Sunday, July 20, 2014

Paris In July: My Favorite Guideposts!

This may be the last of my Paris In July posts -- but I encourage you to visit Tamara and the other bloggers participating for a look at books, photos, movies and more -- all related to the City of Light. You can find lots of links RIGHT HERE!


With the internet so readily available, it's easy enough to gather all the information you might need about your trip to Paris and beyond without ever touching a piece of paper. It's all very useful and I certainly take advantage of it. But I wanted to share some of my favorite "Travel to Paris Resources" with you.
Guide Books

I'm very fond of the DK Eyewitness Travel guide book series.

 The Paris book breaks down the city by areas, as most books do. Included are maps for key sites, highlights of key attractions in each region (all with beautiful color photos), full city maps and lots of general travel information.

The downside to this series is that it is HEAVY! There is a cost to the traveler in carrying a beautiful book with lovely photos printed on great paper! If you can (I couldn't), rip out the pages of the spots you most want to see!

"Markets of Paris" is a small book and great fun.

 Each page highlights a different market -- and by that, I don't mean just antiques, but you'll also find fabrics, ribbon, books and, of course, food.

It's small enough to fit in your purse or in your suitcase without weighing you down too much.

"In Love In France" isn't really a guide book you'd want to take with you -- it's too big.

 But if you're headed to the City of Light with your great love, you'll find some wonderfully romantic spots listed and some delightful ideas on how to enjoy them (if you can't figure that out yourself!).

 There are plenty of little tidbits in this book I didn't know, and it also covers side trips out of Paris as well.

Rick Steves Pocket Paris -- Rick Steves is one of my favorite TV and print tour guides (his website is very good too, and friends who have taken his European tours speak very highly of his organization).

 The size is perfect and included are lots of excellent tips for traveling in France, along with the usual sights and recommendations.

 Rick also includes a fold-out map, which is quite extensive.

 Again, "Pocket Paris" lives up to its name. Easy to manage!

For a thoroughly delightful and very small book (that has great shopping suggestions and addresses) take along Jill Butler's "Wandering Paris."

  The illustrations are enough to capture your fancy. The helpful lists with addresses seals the deal.


I have two favorite maps that I recommend about all others. Both are very portable and when I was in Paris, both were with me at all times.

 The first is the Knopf map guide to Paris.

 This booklet breaks the city down into areas. The size is about 5x7 inches square and the maps fold out so they are easy to follow but not huge!

 They also include info on sights and restaurants in the designated areas.

 The Streetwise series is also excellent.

 These maps break down by categories. I liked the Paris Museums map.

 The are laminated and fold up into a vertical brochure size. Boy, these things hold up! Mine has been on two trips, in bags, purses, pockets, and spilled upon! It still looks great!

 Of course, so many of you have already discovered Paris and your favorite guideposts. (Many of mine include blogs and the list I keep of "must visit next time" spots.) Please share yours! And Bon Voyage!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Postcards from the Lake -- Something Sweet!

The weather during this first couple of weeks in July has been unseasonably cold at the lake. I've plowed through four books and yes, some art too (although somewhat hampered because I neglected to bring some critical supplies!).

 We've enjoyed some cozy fires, good food and some brisk walks!

You know it's cool when I'm wearing socks with my sandals, which the kids would tell me is a cardinal fashion faux pas!

To get a break in the action, we took a road trip to Grayling, about 20 miles away, where we enjoyed some outrageously expensive but delicious ice cream.

 The diner was charming, filled with Coca-Cola memorabilia and on a gloomy day, it was particularly appealing.

I had the soda, but Rick chose the chocolate shake.

And in both cases, they were delicious!

 Of course, my boy wanted to get back on the bike!

 So he packed up his tent and sleeping bag and took a bike hike!

 Off he went for an overnight about 100 miles away. It's good training for his Canadian ride -- and it gave me a little "Jeanie time."

This, of course, included a visit to the farm market. The cherries are beginning to come in and some strawberries remain. They always have a musician playing -- these two weren't bad (but we've heard some that belonged in bad karaoke bars!).

 My first extended time at the lake is rapidly coming to an end...

 But I'll be back!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Paris In July: Paris Letters

I first learned about Janice MacLeod and her book "Paris Letters" through an article in Chatelaine Magazine, which I picked up at the grocery store during a stop in London, Ontario last March. I tore out the article and thought, "Someday I need to read this."

Then Carol of Paris Breakfasts began to wax eloquent about her friend "La Janice" and her handsome butcher-husband who looked like Daniel Craig. I began reading Janice's blog -- and then the book.

I'm so glad I did. "Paris Letters" is a delight in a number of ways. First, Janice is a good writer with plenty of humor. She tells her story of her unsatisfying life as a copywriter for an L.A. advertising agency and her dream of saving enough to travel in Europe for a year. On her sojourn to Paris, she spots a handsome butcher while writing in her journal in a cafe across from his shop. They begin shy "bonjours" and evolve to sign language, "Franglish" and finally love.

Janice decides to stay in Paris with her butcher and the book chronicles her life as an ex-pat in the City of Light and her idea to support herself -- by offering a subscription of letters from Paris, illustrated with her watercolors. The wildly successful scheme allowed her to stay with her butcher, do something she loved (create art) in a city she loved as well.

That's the second reason I love the book -- the illustrations. I wish they were all in color, but I'm delighted to join along in reading her letters with her lovely illustrations.

I really enjoyed her list of 100 ways to save toward a goal. It's a terrific reminder of putting what matters to you at the forefront and then working toward a goal.

And the book resonated with me in so many ways, but none more so than the words: "First and most obviously was that I had all the inner resources I needed to effectively deal with my situations. And secondly, I needed to realize that I was an artist. Not the one who paints letters about Paris. The artists who is head honcho creative director of her own life."

I cried when I read that. Because that's what I have finally done -- recognized my own inner resources and become the head honcho creative director of MY own life."

We get into bumpy ruts in our lives, sometimes staying in jobs (or situations or marriages or communities) that don't fit us, that make us edgy and stressed out. Sometimes we need to make a plan, a goal. It may not be going to Paris. In my case, it was retiring from my job. But the point is, when you want it, when becoming in charge of your own life matters more than doing what you were always doing, you can change.

Check out both Janice and Carol's blogs for more on Paris -- and check out "Paris Letters" for a wonderful read! (This post is part of the Paris In July blog tour. visit HERE for a full list of other participants!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Postcards from the Lake -- A Festive Fourth!

(I'm interspersing my "Postcards from the Lake" with "Paris In July" posts. I've been pretty much out of circulation but hope to check in with you all this week!)

Greetings from The Lake! The land of beautiful sunsets, crisp nights and warm-enough days, good food, family and fun!

I'm catching up a bit, swapping out between lake posts and "Paris In July" posts!

Our couple of weeks started out with celebrating cousin Bonnie's birthday.

This was done at dinner on their last day at the lake. I love festivities!

We had killer pasta, home made bread and loved every bite!Of course, we went through all the bread so the next day, Rick made more, giving one of the loaves to a neighbor who helped us with the start of a home-reno project.

I was glad I brought up several of my best basil plants and a rosemary, along with lots of fresh dill, which I hope is still surviving when I get home! All the tastes have been so much fresher because of it. That and a few flowers in the box and I feel pretty darned
 "at home."

Our lake fireworks were on the Fifth of July for whatever reason. (Being Saturday is my best bet!)

It wasn't the best of days -- but could have been worse. The sun did indeed come out but earlier in the day the Duck Family was visiting. The babies are getting big!

I loved watching them bob along on the waves. It was pretty windy, but they hold their own!

Then, of course, fireworks. The finale is always worth waiting for!

I find my lake schedule is so different from my "home" schedule. I'm in an "If-Then" mode. If it's cool in the morning, wear a sweatshirt; if cooler, then use the heater; if quite cool, start a fire. If you're hungry, eat; if not, then wait till you are. If you're tired, nap; if not, then don't -- stay up till you are! There is no clock to mind, appointments to keep. All of this means we often eat dinner rather late.

And it's rather nice.

I leave you with a local example of what I call "bad marketing." Whether this is the hospice house or their office, I can't say -- but don't you think they might have considered a different location?

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