Canadian Thanksgiving in Paris

Photo courtesy of Paris Perrier

Photo credit: Paris Perrier

This year, I had the wonderful fortune of celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in Paris. Although the French don’t typically celebrate Thanksgiving, my dear Canadian/Parisian friends in Paris decided to keep the tradition alive and placed a special order for a turkey — which as you can see from the picture above, they prepared to perfection.

Canadian Thanksgiving actually takes place almost a month earlier than in the U.S. — I believe it has to do with harvest time, and in Canada, crops were presumably harvested a tad earlier in the year.

Regardless, though, of whether I celebrate in October or November, the fact still remains that I have a lot to be thankful for. And although I feel it’s important to feel gratitude every day I’m on this earth, I don’t mind giving a little extra thanks this holiday season.

And  so, I’m thankful for being alive, healthy, happy and eternally hopeful about life. I’m thankful for being able to live out my wildest dreams in Paris. I’m thankful for the many miracles in my life that are never-ending and keep me a believer. I’m thankful for my angels: my mother, family and dear sweet friends, who love me and support me in all of my endeavors.

And finally, I’m thankful for all of you, who continue to share in my adventures, and cheer me on with each new path I take.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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The Nappy Wanderer Wanders Again!

It’s time and long overdue. Can you guess where I’ll be heading?

Two weeks and counting. Look forward to sharing my new adventures with you…

Paris - Eiffel Tower

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Seven Tips for a Cannes-tastic Festival Experience

photo credit: Robert Wheaton

photo credit: Robert Wheaton

Cannes Film Festival. What an experience. After non-stop screenings, celebrity sightings, red carpets, line-ups (oh, the line-ups) and lots of rain, my time here is finally coming to an end.

Cannes is a beautiful town and the Cannois lifestyle is definitely one of luxury and leisure.

Here are some things I’ve learned from being here:

1- For a 66-year-old event, the film festival could still be better organized. Allow for an extra day or two to figure out the logistics the best that you can.

2- Free movies! Once you receive your accreditation, there is no additional charge for the movies. Try to see as many as you have the energy to see, and check out the reviews ahead of time, to maximize your chances of seeing movies that are worthy of your time.

3- Wind, cold and rain – my initial visions of sandals and summer dresses were quickly squashed. Although there were the odd warm moments, make sure to pack some warm stuff, especially since the temperature drops very quickly here and you don’t want to freeze while waiting in lines. Make sure to pack an umbrella, too, since in many cases you’ll have to wait outdoors before being let into the theaters.

4- Nice and Monaco – these two areas are only a hop, skip and jump away from Cannes. Make some time, if you can, for a day trip to Nice and some evening gambling in Monaco. The train to  Nice is only 6 euros and from there you can hop on the bus to Monaco for one euro and enjoy a 45-minute bus ride up the coast. The trains from Monaco to Cannes are about 9 euros, but don’t run very late, so make sure you know the schedule.

5- Finding accommodations close to the Film Festival headquarters is the only way to go. Try to get as close to the Croisette strip as possible. Services like Airbnb and HomeAway are great and can work out to be less expensive than hotels. If you’re too far away from the strip, be prepared to be limited in your evening activities or to fork out hefty taxi fees.

6- Brush up on your French – not only will it make your overall interactions in Cannes a lot smoother, but many of the international films will only have French subtitles.

7- (And finally) Relax! As much as you’ll want to watch as many movies as possible, don’t forget to spend some time enjoying Cannes. You can walk along the strip, along the beach, try the many restaurants, or even people watch while lounging at one of the many cafés.

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F – France, My Home Away from Home

So great to be back.

20130518-061416.jpg

Cannes, France

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E – Eclairs

image source: hk.asia-city.com

image source: hk.asia-city.com

If you ever travel to France, promise me you’ll put “eat an eclair” somewhere at the top of your list. Then, after you’ve thoroughly enjoyed one, please explain to me what all the fuss is about.

Allow me to clarify.

Eclairs– which are France’s answer to the American donut– are practically a French staple– right up there next to wine, cheese and cigarettes. Light dough on the outside, rich cream on the inside, and a smear of icing on top. Seriously, what’s not to love?

However, aside from the brief moment of joy I experienced from eating an eclair at Stohrer Bakery a few years ago, I have yet to experience true happiness eating one of these lovely treats. I have had PLENTY of eclairs since that time at Stohrer (your girl is no quitter), but still, this pretty piece of pastry just leaves me “whelmed.” Not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed. Just whelmed.

My indifference might be due to the fact that I’m not particularly fond of donuts… but since eclairs are a tasty piece of French history, I always try them again.

Last year, I did  a “battle of the eclairs,” pitting a Stohrer eclair against a Religieuse from Dalloyau, THE place to go to for eclairs and macarons. And the winner? Neither.

image source: fr.academic.ru

Religieuse – image source: fr.academic.ru

(A religieuse, by the way, is just a variation of the eclair, named because its shape is supposed to resemble a nun in a habit… um, yeah, sure, okay.)

After so many unsuccessful attempts at enjoying eclairs, I have to ask myself, “Do I really need to be obsessed with every bit of French pastry that’s out there?”

And the answer is…

YES.

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D – Double-Decker Bus and Why Paul Mcartney and I Aren’t Talking (He Knows What He Did)

Image Source: londonlifer.co.uk

Image Source: londonlifer.co.uk

So, what do you do when you have one day in London and you’re looking for the best way to see the tourist sites.

Perhaps a double-decker bus?  That should be a good way to get around, right?

Wrong.

During my brief visit to London, aside from seeing the sites, I had one goal. To enjoy a high tea.

I purchased a ticket for the ‘reliable’ double-decker tour bus and was advised that the buses come around every ten minutes or so. After standing across from Big Ben for an hour, I realized that I was going to miss my high-tea reservation… and thus began my mad dash across town to get to my high tea. Sure this may sound like a ‘first-world’ problem, but at the time it  was quite traumatic.

Fortunately, I arrived at my high-tea appointment on time, but I learned that traffic was a mess because Sir Paul McCartney had gotten married. A normally efficient and perfectly good system had gone awry because of Sir Paul and his nuptials.

I’m sure Paul and I can put this behind us… I mean, I can get past this if he can, right?

If you want to patch things up, Paul, you know where to find me!

P.S.: Thank you to everyone for participating in my delusion. 🙂

P.P.S.: My apologies to all of you who got an incomplete post, as I had pressed the publish button before I was finished, by accident…

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C – Cannes Film Festival, Here I Come!

Guess who’s going to the Cannes Film Festival in France this year?

Cannes, France - Photo credit: coventrytelegraph.net

Cannes, France – Photo credit: coventrytelegraph.net

For years, I thought that attending the festival was an impossibility. And now I’m getting to live out yet another of my many dreams.

Life is good.

P.S.: I’ll make sure to say ‘hey’ to George for you. 🙂

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