Day trip to Belgium

Boats on the canal in Bruges, Belgium

I decided to take a day trip to Belgium! I took a train from Paris and then a bus to reach my final destination. I went to a place called Bruges. It is the capital and largest city in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is located in the Northwest part of the country and about one hour from Brussels. The population is around 120,000 in Bruges but with the surrounding towns included the population of the area jumps to around 256,000. It is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North” because of the famous canals that are located in the city.  It was certainly worth the visit!!!

One of the canals in Bruges with a weekend market across the way

Located in the park at Bruges

Look at those flowers!!! Gorgeous!

Market Street- Bruges

More apartment pics

Kitchen & Laundry : )

More pics of the latest apartment in the 7th Arrondissement

The skylights to observe the Eiffel Tower

Another view

The latest apartment

View of apartment

I got to my new apartment today after a bit of turmoil. I won’t bother with the details but suffice it to say that you always need to have plenty of CASH on hand…especially when you are traveling in another country!! I have learned some real lessons during my time here..ugh! Ok, back to the new apartment. My current apartment is on the 7th floor. There is an elevator (of sorts) that goes to the 6th floor. You would think that would be a good thing but after seeing the elevator…NO WAY. Trust me, I will climb the 7 flights of stairs all the time! The elevator is the TINIEST elevator I have ever seen in my life. The one in my other apartment was very, very small but compared to this it looked big. Once again, I completely over-packed so I HAD to take the elevator to get my stuff up there. I needed to make two trips because my luggage would not fit in elevator. I had no choice but to leave my suitcase downstairs (hoping it would still be there upon my return) while I brought my other bags up. I go back down to get my suitcase. I swear to you, the elevator is so small that I can’t get in the elevator with my suitcase. I couldn’t just send it up either because the elevator will not go anywhere unless you are in it with the door shut and then push the button. Plus there was no way I could carry my suitcase up the stairs because guess who packed a 70 lb. suitcase?! What was I thinking???? So guess what I did? I put my suitcase in the elevator and then had to crawl up on top of it to get the door to shut! Yes…I hope you all are visualizing this and rolling on the floor laughing because I deserve it! Oh and to top it off the elevator is the slowest elevator ever and I am a bit claustrophobic too. So, I get to the 6th floor finally and then have to drag and I mean drag my suitcase up one more flight of circular stairs. I ended up smashing my toe with my 70 lb. suitcase before it was over. Oh yes, I also forgot to tell you that my suitcase only has three wheels instead of four thanks to Delta on the flight over! So how was that for a description of getting to my apartment? But alas, I am here and happy that I could interject some comedy into your life today! : )

7 floors of stairs to my apartment

 

Another view- opposite side

On the move…continued

View from dining room window

Here are some pics of the tower from my apartment and from the neighborhood.

View from the front door of apartment = )

Around the corner from apartment

On the move…again

Building of my new apartment

I left my great little apartment in the 1st Arrondissement and moved to a new (and my last) apartment in the 7th Arrondissement today. I really liked the area where I was living before so it will be interesting to see what it is like around here. Much to my surprise (and excitement) my new apartment is right by the Eiffel Tower. I mean it is right out my door! You can’t live any closer to the Eiffel Tower than where I am at right now. In fact, I have skylights and you can see the top third of the tower from the bed.  Aaahhhh….to fall asleep with that view. = ) I truly feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure this is real. Those of you that know me well, know my affection for the Eiffel Tower. Needless to say, this is pure bliss for moi! I am so very grateful everyday that I have been able to make this dream a reality.

The street sign of the new apartment

Courtyard/Entrance to apartment

 

A few more pics of the Louvre in the evening

Pools at the Louvre

The evening was a great time to go over to the Louvre. There were not many people around which surprised me. It was so peaceful to walk around without swarms of people. You could actually get some decent pictures without there being lots of additional people in your shots. Plus it was absolutely beautiful with the lights on around it!

Entrance to the Louvre restaurant lit up

 

 

Pics of the Louvre at night

It is quite beautiful at night!

I decided to walk to the Louvre tonight so I could take some pictures of it at night. It is only about a 10 minute walk from where my apartment is located. I will be moving to my final apartment here in Paris on Saturday. It is kind of bittersweet because I am excited to move to another area of the city, but I have truly enjoyed the area that I am in right now. It is a terrific location! However, my new apartment has the Eiffel Tower right out my door. I guess I can’t go wrong with that view. So that means I will be spending every evening hanging out under the Eiffel Tower starting Saturday night! = ) Ok, enough rambling…back to the pictures.

Evening at the Louvre - peaceful

The Pyramid lit up

More of Chambord…

Grounds & lake around Chambord

This chateau was considered the “Jewel of the French Renaissance.” It has over 4500 works of art, roof-terraces that give you terrific panoramic views of the estate and the double helix staircase, which is very interesting! It is surround by forest. The estate covers 5440 hectares and is the largest enclosed forest park (there is a wall around the entire park!!) in Europe.

At the top of Chambord

View from terrace

Chambord

View of Chambord from a distance

Ok…I am almost done talking about castles!! I have one more to show you. The last one that I visted is called Chambord – le reve royal, grandeur nature, which (I think) translates to something like-> the dream, royal scale. It was the largest of the three castles that I visited. This chateau has over 90 rooms that you can visit. Believe it or not, it was used mainly for hunting parties!! However, if you are interested, you can currently rent parts of Chambord for weddings, parties, etc. That is just an FYI for you!  ; )

Headed up the double helix staircase

The famous double helix staircase - it is pretty interesting to see

 

 

Additional pics of Chenonceau

More pictures of the inside and outside of the chateau.

The Marques tower at Chateau de Chenonceau

Tree lined entrance to the chateau - very pretty

 

The Chapel

One of the four kitchen areas in the chateau

 

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