Thankful Thursdays – The Challenge

Thankful Thursdays – The Challenge

I may have written about this before, but I’m not even going to bother going back to look to check because today’s selection is something that I am thankful for every single day: the challenge that life among different countries and cultures … Continue reading

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Hydrangeas in Bretagne

Waterlogue, watercolor, France, Bretagne, Brittany, Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Color Bloom

Waterlogue, watercolor, France, Bretagne, Brittany, Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Vibrant

Waterlogue, watercolor, France, Bretagne, Brittany, Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Vibrant

I have decided to quit hoarding so many photos and share more images each Waterlogue Wednesday.

Today’s first hydrangea burst comes from the garden of L’Orangerie Lanniron on the River Odet. This is a fabulous place! I am way overdue to do a whole post on it. Today’s “blue two” are from the darling town of Pont-Aven in Bretagne. I had been to Pont-Aven before, but I told R that we needed to return because I felt there was much more to explore. It was a misty and, at times, rainy afternoon, but the art galleries and vibrant colors brightened our time. The town sits on a port and has water running right through the center of it. Behind many of the shops lies a maze of bridges where hanging flower boxes invite visitors to discover the next gallery, boutique, or crêperie. No visit to Bretagne is complete without a stop in Pont-Aven.

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Lavender in Bretagne

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, lavender Provence

Today’s Waterlogue is from an image not from Provence, but from the western region of Bretagne. I still dream of seeing fields and fields of lavender one of these summers in France, but this particular garden was just as satisfying with its impressive display of both lavender and hydrangeas. The bumble bees were having a heyday! We had picked up a brochure of the region somewhere along the highway and so I was directing us based on what looked most interesting… and colorful. Although this is only a small zoomed-in image of the incredible garden, I prefer to share this simple snapshot of so many consider quintessential French summertime.

Parc de Sceaux Bicycle Exhibit I

Several months ago, I heard about an exhibit at the Parc de Sceaux. I had already come and gone from Sceaux not knowing about the exhibit, so when I learned of it I made a point to return before the exhibits closure on May 31, 2015 (I made it by mere days!). It was so fun to learn about the history of the bicycle across the world, as well as what role the bicycle plays in French society today (hint: does the maillot jaune mean anything to you?).

(Unfortunately, all of my photos were taken with an iPhone, so the quality isn’t as good as it could be. My apologies.)

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

1817 ~ Invention of the dandy horse by invented by Baron Karl Draishref in Germany

18845 ~ First patent issued for an inflatable tire, never tried by its inventor R.W. Lawson (England)

1861 ~ Invention of the pedal by Pierre Michaux (France)

1868 ~ Chain transmission prototype created by de Guilmet et Meyer (France)

1869 ~ First penny-farthing created between 1875 and 1890 (England)

1875 ~ Jules Truffault replaces the wooden wheel with a rimmed wheel and rubber tires (France)

1879 ~ Invention of the Lawson bicycle with smaller wheels, but still of differing sizes (England)

1884-1887 ~ Kangaroo bicycle came onto the scene, including pedals and a chain (England & France)

1884-1888 ~ John Starley invents the bike we know today, called the “Rover safety bicycle” (England)

1888 ~  John Boyd Dunlop introduced the first practical pneumatic tire and goes for another patent (Scotland)

1895 ~ Jean Loubeyre invents the derailleur in his “La Polyceler”  (Belgium)

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

An impressive display of every iteration of a bicycle throughout history

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

It appears some iterations were more intensive for the rider than others. Early models also seem far less stable than we are accustomed to today.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

This is hilarious. My goodness, I hope you can read French. If it weren’t enough to confine women to the home for housework, they had to be of a certain class in order to have the right to ride a bicycle. For those who were allowed, this gave them great freedom. However, some were concerned that a woman seated on a saddle could experience adverse effects on her lady parts – or worse – become sexually stimulated by the repeated action of the legs for pedaling.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

A charming description of the difference between a bicyclette and a vélo. You’re either in one camp or the other regarding your type of riding, so you best be clear about it! (I’m bicyclette all the way!)

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

How charming that the word “bicycle” is neither English nor French but quite perfectly both!

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

Fun old posters featuring bicycles

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Parc  de Sceaux,  À bicyclette. Collection Robert Grandseigne - Emmanuel Déhan

More photos in an upcoming post… Stay tuned.

Check out upcoming expositions at Domaines de Sceaux here.

Weekend Social Atrium Hotel Stay II

As promised, here are a few more photos from my stay at the Atrium Hotel in Suresnes. One of my favorite spaces was the cocktail bar and lounge, which for some reason made me think of Oscar Wilde and one of his former residences in Paris. I find this room super charming.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

Hotel study and cocktail bar

The low sun cast long shadows on the surrounding buildings and brought color to the surrounding façades.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

View north toward La Défense

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

View of Montmartre, the Sacré Cœur, and the Arc de Triomphe

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

Those Paris rooftops…

L’Atrium Hotel
68/72 boulevard Henri Sellier
92150 Suresenes, France
+33 1 42 04 60 76
info@latriumhotel.com

Thankful Thursdays – La France

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Bastille Day, fête nationale, Julia Willard red balloon photos, Paris, France, Paris red balloons

 

In thinking about what I feel most thankful for this week during this week of celebration and cycling, it seems only fitting to continue with the red balloon theme (see yesterday’s red balloons). Red, white, and blue for an American is usually symbolic for his or her own country, but for me they are the colors of all three of “my” countries, so I often find myself drawn to the combination of the colors. Since first going to France in 1999, my love for the culture and the country has grown exponentially, and I continue to be drawn to it, intrigued by it, frustrated by it, and madly in love with it. Every time I see another part of France, and I find myself in complete awe of how this (smallish) country can have so much beauty in it. I have heard this come up in French class and even in other European countries over the years – France really does have it all, from beaches, to mountains, to rolling hills, beautiful architecture, and a fascinating history to accompany it all. I can’t wait to explore more of it in just a few weeks.

In case you missed it, here is my France bucket list (to be updated/revised soon).

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Red Balloons at the Eiffel Tower

Waterlogue, Julia Willard, red balloon project, Eiffel Tower, Falling Off Bicycles

Happy Waterlogue Bastille Day! How better to celebrate this country I love so much than with a blue sky, some red balloons, and the Eiffel Tower (+ some fireworks). How did you celebrate?

Insider’s Abroad Brittany Camping + Amsterdam Getaway

Insider's Abroad, travel abroad, Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Haven’t secured your European holiday yet for the summer? Looking for someplace great to go? I have two great ideas for you, and both of my articles are featured in the above FREE, gratuitgratis online magazine Insider’s Abroad! Need a weekend away? How about making the rounds for some beer and great eats in Amsterdam? Want to get a little more outdoorsy with your vacation? Maybe even… CAMP?! Brittany, France is your spot. Check out both articles by clicking the image above.

Weekend Social Atrium Hotel Stay

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking advantage of a promotion put on by the new-in-town Atrium Hotel. I was offered a night’s stay at the Atrium Hotel just west of Paris, in Suresnes. Never mind that the hotel isn’t in the city center; Suresnes is a lovely town and I had heard there is quite an impressive view from the hotel making any distance from the center of Paris well worth the trek.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

I checked in on a Sunday evening, just in time to take in the sunset from the rooftop terrace with my friend. We grabbed the signature green apples that are placed around every one of their and their partner hotels, and grabbed a seat outside. It had been a hot day, so the sun was strong as it set just behind us as we faced the Iron Lady. Suresnes, which sits atop a hill, is known for its fort at Mont Valerien and is also home to the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial. An hour atop the small but lovely rooftop terrace was the perfect end to my Sunday. We watched the sun set over not one but three top Paris monuments, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Sacré Cœur sitting upon Montmartre. (Unfortunately, all the photos I got of the rooftop terrace have my friend in them, so I will have to return for proper photos of it. Check it out now at the hotel’s website.)

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

The staff members were all friendly and accommodating with any question I had, and the little time I was able to spend in the hotel (I had to leave very early the next morning for a meeting in the 2nd arrondissement) was really lovely. The stylish yet simple décor is a welcome change to the oftentimes-ornate typical French furnishings. Everything in the hotel was pristine and in place, including the billiards table, on which the balls were racked and ready to go.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Atrium Hotel, Eiffel Tower, Suresnes, Paris

Stay tuned for another post featuring this chic hotel, coming soon.

L’Atrium Hotel
68/72 boulevard Henri Sellier
92150 Suresenes, France
+33 1 42 04 60 76
info@latriumhotel.com

Thankful Thursdays – Menu Diversity

Nanashi Paris, Paris Japanese food, bento Paris, Juli Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Am I writing about food too much? Haha. Sometimes I just flip through my photos and find pictures of such memorable meals that I had to capture them for posterity. I have now been to Nanashi in Paris several times (sigh, why wasn’t it there when I lived around the corner from one in 2007?!), and it still stands out to me as one of the most fun healthy and fresh dining options in Paris. In my travel consulting work, I get asked about the best restaurants in Paris, usually by people who are expecting an epic meaty meal the French have mastered over centuries (or so they say). I have a list of places that I’ve heard about over the years or have been to with meat eaters, but otherwise I have to direct them elsewhere for guidance, as my main dining list is one of my favorite spots in Paris for fresh meals like the one above (and yes, Nanashi has non-veg meals, too). As I mention often, the culinary scene in Paris is breaking open to include more than just entrecôte or parmentier de confit de canard, and I for one welcome it with open arms.

Nanashi – Bento Parisien
57 rue Charlot
75003 Paris
Phone: 09 60 00 25 59

31 rue de Paradis
75010 Paris
Phone: 01 40 22 05 55