Paris by Liza et Vie part two

What, is this where we are staying? What not to do when booking a trip, where to brunch, where to snack, and a bit of sightseeing and shopping.

In Paris by Liza et Vie part one I wrote that we were heading back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep, did that happen, no no no. The hotel walls was so paper-thin and guests coming back late at night sounded like they were going to stomp into our room. Guests checking out stomping down the stairs, and banging their luggage against the wall on their way down to the reception desk. It was like this every night and every morning. To get enough rest we slept in and our day did not start untill noon. My fault, this was a last-minute thing and I looked for a cheap bargain on Expedia, I found a Hotel close to one of the places we wanted to visit Boulangerie Raphäelle. The pictures of the rooms looked decent and we were just going to sleep there. To make life a little easier I booked a car to pick us up at the airport and to pick us up at the hotel on the day of departure. When the driver stopped outside our hotel and told us that this was our stop, I was a little shocked, it was a dingy and littered street. What did I really expect our trip was 400 euros per person for round trip ticket and four night. Next trip I think I have to do some more reasearch and maybe ask around. My past trips to Paris I never really booked anything my self, I left that to my better half and yes I was spoilt. Oh well, I am now an experience richer. Know where you are going before you book a trip.

The third day of our stay we went to Eggs & co in the St. Germain de Prés area for brunch, this is also a recommended place to enjoy a nice plate of Eggs Benedict.  A small two-story cafe with a low ceiling. We ordered two of the brunch specials, a main course served with a hot beverage and orange juice followed by a pancakes with a click of butter served with a fresh fruit salad. The brunch specials were from 20 euros and up, maybe not the cheapest brunch, but you got a lot of food, and you won’t leave hungry, this was our main meal that day. MiniMe is not very fond of gravy on her food, she ordered scrambled egg with bacon. Her scrambled egg came in a bowl with the bacon mixed in, it was almost like a porridge. My first thought was, oh oh, will she eat this, she did and she ate a lot. When asked if we wanted tea or coffee, the waitress saw that MiniMe hesitated and asked if she wanted hot chocolate instead. I call that observant and super service. I give this place a thumbs up. We had to pay down stairs at the counter and along one of the walls there were three jars with sweets. The lady behind the counter saw MiniMe looking in that direction and told me that she could help herself to the sweets. This place was even a hit with my little pride and joy.

Leaving Eggs & co. we walked around the, did some shopping. and then MiniMe tugged on me and said “Mom I need to use the rest room”. Where to go? We found Poilâne, as I understand it also a reputable boulangeri, but not one of the ones Paul Hollywood visited. We went in to tne café next door,  also called Poilâne. We went in and asked for the rest room and ordered some snacks. I felt that I had to order something, previously at other places people did not look to happy when you asked if you could borrow their rest rooms. The waitress told me that she could just use the fasilleties and that we did not have to order anything, that was very kind of her but we ordered a few things anyway. A flan and cappuchino for me and a fresh fruit salad and barley infussed apple juice for MiniMe.

Poilâne opened in 1932, at that time there used to be 5 bakeries on Rue du Cherche-midi and now it is only one. I guess that the young baker from Normandy managed to convince the Parisians that his traditional French sourdough bread was a contender to the baguette that everybody loved and prefered. There was a dual advantage to Poilânes four pound loaves: they kept longer and could be cut into large slices. The bakery continued to bake this bread using stone-ground flour, sea salt from Guérande and a wood-fired oven.  As you can see from the picture below, you can buy slices of their famous bread. They weigh the amount you want wrap in a bag and you leave them with only what you need.

I was so tired after the brunch, shopping and snacks, we had hardly slept the past few days because of the noise in and around the hotel we were staying, when we walked passed a church, I looked longingly towards the entrance. I wanted to go in and pretend to pray so I could doze off a little, we didn’t. I told MiniMe a little jokingly about this idea and she looked at me shockingly and said “But mummy what if we fall of the pews, no that it is a bad idea”. Ha ha ha, I don’t think falling off the pews would be the worst part.

On instagram the past years I have seen a lot of posts of delicate macaroons from Ladurée, and when we walked by  a store in this area, we went in. I had to try some and compare them to the ones I knew from Pascal and Sebastien Bruno in Oslo. What I really wanted was to sit down and rest, but I could not  eat another morsel so we just bought a little box with six macaroons to enjoy later. With all the treats we had eaten the past days and hardly any vegetables I saw a oppurtunity to fill up with some vitamines and minerals and finally sit down and rest at the Juice Lab on 11 Rue Jacob in St. Germain. Fresh cold pressed juice from fruit and vegetables that has become very popular these past few years, a nice way to fill up on your 5 a day.

A little rested after our pit stop at Juice Lab we  walked towards the Louvre. It was the same here as the other historical buildings, the lines were long and when I asked her if she wanted to go in and see Mona Lisa, she said “Nah, I just did a project about that painting at school, I have seen it many times”. I probably should have said something about how many paintings we could count running around inside the museum within a time period, that would probably made her want to go in. She much rather go to Sephora to do some shopping, she had been googling things she wanted to buy with her vacation pocket-money. The children always get some extra pocket-money from some family members before they go on holiday, it is for ice cream, souvenirs etc.

She made me buy products we could pamper us with that evening  while we ate the rest of our snacks we bought that day. Who wouldn’t run towards the candy colored wall with Sephora mask products. I did find something else at this store, but that is for another time.

This concludes our day three in Paris, hope you enjoyed reading about it

 

Mont-Saint-Michel

Once again this magical place call it self an island again, the holy mount that has been one of Europe’s major pilgrim destinations, one of France’s most recognizable landmarks and one of UNESCOs world heritage site has had undergone a facelift. A major campaign has ensured that the Mont-Saint-Michel preserves its maritime character and remain an island.

Mont Saint Michel, Medieval, analizagonzales.com, Normandy, France

It was a dream come true when I visited this island, this was a place I have only previously seen in movies, on tv or seen and read about in books. I have been fascinated about its location, its history and architecture and now I finally got to see it.

Since ancient times this place has held a strategic fortification and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name.

Steep and narrow streets, buildings clinging to the rocks surface describes this place, the architectural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers. The buildings that went up along the steep village street, is now converted into museums, hotels, restaurants and boutiques for today’s tourists.

I wanted to visit one of these converted places, La Mère Poulard, as a foodie this place was a must visit. You can read about what happened HERE

Mont Saint Michel, Medieval, analizagonzales.com, Normandy, France

Situated only 600 meters from the mainland, made this place accessible tho the countless of pilgrims that has visited this islands abbey throughout history, at the same time this place was defensible as incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned, would-be assailants.

The Bay of the Mont Saint-Michel is subject to the largest tidal range in Europe during spring tides. The waters can withdraw as far as 25km from the shore. After low tide, the local saying goes that the seawater rush back in to the bay ‘at the pace of a galloping horse’. The waters come in fast, so if you do not have local knowledge of the area and the tide, do not venture out on the sand.

  1. The rising tide might get you.

2. Quicksand surrounding the mount might get you.

Mont Saint Michel, Medieval, analizagonzales.com, Normandy, France

For centuries this island was a place of God and learning. The Mont even remained unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War, when a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433. Unfortunately the benefits of its natural defence were not lost on Louis XI, who turned the Mont into a prison. After that the abbey was used as a jail during the Ancien Régime.

From a great distance the island silhouette draws your eyes towards it and as you get closer it looms in the distance. I can imagine the excitement of the pilgrims as they got closer, closer to their God and absolution. I can also imagine the prisoners that saw their future home in a distance, dark, barren and gloomy.

The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.

The Bay that Mont Saint-Michel is situated has been prone to silting up in the last couple of centuries. Farming and the building of a causeway to the island did not help the problem. A major campaign and massive work has ensured that the Mont-Saint-Michel preserves its maritime character and remains an island. The Couesnon river that flows into the bay, is ow being left to flow freely so that sediments are washed out to sea.

For more information on this project, please click here

To lighten the load of the sediment build up a new causeway has been built, the car park relocated from the shoreline. The new car parks is about 1,5 miles away from the island. In order to get to the island you have to take a shuttle bus that take you from the mainland to the mount. These busses operate daily, at very regular intervals, from 7.30am to midnight. Other alternatives is to take a stroll or you can book a special horse-drawn carriage.

Experience medieval Normandy digitally

The Jumiège abbey, Normandy, Normandie, Medieval, Church ruins, Ruiner, Middelalder, analizagonzales.com

The most beautiful ruins in all of France according to Victor Hugo, Château de Falaise and the archbishop’s palace in Rouen has more than the middle ages in common. Have you ever wondered how ruins and historical sites might have looked like at the high of their glory days? These three places mentioned have been brought to the 20th century digitally.

The Jumiège abbey

Rumors has it that Victor Hugo called these ruins for the most beautiful ruins in all of France. The original monastery was founded in 654 by saint Philibert who became the first abbot, but it is not site’s old age that has made it in to ruins.

The place was the religious center of the area and under saint Philibert successor there were nearly a thousand monks living in the monastery. Unfortunately some “Scandinavians” plundered and burned the place to the ground in the ninth century, but it was rebuilt larger and grander by William I Longsword the son of Rollo the viking, Duke of Normandy. In 1067 a new church was consecrated in the presence of William the Conqueror  and since then the monastery has had the patronage of the dukes of Normandy. The abbey became a great centre of religion and learning, its schools producing, scholars, bishops, archbishops and cardinals. The church went through an expansion in 1256, and again restored in 1573.

The Jumiège abbey, Normandy, Normandie, Medieval, Church ruins, Ruiner, Middelalder, analizagonzales.com

Walking through the monastery ruins today you get glimpses of the grandeur of its heydays and with an iPad in tow you get to see how archeologists and historians belive it might have looked like when the place was bustling with life.

The Jumiège abbey, Normandy, Normandie, Medieval, Church ruins, Ruiner, Middelalder, analizagonzales.com

The iPad’s are linked to four different spots on the monastery grounds and by standing on them and holding up the iPad’s you will see a digital reconstruction and animation of the place. Click HERE to see the animation on their webpage. SAMSUNG CSC

It was not untill the french revolution that the monastery was abandoned and made into a quarry, the stones sold off as building materials. A gallery of the cloister was bought by Lord Stuart de Rothesay to rebuild it in Highcliffe Castle near Bournemouth, Dorset.

The Jumiège abbey, Normandy, Normandie, Medieval, Church ruins, Ruiner, Middelalder, analizagonzales.com

FALAISE

Château de Falaise in Falaise in Calvados, Normandy, Normandie, Medieval, Castel ruins, Ruiner, Middelalder, analizagonzales.com

Château de Falaise in Falaise in Calvados, overlooks the town from a high crag, it was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. Around the Year One Thousand, the dukes’ fortress is particularly effective and protected a vast domain. It is built on the model “motte and Bailey” principle, a fortress atop a mound and protected by solid walls and ramparts.SAMSUNG CSC

At this historic site they have also made use of digital technology. Here as at the monastery of Jumièges you also get an iPad to take along for your tour around the castle, so you can see and get a feeling of how it might have been. If you walk around take a look at the some of the original masonry sometimes you can find graffiti carved in into the stones from when the soldiers was bored, some vulgar and some as innocent as tic, tac, toe.

SAMSUNG CSC

Possession of the castle changed sides many times  during the 100 year war, it went from french hands to english, then french again and back to english and so on, by the 17th century the castle was deserted.

As early as the 1840s  Château de Falaise has been recognised as a Monument Historique by the French Ministry of Culture. A programme of restoration was carried out as early as in between the years of 1870 and 1874.

In modern times Château de Falaise and Falaise got bombarded by allied forces during the second world war in what is known as the Falaise pocket. 2/3 of the town was destroyed and taken by a combined force of Canadian and Polish troops. Luckily the keeps of the château were unscathed and Falaise has largely been restored after the war.

Rouen

Joan of Arc History Museum, Normandy, Rouen, Normandie, Medieval, Middelalder, analizagonzales.com

On March 21st 2015, just a stone throw from the dungeon she was imprisoned, the highly anticipated Joan of Arc History Museum, located in the former archbishop’s palace opened its door. Visitors are transported back to the middle ages through state-of-the-art technology, immersive exhibition space with comprehensive historical content that enables you to explore the myth and legend of France’s national heroine. Joan of Arc History Museum, Normandy, Rouen, Normandie, Medieval, Middelalder, analizagonzales.comA team of internationally renowned historians, museum specialists and design agencies started this project of constructing and renovating the archbishop’s palace in 2013.  A film production company has worked with local actors and Rouen Opera’s costume department, to create fictional documentaries that will form part of the visitor experience. One stand-out aspect of the new museum casts tourists as witnesses to Joan of Arc’s trials.

 

I originally posted this in norwegian on Feelgoods online magazine

Week end in Nice

 
Mummy is getting a well needed rest and deserved break in beautiful Nice, maybe not rest but a break from the everyday hustle and bustle. Mummys little monkey came along on the this week-end get away and she can be a hand full sometimes, but wich little four year old isn’t.
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Since this was a short trip we mainly stayed close to the beach along Promenade des Anglais and the city center.
We tried to look for decent food at the old flower maket and we did get to fill out tummys though.
This is a very touristy place, if you want nice food in my oppinion you need to go elsewhere, ask some of the locals where to go.
Screenshot_2015-12-19-19-39-48and if you are like us, just walk around haphazardly and hope you come by something decent and sometimes lazy us just eat at the hotel because little monkeys get tired from running around.
Screenshot_2015-12-19-19-40-16But we did find a place this time that we really enjoyed.
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Restaurant Luc Salsedo a restaurant run by a husband and wife team.
Bringing MiniMe to restaurants like this can be a disastrous, you never know what little four year old girls like from one day to the other and some restaurants are not very child healthy, only offering burgers, pizza and fries.
Our fears was needless even though trhy did not have a separate childrens menu. The head chef himself Luc Salsedo took care of our little precious and prepared a meal fit for a little picky princess. He even served her himself with pomp and circumstance, we on the other hand had to make do with is sweet wife. So if you are in Nice, I would recomend that you go to this place.
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We also got some shopping done this weekend MiniMe got a new dress for her 5th birtday party. A Sonia Rykiel dress and when the day came and the hired face painter asked what MiniMe wanted her to do, MiniMe answered Spiderman :X Her best friend got the blue version.
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Last year she and her bestie also matched their facepaint, below you see my sweet little angel drom last years party:D

A trip to the market

When in France, you have to go to the market, if not shopping just to look around. My better half and the children might not agree with me but I got them to come along and walk around with me in the cosy narrow streets of Ile de Re.

Hubby with two, three and four, this is usually my view of my family when we are out walking, their backs 😀 I am to busy exploring and keep falling behind.

We went and got pastries, who doesn’t love french pastries.

Ready made creme brulee from the supermarket, we are not that picky sometimes.

It was lovely, creamy with real vanilla

and it came in this little cute jar that I am going to bring home with me.

And of course a trip to the fish market to get something yummy for dinner:)

Wine cooperative on Ile de Re

When the weather didn’t allow play on the beach or strolling  arround the cosy villages of Ile de Re, we went to the local wine cellar, a cooperative of all the wine producers on the island for a little tour.
The island originally consisted of three different islands and is suitable for viticulture since the Island consist of 7 different soils types. The vineyards are mainly situated on the southern part of the island and produce from 35 to 40 hectoliters of wine per hectare, or about 2 million bottles per year.
It was in the 1100 that the monks began to cultivate grapes on the island and today there are 70 different wine growers that work together on the islands wine production.
In the recent years, wine quality has improved considerably, the cooperative produces wine, sparkling wine, cognac and pineau, Camus also produces cocnac with grapes from this island and have their own bottles with Ile Ré cognac.
The bottles are sold under the signature “Vignerons de Ré Island.”
One of the flagship products is the Rosé des Dunes Sailing range and Pineau Ilrhéa about 450 000 bottles of each produced.
The tour was a typical tour of a wine cellar, we started the tour at the distillery and here we got an introduction about cultivation and production of wine on this island.
Then a we were shown arround their cellar and given a short presentation of the various stages of the wine barrels storage.
After the tour we got to sample som of their products:)

Just arrived Ile de Re

This summer we wanted to go somewhere different than our usual vacation in the south of France. We rented a house on Ile de Ré an island right off the coast of La Rochelle. When you have a big family like I have it is best to just rent a big house, so we got one with a guest house, a swimming pool and the most important part wi-fi:D As soon as we arrived MiniMe jumped into the pool while the older children settled in the guest house.

Some drove down a head and some of us got to fly down, Because of different activities not everybody could stay as long, but I plan to enjoy myself anyway.

But first order of things  and before we could do anything, we had to go and buy  swim wear for MiniMe, that we had promised. So of she went with her dad and came back proudly carrying this white paper bag.  She got to choose the swim wear herself and is now a proud owner of a

“Bullikini”, a bit difficult to pronounce bikini at the moment:D