My first idea of Paris was influenced greatly by film.  Specifically, the film Sabrina starring the irresistibly adorable Audrey Hepburn.  When I was a child my family watched this film. A lot.  We watched it whenever it was on television.  With the emergence of the VCR we recorded our own wobbly version to watch whenever we liked (cheesy 1980’s commercial breaks included).  I loved this movie and in this movie the city of Paris is practically cast as a character.  Paris is the place you go to find yourself, change your luck, become sophisticated; Paris is the “world”.   Sabrina is transformed in Paris.  This romanticized version of Paris is what I carried with me for the 36 years it has taken me to get all the way to France.  That is a big build-up.  Aren’t you curious about what my opinion is now that I have arrived?  Do you think I was disappointed?  Underwhelmed?  Well, I have also seen a lot of other films about Paris.  Amelie, La Ballon Rouge, Les Miserables, An American in Paris, Moulin Rouge, La Vie En Rose to name a few.   These films show what Sabrina does not: the many dimensions of a complex and mysterious city.  A sometimes seedy, dirty Paris full of drunken artists and consumption-filled brothels.  A city with a dark and bloody past, of turmoil and civil disobedience and revolution.  But also it is shown as a fairytale place full of limitless inspiration, creativity, bohemian values and impossibly long ballet scenes.  So, what did I find?  I found that it would take a lifetime to come to understand completely the wonders and mysteries of  just the Louvre, let alone the entire city.  Paris is deep.  Literally and figuratively.  And I have only just scratched the surface.   It is old and gorgeous and inspiring and yet somehow young and fresh and burgeoning.  They were right to cast Paris as a character in Sabrina because it is a living, breathing being.  An old friend with sage advice, an impeccable wit and a fabulous wardrobe.  I was not disappointed.  I did not leave with a new haircut and a French ball gown like Sabrina did, but I was transformed all the same.   There is no way to un-do it.  I will never be the same again.  Check out the highlights of our trip below.  Are you curious about what Sean, Payton, Jack and Ava thought of Paris? Stay tuned!

Bois de Vincennes.

Around the neighborhood.

Hotel de la Porte Doree


Candy shop in Montmarte.

La Tour Eiffel

Around Paris!

My Amelie moment! Dinner at The Musee D’Orsay!

Top of La Tour Eiffel at night!

In the catacombs under the city…

Notre Dame. Lunch at the Cafe!

La Louvre, spectacular!

18 thoughts on “La Vie En Rose

  1. I knew you would love Paris! You captured my feelings exactly. No matter how many times you return, Paris holds new surprises, yet it feels like an old friend…Savor every moment!

    1. The only disappointment was that I didn’t come home with a new haircut and a French ball gown. Well, now I think about it I am not gonna be cutting my hair anytime soon!

  2. Paris was amazing, everything was great. My favorite parts were going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and having my first French pastries!! My only dissapointment was going to see the Mona Lisa. She was great, but she wasn’t as beautiful as I thought she would be. Otherwise everything was amazing

  3. The only thing that could make Paris more beautiful is you guys being there. Love the pictures. We miss you.

  4. The photos are gorgeous! You guys are amazing. Have fun exploring your new town. I have a feeling Carcassone will never be the same after the McHughs have conquered it!

    Love and kisses-

    Aunt Roe

  5. Charlotte was amazed that the Eiffel Tower is lit up at night. She had only seen daylight pix. Sophie would like a postcard of the Mona Lisa and asked if “She is more famous than George Washington?” Please find out for us.

    These are your best pix yet!

    1. Tell Sophie that the Mona Lisa is more famous than George Washington. Tell her that people from all over the world, from every age and walk of life, swarm to see this one tiny little painting of a lady in the biggest museum I have ever seen in my life. They run past countless works of art without even a sideways glance to get a brief audience with the Mona Lisa. It is truly a phenomenon. Jack said he didn’t think she was pretty and doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

      Tell Charlotte that the Eiffel Tower looks like it is made of diamonds at night. Tell her also that there are 5 bells in Notre Dame and they are very famous. They even have names. One of them is named Charlotte and one is named Sophia. Isn’t that amazing!

  6. Vive la France! You all look tres chic. Bess says to visit the Jardin du Musee Rodin if you have time. Be sure to eat lots of yummy pastries and cheese for us.

    When Bess was 2 or 3, she started saving her money hoping to go to Paris to see where Madeline lived (“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines…”). As she grew older, and her brothers came along, any extra change went into a huge pickle jar in our kitchen that held the “French Fund.” This went on for 12 years. When we lived in the UK, we were able to use this money to pay for our crossing of the English Channel and for a Seine River cruise in Paris. All three children were pleased to have been able to make this happen, Bess especially!

    Bon voyage!

    1. Hi Cinda! Tell Bess we missed Musee Rodin, but saw lots of stunning Rodin sculptures at The Musee D’Orsay. That just means we’ll have to go back to Paris one day! We did eat lots of Cheese and Pastries for you though. Thank goodness we walked all day or our clothes wouldn’t fit! I love your story about the French Fund. We’ll have to get a pickle jar when we get home and start the “Italy Fund”! We are in Carcassonne now learning about the Cathars. Did you guys ever stumble upon the Cathar’s during your studies? It is fascinating stuff. Highly recommend it.

  7. So enjoyed seeing your fabulous photos and hearing your perpsective on Paris. I don’t think Paris is in my near future plans, (Florence is next) but I am very glad that your family is single-handedly changing the ugly American stereotype. oui, oui

  8. Great photos Vanessa, it looks like pure enjoyment. After seeing all your pictures of Paris, I can’t wait to make another trip there.

    1. Hey guys, thanks for commenting. Paris would look even better with you guys here. I’ve been dying to take a vacation together, maybe Harry Potter’s Wizarding World ; )

      Miss you guys-JACK

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