All posts tagged: gardens

Smell the Roses

In dark times, sometimes we just need to be surrounded by flowers. Being fall, it’s not so easy to find many flowers in nature, so I thought it would be a perfect day to throw way way back to a beautiful and flower-filled place I visited back in 2013, when I interned in Paris. Then, I saw from the Chicago Art Institute that yesterday was Claude Monet’s birthday, and I knew my idea was meant to be. In June 2013, some friends and I took a day trip out to Giverny, famous for the residence and gardens of renowned impressionist  Claude Monet. The village is about 80km west of Paris. To get there, we had to take the train to a slightly larger town called Vernon and then a shuttle bus to Giverny. I remember that we all had major issues purchasing our tickets, because the machines in Gare St Lazare only accepted cards with the little chips. We were so afraid of missing the train that we dared not wait in the long line at the ticket …

Delusions of grandeur

Visiting the Chateau de Versailles can feel daunting. There’s a lot of pressure to “do it right” and “avoid the crowds” and “avoid weekends”  and “go early”…….oops. Our attempt to mix these words of tour guide advice with our college student sleeping habits led to rolling out of bed and to the train station by 10:45 and arriving in the quaint city of Versailles around 11:30. It’s so interesting, because as Americans, our history was founded in small wooden town halls by farmers and business men. Our concept of “American royalty” lies somewhere between George Washington and Beyoncé. And our most extravagant palaces are the big white marble buildings of DC or privately owned celebrity mansions. The Chateau of Versailles is completely foreign territory, and not just because it’s in another country. I struggle to think of a way to describe it other than enormous and sparkly. No seriously. Everything is covered in gold. And that’s just the outside.

Birthday Weekend!

Moving right along to last weekend!!! Saturday was the birthday of one of my good friends in the program: LANA!!! We planned a day of picnic-ing (or as the French say: faire un pique-nique) in the park that happens to be just behind the apartment Steph and I live in: Parc André Citroën. Yep, like the car. Evidently, this park was built on the former site of a car factory. We wanted to go because during dinner one night, our host family told us that there’s a giant hot air balloon that you go up in! Obviously that needed to happen. So, a group met Steph and I outside our apartment and we left in search of lunch and the park! Along the way, we discovered a bunch of small grocery stores, shops, boulangeries within a 4 minute walk…aka things we should probably know exist so close to us. The park is really funky and modern–sort of like a post-modern version of the traditional French Le Nôtre style garden. There seemed to be a TON …