Friday, July 5, 2019

From Paris to Pau . . .

I love traveling - the months of planning, the actual vacation and then reliving each adventure through photos.

Once we settled on Paris as our destination, I contacted a high school friend who has lived in the south of France since 1970. 

Our core group of high school friends gets together once a year (this is from a 2014 gathering at our house), but I am the last of the friends to visit Linda (in the black shirt) in France.

We arrived in Paris on Thursday and Saturday morning we flew to Pau - we could see the Pyrenees off in the distance from Linda and Gerard's deck.

From this zoomed in shot, you can see a dusting of snow on the mountain tops.

The grounds of their chateau are lovely, 

but Gerard asked that I not put any photos of their gorgeous home on social media.

Linda and Gerard live in the little village of Serres Castet and after lunch Linda drove us into Pau to walk around while Gerard set up for a guitar performance and casual dinner party that evening.

Chateau de Pau sits in the middle of the town - it was the birthplace of Henry IV of France and Napoleon once used it as a holiday home.

I didn't write down the names of any of the buildings so I have no idea the history behind them.

Saturday night's party was so much fun (no pics allowed) - 5 different friends played the guitar, we ate amazing food and looked out at the gorgeous scenery until late in the evening because the sun sets about 10 p.m. at this time of year.

Sunday morning we rose early and drove to Saint Jean de Luz on the Atlantic coast.

It is the the French Basque region 

and we were intrigued by the Basque alphabet and font on the signs.

While Steve was enjoying his beer, I was admiring the Basque linens, but sadly we didn't have time to shop.

When we saw people crowding around the square in town, we realized it was Pentecost Sunday and many people were dressed in beautiful Basque costumes for a variety of events.

These young ladies were my favorites

We went on a little walk around the charming town.

 I spotted lovely gardens here and there

and I enjoyed the distinctive Basque architecture.

We continued our drive south along the Atlantic coast to Hendaya for a quick visit to Gerard's cousin.

Living right on the border between France and Spain,

she speaks both languages and I was able to chat with her in Spanish.

This was one of the first houses I saw in the Basque region of Spain.

We merely drove around the towns of Irun

and Hondarribia, Spain

because everyone was out celebrating Pentecost Sunday andwe could not find a single parking place.

Our time was limited

and too quickly our brief visit with Linda and Gerard was at an end,

but the streets of Paris awaited us.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Paris Apartment

I bought this book decades ago and never imagined that one day we would rent our own Paris apartment.

Too bad the dress form in the master bedroom wasn't wearing a period costume.

When we began traveling with our adult children, we opted to rent houses rather than hotel rooms - it is more economical than multiple hotel rooms and we love the convenience of having the space to spread out.

Once we booked our flight to Paris, our daughter-in-law took on the task of finding a place for us to stay for 10 days. 

Aylin sent us a list of 6 apartments on VRBO to choose from in various areas around the city and we unanimously agreed on one choice due to the location, appearance and amenities.

I was so excited when we turned down our street

 and I spotted the doors - a good omen for someone who lives in a house with a red door.

Once inside the vestibule, we looked out French doors to a courtyard

and another set of doors led us to the stairway.

After a 12 hour plane ride, a 1 hour taxi ride and a 50 pound suitcase, the stairs to the third floor were a challenge.

By day 10, the stairs were a breeze and I never tired of the view out the windows on the landing- I'll admit that I did not carry my now 55 pound suitcase down the stairs.

Gray doors led us into our apartment

Surprisingly, we walked right into the dining room, but I imagine that it was not the dining room in the 1600's when the building was new.

We knew, from the pics on the VRBO website, that our apartment was filled with art and cultural items.

The apartment had a huge living room

filled with art,

amazing windows,

and a fabulous chandelier.

What I loved most were the floors and the detailed moldings around the ceilings of each room.

We did not cook any meals in the kitchen,

but every morning Steve rose earlier than the rest of us, headed out to different pastry shops and always brought back an array of treats.

Heading out of the living room, there was a hallway and on the left there were two small alcoves (one with a day bed another with a spiral staircase) that had been made from one larger room - none of the pics of those rooms turned out. I never climbed the steep spiral staircase to the room Joshua and Aylin used.

At the end of the hallway there were 3 doors with royal blue glass- the door on the right was the shower, the door ahead held a sink and toilet

and the door on the left held a tub.

This lovely pattern was found on everything (including the toilet) in each room - how I would love to have that sweet pattern in our bathroom.

The master bedroom was filled with curiosities

and I never tired of looking at the little treasures.

The mirrors and the chandeliers throughout the house were spectacular.

As lovely as our apartment was, we spent little time there 

because in addition to our various excursions, we walked over 50 miles exploring Paris.

Be forewarned, the next few posts you read will be a visual journal of Paris, Versailles and Giverny.

I'll take you to the Saint Jean de Luz in the Basque region of southern France and a quick pop into Hondarribia, Spain.

Thanks for indulging me - I tried journaling, but my penmanship is abysmal these days due to arthritis so my blog posts will be my French journal.