Je t’aime, France

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― Mark Twain

 

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We travel. We explore. We adventure. We experience.

Even better, we take our children. Every time I’m on another flight, or someone hears that we are traveling AGAIN and comments to me about it, I constantly remind myself how lucky we are. Garrett and I made a decision a long time ago that we would live a life of adventure and that our kids would go along for the ride.

I can’t tell you how many times I told my students that they needed to travel. I would have a bulletin board in my classroom, dedicated to my travel photos. I would print, laminate and label them and the kids would always look at them and then ask me: Mrs. Lewis, have you been to all of these places? Always, with a smile on my face, I would say: YES, and they are some of the best experiences of my life!! Then I would tell them: start saving now! Save your birthday money, your holiday money…whatever you get, save it and travel….you will never regret it. Forego the bigger house, the newest gadgets or $175 shoes….TRAVEL! I would like to think that some of them took that to heart.

Garrett and I traveled before Graham and Ellis were a part of us, but when our 15 year anniversary came around, we decided to go to Prague. This was our first time to the Czech Republic and it was Garrett’s first time to Europe. He loved it. The travel bug got him and it hasn’t let up.

In fact…I’m sitting here, at DFW airport writing this blog post. We just got off a 10 hour flight from Paris and are still feeling the effects of dizziness, foggy brain and vertigo. HAHA But I wanted to share while the memories were fresh.

A lot of people ask me for travel advice. I guess I qualify for that? LOL Not sure. But I will tell you that we are budget travelers. We subscribe to Scott’s Emails for deals on flights (we got this Paris flight from Fort Smith for $480 *reg nearly $2000* and will be going to Maui in August out of OKC for $320), we stay in Airbnb’s and we always shop at local markets, wherever we are. We don’t have “extravagant vacations” per say, but we do have fun ones!

This time, we took Graham with us for the week and he had an awesome time. Truly. Last night, as we were packing our suitcases, in our small apartment, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, he said: “I miss Ellis, but I don’t want to go, I’ll miss Paris. I’ll miss this place, I love it here.” He’s 6 and he’ll remember this week and the experiences he had and that makes my heart so happy.

Below, are some photos I took. If you don’t know by now, I quit teaching after 13 years and decided to go with photography full time. People call me a professional photographer, but I don’t know if I’ve reached that status yet.

Nevertheless, here are some photos from our time in France. I’ll label below them so you’ll know where they were taken.

These are all from Paris. Eiffel Tower, River Seine, Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur, The Louvre and the infamous Arc de Triumph. We also went to the Palace of Versailles, but it was so cold, I don’t have many photos from there LOL

We stayed in the southern part of the city, near the University. It was a lovely neighborhood with great restaurants and bakeries and the metro was only one block from our apartment, which made for easy access to the rest of the city.

These photos are from the small town of Bayeux. It’s a town of about 14,000 people and sits in the region of Normandy. We took a high speed train to get here. The train ride was about 2 hours and we were able to spend nearly an entire day. We had to take a taxi to the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach, which was an additional 20 minutes.

I believe this was my favorite part of the trip. Bayeux, itself, was such a charming town. Cobblestone streets and traditional French flair. It was amazing. We decided we would stay in Bayeux a couple of days, when we go back.

It was the first town liberated by the Allies, after they regained control of the beaches of Normandy, from the Germans. Nearly 18,000 French civilians from this area gave their lives to stop the German’s from progressing even further. Their efforts were shown by the preservation of the town.

The American Cemetery was a beautiful tribute to those lost in the battle against the Nazi regime. Garrett and I could not contain our tears and Graham looked at us, inquiringly, and asked: why are you crying so much?

It was a great lesson for him and the sacrifice that was made by a lot of people during this time in history. We hiked down to Omaha Beach and were able to see Nazi bunkers that were dug into the side of the hill and zig-zag trenches that were still in the grass as part of their defense. I would highly recommend making the trip to this area. It was so beautiful and moving.

These are my photos, taken and edited by me and are owned by AB Lewis Photography. Please don’t use them without my permission. Feel free to comment or even shoot me an email if you have travel questions. I love to help plan, give recommendations and just offer up traveling advice! ablewisphotography@gmail.com

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustav Flaubert

30 Comments

    1. It is! The first time I visited, it was summertime and the blue was bright blue and the basilica, bright white. This time, it was snowing haha everything was gray. But, still gorgeous. Thanks for reading!

        1. Oh my God! I only saw the Cathedral of Notre Dame! I totally missed it but yes you also have photos of the Basilica of Sacre Coeur. I’m not sure which church I like more but I’ve been to both!

        2. Sadly I read the famed cathedral is in desperate need of repairs and the archdiocese can’t afford to repair it 🙁 I guess it makes sense, I think that church is 700 years older than Sacre Coeur

        3. Yes. I also find that most people in Europe are agnostic or atheist and have abandoned the churches. When we were in Prague, it was interesting to note that 90% of the Czechs are agnostic. I taught history, so it makes me wonder if so much oppression over the years, by government rule, has turned them away from the church as well?

        4. Isn’t it so interesting? As a catholic, I love seeing all of these old catholic churches and sights. When I was in Spain, I asked a man, “you’re surrounded by gorgeous churches and a plethora of church history, why is everyone so secular?” and he responded: “we just kind of got tired of it. These Church, these old buildings, the institutions and artwork is just not interesting to us anymore.”

        5. Wow!!!!!! What an insightful and honest reply. That’s so crazy. I think about that though and Europeans have had religion so much longer than us in America. Makes you wonder about a lot of things!!!!!

        6. Its is funny to think about. One thing I always think about: Most industrialized countries that shove religion down peoples throats become secular (England, France, even Italy!) but the one industrialized country that did not establish a state religion and did not shove religion down peoples throats is now the most religious industrialized country in the world: America.

        7. Yes! Because we were founded on “Freedom of Religion” very good point. Unless you live in the Bible Belt and then people still try to shove it down throats hahahaha Not Catholics, but definitely the evangelicals!! 😉

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