Au Revoir, Paris

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Inside the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine museum.

Jeremy and I are packing up our bags once again, and getting this apartment we’ve been housesitting ready for the owners to come back tomorrow morning. Being in Paris for five weeks has been really great, especially the fact that we’ve remained in one place for so long. As much as I enjoy traveling, it does make me excited about having our own apartment again soon and staying put for a little while (I’m also still trying really hard to find stuff to look forward to instead of being sad our trip is almost over). I took sooo many pictures (obviously) and I haven’t posted a bunch of them, so I figured I’d do that here, in no particular order.

Like I said, I love these buildings.

Like I’ve said before, I love these buildings.

I'm going to miss having this park in running distance.

I’m going to miss having this park in running distance.

Our last meal out in Paris. Of course it had to be cheese.

Our last meal out in Paris. Of course it had to be cheese.

We also had to get one last Nutella crepe, even though it was raining.

We also had to get one last Nutella crepe, even though it was raining.

We walked through Montmartre and I brought my nice camera out finally:

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A vineyard in the middle of Montmartre.

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View from the Musée de Montmartre et Jardins Renoir.

Street art in the Marais.

Street art in Le Marais.

Inside Galleries Lafayette.

Inside Galeries Lafayette, the craziest department store ever.

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On the roof of Galeries Lafayette.

On the roof of Galeries Lafayette.

Me and Frimousse the dog, who I will miss.

Me and Frimousse the dog, who I will miss.

Another one of Frimousse. I'll miss the other dog Leo too, Frimousse is just so photogenic.

Another one of Frimousse. I’ll miss the other dog Leo too, Frimousse is just so photogenic.

From Rue Crimieux.

From Rue Crimieux.

Outside the Pantheon. Heh.

Outside the Pantheon. Heh.

Looking straight up like fall over here.

Looking straight up like fall over here.

The market I'd run by in our neighborhood.

The market I’d run by in our neighborhood.

I love this street in Le Marais.

I love this street in Le Marais.

Outside the Louvre.

Outside the Louvre.

Thanks to Emmeline, we knew to get macarons at Pierre Hermé.

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Watching kids push sailboats at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Watching kids push sailboats at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

 

We walked by the Hotel de Ville one night, which usually looks like this:

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[not my picture, source]

but this night there was a big celebration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris during World War II. Not sure if this video will portray it well, but it was really cool.

 

I will miss you Paris!

Crossing off Paris Bucket List Items

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Walking dogs and eating baguettes. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Our time in Paris is coming to an end. Our five-week housesitting assignment is up on Thursday, when we’ll get back on a train and head south to Bordeaux to meet up with one of my best friends Liz and her boyfriend and drink some good wine, which I’m really excited about. Jeremy and I had been looking forward to this assignment in Paris all summer, and now it’s about to be over. We’ve spent the last week crossing off items on our list of things to do while here, and we’ve been doing a pretty good job. Here are some of our successful Paris bucket list item completions:

Run With a Running Group

This was a personal bucket list item, and I have successfully joined Let’s Run Paris for three runs so far. I did 9 miles last Saturday and then a 10k with them on Monday (which you can read about here if you’re so inclined), then this past Saturday joined them for a little over 13 miles.

How I fueled the night before.

How I fueled the night before.

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The route took us all around Paris, and into the Bois de Boulogne, which I had been wanting to check out.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

Pictures from the Let’s Run Paris Facebook page:

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Post-run at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Post-run at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

As we got into the Bois de Boulogne and passed a water fountain, I had been having a nice conversation with a woman wearing a Surf City Half Marathon shirt (which I’m pretty sure I’m running next February), and I didn’t stop to refill my handheld water bottle that was half empty. HUGE mistake. We were only about six miles into the run, and I ran out of water with a few miles left. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thirsty. There are fountains around the city and I thought for sure we would run by one. Unfortunately we never did, and I think this affected me the day after, and I felt lightheaded and dizzy all day, despite trying to replenish my fluids immediately after finishing the run and the rest of the day. I’m still feeling a bit lightheaded today and it’s raining, so I think I may skip the 10k with the group tonight. I feel like I’m in good shape training-wise for my half in a couple weeks, and I don’t want to risk doing anything weird to my body. But other than that, the thirteen miles were great, and I never really felt all that tired. I joined the 7 min/km group this time around, which was a good decision. It was an easy pace and I could have a conversation the whole time. The group leader even complimented me after saying how well I did and how much energy I had the whole time. Hooray! And I haven’t felt any soreness or anything since.

Jeremy met me after the run with pretzels, chocolate milk, and Powerade.

Jeremy met me after the run with pretzels, chocolate milk, and Powerade.

Recovering with some ice block things I found in the freezer.

Recovering with some ice block things I found in the freezer.

See the Eiffel Tower Sparkle

Jeremy and I hadn’t been to the Eiffel Tower up close at night yet, so we set out one night to do just that. We didn’t know at what time it would sparkle, but we got lucky and were at the Trocadero taking pictures right at 10pm when it happened.

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Why is that video so big?!

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Stand on Kilometre Zero

After dinner one night, we took a walk to Notre Dame, hoping to find the Kilometre Zero plaque on the ground, marking the center of Paris. Somehow we found it and it wasn’t covered by tourists or street performers.

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Notre Dame at night.

"I'm sad because I don't want to leave Paris. And my hair is crazy."

“I’m sad because I don’t want to leave Paris. And because my hair is crazy.”

Have a Date Night

Specifically, eat the cheese plate at Restaurant Astier. With all the delicious restaurant options in Paris, it was hard to choose a place for a nice date night. But after looking at David Lebovitz‘s reviews and reading about this insane cheese spread, we had to go. It was a four-course meal, with cheese being the third. They put it on your table and you take what you want (and can fit in your stomach), then remove it and bring it to a different table. We were the first ones to receive it that night, so we had the whole plate to choose from, although I’m sure they replenish the cheese when it runs low.

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C’est cheese.

All of our courses were delicious, but this cheese plate will go down in history as the most glorious thing put in front of us.

We had a second date night at a restaurant called Les Papilles, which was also an epicerie and wine shop. The four-course menu changes every night, and there are no other options than what the chef has prepared. I really love this, and wouldn’t mind if all restaurants did this.

The cute yellow Les Papilles.

The cute yellow Bistroy Les Papilles.

The star of the night: a green bean soup to be poured over peas, bacon, creme fraiche, and more.

The star of the night: a green bean soup to be poured over peas, bacon, radishes, creme fraiche, and more.

Second course: pork roast with this insane sauce/gravy and creamy polenta on the side.

Second course: pork roasted with apricots and with this insane sauce/gravy and creamy polenta on the side.

The pretty blue cheese and honey course.

The pretty blue cheese and honey course.

Dessert was panna cotta with strawberries that was delicious, but I didn’t get a good picture.

Side note, this building was across the street from the restaurant and I thought it was really cool.

Side note, this oceanography institute building was across the street from the restaurant and I thought it was really cool.

Sunset Picnic on the Seine

This one was at the top of my list for a while, and it was great. We brought a bottle of wine, got some sandwiches from Mozza and Co. food truck and had ourselves a sunset picnic. Even though it was chilly, there were tons of people out, and the police drove around in a tiny truck and handed all the picnickers trash bags with a big smile and a “Bon appétit!” Man, Parisians know how to picnic. I wish I could have gotten pictures of people’s food and wine spreads.

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Visiting Rue Crémieux 

After reading Messy Nessy Chic‘s post about it, Jeremy and I made it a point to visit this little colorful road near Gare de Lyon. It is really easy to miss. But we walked down it after having some wine and cheese at a bistro nearby, and it was really charming.

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Phew, I think that’s it for now. Could I make these posts any longer? Paris is just filled with so much cool stuff that I can’t stop taking pictures!

Let’s Run Paris

A couple months before arriving in Paris, I started looking for a running group on Meetup.com since we’d be here for a good chunk of time. There were two, and one of them took August off for vacation, so Let’s Run Paris was the winner. Like I said in my last post, I’m pretty shy in these types of situations, but I knew if I didn’t go I’d regret it, so off I went on Saturday morning. Jeremy and I left the house super early to make sure we wouldn’t be late for the meeting near the Jardin du Luxembourg. The only other time I’ve been to the gardens it was packed with tourists, so it was a nice change when there were barely any people there so early in the morning. I took it as an opportunity to take some pictures…

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After we killed some time, I headed over to the café to meet the group. Everyone was so nice, and everybody spoke English. I talked to a few people who had moved to Paris from America, and after everyone arrived, it seemed like the majority of people there were expats. This also could have to do with the timing; lots of Parisians take August off for vacation. We took a group picture, and then were split up in pacing groups. I had to figure out which group I should run with; the options were 5 min/km, 6 min/km, or 7 min/km, which equals roughly 8 min/mile, 9:40 min/mile, and 11:20 min/mile. I’m in the middle of the latter two groups, but I went with the 6 min/km group, knowing that I could fall back to the slower group if needed. The plan was to do 15K (9.3 miles), running along the Seine, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and more. The pacing group I went with ended up being really big (probably about 25 people?) and we had to stop at a lot of stoplights, but I didn’t mind since it was nice to catch my breath. It was a great way to see the city, it was free, I met some nice people, and I felt great at the end of the run. Success!

Here are some pictures I took along the way:

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IMG_9069And here are some from the Let’s Run Paris Facebook page:

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Pre-run.

 

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Running along the Seine.

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Taking over the streets of Paris.

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My “run happy” face.

Mid-run.

Mid-run.

Stretching at the Jardin du Luxembourg after we finished.

Stretching at the Jardin du Luxembourg after we finished.

Success!

Success!

I had such a good run that I decided to join the group on Monday evening for 10K in a different part of the city. I went with the same 6 min/km pace group, and we ended up going a lot faster than we had on Saturday. I felt great though, running with the group made me run faster and push myself more than I ever do, and it made me realize that I haven’t lost as much fitness as I thought these past six months. I heard that the course was going to be really hilly and I knew I needed to practice those for the Dingle Half coming up, so I was looking forward to that. There were some steep inclines, but it didn’t feel bad to me at all, which gave me some more confidence.

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There were 27 of us in the pacing group this time, and our huge group ran by countless cafés where people were eating and drinking outside and it was funny to see everyone’s reactions as we barreled down the small sidewalks. We even got a bistro waiter in the middle of taking an order to run with us for half a block. Most people looked at us like we were crazy, but we also got some nice “Allons-y!” (“Lets go!”) shouts as well. I saw some new neighborhoods and some really pretty sunset views from Parc des Buttes Chaumont, but I didn’t stop to take any pictures.

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I never run at night and I couldn’t really sleep that night, but it was worth it!

From the group’s Facebook page:

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This Saturday, the plan is to run 21K (about 13 miles) and I’m a little unsure about it since that would be upping my mileage fairly quickly… but maybe if I join the slower pace group it wouldn’t be as bad. If anyone thinks it would be a big mistake, please let me know!

The Time Has Come

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A picture from the top of Galeries Lafayette during one of our recent Paris exploration days.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Jeremy and I were hoping it would be later rather than sooner, but our return tickets home have been purchased. We are officially returning to the U.S. on Monday, September 15, four weeks from today. Judging by how fast the past few weeks and months have gone by, I know it will be here in the blink of an eye. Our big finale will be our Ireland trip, including my half marathon in Dingle on September 6th followed by a week in Dublin.

I'm definitely going to miss this.

I’m definitely going to miss this. I was too excited about it to make sure the picture wasn’t blurry apparently.

When we were planning this trip, we were optimistically thinking we could make it a whole year before returning, or at least until Christmas, but when we come back it will have been just shy of six months. Which is still a long time! It’s time for us to reenter reality and get jobs and settle down somewhere. I’m trying not to think about how much I’m going to miss Europe, and instead just enjoying the time we have left, and thinking about things I am looking forward to in the U.S., like:

– Being close to family and friends, and seeing my nephew walk for the first time

– Mexican food

– Having more than five items of clothing to wear

– Finding a running club

– Getting serious about training, and choosing my first full marathon to register for

– Being back in time for the Cancer Center 10K and the Santa Barbara International Half Marathon, both of which are in my hometown and I’ve run them before

– Getting back into strength training

– Hiking

– These shoes that I bought myself as a consolation for returning home (I got them on The Clymb – this is my personal referral link and if you sign up with it you get a $10 credit, and I get one too if you make a purchase over $25 – and with some credits I had, they only cost me $37! They are originally over $200):

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Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3

I know there’s a lot more, but that’s all I can think of right now. We’ll be flying back to Georgia, spending about a week there visiting family and friends, then driving back to Santa Barbara, hopefully making a stop at the Grand Canyon on the way.

I’ll have to do a roundup of all the things I’ll miss about Europe, but it seems like it would be too long of a list. All I know is that we will definitely be back in the hopefully not-too-distant future because there are a million places I still want to visit that we didn’t get to this time around!

On another note, I’m totally late to the game but I looked up myself on Athlinks.com and was so surprised to see two 5Ks that I ran in Georgia years ago that I kind of forgot about and had no idea what my time was. It was during my period of running while I was in college where I was pretty serious about it, but had no clue about technique or training or finding the right shoes or paces or wearing technical clothing, etc… But the races were in 2005 and 2006, which shows me that I took a whopping SIX YEARS off of running before my next race in 2012, and I’m happy to report I’ve been running consistently since 2012. My times for the races were 30:23 and 30:22. At least I’m a little faster now!

I also found this hilarious picture of me and my friend Patrick after the 5K in 2006, during which I was absolutely miserable and hot and it was really hard.

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Cool outfit.

Here’s to making the most of the next four weeks!

Life in Paris

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The past few weeks (we’ve already been in Paris THREE WEEKS, how is that possible?!) have been pretty great, minus the week I spent in bed sick. I’m finally feeling healthy again aside from some residual stuffiness – it’s been the longest cold ever – and our days have been filled with exploring the city, eating delicious food, a visit from Nicole, and running.

Whirlwind Sightseeing Tour

Nicole had only been to Paris once before and it was in high school, so I wanted to make sure we walked around a lot and saw a good amount of sights. I love the size of Paris; it’s a big city but totally walkable. And you can always hop on the super-efficient Metro if needed. Many stores/restaurants are closed in August since it’s when most Parisians go on vacation and the city is filled with tourists, but it is still great (obviously).

Jeremy and I took Nicole to Le Perchoir for her first night, a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

Jeremy and I took Nicole to Le Perchoir for her first night, a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

On the Metro.

On the Metro.

Finally celebrating my birthday with a champagne picnic.

Finally celebrating my birthday with a champagne picnic.

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At Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Sacre Coeur at night.

Sacre Coeur at night.

Supermoon over Paris.

Supermoon over Paris.

Supermoon in our hood.

Supermoon in our hood.

Pont des Arts.

Pont des Arts.

Sacre Coeur from a distance.

Sacre Coeur from a distance.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Right before it started raining at Jardin du Luxembourg.

Right before it started raining at Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Drinking wine on the Canal Saint-Martin, one of my favorite things to do here.

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Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Another shot from the super cool Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Another shot from the super cool Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Food

Jeremy and I spent the first couple weeks here resetting our bodies, since we were feeling sluggish and puffy after eating unhealthy (albeit delicious) food and alcohol the past few weeks/months. It helped a lot abstaining from alcohol, dairy, and sweets. When Nicole got here, I was ready to indulge in the deliciousness that Paris has to offer, and it did not disappoint.

No trip to Paris is complete without late night crepes.

No trip to Paris is complete without late night crepes.

The hugest raw salmon burger and French fries.

The hugest raw salmon burger and French fries.

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Close up of this incredible salad.

Close up of that incredible salad.

Veggies cooked in delicious butter.

Veggies cooked in delicious butter.

We ate this falafel hours after Nicole arrived.

We ate this falafel hours after Nicole arrived.

Nicole and I had a lady date at Laduree complete with tea and macarons.

Nicole and I had a lady date at Ladurée complete with tea and macarons.

The interior of Ladurée.

The interior of Ladurée.

I want a macaron hat.

I want a macaron hat.

Some birthday treats.

Some birthday treats.

Delicious goat cheese from the local fromagerie.

Delicious goat cheese from the local fromagerie.

Running

I feel like I’ve made some progress lately, and I’ve had some nice runs the past week or so. Nicole and I went running a couple times, which was fun since I haven’t run with anyone in ages, and I got in nine great miles on Monday. I feel better knowing that maybe I won’t suffer too much during the Dingle Half in three weeks (!!!).

Me and Frimeuse the dog.

Me and Frimeuse the dog.

This one felt good.

This one felt good.

It's been raining a lot lately, but it's been perfect running weather.

It’s been raining a lot lately, but it’s been perfect running weather.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

My training has been all over the place and I’m not really following a plan, so we’ll see how it goes at the race in a few weeks. I am planning on joining a running group tomorrow morning for a 15k run, which I’m a little nervous about since I don’t know anyone and I’m shy in these types of situations, but I really want to do it. Hopefully I won’t lose my nerve!

My Next Race

photo-8 copy 2Happy Monday! Thanks everyone for the birthday and get well wishes, I’m feeling better and hopefully the celebrations can happen soon! Jeremy and I explored Paris a bit more over the weekend, although I tried to keep things nice and easy, as to not overdo it when I wasn’t 100% better.

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The Louvre.

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Jardin des Tuileries.

 

Place de la République right after a big rain storm.

Place de la République right after a big rainstorm.

Jeremy and I had to get pictures taken for our Navigo Decouverte public transportation cards for the month and you're not allowed to smile. They look like mugshots.

Jeremy and I had to get pictures taken for our Navigo Découverte public transportation cards for the month and you’re not allowed to smile. They look like mugshots.

Yesterday, after taking an entire week off, I was feeling well enough to try to run (I adhered to the neck rule, if your symptoms are only above the neck it’s okay to run, below the neck it’s not, to summarize). I was planning on doing an easy three miles to see how I felt, but I ended up running six. Originally it was because I was feeling surprisingly good and wanted to keep going, then I got lost and ended up so far away from our apartment, it turned into more miles than I had anticipated.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

The back of the castle near our apartment. It was such a nice day.

The back of the castle near our apartment. It was such a nice day.

This morning, I finally registered for a race! I haven’t run a race since the San Diego Half Marathon right before we left for Europe in March. I had big plans on running a ton of races while traveling, but it’s been so hard to find ones that actually coincide with our trip, and in many countries you need a signed doctor’s note to run, which I don’t have.

Originally, I had my eyes set on the Budapest Half Marathon in September. Jeremy and I booked an Airbnb there and it seemed to be good timing. We then booked an apartment on the island of Zakynthos in Greece to travel to after Budapest. Well, we booked these things way back in April, before we had any idea how our travels would unfold. It was stupid. We had high hopes that it would be super cheap to get to Budapest and Greece, and it would take us all the way into October. After checking pretty much weekly for prices of airfare to both places, it was obvious that it was going to be way too expensive. It was a bummer, but a good lesson to learn (namely, don’t get so caught up in the excitement of travel and pictures of the turquoise water in Greece that you neglect to think about practical stuff like exorbitant travel costs and logistics). One crazy thing about the Budapest Half Marathon is that the cut off time is two and a half hours. That is insane! I ran the SD Half in 2:15, and I was taking it easy, but still… I’d be at the back of the pack.

So, I was on the lookout for a half marathon again. After we leave Paris at the end of August, we are traveling to Bordeaux to meet up with some friends. I saw online that airfare to Dublin from Bordeaux was pretty inexpensive and Jeremy and I had talked a lot about traveling in Ireland, so I did a quick search of races in early September. Serendipitously, the Dingle Half Marathon lands on the perfect weekend. The Dingle Peninsula is on the west coast of Ireland, and it is sister cities with Santa Barbara (where I’m from), so I’ve been hearing about it since I was young. It was fate! We quickly figured out that we could make it work, so we booked plane tickets to Dublin, and we’re going to rent a car and drive to Dingle. After the race, we’ll drive north some, and then land back in Dublin and spend a week there. I’m pretty excited!

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 The course looks beautiful, and it runs through countryside and along cliffs going into the ocean.

Pictures from the event’s website:

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I am so excited to finally have a race to look forward to, and to train for. I am no way near in shape enough to PR, and apparently the course has many brutal hills. I’m not concerned with my time at all, I just want to enjoy the scenery and the experience of running a race in a different country.

Dingle itself looks like an extremely charming coastal Irish town filled with colorful pubs and B&Bs. There’s even a dolphin that lives in the harbor (by choice) named Fungie. I just want to hear some traditional Irish music being played next to me at a pub and drink a Guinness. Only five weeks to go!

First Few Days in Paris and a Rescheduled Birthday

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I love Paris. I know everyone says that, but you guys, I really love it. We have been to so many beautiful cities and small charming towns in Europe and I have loved those too, but there is just something about Paris. I know I mentioned it the last time we were here, but it gives me the same feeling as San Francisco… I feel like I belong here (I just need to go shopping so I actually fit in – everyone looks so fashionable and put together here).

I love these buildings.

I love these buildings.

We accepted this housesitting assignment all the way back in the beginning of April while sitting at a pub in London, only a week after arriving in Europe. We didn’t have any other plans really and maybe it was unwise to accept something so far in advance (which has not always worked out, but that’s for a different post), but there was no way I was turning down five weeks in Paris rent-free. We arrived last Friday, and have only actually explored the city once so far, because I’ve been so sick.

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Place de la Bastille.

Place de la Bastille.

The Bastille neighborhood on a quiet Sunday.

The Bastille neighborhood on a quiet Sunday.

Heh, if only he had a hat to wear that would take care of the bright sun problem.

Heh, if only he had a hat to wear to shade his face from the bright sun…

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Yesterday was my birthday, and I woke up feeling worse than the day before, so Jeremy and I decided to reschedule my birthday, and celebrate when I’m feeling 100%. I think the reason I get hit so hard when I do get sick is because I don’t sleep. I’ve been averaging 3-5 hours of sleep a night, which doesn’t do much for recovering. And I’m unable to take naps during the day, like a normal sick person. Come on, body! I spent the day mostly in bed, but I did get up to walk a few blocks away to a park we hadn’t been to yet, and what did we see? The Eiffel Tower!

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It may be tiny, but it’s there!

What a face!

What a face!

Our dogs for the month, Frimeuse and Leo.

Our dogs for the month, Frimeuse and Leo.

Jeremy made me my favorite breakfast (fried egg with toast, sliced tomato, avocado, and iced coffee), and made salmon for dinner. I’m feeling a bit better today, so I’m sure I’ll be back on my feet soon. I’m really itching to go running, and go explore every inch of Paris. One of my best friends Nicole will be here in six days, so I HAVE to be all better! Our apartment is near the Bois de Vincennes, which is the biggest park in Paris; it’s three times the size of Central Park. I have gone running there once so far, and I thought I covered a good bit of ground, but turns out I only reached one corner of it. It’s a perfect place to have close by!

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One of the lakes in the Bois de Vincennes; you can rent rowboats here!

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I got a little lost and found some [creepy] teepees in the woods.

Bois-de-Vincennes-Park-Map Today, I’m feeling a little better and Jeremy and I are going to walk to the health food store we discovered, which sells kombucha! It was a very exciting discovery. Now, if there was only a cold-pressed juice place nearby… Happy weekend!