There’s been an unintentional break in my blogging, sorry about that. I was busy accomplishing things at home and did three lovely trips to Paris. Now I’m in such a good mood after all that, my heart feels light and happy. My original thought was to keep this blog focused on traveling but the truth is I don’t have time to update it during my trips, it’s easier to do it afterwards.
My library project is almost finished and having my books near me all the time is an absolute joy! This was one of the best ideas ever. I can see my books first thing when I come home and first thing in the morning while preparing my morning coffee and I actually use them several times a day just to check things and to read a page here and there. I can have them in front of me all the time and I think this is how collections should be. We should enjoy everything we have at home this much. Of course it’s not only my personal books, there are books for each family member and that’s why the collection looks so colorful. I will take some photos and blog about this library project later.
Also, my son graduated (local high school level) and organizing a celebration for him kept me busy as well. I’m very introverted and don’t usually enjoy big gatherings but this time it was naturally very appropriate and my whole family did their part and my friend was incredibly sweet and helped me every way during the whole day and I think everything went really well and it was a happy and emotional day. I admit I was a bit stressed and I wrote myself notes to remember in the future while organizing gatherings/celebrations and might blog about that later too.
Then there’s Paris. I’ve visited Paris many, many times both alone and with my family and seen unforgettable concerts there and always thought it’s a beautiful place (well of course it is) but I’m feeling this weird love only now. I guess it comes from familiarity and intimacy with the place, finally learning to know it, having routines (which is important for me) and feeling friendship too, I can’t explain.
I saw my favorite artist in Paris and it made me so happy. So, so happy. There have been no concerts or tours this spring so it had simply been too long. I spent time with my friends and had a lovely time and really enjoyed the atmosphere. I walked around alone, checked some gluten-free cafes and restaurants and visited a couple of museums and bought a few books to add my library. I really enjoyed my weekends and can’t wait to be back. I missed my husband – Paris is the kind of place where you want to go together – but it’s good for me to travel alone and take care of myself.
When I travel alone I eat whatever gluten-free food I can find (yoghourts, fruit, salads) or replace my meals with coffee. However, when I travel with my family we need to find suitable places where to eat as my sons need gluten-free food as well. I checked out a few gluten-free cafes/restaurants in Paris for our next family trip and must say I felt so much better after eating properly myself as well.
There’s a very good quality gluten-free restaurant called Noglu which I’ve visited earlier with my family. The food is great quality and my whole family enjoyed it but with a full dinner menu and wines it was quite expensive. We celebrated my husband’s birthday so it was a special occasion but generally the restaurant is a bit too expensive for regular family dinners and more suitable for special nights or dinners for two etc. I will definitely go there next time when with my family but this time didn’t feel like going there alone. The place is small so it’s a good idea to book dinner in advance especially if in a group.
I’m generally not a dinner person and enjoy more breakfasts and other small meals so I made a routine going to Montmartre hill to see how the view and clouds look, walking around a bit and then having a gluten-free crepe at Creperie Brocéliande which offers different kinds of gluten-free crepes, both salty and sweet. The place is very cozy and it was crowded but one or two people could still always fit in without reservations.
My favorite of the cafes I tried during these trips was Bears and Raccoons near Voltaire metro station, see the pics below. I loved the place. I felt tired and hungry after not eating the whole day and had the best gluten-free salmon avocado sandwich I’ve ever had. It was fresh and absolutely delicious and served slightly warm. I went there late afternoon and the place was quiet and the owner had time to chat while preparing take-aways and he was super nice and explained the story of the place. The banana bread I had as a dessert was a little bit too sweet (I often make banana bread at home and like it less sweet) but the sandwich and the atmosphere were so good I can’t wait to be back and bring my boys as well, they will love the place.
My friends visit Shakespeare and Co bookstore every time when they are in Paris and had told me about it and as I hadn’t visited it yet I decided to go. The store is almost next to Notre-Dame and that way easy to find and I went in (there’s a security check at the door) and wanted to escape immediately. The rooms are quirky and very charming but also tiny and the place was so crowded by tourists I almost couldn’t move inside.
Luckily I still went in because the selection is wonderful. A lot of older, very interesting books I’ve always wanted to add to my library but rarely see in regular bookshops. Books about writing, photography, music, artists, traveling… I bought six books in ten minutes and then decided it’s best to have a coffee (there’s a cafe) and continue my walk. Taking photos was not allowed inside the shop but if interested see some pictures of the place here.
I started to read one of the photography books I bought and not sure how I can ever finish it because my head is full of new ideas and thoughts after every page and I have to take breaks just to enjoy and go through my thoughts. Books that make me think and inspire me this way are my favorite kind of books and I enjoy the same in films and songs as well. I can keep them in my mind and build a whole construction using thoughts that keep coming or create another world around just one image or small story.
I visited the garden exhibition at Grand Palais during my first trip and had a walk in Louvre last week because it was so suitably there even I’ve visited it several times. I love museums. Not because I have that much knowledge about art, unfortunately I don’t, but because I get the same feeling in museums I get in libraries. I feel I’m surrounded by the people behind the art. I can feel the spirit of those great geniuses. Huge, intelligent minds and talents. It’s absolutely fascinating and I just want to stay in the atmosphere.
I saw the piece of art in the last photo below on my way out of Louvre and I had to laugh out loud at the kid scratching his itching foot. If you have nursed a toddler you know that’s exactly how it is. Toddlers are masters of multitasking. They can have their milk while reading a book or dressing or undressing at the same time. No matter what time and age we live some things seem to stay the same. I hope to back in Paris soon. So much love xxx