Paris Day: 13

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The other day I was running late to class. I had my headphones in and was just focusing on getting from point A to point B as quickly as I could. I was about half way when I realized, standing in front of Église Saint-Sulpice de Paris (where Da Vinci’s Code was filmed) which I pass every morning, that I wasn’t embracing the walk or the buildings around me. I was always rushing to get to class on time – with headphones in and my eyes fixated on the path below me. It was in that moment that I realized I needed to slow down, breathe, and take it all in. I couldn’t tell you the song that was playing through my phone but I stood in the middle of the Église Saint-Sulpice and did a 180 degree turn. I didn’t care if I was late to class, I was going to take the time to appreciate my surroundings. I don’t know if it was the music, the church, or the fact that the scenery was just that beautiful but I began to tear up. I felt so small in that moment but so complete. It was exactly where I was supposed to be at that exact moment. The feeling was overwhelming!

I believe it is so important to take in all that is around you. You might not be in Paris (where everything seems to be beautiful) but there is beauty all around us, we just have to take the moment to see it and appreciate it. Today, I hope you can take the time be still, breathe, see, and appreciate. It really is a powerful feeling!

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Paris, France: Day 9

First off – Thank you so much for all of your sweet words. I re-read them probably a dozen times! They helped put me at ease and realize that everything really will be okay! Everything everyone said really hit home! Victoria, thank you for always sending words of encouragement. You have been one of the kindest people I have met through blogging! And thank you for Wordreference! It is amazing! Stephanie your words really hit home! I love the quote and hearing your story really touched me and gave me strength, so thank you, thank you! I really read each comment multiple times and took it to heart. Thank you all for taking time out of your day to send over some words! Through all of the support I have been receiving I have really been able to breathe. Knowing I have this system of people who are all their encouraging me has helped immensely.

The other night I actually had an epiphany while walking home from a party. The party was across from the Pont Alexandre III so about a 45 min walk home. I decided to a pied (walk) and take it all in. It wasn’t but 10 minutes into my walk that I literally had to pinch myself to remind me what I was doing. I took my time walking home and really came to terms with everything. By the end of the walk – I was completely content and ‘re-in-love’ with Paris! Paris at night is beautiful and can turn even the most anti-Paris person into a believer.

I absolutely love my school and learn so much everyday. But I have come to terms with the idea that I won’t have the perfect accent nor learn everything there is to know in a month. And that is okay! I am here to learn as much as I can and practice what I learn. It doesn’t always have to be now, now, now. All or nothing – which is something I struggle with. Coming to terms with this entire trip has set me at ease and allowed myself to breathe. In and out. The other day I had quite the exciting experience – I had TWO tourists come up to ask me for directions! I must at least look like I know what I am doing even if I have no clue!

Over the past week I have been really surprised by the French. A few things I have learned: One – they all LOVE New York! I mean, The first thing they like to tell me is that they have been to New York a number of times or lived there for an extended time. Secondly they all are dumbfounded by Americans love for Paris. They can’t quite wrap their heads around why we love it so much. I simply explain, it is our New York because I can’t for the life of me understand why you love NY so much (BOOM)!  Another surprising thing is that they think everyone from Texas owns a Machine gun. I knew they thought we owned guns but they skipped passed rifles and handguns to believe that we actually own MACHINE GUNS! This isn’t even one or two people but a handful I have met and each one is extremely educated. Ummm, I have never even seen a machine gun, anyone else? Also, french people, mainly men, do not care what temperature it is outside, they are going to wear their coat and scarf. I have seen more men dressed like it is 50 degrees than for the actual 100 degrees. I am in shorts and a shirt and they are in these coats and scarves. Clearly, I am American! And lastly, each Frenchie is dying to practice their english which makes learning and practicing my french difficult! But I completely understand and try to do halvies with them!

The last few days have been spent meeting new people (shout out to Out About In Paris for inviting me to the 4th of July Party at the Eiffel Tower), wandering the different quartiers with my camera, and drinking lots of rosé (for one). I can’t believe how quickly my attitude toward Paris has changed but I am so happy to finally be appreciating this experience! à bientôt!

** If you have any Paris recs I am definitely open to them! Comment or email –

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Itinerary: 48 Hours in Normandy, France

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Two questions I get asked the most from friends and readers wanting to travel are “what should I do in London?” and “what should I see in Normandy?”.  These are both two places I have been able to visit more than once and am always happy to share recommendations. Since it is July 4th and I am one of the proudest Americans you could meet I decided to share my itinerary from my trip to Normandy last summer.

The first time I went to Normandy I was in high school and my sister, cousin, and I all had a European adventure. One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting this very historic town. The emotions were overwhelming and something I couldn’t prepare myself for. I am extremely patriotic, as is my family, so seeing the American Cemetery and the D-Day beaches (something I had studied for years and only every seen on t.v.) was a surreal moment. The second time I went was just as special. My father, the man who taught me this appreciation for history, had a childhood dream to visit Normandy. On a trip abroad last summer we fulfilled this dream. My parents, husband, and in-laws all headed to Normandy to experience what I had a few years before. It was a fantastic trip and one I won’t forget!

My mother-in-law who is the most amazing planner laid out every inch of the trip to perfection! I asked her to share our itinerary so I could pass it along to you all. Shall you ever find yourself in France a trip to Normandy is a must!!

** disclosure – My mother-in-law hired a driver, which if you can, I highly recommend. It made the entire trip easier, faster, and run smoothly! The up-front cost is very worth it!

Day One

14h00 Arrive on the cliffs overlooking Arromanches  ** Must Do and one of my favorite things of the trip – watch the movie (Normandy’s 100 Days”) which is shown on nine different screens – very moving. From there walk down to the D-Day Landing Museum on the beach

16h00 Leave for Bayeux

16h15 Visit the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum

17h00 Visit the Bayeux Tapestry

18h15 Visit the Bayeux Cathédral

19h00 Depart for Château d’Audrieu

19h30 Arrive at the Château d’Audrieu

Enjoy dinner in the bar of the hôtel. I recommend walking the gardens or riding a bike around the grounds after dinner.

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Day Two

8h30 Depart for Longues-sur-Mer

9h00 Arrive Longues-sur-Mer, visit the German bunkers

9h30 Depart for Colleville-sur.Mer

Visit the American Cemetery and the WWII Memorial

11h40 Visit Omaha Beach

12h30 Départ for Vierville-sur Mer

12h35 Lunch at the Hôtel du Casino – overlooks the beach between the American Cemetery and the Pointe du Hoc

13h45 Depart for the Pointe du Hoc

13h55 Visit Pointe du Hoc and the Rangers Museum. Watch the 20 minute movie on “The Impossible Mission”

14h45 Depart for Utah Beach

15h30 Visit Utah Beach and the Landing Museum (reserve a tour guide)

16h45 Depart for St. Mère Eglise

17h00 Visit the Airborne Museum and the church in St.-Mere-Eglise

18h00 Depart for Château d’Audrieu

18h45 Arrive at the Château d’Audrieu

19h00 Dinner at the hotel

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