Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

This post is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to my friend Gilles Thomas, for his knowledge of Paris’ history — and for his generosity in sharing it. Paris’ history is full of unsung heroes whose names have largely been forgotten. One of these is Charles-Axel Guillaumot. Charles-Axel Guillaumot, “the man who saved Paris.” Esteban and […]


“What makes Paris so special?” I get this question a lot. There’s food, art, centuries of history … and I love the Parisians’ flair for sophisticated simplicity. But what draws me back again and again is that there’s always something new to discover — if you have an attentive eye. To me, Paris is a […]


There are lots of theories about why Paris is called “la ville lumière” (“the city of light”). I’ll save mine for another day — as Esteban and I are on our way to the airport in an hour to catch our flight home — but here are a few of the moments I witnessed over […]


Esteban and I have done so much and seen so many friends over the past week that we’ve started comparing notes to make sure we’re keeping our days straight. There are so many stories to tell — beginning perhaps with today’s superb lunch in Paris’ oldest house. But if I stop now to look for […]


I’ve always wanted to see Paris under a blanket of snow, but have always missed it — sometimes by a matter of hours. So imagine my delight when the blue skies that greeted me and Esteban a few days ago turned a heavy lead gray. At first the flakes were big and deceptively fluffy (because […]


I realized today I’ve been posting lots of rambling narratives about Minnesota, so here’s a change of pace: Just photos, selected at random from my travels over the past five years. Stay tuned for more news from the road, coming soon …


When I first stumbled across A French Frye in Paris some eight years ago, Corey Frye had just married a French girl and moved to Paris. His love for the city and perpetual sense of wonder were infectious — and I related to his earnest (but sometimes ill-fated) attempts at learning French. “My husband and […]


When Esteban and I first discussed moving to a condominium, my biggest sticking point was the homeowners’ association fee. “We’ll have that monthly expense for the rest of our lives,” I protested. “But with that fee we’ll be buying time,” he replied. Esteban was right. Although we still need to paint the hallway and finish […]


My blog-pal Anthony has a great memory, because this morning he reminded me of a post I wrote three years ago. With apologies to those for whom this is a rerun, it at least explains why I was more excited about the heat-sensitive eclipse stamps than yesterday’s actual eclipse. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• I admit it: I feel […]


I’ve always believed it’s my duty as a citizen to be engaged and informed. But lately I find myself reacting to the news in ways I never used to. It’s a reflexive and visceral response — even when events don’t directly affect me. My instinct is to discuss these events, because they’re important. But then […]


As an amateur photographer I have lots of bad habits, but by far the worst is not looking at my photos after I take them. Over time, the weight of all those photos becomes oppressive, as it can take hours to sort through my mostly crappy snapshots to pick out a handful of favorites. Eventually […]


The sky at home is (yet again) drippy and dark, so I’m turning to my archives for some sunshine. Esteban and I spent a few days in Arles last year. Because we’re both history buffs, we were keen to see the Roman ruins and the well-preserved medieval city. But mostly we came for the Provençal […]


From its doorknobs to its house numbers, Paris is rich in architectural details. But it was the city’s iconic pavers that led me on my most recent historical adventure. In some streets the pavers are still arranged in beautiful fan-like patterns. The rue de l’Abreuvoir offers a nice view of the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre, […]


This is my fourth post in series about the unexpected historical connections that abound in Paris. See the past three days’ posts for other clues — or tune in on Sunday for the full story. The Place de la Concorde is not only Paris’ largest public square, but arguably its most historic. Its name changes […]


One of my favorite things about Paris is that everything is somehow connected. Here’s the second clue. What does it have to do with yesterday’s photo? I will reveal all on Sunday. Paris’ pavers come in a variety of sizes. You’ll find large ones like these mostly along the quays that line the Seine river.


Street photography is my Parisian passion. But when I’m traveling with other people, it’s unreasonable to ask them to wait a half hour until the right person walks into the frame. That’s why on this last trip I concentrated instead on small architectural details I could snap on the run, almost without missing a stride. […]


When it comes to travel, Esteban and I are planners: Before every trip we peruse a stack of guide books from the library, study some history, and map out our logistics. Eight cities and three countries in one trip. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?! Although we still leave plenty of time for serendipity, planning helps us […]


Photography often makes me adopt some strange positions. Such was the case when I slithered on my belly along Paris’ Seine river to frame this shot. So engrossed was I in my task that I barely registered the sound of the street-sweeping vehicle approaching from behind, nor did I notice it stopping. “Is everything alright, […]


I should have started my last post about Florida bugs with a confession: I could have avoided the whole thing by sticking to the paths … … instead of bushwhacking through the mangroves. Well, no matter. We’ve put the bugs behind us and have finally made it to the beach! During our trip to Florida […]


Esteban and I spent a week in Florida last November. It was bliss: We had a wonderful family gathering, lots of beautiful weather — and the ocean was literally right across the street from our hotel. It became a ritual for me to get up before dawn every morning and watch the sunrise on the […]