France on Film | Our Travels to Paris and Amboise in April 2019
This past April, Brock and I took our first European vacation and traveled to France for a week of indulging in fantastic food, historical sights and allll of the romantic vignettes our little hearts could handle. Now, I’ve expressed my opinion of Paris before and how much I HATED it - however…there really were some nice little pockets of time when I wasn’t feeling stressed, unsafe and uninspired and was able to whip out my film camera and take some photos that I now cherish.
Amboise, on the other hand, was the stuff of my dreams. The small town nestled in the Loire River Valley is known for its looming chateau and Clos Luce, the retirement place of Leonardo da Vinci. With a small population of mostly retirees, Amboise feels stuck in time and never in a rush. The people were NICE(a drastic change from the abrupt rudeness we experienced in Paris), the air was clean and we walked into the city center daily from our troglodyte in the hills.
Without further ado, here are some images captured on my beloved Pentax k1000 during our travels. I’ll pepper some recommendations below on restaurants we loved, neighborhoods we enjoyed and tips for visiting Paris.
p a r i s
The streets of Montmartre, where we stayed in a third floor apartment.
One of our favorite ways to dine was to shop the Main Street and bring back an assortment of wine, cheese and meats to the apartment. Paris has a store for each individual item i.e. boulangerie for bread, boucherie for meat, fromagerie for cheese - and a wine store on every corner) Some of our favorites in Montmartre were Le Grenier a Pain, La Butte Fromage and Boulangerie Alexine.
Our favorite breakfast spot in Montmartre - The Hardware Societe. This charming restaurant is owned and operated by Australians and we felt almost at home with the English speaking staff and BOMB breakfast food.
The Hardware Societe was so good we ate here two days in a row.
Musee D’Orsay. Skip the Lourve and come here instead.
Our view from the apartment window included the Eiffel Tower at a distance. We adored this home away from home and the apartment gave us a sanctuary from the crowded, frustrating Parisian streets.
A blurry, out of focus self portrait of us in the apartment right before we headed to dinner at La Boîte aux Lettres. A favorite.
Some of the only shopping I did in Paris was at Deyrolle, a whimsical delight located near Museum D’Orsay between the 6th and 7th arrondissements. Skip the first story and instead head upstairs where you’ll find thousands of taxidermied animals including a polar bear, lions, giraffe and rhino - all for sale. I hand selected some beautiful butterflies from their endless collection of insects. These treasures are my most cherished from Paris.
Strolling the streets surrounding Sacre Coeur were some of our favorite moments in Paris. Stay away from the front of the basilica which is teeming with tourists, pick pockets and hagglers. Go up to the church and around the neighboring streets - it’s a completely different atmosphere.
A delightful traditional Parisian restaurant, Poulbot, where we ate twice during our stay. It’s tiny inside but absolutely charming and romantic - with the best onion soup I’ve ever eaten. I’m still dreaming of those meals.
Montmartre Cemetery is a gorgeous respite from the hectic Parisian streets. We absolutely loved wandering the terraced crypts and finding the famous artists and poets buried there.
Other restaurants and places we loved in Paris included -
La Boite aux Lettres(one of the BEST meals we had during our trip)
Pizzeria Babalou(THE BEST meal of our trip…and it was pizza)
Roberta(more Italian food - and delicious handmade pasta)
Luxembourg Gardens(grab a picnic lunch, a chair in the sun and lounge with all of the locals)
The Latin Quarter(charming streets and little nooks and crannies gave way to some seriously cool shops…like a game shop where Brock picked up some gaming dice)
a m b o i s e
Chateau Clos Luce. Our first stop literally right off the train was to visit Leonardo da Vinci’s retirement home. To say the homes and garden were gorgeous would be a gross understatement. I felt alive and inspired here.
SO MANY FRENCH CATS. I was so hoping to see Parisian cats and when that didn’t happen I got a little bummed. Amboise definitely made up for that deficit though in the BEST possible way.
See? I was in heaven.
Brock sitting on our terrace the first night in Amboise. We stayed in a troglodyte - a cave built into the limestone hills which pepper the area. The limestone was hauled to the city centuries ago to build the chateau and people have lived in these caves for longer than we can imagine.
A view of Amboise on a Sunday morning from the city’s chateau. Sunday mornings are bustling and the city has a weekly farmer’s market that is seriously spectacular.
Our visit to Chateau Amboise was breathtaking.
Next, we walked to Chateau Gaillard - perhaps my favorite of all of the chateaus we visited.
Chateau Gaillard’s gorgeous gardens were designed by Benedictine monk, Dom Pacello, who also brought the first orange trees to France.
The gardens of Chateau Gaillard were so special and included greenhouses filled with trees and succulents.
A walk in our countryside neighborhood gave us the most stunning views.
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(if you’d like any more recommendations or specifics on where we stayed, feel free to email me or comment below!)