Posts Tagged ‘Vacation’

Merci Shop, Paris

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I’m a dreamer; my mind is always wandering of to far off places I’d rather be… sundrenched fields of wild flowers and breezy huts shaded by mango trees. Sometimes I’d wish myself back to the memorable places I’ve loved, and moments when I’ve felt truly content.

I took a short trip to Portland this past weekend, a long scenic train ride that didn’t feel long at all.
I brought my laptop along, finally ready to tackle photos from my vacation last year – and unearthed these photos of our final day browsing the enchanting Merci store and stealing a quick breakfast at the Used Book café.

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Processing these pictures on the train amidst the spectacular landscapes of Pacific Northwest made for such a perfect moment – almost as if I was in two of my favourite places at once, and at that instant there was no need to dream.

I’d heard and read many good things about Merci and I knew I’d like it even before I set foot there.

From the café, we ate hot delicate scones slathered with thick smooth echire butter, and zesty fromage blanc with nuts and honey. And lots of café au lait

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And then we lingered, as one would in a store that carries a little bit of their favorite things, all delightful and covetable – understated and stylish clothes, functional and elegant furnishings and household wares, and dreamy eclectic products that you didn’t even know you needed.

You could wander here and never tire, the displays are beautiful, alluring, they change with the season; artsy and cultural with a dash of whimsy – Ideal for browsing and garnering design inspiration even if priced a little out of range.

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And the staff; attentive and informed, with all sorts of tips – from cute gift ideas to suggestions to check out a chic optical store on rue de Turenne.

The store is a little bit like the city it inhabits, cozy, original and conceptually stimulating.

The Fiat 500 at the entrance is adorable, a theme of minimalist elegance and cheeriness carries throughout the store.

There’s also a unique philanthropy facet to this already awesome store, profits are used to ‘finance acts of human development’

~Hope you enjoy the pictures…

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Merci Shop, Paris
111 boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris

Click through for more photos!

A Parisian Apartment

Appartement Parisien

In the very few weeks that I briefly get to live my dream of living in Paris, the tiny apartment is the one thing that truly makes me feel Parisian.

Sure, I tirelessly wander markets and flea market stalls, eat amazingly good food, people-watch from outdoor cafés, and visit museums and gardens and everything else in between, but nothing makes me feel more a part of this dazzling city than coming home to a welcoming little apartment and waking up to the sun streaming through the giant windows, or the views from the window while I sip my morning coffee, or running to the boulangerie for bread. It all feels so natural and exceptional.

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Last October, our apartment was tucked deep behind a second courtyard of Renaissance era building in the 4th arrondissements on a narrow Le Marais street.

We stayed in a beautiful little third floor apartment with lots of natural light and ceilings with exposed beams; outside the cobblestoned courtyards were little green gardens and ivy plants creeping up the building and around giant doors and windows.

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And while it felt like a little countryside cottage inside, outside was bustling with activity – the main gates opened on to Place du Marché Sainte Catherine, a delightful pedestrian-only plaza filled with people, greenery, benches and outdoor restaurants.

Also close were wonderful busy Le Marais streets like Rue des Francs Bourgeois, Rue Vielle du Temple and Rue des Rosiers, and just a minute away from Place des Vosges.

On dull rainy days, I daydream longingly about a Parisian apartment, seemingly more perfect than I remember.

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Other Paris Apartment Posts

Scenes From Atop l’Arc de Triomphe

 
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My first visit to Paris was a spontaneous day trip from London; I took the Air France bus from Roissy and got off at the Arc de Triomphe without a map, guide, plan or agenda, I had no idea where I was going.

I walked as far as my feet could carry me, taking few breaks in between – it was exciting and freeing, unlike anything I’d done before.
I spent hours strolling and window-shopping along the Champs-Élysées, explored the Grand and Petit Palais, walked along the Seine and discovered the Louvre.

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I walked and walked, crossing awe-inspiring bridges, found beautiful historic monuments and fountains, and grandiose palaces and mansions.

The one thing I wanted to do was see the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
By the time I made my way back, I was exhausted and out of time, “next time” I said.

It did take a while, but I climbed up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe… all 284 steps, took in the city, and remembered that very first time in Paris…

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Airplane Food and Layovers

 
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I sort of love layovers; I love that in-between moment in some strange city when life feels transient and the real world feels… well, worlds away.

Long layovers are preferable… I remember when I was a kid; once, my mom, my brother J and I were flying home when our plane made an unscheduled stop due to engine problems. We stayed overnight in an unfamiliar city, checked into a hotel, ordered room service and watched tv in bed. The next morning, we had ice cream with breakfast and my mom took us on a taxi ride into the city before our flight.

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I stayed overnight in London a few months back when I was flying home from Paris, it felt surreal being in London on a layover – to be so alluringly close to the city, family and friends… it felt like I was never quite there.

It was dark and tiring by the time our shuttle deposited us to our hotel, luckily I’d packed my ‘airplane food’ like I promised that I would, which I didn’t get to eat it on the plane because the flight was so short.

The food I’d gathered in my lunchbox was from some of favourite places in Paris – plums and grapes from the Bastille market, croissants from Café Pouchkine, macarons from Gérard Mulot, nuts from the Pistacherie in Le Marais and leftover chocolate from Naturalia

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That night, at the airport hotel that wasn’t quite by the airport, I wore their plush bathrobe, ate my packed lunch in bed for dinner and watched an episode of the new season of Downton Abbey.

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And the next morning, with barely any time to spare, we made a little shopping trip, before our long flight home.

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Geneva for a Day

 
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There’s this story in my family about how my dad for whatever reason turned down a posting to Geneva.
The next post he accepted was to Freetown, to which my mom said, “It’s not Geneva, but it will do”

For my mom and to some extent us, Geneva in hindsight, became ‘the place that got away’, a place where our happier lives could have played out – an alternate world where we would have lived happily-ever-after, a family.

The year we moved here, Vancouver tied with Geneva for the most livable city in Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey, and I was certain it meant something; that perhaps this was my ‘Geneva’ after all.

These were the things I thought about on the train ride to my first visit to Geneva; thankfully, those thoughts were fleeting and I was able to take in Geneva for the uniquely multinational city it is.

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Geneva reminded me a little of Vancouver; picturesque, clean, surrounded by water and snow-capped mountains, cosmopolitan and laid back.
Geneva is home to the UN, the Red Cross and numerous international organizations, and a major global financial hub.

So what do you do in Geneva for a day?
It’s a compact city; still a day isn’t nearly enough, but sufficient to explore and get a sense of this charming elegant city.

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Our day started off with breakfast in the cobble-stoned Old Town Geneva, then a stroll along the lake, Jardin Anglais, the flowery lakeside garden and a break at the flower clock at the Promenade du Lac.

After another break to admire the Jet d’eau, we continued along the banks of Lake Léman (Lake Geneva) for as far as our travel-weary feet could take us.

We hopped on a bus for the grand tour of the international part of the city, and tried to capture as many shots as we could as we whizzed past the various UN agencies and other international health, peace, religious, human-rights etc. organizations.

We had lunch at Parc Bastions by the Reformation Wall, and a brief stopover at MAMCO (Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain) or as I like to call it Geneva MoMA.

Our day ended with drinks at the chic Glow bar at the Hotel President Wilson with some new friends, and a mad dash to catch our train at Gare de Cornavin.

More Pictures…

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IMG_5245 280/365 Broken Chair on the Place des Nations #mostly365

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Boats

Other European Day Trips


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