Monday, October 7, 2013

PennyWise in Paris


After much budget crunching and complex navigation of the world of travel rewards systems, my husband and I were able to realize an end of summer jaunt overseas: 
first stop, the City of Lights! 
 While online searches and advice from experienced travel bloggers recommended thousands of helpful tips and must-visit locales for enjoying this most popular of destinations, with limited time, sadly we could only get a small glimpse of the delightful Vie Parisienne.
 With a promise not to bore anyone with endless "what I did on my vacation photos", I thought I'd share a few of the fun, fascinating and of course, pennywise highlights and projects inspired by our trip in a few of my upcoming posts.   

Artful Dining

Having recommendations from two reliable and Paris savvy blogger sources Botanic blue and Tina Boomerina, we had one of our most enjoyable (and surprisingly affordable) meals in the restaurant at the Musee D'Orsay. Open late on Thursdays, we popped in on a whim (admission covered by a must-buy museum pass) and with minimal crowds we were able to score a table sans reservation. France's version of a "museum cafeteria" features painted gilded ceilings, soaring windows, chandeliers and delightful and attentive service. For the price of an average cafe lunch we had wonderful dinner after admiring the collections.


A renovated train station the D'Orsay is an open and airy unique venue to admire some truly wonderful masterpieces. 

The Musee de la Chasse et la Nature

or, Pardon me, there's a bear in the parlor

 Paris' most famous draws are spectacular but can be crowded and sometimes overwhelming when scheduled back to back. Why not take a break from the maddening crowd and pay a visit to the quieter, smaller, and sometimes quirkier venues the city offers.
I had seen some information on the Musee de Chasse and Nature and popped in for a quick visit. As an avid animal lover it might seem an unusual choice to visit a hunting and nature museum but after reading about how it elegantly portrayed mans interaction with the natural world etc etc, my interest was piqued-  plus I wanted to see the giant polar bear.  
                         Lions survey the gallery                         A fox sleeping on a tapestry chair

The museum is housed in a beautiful limestone circa 1650 building and worth every bit of the modest 8€ entry fee. It features an unusual array of taxidermied animals set cheekily among beautiful art, antiques and contemporary animal themed works. Because there were only a handful of visitors that day, the accommodating staff were happy to personally and enthusiastically fill us in on some of the fascinating facts about the exhibit. The museums petite manageable size made it a perfect attraction for a quick visit when you find yourself with some extra time or a rainy afternoon keeps you inside.

lovely garden courtyard
The dog room celebrates all things canine

All photos CPaul2013
Of course Paris lives up to it's reputation as a shopper's paradise, but if budget (and luggage space) prevent a major spree, window shopping can be a delightful, inspiring and (for the strong willed) free activity. Boutiques brim with an amazing array of merchandise but it's the exquisite and artful arrangements that make Paris shops so special. Even the casual corner flower stands are thoughtfully displayed.

While taking photos inside shops is frowned upon, I freely snapped away outside for my digital "scrapbook" of inspiration to refer to later. From the use of bold colors to the creative juxtaposition of unique objects, the art of display in France is just that.

    

 Lock up Love

The Ponts des Arts

Want to embrace the romance of Paris for the price of a padlock? The famous bridge boasts thousands of locks emblazoned with initials and declarations of amour! With a lock and a sharpie you can help ensure your romance will last a lifetime (although no data actually supports this). Simply write names or a message on the padlock, attach to the bridge and toss the key into the Seine below. Snap a photo as a fun romantic keepsake. 
I happened to catch a bride and groom as we were walking by, a pretty common site.




PennyWise Paris Tips

Dining out every meal can get pricey. Many travel experts and friends wisely recommended substituting non-stop restaurant dining with improvised al fresco meals, much like natives of Paris do.
If you pack a small penknife with corkscrew in your (checked) luggage, you can buy some wine, gourmet cheese and fresh fruit at a local market and you'll be ready to enjoy your delicious picnic fare and people watching in one of the wonderful scenic parks.
You can even go all out and pack a blanket and non breakable cups if space allows.




All Photos property of CPaul 2013










34 comments:

  1. You are a fantastic tour guide, Christina. All the pictures are fabulous and the one you snapped of the newlyweds is precious. I like that you did things at your own pace in your own way. That's the way to travel and still remember everything you saw on your return.

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    1. Thanks so much Melinda!
      I couldn't believe I lucked out with the newlyweds on the bridge-we were simply wandering about-haha It's so hard to see everything you want in one trip but hopefully there will be a next trip someday!
      Thanks again for your kind words
      Cheers
      Christina

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  2. That must have been a very enjoyable trip - even the window shopping would be interesting!

    Thank you for your visit and kind words today.

    Carolyn

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    1. Thanks so much Carolyn!
      It was a fun trip but went by far too fast!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  3. Paris! So glad you were able to eat in the Musee D'Orsay. That is my favorite museum and favorite Paris restaurant. The next time I am in Paris (there has to be a next time, somehow), I want to go to Musee Chasse and Nature. I've never been and your experience tells me I probably will really enjoy it.

    Thank you so much for the beautiful vintage-looking Eiffel Tower postcard. Finding it among all the advertisements for Lowe's, Costco, dentists, etc... perked up my trip to the mailbox! It is now sitting on the shelf with my other Eiffel Tower keepsakes.

    Judith

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    1. Thanks so much Judith,
      It was your post about the d'Orsay that put it on our must visit list- and if not for your info about the restaurant we might have walked right by it and never ventured in- from it's ambience it looks far beyond our budget haha It was one of my husbands favorite places.
      So glad you got the post card - by the time we got to the Eiffel tower post office with mail in hand it was closed so I settled for the mailbox out front hoping everything would have the Eiffel Tower seal :( (I sent the same one to myself) I completely relate to Costco and Lowes flooding the mailbox- who knows what we've missed
      Thanks again for the tips!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  4. I found you though Ivy and Elephants. Thank you SO MUCH for taking us on your wonderful trip. It's been years since I've been to Paris and your lovely images conjured her up in all her glory. Thank you.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post Rhissanna!
      I hadn't been there since I was a student with a backpack- (more than a few years ago- haha) but wish I had been back sooner! What a magical place! :)
      Cheers
      Christina

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  5. Looks like a fabulous trip! Thanks for joining HSH!
    Sherry

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    1. Thanks Sherry!
      It was fun but breezed by! Thanks for hosting your wonderful parties!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  6. Hi Christina! Oh, how lovely the Museum D'Orsay is! I missed it when I went to Paris 3 years ago. My Dad had said it was a "must see" - now I can see why! It's beautiful! It was closed on the day I had tried to go to it. Oh well, next time... Looks like a great trip. Thanks for the tour! Catherine

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    1. Thanks Catherine!
      It was a wonderful museum- I completely understand I missed half the must-sees on our list too! :( There's just never enough time- Hopefully it's an excuse to go back! lol Thanks so much for stopping by Pennywise!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  7. How wonderful! But I want more! More! More! I do not think you can share to many picture of Paris! Love the museum pictures. I am always have repulsed half attracted to taxidermy animals. Are you doing more animal paintings on ebay? Loved the Halloween series.

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    1. Thanks Susan!
      I took hundreds of pics! lol- I'll probably do a few more Paris posts down the line- I feel the same way about taxidermy-and wasn't sure how I'd react- but I admit the museum was really fascinating-we also visited Venice- the masks and art there were amazing! I can't wait to get back to painting soon- though I may be too late for Halloween- So glad you enjoy them!

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  8. FYI -When I clicked on the link at SYC it said the page I was looking for doesn't exisit - I had to click on HOME to find the post.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know-I've been having all sorts of problems with blogger :( hope to get it sorted out

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  9. Hi Christina, I see that Susan told you that your link didn't take me to your post. Hopefully people will scroll down. What a dream come true to be able to go to Paris! I would love to go there some day, see the sights, eat the food, and hear a little French! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks so much Jann,
      yes- I have been having all sorts of problems with my blog (with posts not going out- links not linking) the last week or so and have no idea what's going on :( Hopefully I'll get it worked out but I'm not very techy lol
      Thanks for your kind words- we had a ball in Paris but the time flew by far too fast! Thanks so much for hosting your weekly parties!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  10. Oh how I love Paris. The place of my dreams. My last visit to Paris was four years ago and it was truly the most romantic and memorable vacation I've ever had. Thank you for taking back..

    I hope you can come for a visit.

    Janet
    rosemary-thym.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much Janet!
      I couldn't agree more- what a delightful city! Wish we could have stayed longer-
      I'll definitely pop over for a visit!
      Cheers
      Christina

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    2. Thanks Christina. I truly appreciate your visit. I am now following your pretty blog. I hope you can follow back.

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    3. Thanks! Yes, I followed right away- can't wait for future posts!

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  11. What a fabulous trip! I think if you asked bloggers...this would be the number one destination on our wish list! Wonderful photos! WOW!

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    1. Thanks so much!
      you are so right- I got so many trips from fellow bloggers who just love Paris!
      We got to go to Italy as well so I'll probably share some photos in a post down the line- after all the holiday crafting posts-lol
      Cheers
      Christina

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  12. It just amazes me how many are making trips to France and to Pairs especially. I guess I would also if money was no object for me at this time in my life
    Thanks for the pictures and I could look at a lot more if you post them.
    The place you had dinner is beautiful

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    1. Thanks so much! and you're so right, it seems everyone is going to Paris right now! I hadn't been there since I was a student with a backpack (more than a few years ago haha)
      Luckily we cashed in my husbands travel points to offset the cost! I'm so glad fellow bloggers recommended the restaurant in the museum- what a bargain for dinner in an amazing atmosphere! So pleased you enjoyed the photos- We visited relatives in Italy as well so I'll be posting some more photos from there in upcoming posts.

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  13. Lovely photos and such a lovely city! Thank you for sharing! You are one of the features today at the Anything Blue Friday party at The Dedicated House. Pop on over and grab a feature button. Here is the link to this week's party. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com/2013/10/anything-blue-and-pink-friday-week-29.html Hope to see you again at the little blue soiree! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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    1. A big Merci for featuring my bear in the parlor photo!- I loved the blue wallpaper! and that was such an offbeat little Paris museum! Thanks also for hosting your fun parties- I wish all my posts had something blue in them so I could join in every week! I've had some computer problems I'm working out but I'll happily grab a button!

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  14. What a wonderful trip! I loved the sites you shared, not the usual but uniquely interesting. I love the garden and the museum with the pair of gorgeous lions. I really enjoyed it.
    Hugs,
    Patti

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    1. Thanks so much Patti!
      So glad you enjoyed the photos. We had limited time and tried to get to the main attractions but also find some of the off the beaten path places- that tiny museum was one of my very favorite spots!- I wish I could have brought one of the lions home in my suitcase!
      Thanks also for hosting your weekly parties! I always look forward to finding great ideas and inspiration there!
      Cheers
      christina

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  15. Wonderful photos of Paris, and wonderful advice. I enjoyed your post so much. laurie

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    1. Thanks so much- so glad you enjoyed it-I had gotten so many tips from more travel savvy bloggers - I thought I'd share my very limited experience!

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  16. Paris holds such a mystique, even for those of us who have been there. It was originally built with the vision to be 'the world's most beautiful city'. Although it's been many years since I have been there, I believe it has earned that distinction.

    My favorite picture is of the bride and groom, which to me exemplifies Paris ten fold.

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    1. Thanks Doreen-
      and I have to agree it just might be the most beautiful city- I hadn't been there since backpacking during college days (ages ago! lol) and forgot how wonderful it was- wish we could have stayed longer
      It was sheer luck that there were newlyweds on that most romantic bridge (so glad I had my camera ready!)
      Thanks for visiting Pennywise!

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Love to hear your comments and suggestions!