September 23, 2018

Expat boy is growing up

Finally I am in London visiting Expat boy who has begun his internship in the city last month. He is missing his pals and his family and working long hours. Even though I do feel sorry for him and it breaks my heart to see him struggling, it is a lesson he needs to learn.

He needs to make his own bed, iron his shirts, make dinner after a long day's work. He does not have his family at an arm's length to support him and no International school network to welcome him with open arms.

The first few weeks were tough but slowly he is finding his feet. He has hung an Argentinean flag on the wall - he is born a Porteño after all - and transported his playstation from Paris to London to distract himself during his free hours and stocked up on Italian beer, cereals and chips.

Honestly, it took me by surprise to see my big boy not his usual radiant, confident self. I figured having spent the last seven years living in Paris the move to London would be a piece of cake... the same rhythm, same noises, same underground, same hectic urban lifestyle... but I had not calculated that he might miss his backbone: his family.

I left him to it the first month not wanting to be the helicopter mum. We connected via WhatsApp, FaceTime and Skype but now the time has come to give him a huge big hug and take him out for a good meal...

... and hey, when your boy who all his life craves nothing but pasta and pizza chooses to eat sushi for dinner you know he will be just fine!

September 20, 2018

The best view of Paris

Sometimes a discovery is so amazing you just need to repeat it over and over... the view from the top of the tower St.Jacques must be one of the most spectacular ones in all of Paris... and I just can't get enough of it... therefore with the excuse of a dear friend visiting from abroad I booked ourselves two tickets and ascended the 300 steps for the third time this year!

It’s not for the short of breath or weak-kneed, but the dizzying 360-degree vista of Paris from the Tour Saint-Jacques is one of the best-kept secrets of the French capital if you ask me, not least because tickets are not easy to find due to the lack of a permanent license to receive public visitors. But, of course, the French have found a way around that minor inconvenience!

After more than a decade of restauration, it reopened to the public for the first time in 2012, during France’s annual Heritage weekend when visitors are invited inside public buildings of cultural and historical significance.

The tower stands alone in the middle of a little garden of the same name. A tower in the flamboyant Gothic style, built between 1509 and 1523 and the only remaining vestige of the Eglise Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie destroyed in 1797. Few know that this sanctuary was the meeting point on the Via Toronensis (Tours route) of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

The million dollar questions is... how does one get tickets? The answers is: des mots et des

Stepping out onto a glorious view of Paris

The Tour St.Jacques from down below

The 2nd floor is a flashback in history where the ceiling is the actual top of the tower. 

The tower housed a carillon with 12 bells when it was the bell-tower of the church.

A 360 degree view makes the monuments and landmarks of Paris so close and offers unexpected perspectives.

The Seine running along the Notre-Dame cathedral. 

The district of Les Halles with Saint-Eustache church and the hill of Montmartre.

A huge anti-pollution manifestation is gathering beneath our eyes.

Famous Parisian roof tops 

The statue of St. Jacques facing the church

View onto the gardens from 54 meters above.

September 18, 2018

Paris in the fall

"Paris in the Fall" is just as attractive as the fabled "Paris in the Spring". Along the Seine, on the Champs Elysées, along city avenues and in the public gardens, the flush of autumnal colours gives the city a different look.

In addition, once Parisians are back in town, the city's cultural life gets back into full swing. Les Parisiens start filling their agenda with a full programme of cultural events, including concerts, cinema, shows, and dinners entre amis.

I have been swept up in precisely this whirlwind since I returned from summer vacation and rather busy entertaining visiting friends... but the mood is undoubtedly autumnal!

Trocadero early morning

A jog down Champs de Mars 

A bike ride from Les Invalides 

Looking down George Mandel

La Grande Dame de Fer

September 13, 2018

La Parisienne 2018

Seven years ago I decided to start my Parisian Expat adventure with a bang by signing up for Europe's biggest female race La Parisienne. I dove into my new home city and have been immersing myself into it ever since.

The highlight of the year, however, must be La Parisienne when the city center shuts down for traffic and 30'000 women invade the streets... and all are smiling!!!

This year we were all particularly happy since the organization and coordination at the starting line seems to improve every time, going from 2 1/2 hours three years ago to roughly one this Sunday.

This year's theme was New York and even though we haven't really figured out why or how, having been born in the city that never sleeps I felt I belonged!

La Parisienne stands for a good cause and for many it is a yearly appointment with their girlfriends or lady colleagues. Some run, others walk but we all cross the finishing line after a 7km circuit. We are all cheered on by dads, kids, music bands and tourists. We all arrive exhausted but happy and we all receive a lovely rose along with our medal. Running for research never felt so good!

What a backdrop for a ladies' race?!?

Spot the intruder! 

Lady Liberty at the Champs de Mars

Rallying under the Eiffel tower ready to go

Warming up with a view onto Trocadero 

This view rocks!

September 11, 2018

A very special weekend

Seeing one friend after the other leave Paris - going into my eighth year - pretty much all of my soul mates have left the city for their next destination. Don't get me wrong I have friends and I love hanging out with them but the bond you create when arriving in a new city at the same time is unique.

The obvious answer is: make new friends which I have but if there is only one thing better than making a new friend, and that is keeping an old one.

There are two solutions: old stories are like old friends, you have to visit them from time to time OR invite them to come visit you.

For the past three years a dear Swedish friend takes on the journey every September to spend the weekend in Paris and run "La Parisienne" with me. It is a time to catch up and spend some time together just the two of us. A bit of sight-seeing, a little shopping, a hint of culture, lots of walking and even more photos and smiles.

Of course, we treat ourselves to a glass of champagne along the way to celebrate our friendship and when on Sunday morning we cross that finishing line hand in hand I think of Albert Camus' words: "Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend."

Warming up for La Parisienne by climbing the 300 steps of the St.Jacques tower...
and the view is spectacular.

Les Halles is well worth a visit for its impressive architecture.

A new discovery... Tintin mural in the 2nd arrondissement

Too early for champagne, how about some cidre?

When your son's name is written on the wall!

I wonder what this store used to sell?

Unmistakably ... Galerie Vivienne

Nope, that limo is not waiting for us.

A delicious dinner with only the freshest produce.

Ready, set, go!

A well deserved drink on a beautiful sunny Sunday in Paris!

September 9, 2018

Reality has caught up fast

Same as every year, I hit the ground running. After a long summer full of sunshine and relaxation, I drove into Paris last Saturday to find the trees already wearing their autumn colours and starting to loose their foliage... gosh, was I really still at the beach just this morning?!?

Welcoming Expat girl back from her overseas trip and folding her into my arms was my priority. The smile on her face while telling me all about her adventures was priceless.

Ready to jump into the new school year we took ourselves off to the Welcome picnic for the school's returning and new families on Sunday. After seven years it is lovely to still see some old familiar faces...there are very few left given the turnover of Expats in this city.

Monday morning and I kicked myself into shape at the gym. Tuesday was dedicated to welcoming my friends at home kicking off "La rentrée" with many good intentions of seeing more of each other this coming year.

Living in a Parisian apartment you canot get around at least one water leak. Well, we are onto our third one and the insurance guy popped by to inspect the damage in the middle of our girly pow-wow! "Puis-je vous offrir un café" was my question to a rather intimidated looking young fellow.

A stop at the dentist with Expat boy home for two days, an appointment at the Italian embassy to renew Expat girl's passport, a meeting with the Conseil Syndical (condominium council), another meeting with the new Head of School, a PTA coffee morning, a Meet&Greet the teachers, registration for La Parisienne, coffee with a friend, a manicure to keep up the appearances and some hot yoga... all before the weekend!

I might not be a working mother but Parisian life sure keeps me busy... vive la rentrée!

Time flies when you are having fun...

What happened to summer? 

A brand new campus

Welcome back: vive La Rentrée

Familiar Parisian sidewalk scenes

Registering for my eighth "La Parisienne"

September 6, 2018

Paris Playlist

I love Paris in the springtime, I love Paris in the fall, I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles, I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles. I love Paris every moment, every moment of the year. I love Paris, why oh why do I love Paris, because my love is near!

Well, getting back into the swing of things after a long summer abroad what better way to kick off "la rentrée" than with some Paris vibes?

Ever wished for a Paris playlist? Et voilà... from movie soundtracks to French vintage and from rap to raggae music, without forgetting the great dames Ella and Edith. Enjoy!

Paris T'es Belle - Mickey 3D

I Love Paris - Ella Fitzgerald

Métro - Java

Revoir Paris - Charles Trenet

Grands boulevards (j'aime flâner sur les ...) - Yves Montand

Il Est Cinq Heures, Paris S'Eveille - Jacques Dutronc

J'Ai Deux Amours - Madeleine Peyroux

La Seine - Vanessa Paradis / M

J'ai deux amours - Joséphine Baker

Ménilmontant - Charles Trenet

Mon Métro - Anis

Domino - Jessie J

My Moon My Man - Feist

La vie en rose - Edith Piaf

Paris sera toujours Paris - ZAZ

August 31, 2018

It's a wrap!

Every summer has its own story!
What's yours?

August 30, 2018

Time to head back...

It’s a wrap. Yet another summer is coming to its end. For the first time ever since having married we spent an entire month at the beach.

We were not sure how four weeks suntanning would pan out for us, turns out we clocked over 1500km which even for the car rental person seemed to be a new record. We criss-crossed the island of Ibiza from top to bottom and across in search of secluded bays and little beaches.

Everyone had told us Ibiza during August is chaos and it is if you follow the crowds. However, this little island of 572 m2 has thousands of off-the-beaten-track paths, hills, coves and caves waiting to be explored as soon as you real off the main roads.

From the highest point Sa Talaiassa to the lowest one called Atlantis, from the hip Cala d’Hort to the tiniest of beaches S'illot des Rencli, from mega nightclubs to beach hut chiringuitos we tasted it all... and loved every bit of it.

The cherry on the cake is when you can share it all with long-time friends and you actually have time to catch up rather than just a quick hello over dinner.

This was also the first time we spent part of the holidays without the kids whom - as teenagers do - have other plans. Much to our suprise we continued in high spirits making sure we FaceTimed every day from various parts of the globe -as one does!?!

Ibiza nightlife might be the reason many a tourist is attracted to this island but it’s true beauty lies in its nature. Wild, rugged, untamed, authentic, colourful, contrasting, breathtaking natural elements that have left us with wanting more.

For now we will say “Hasta luego Ibiza” but we’ll be back soon because there is still so much more to discover.

August 29, 2018

Ibiza summer vibes

Friendship and a magical moment

How can you resist a dip?

Local art

Bikes for sale

Where is Meryl Streep?

A day's sailing

Ibiza's wild side

A late night boogie

Sophisticated poolside chilling under a full moon

A moment of prayer

Romantic dinner for two

Ibiza we'll be back
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