Tuesday, August 16, 2011

J'taime Paris

Maybe I shouldn't explain the Paris pictures? 
I think they speak for themselves...
Well occasionally I will interject.

 So we went on the bike riding tour of Paris with Fat Tire Bike Tours and we walked over to get our bikes and this girl looks at Matt and says, "Were you at Frontier Ranch last summer?"
He answered yes and she started crying.
Her husband and her took off for the summer to work in Paris and she was missing the trip with her girls to Wilderness. She couldn't believe that we were there. We couldn't believe that SHE was there. 
The world gets SMALLER.
 Look at that handsome man on his manly bike. 
We can't say enough about this tour. It was so fun! Wild really to ride bikes with 20 strangers around round abouts and down crazy busy streets. But we loved it. And it gave us the confidence to rent bikes and ride them the rest of our trip. It was a really fun way to see Paris. 

 We didn't make it to the Louvre. We just rode bikes on the grounds. It was closed on Monday. Which blew my mind. But we got to see it. It was pretty. So yeah. Moving on. 
 We rode bikes on the Champs Elysee. Again, bucket list material. This is the little Arc d'triomphe...not the giant one. But it made me laugh to ride through it. 
 More bikes. We really liked them.

 The next day we went to watch the final stage of the Tour de France. On the left hand side of this picture you can see Cadel Evans in yellow. That's about as good a shot as we could manage. It was incredible to be a part of. I would probably not do it again...but I loved seeing it in Paris. Tres cool. 
 Then we were up for some sightseeing!
 Sacre Couer
 Notre Dame

 Saint Chapelle

 Eiffel Tower again. 
It was an amazing trip.
I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
We loved it. We loved going with another couple. We loved everywhere we stayed and all that we got to see and eat.
I don't think there was anything that we did that we thought, huh-never again!
Which is a great way to end a vacation.

Coming home, the lessons are just now starting to manifest themselves.
But initially-our first thoughts were:
1) Americans eat a LOT of fast food. Ourselves included. That probably needs to stop. Slow down. Enjoy your meal. Enjoy your company. It will be okay. Stop scheduling everything right up to a meal so you can't enjoy it.

2) We all have huge yards, but no gardens or fresh food to show for it. The French are obsessed with freshness. With where their food comes from. Almost everyone that has a home in America could have a little kitchen garden, but hardly anyone wants to because they "don't have the time". Take the time. It will be healthy for you, your heart and your body. But also, it tastes amazing.

3) We are a temporary culture. We all know this but going somewhere that buildings have been standing since 1200 really makes you sit up a bit. Even their young buildings were placed there in the 1800's. We consider those to be our oldest and most revered historical landmarks. Everything else is temporary. What if we started to value the long-term and not the short run?

4) The French tax their residents $117/year for each television they own in their home. The result? A very quiet, well-read country. I can tell you, if we did that in America, our tv(s) would be OUT.

More to come. Don't you worry :)

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