Friday, June 08, 2007

Lune de Miel (May 7 - June 7, 2007)

We honeymooned in France. ("Lune de miel," the title of this post, is French for "honeymoon.") We left for France on May 7, 2007, two days after our wedding. We got back exactly one month later, on June 7, 2007 - a "moon" later.

We (mostly me) took a lot of photos - more than you'll want to look at. I pared that huge number of pictures down to a smaller number - still more than you want to look at. Four hundred fifty-three, to be exact. I have a selection of the selection below, but if you want to dig down deeper, I've put together 13 lucky web albums with the selection (as opposed to the selection of selection) of photos. The headings below will take you to the web albums.

Heading Out
(3 pictures, all thumbnailed below)

We flew out in the afternoon on May 7.

Le Maquis (Porticcio, Corsica)
(35 photos, 3 thumbnailed below)

On Tuesday morning, June 8th, we landed at Charles de Gaulle, navigated through customs, took an Air France bus to Orly International Airport, flew to Ajaccio, in Corsica, and took a cab to Hotel Le Maquis in Porticcio. This was the one true luxury hotel we booked (though, as it turned out, we ended up staying in a second luxury hotel at the end of the honeymoon).

This first leg of our honeymoon was all about rest, and that's mostly what we did. The water was clear and beautiful,

but a bit on the chilly side, so we stuck to swimming in the indoor pool

- when we weren't on the balcony to our room, eating dinner ordered via room service.

We also did a bit of hiking, hung out at the Les Roches Rouges, ate at a restaurant that served traditional Corsican fare - all documented in the photos that you'll find if you click on the heading, above.

Corte, Corsica
(60 photos, 4 thumbnailed below)

On Friday, May 11th, we moved inland, to Corte. On the way, we stopped at a turtle & tortoise sanctuary (really!),

and then drove up some very winding and rather narrow highways, arriving at our second hotel, the Hotel Dominique Colonna, which had a wonderful stream behind it,

not to mention another pool.

Corte is in the heart of old Corsica, where the buildings seem to cling to the sides of cliffs.

More pictures in the web album.

Loire Valley
(84 photos, 6 thumbnailed below)

Early in the morning on Monday, May 14th, we drove back down the winding roads to Ajaccio, flew back to Orly, and then took the train to Amboise, in Loire Valley.

We stayed at Chateau des Ormeaux, an honest-to-god chateau,

or, ok, to be more precise, the Manor House next to an honest-to-god chateau, which is where the Vivaldi and Albinoni rooms were (we were in the Vivaldi room).

We visited Chateau Villandry,

Chateau d'Usee,

and biked

to Chateau Chenonceau.

Loire Valley is really quite beautiful, and there are a ton of beautiful flowers and other sites in the web album.

(47 photos, 7 thumbnailed below)

Three days later, on Thursday, May 17th, we were off to Bordeaux, courtesy of the high-speed TGV, which goes as fast as 300 km/hr.

Why do people visit Bordeaux? The wine, of course. We went to Chateau Dudon in Sauternes,

Chateau Plantat in Graves,

and Chateau La Clotte in Saint Emilion.

We also walked around St. Emilion itself, which was quite pretty.

But the surprise hit of the Bordeaux visit was the farmer's market,

which was just lovely.

Check out the web album for the full scoop, including some very cute kids at a fountain in Bordeaux.

(178 photos - see below for clickable subcategories,
1 thumbnailed below from the Paris miscellany web album)

We planned to stay in Paris for two weeks, with the option to extend that by up to a week. We exercised that option, and added four days to our trip (staying at the Hotel Edouard VII),

so we were in Paris for about two and a half weeks, total.

Our Paris apartment
(11 photos, 1 thumbnailed below)

We stayed in an apartment in St. Germain des Pres,

historically the center of the existentialist movement, but today mostly home to high-end fashion stores.

While we didn't go fashion shopping in our neighborhood, we did like the easy access to the Louvre (a few minutes away by foot), the easy metro access (central east-west and north-west lines both nearby), and the great food shopping on rue de Buci.

Although we don't have pictures of either, we did visit both Les Deux Magots, and Cafe de Flore, the most famous cafes in our neighborhood. (Both have been overrun by tourists, though Cafe de Flore perhaps a bit less than Les Deux Magots.)

Eating our way through Paris
(35 photos, 7 thumbnailed below)

What's a trip to Paris without food? We ate out at a lot of places, including (this is a fairly comprehensive list, but I'm missing a few places): a neighborhood bistro (6th arr.); Korean Barbecue (6th); a little cafe in the Eiffel Tower (lunch, 7th); Taillevent (8th);

the Terrasse at Cafe de la Paix (lunch, 9th); Cafe Constant (7th);

Mariage Freres (lunch, 8th and 4th);

Odori (15th); Les Deux Magots (breakfast, 6th); Cafe Richelieu in the Louvre (lunch, 1st); Le Souk (11th);

Sadaharu AOKI (breakfast, 6th); Paul's (lunch, 6th); Georges at the Pompidou (snack, 4th);

Sushi West (6th); Le Train Bleu (lunch, 12th); Cafe de Flore (breakfast, 6th); Bouillon des Colonies (6th); another Korean restaurant (lunch, 15th?); Bouillon Racine (6th); Willi's Wine Bar (1st); and Pizza Vesuvio (6th).

We also had drinks at Kong (1st);

and the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz (2nd).

The food in Paris was wonderful.

Paris has a billion museums...
(40 photos, 3 thumbnailed below)

...of which we visited eight: Musee Picasso, the Louvre,

Centre Pompidou,

Musee d'Orsay,

Musee Bourdelle, Musee Rodin, Musee Baccarat, and Musee Carnavalet (we also walked around Musee du quai Branly, Palais de Tokyo, and the Grand and Petit Palais).

The thrill of the home-cooked meal

(6 photos, 1 thumbnailed below)

One of the fantastic advantages of having an apartment in Paris was being able to cook at home.

Shopping for food in Paris is a bit of a pain - you buy bread in one place, produce in another, cheese in another, and so on - but cooking at home sure makes it feel more like you really live in Paris. We had five dinners at home in our two weeks in our apartment - not bad!

Other Paris miscellany
(86 photos, 15 thumbnailed below, and 1 thumbnailed way above, at the beginning of the Paris section)

The apartment, restaurants, museums, and food at home - that barely scratches the surface.

We did some of the typical stuff, like going up the Eiffel Tower (a three hour ordeal - the lines are crazy), which gave us insane views of Paris,

visiting the Arc de Triomphe,

walking the Champs Elysee,

visiting the flower market on the Ile de la Cite,

going to Notre Dame,

people-watching at Luxembourg Gardens,

checking out a cemetery,

doing a little shopping,

and walking through the catacombs.

We also did the less typical things, like visiting Google France's offices in Paris,

checking out La Maison du Whisky,

finding the address where Sigrid's cello came from,

meeting Michael's cousins Jiah and Sun-cheol,

and going to the Opera Garnier for a modern, Italian opera based on the life of a Japanese poet and supertitled in French (Michael was totally mystified).

(28 photos, 6 thumbnailed below)

Toward the early end of our Paris stay, on Thursday, May 24th, we took a day trip to Versailles.

The grounds behind the Palace are insanely large.

And they're also insanely ordered. Everything is huge, symmetrical, and carefully trimmed.

But if you head over to the Petit Trianon, which was Marie Antoinette's little hideaway, the grounds run free,

and it's a great place to take a break.

The Surprise BlackBerry Fiend
(3 photos, all thumbnailed below)

Who woulda thunk it?

Coming Home
(6 photos, all thumbnailed below)

The honeymoon truly was amazing. I think we could have stayed in Paris for twice as long without getting bored. But it is a honeymoon, after all, so after a month away from home, we took a cab to Charles de Gaulle, where Sigrid bought her final rhubarb tartlette from Paul's,

and then hopped on our plane.

Baggage claim, customs, another cab, and we were back home.