T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

Hans Christian Andersen is right: “To travel is to live.” I préfère to take Andersen’s quotation as it is:  You aren’t really living unless you’re traveling the world.

Why is this the cas? Well, Batutta couldn’t have answered it better:

When I took a trip to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu in 2008, I witnessed exactly what Battuda expressed: “Traveling [. . .] leaves you speechless“…

…”then turns you into a storyteller.”

You see, I’m from Chicago. The plains. The flatlands. The Midwest. Visiting a city on the Pacific coast…on an island…with mountains was, well, breathtaking.

Diamond Head.

I had stories to go with every photo I took!

I couldn’t agree more (see my series on the chapitres I’ve read).

From Jacksonville Beach to Savannah to Memphis to San Diego to National City (CA) to Anaheim to Hollywood to Las Vegas to Honolulu to New Orleans to Panama City Beach to Knoxville to Tybee Island to Savannah (during St. Patrick’s Day!) to Memphis (to see ma chère amie graduate from Pharmacy School) to Aix-en-Provence (to study abroad) to Nice to Monte-Carlo to Eze to Saint-Tropez to Marseille to Les Gorges du Verdon to Paris to Venice to Rome to Florence to Barcelone to Tours to Briançon and back again…I continue to read this earth and I don’t plan on stopping any time  soon.

5 Raisons How Traveling is Living:

  • It opens up the mind to other cultures.
  • It expands géographique knowledge.
  • It teaches you about yourself.
  • It forces you out of your comfort zone.
  • It enables you to meet and even make friends with a variété of faces.

This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France


Chapitre 18: Nothing but Nifty Beaches and Musées in Nice, France

Nice was the first séjour during my study abroad expérience in Aix.

I was hypnotisée from the moment I stepped foot on the pebble plage, or beach.

Sure, it wasn’t the most plage idéale, but it was a nifty one!

After walking down the plage, I found myself on the Quai des États-Unis:

But, I wasn’t in Nice just for their plages

I also went to the marché

and I enjoyed a culture spectacle

while I was admiring some bonbons

and debating whether or not to buy some dried tomates!

As I embraced this Baroque ville,

I took avantage of the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine: I toured churches, palais, and musées that were not normalement ouverts au public.

Chapelle de la Miséricorde (no intérieur photos allowed)

It was an amazing, un-photographed expérience.

(Except, the extérieur…)

But, my Nice-acquisition-de-l’histoire didn’t stop at these belle places, I also entrée in Palais Lascaris (the only one that allowed photographie – sans flash, bien-sûr!).


5 Raisons to Hurt Your Pieds Walking on a Plage in Nice:

  • The water is crystal claire!

There’s no better way to relax your sore pieds than taking a dip in the claire water!

  • The vue!

The vue of Nice from the plage is breathtaking!

  • A lot of plage, few people. 

I guess a pebble plage doesn’t attract as many (there are still touristestouristes like a sable plage, thus leaving you with plenty of rock to soak up the soleil!

The pebble plages are naturelles: The pebbles are washed down and deposited from the Var and Paillon Rivières/Fleuves – an activité that has been in place for eons.

  • Pic-nique free of sable!

Ever get tired of finding sable in your sandwich? Ou worse, not being able to tell if it’s sel (salt), or sable mixed in with your chips? A pebble plage will let you eat in paix!

  • Calming vagues (waves).

If you like surfing, then Nice is not for you. However, if you’re up for a nice relaxing stroll on the pebbles or a nice relaxing dip in the water, then Nice is definitely for you!

Soaking up the soleil with some lavande ou olive noir (ou stracciatella) flavored gelato is my kind of idée of a vacance université outing.

Add the gorgeous volets…

and, bien-sûr, the musées, palais, and churches for a bit of fun hors du soleil and voilàThe parfait vacance! ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 12: A Dauphin Sighting in Panama City Beach, FL

I was looking at my reflection in crystal clear blue water and then I saw rochers, sable, and poisson…The Gulf of Mexico was the prettiest body of water I had ever seen (that is until I swam in the Méditerranée in 2012).

I found myself at a loss for words in 2009, when I buried my feet in pure white sand.“This is close enough to paradis pour moi,” I thought.

5 Raisons to Take a Dip in the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach:

  • Poissons and crustacés.


    There’s no better way to swim than with real poissons…just watch out for poissons venimeux.

    A successful catch with the net…

  • Dauphins! Not only can you swim with poissons, you can also swim with dauphins!
  • Crystal claire water. Before the oil spill, the water was so clean that you could see the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. After the oil spill, it took time (it’s still not 100% yet) to restore the water to its crystal clear blue.
  • White sable. There’s nothing better to do before taking a dip in the water than basking beneath the soleil on soft, white sand.
  • Shell Island. There are several small wildlife habitat islands in the Gulf of Mexico – they’re really just a swim (or a jet-ski) away from the coast. 

Panama City Beach is not The number 1 best spot to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico in FL, but it’s not bad, either. The city mixed with the beach creates a slightly more hazy vue due to the polluted atmosphère than the vue in a town or village mixed with the beach (such as Destin, FL). However, this vue is still pas mal, or not bad…In fact, the beach was clear-enough for my vue! ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 11: Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA

In Février of 2009, I celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.

It sure seems like it was yesterday when I hopped into a friend’s car and we took the road-trip down to the capitale du Jazz . Its charme, histoire, and culture welcomed us with open arms!

As cheesy as it sounds, I thought staying in the French Quarter would make me feel closer to the French and to France. Little did I know, I would get the chance to discover the ‘real’ France through studying abroad 3 years later…and I would come to find that it looked nothing like the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Instead of learning more about French culture, I learned about Voodoo culture (and Zulu)…

…and how the city’s residents came together after hurricane Katrina (despite the lack of government aid).

In 2009 (4 years after hurricane Katrina), the city still hadn’t fully récupérée from the hurricane.

I filled up on delicious cuisine Créole

and beignets from Café du Monde.

I really embraced the city…as a touriste (hey, it happens) who admires every street performer…

…and entre every shop from small boutiques to souvenir shops.

I enjoyed myself along with the milliard other Mardi Gras-ers.

5 Raisons to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans:

  • Bourbon Street (enough said). As long as your drink is in a plastic cup, you can take the party from the bar to the street!

Why stay in a cramped bar anyway? The music can be heard just as loudly on the street as in the bar.

  • Free musique: It’s EVERYWHERE and it’s GOOD!

  • Masques. You don’t have to go to Venice to find a masque classique and beau…and it’s a partie of the Mardi Gras ensemble!

Or you can go full out in a costume!

  • The Mardi Gras Parade! You can even join the Mardi Gras parade even when you’re not a partie of it!

    Standing behind…butterflies?

There are a ton of parades in the week approaching Mardi Gras as well as on Mardi Gras itself: Take a look at this website for 2016’s parade routes (obviously, 2017 has not yet been determined).

  • Mardi Gras decorated cars. Obviously, people go all out for the compétition for the best maison décorée. But they certainly don’t define the line at “house”…They even décorent their cars!

There’s no better way than to spend Mardi Gras than dressed in a purple and gold masque with a trumpet full of your favorite cocktail and joining one of the many Mardi Gras parades on Mardi Gras…

…and hanging out with random street musiciens!

New Orleans, or N’Awlins to the locals, is the way to go! ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 10: Happily Hula Dancing in Honolulu, HI

L’été 2008: the soleil shone as bright as the 7 couleurs of the rainbow that just happened to loom forever in the ciel (sky) bleu et claire.

I wondered if I would find a pot of gold at the end…oh wait, I did.

Certainement, it dépend on your définition of gold; however, I think miles of sandy beaches fit the bill.

When images of Hawai’i come to mind, they’re not only filled with sunny beaches, but also with hula dancers.

There are even hula dancers in the centre commercial.

There’s nothing better than a free show as Luaus can get rather pricey.

5 Raisons to Hula Dance in Honolulu:

  • It’s always sunny. There’s nothing better to do than the Hula while basking under the soleil with the sable beneath your pieds (feet).
  • Everyone’s “doing it,” so you won’t feel out of place. This is the one moment you can follow the “everyone’s doing it” phrase. So why not do it? You don’t have to be an expert.
  • There’s miles of océan. Yep, you can even dance in the océan! It can get quite hot hula dancing on the sable, so, why not continue the hula fun in the water? It’s a great way to faire du sport (aka: to exercise)…
  • You can dance with wild fish! How cool is that?!?
  • You get the chance to dance on top of the world (so-to-speak). Take the hike up Diamond Head and let the breeze sway your hanches (hips). 

Joining in the hula dancing fun is pretty exhilarating (even for amateurs like myself); however, there’s so much more to do in Honolulu than dance.

If you ever find yourself basking under the Honolulu soleil, don’t forget to climb Diamond Head,

…take photos with the several statues mémorial located throughout the Waikiki Beach area…

…and admire these statues, too,

…step foot (if you get the chance) on Bellows Field Beach (it’s beyond MERVEILLEUSE with its white sand!),

Bellows is not quite in Honolulu, but it’s close – it’s about a 30 minute drive.

…have fun with the animaux at the Honolulu Zoo,

…scale the Hawaiian coast,

 …and thrift shop (aka: souvenir shop) at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (it’s HUGE) in downtown Honolulu (The location for awesome deals on souvenir gifts).

As you enjoy all of these fabulous activités in Honolulu, don’t forget to attempt to do the Hula. It makes for some great laughs and you might even get lucky & end up with a free Hula leçon (and make some great friends, too). ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 9: Around the World in Las Vegas, NV

In 2008, I traveled the world in 1 day. “How was that possible?” You ask.

Well, let’s take a second to ponder this question: “In what city can you travel the world without leaving the city?”

Vegas (duh!).

5 Raisons to Travel the World in Las Vegas (if, for whatever raison, you can’t really travel the world):

  • La Tour Eiffel. 

Standing strong at Paris Las Vegas, la Tour Eiffel, offers Vegas-goers a hint at what awaits them in the Réal Paris. Certainement, it doesn’t remplace the réal thing, but it lets you prétendre you’re in Paris…

Plus, you can even take the elevator up to the top!

  • Rome: It’s only a few steps (littéralement) away from Paris. It’s rather easy to walk from city to city: Spend the morning in Paris and the afternoon in Rome!

Caesar’s Palace offre Vegas-goers a mix of modernité (think: slot machines) and ancient Roman architecture.

  • The Castle: Excalibur. No need to pull the sword from the stone to live like a King or Queen in this château!

  • Miracle Mile Shops. Even the mall offre something unique: It rains!

  • New York City.

Why go to the real New York City when you can have the NYC experience in between Paris and Rome?

If you don’t have the means to travel the world (for whatever raison) but you have the itch to do so, then Vegas is a good place to start. The varying architecture makes it quite simple to set aside the slot machines and casinos and to let you live the dream of any World Traveler. ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 8: A Célébrité Sighting in Hollywood, CA

“Ah, Hollywood, it’s good to meet you, finalement .”

*The Hollywood sign might be small, but it’s there!

My French students seem to think that célébrités are all over the place in Hollywood, California. Well, I was there…and I saw 1 célébrité. So, obviously, I beg to differ.

In 2008, I (and the dizaine de paparazzi next to me) had the plaisir of seeing Lindsay Lohan while she was filming…some film (it’s not like I could’ve asked her the titre of the film).

While I don’t care much for Lindsay Lohan, I certainly enjoyed the “paparazzi” experience.

5 Raisons You Probably Won’t See a Célébrité in Hollywood:

  • Although many célébrités live in Hollywood, they are rarement prancing around the city. Unless you show up to a Star Unveiling Cérémonie, you’re not likely to see a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Their homes are gated. In fact, you can barely see through the gate’s entryway. Or, in some cas (such as that of Ozzie Osbourne), the gate doesn’t have holes to pear through.

Ozzie’s house in 2008 (it was on the marché in 2008).

  • The property they inhabit is quite vast. Their mansions sit far enough away from the gated fence that not even a person with 20/20 vision can spot a célébrité by peering through the front gate.
  • Most of the time, they aren’t even at home. They are either working on a film or an advertisement, faire un apparition (making an appearance), or traveling (for whatever raison).
  • They don’t randomly shop anywhere. In fact, most célébrités hire assistants to do their shopping; however, when they décident to shop themselves, their dizaine de bodyguards surround them. This article in the LA Times might be able to help you encounter a célébrité while shopping; however, don’t count on it.

Seeing a célébrité is difficile – and for good raison! They deserve some “alone-time” as much as you and me. Plus, there’s much more to see in Hollywood than célébrités: For exemple, there’s the Hollywood sign

or the hike…

to the Griffith Observatory…

and the vue of LA from the observatoire.

However, if you really want to see a célébrité, visit this website for some pointers. ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.