Author Archive for Colleen's Paris

This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history began in the early 70s with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was in the mid-80s after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. I began working as a flight attendant in 1990 for American Airlines, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines six weeks shy of 20 years January 1, 2010. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on Colleensparis.com - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel. and I am active in Toastmasters 75. Enjoy!

Romantic Paris (1815-1848) The Lull Between Upheavals

Scene de Carnaval, place de la Concorde, Lami

Was there a single event that led to Romanticism? Where did it begin? You could say the era Enlightenment and war brought on Romanticism. It started in Germany. The Petit Palais’s latest exhibition, Paris Romantique (1815-1848) until September 15, is one of a two-part exhibition. The second part takes place at the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Initially, I went to the exhibition out of curiosity; drawn to this period of emotional art. I found Romantic stylings of the Gothic, Middle Ages and Renaissance decor, women artists, writers, composers, sculptors, elements of the medieval and the erotic, theatre and fashion. I left Googling the whole story, its influences, philosophical connections and realised that between wars, there is always a period experimentation (think 1920s and 1930s).

Eiffel Tower-One Big Green Space and Garden

Image shows the Eiffel Tower Green project "OnEI"

Eiffel Tower, Quai Branley, Iena Bridge, Trocadero, Place Varsovie, Ecole militaries will be joined by one big green space and pedestrian zone between 2021-2024. Around 2024 the area of the Eiffel Tower, including Trocadéro and l’Ecole militaire will add clean air to your lungs according to the Paris Mayor’s office. The area around the Eiffel Tower is going green. Vehicles of any kind will no longer circulate around either the Tower or across the Iena bridge. From the Place Varsovie on the right bank across from Chatillot to the left bank’s Quai Branly, all will be classified for pedestrians only. Work begins 2021 and continues until 2024.

The Extraordinary Madame de Maintenon at Versailles

Handout Exhibition Brochure cover Madame de Maintenon

Until July 21, Versailles currently has two exhibitions about Queens of France. The one, Madame de Maintenon, was never declared queen; the other Marie Leszczynska, reigned for 42 years and is little known.  The anonymous illustrator of “Le Camp de Compiègne” places Madame de Maintenon sitting in the center of the illustration. As the center of attention, viewed by the nobles and soldiers, she is treated as a queen. Madame de Maintenon was the secret wife of Louis XIV. The announcement of her official marriage to Louis XIV is still only a whisper at court. This scene is part of the exhibition “Madame de Maintenon, In the Corridors of Power”.

Visiting Versailles – Forget Tuesday!

Tree-lined boulevard leading the Palace of Versailles

When asked, a Versailles guard standing at the front gate, responded, “Tuesday is the worst day; all the museums in Paris are closed. The tourists all come to Versailles instead.”While exiting Versailles after a 15-minute visit, I asked the guard a question, “When is the best day to visit Versailles to avoid the crowds?”. I had thought for sure Wednesday would be the worst day since many school children are off half the day.

Willy Ronis-Views of Belleville Menilmontant in Paris

Willy Ronis exhibition Photo album in English and French for sale at exhibition

Sometimes a photo can make us curious, inspire us or wish we could find something…. By the time my sister saw the photos of my vintage chinaware, it was too late. I had already donated the set to Emmaus. I needed it back for her! The trek to one of the Emmaus stores (Goodwill-style shops founded in 1954 by Abbé Pierre) took me to the north of Paris and the Porte de Menilmontant in the 20th arrondissement. “If I am going to the 20th”, I pondered, “why not check out local art exhibits in the area?” That thought and a quick look at l’Official des spectacles, took me to the Le Pavillon Carré de Baudouin and the photo exhibit “Willy Ronis par Willy Ronis (until January 2, 2019)”.

Meaux, A brie(f) half hour from Paris

Fernand PINAL (1881-1958) Le Pont du Marché à Meaux, 1913, Musée Bossuet, Meaux

You know the typical vacation questions “Got the tee-shirt” or “Got the postcard”!? Well I can say, “Got the Brie (de Meaux)”! Brie de Meaux cheese that is. Meaux is a a 25-minute train ride from Paris.Meaux, A brie(f) half hour from Paris.
One hot August mid-afternoon I took a direct “P” train from Gare de l’Est to Meaux. Many of the Meldois (local residents) within the Gallo-Roman walls had left on vacation. I followed Annabel Simms‘s exact directions ….

Secret Day Trips Half Hour from Paris

Annabel Simms' latest release Half an Hour From Paris

Antiquity, countryside and history greet you in Annabel Simms’ book, “Half an Hour from Paris … 10 Secret Daytrips by Train”. First you have to find your way there. Annabel Simms arranges the book like a quality French baguette au levain sandwich: yummy ingredients between the crunchy crusts. This is a book of self-guided walking tours of various lengths.

Foire de Paris-shopping for home fashion

Making the annual pilgrimage to the Paris Home Show (Foire de Paris) is now mission accomplished. However, we are going back for more.
Last year we made contact with the interior architects and chose the style for the new, smaller sofa bed (canapé lit) and chair.
After numerous vacations and conferences we are about to squeeze in and firm up our renovation plans to upgrade the nearly hundred year old electricity to accommodate the……