shepard! Got the 411 about the vet, where to walk in the city ~ I am used to suburban dogs and country dogs ~ so this city stuff is a little different. There are markings on the streets for just where a dog is to go! City dogs know not to go in front of their own homes ~ they prefer another gutter!

 

imageHere is the dog directions on the streets of Paris! Aware toy they read pictures ~ who knew! Anyway, jet lag day ~ arrival day ~ is about getting the quick low down on Carmen, the pup (vet, records, walk, routines). All is well and friends are off!

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