Le Train Bleu | Paris, France

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Le Train Bleu is a stunningly beautiful restaurant that was built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900. It's located in the Gare de Lyon station and is a full service restaurant. Le Train Bleu is an incredible restaurant that takes you back to another time period. The restaurant is covered in elaborate and ornate decorations and 41 original paintings from popular artists from that time period. Markus and I kept talking about what it must've been like to travel by train and stop in for a meal. It must've been a stunner in it's heyday. 

When I saw photos of the restaurant, I knew that I wanted this to be where we spent our last night in Paris. We couldn't have chosen a more magical and perfect place. I knew the minute we walked in that it would be a meal and experience unlike any other I've had before. We ordered the foie gras, liver mousse, veal cutlet, roasted leg of lamb, blue cheese potato gratin and ended with the rum baba, which came with a whole bottle of rum. You know I liked that part! Our meal was so decadent and really delicious. My favorites were the foie gras and the blue cheese potato gratin. If you know me, you know I love pate, liver mousse and foie, so that was a no brainer. The real surprise was the gratin because I don't normally go for potatoes, but these were a game changer. We kept ordering and eating even though I was stuffed. I think it was because I didn't want to leave. It also helped that the servers were hilarious and kept telling funny jokes. Overall, our experience at Le Train Bleu was unforgettable and I'm pleased that it was where we spent our last evening in the City of Lights. 

Notre-Dame and Shakespeare & Company | Paris, France

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When you visit Paris, it's almost guaranteed that you'll make a stop at Notre-Dame.  I know if I didn't my parents would've been quite sad and disappointed. We only intended to stop by and take a look outside, but the line was quite short, we couldn't say no. Once inside, we realized why the line was moving so fast. They were packing everyone inside. It was quite impossible to get a good look at anything, but we still walked around for a bit and then headed out. Notre-Dame is a beautiful French gothic cathedral that is unlike any I've seen before. 

Afterward, we crossed the bridge to Shakespeare and Company. I've always wanted to visit the independent bookstore because many famous authors used to gather there. Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many others would gather and spend heaps of time there. Since it's such a popular and well-known spot, it was just as crowded at Notre-Dame. It was impossible to look at books and soak in the atmosphere. Still, I'm glad we stopped by because it's been on my bucket list since I was in high school! 

Mini Tour of Montmartre | Paris, France

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Since Montmartre is a bit further away from all the popular sites we decided to spend our first real day in Paris in Montmartre. We woke up decently early and had breakfast at Cafe des Deux Moulins from the film Amélie. Afterward we decided to take the 15 minute walk to Sacré-Cœur. We passed the Moulin Rouge and it definitely wasn't what I was expecting. Maybe it was because it was daytime. I didn't get the full effect and maybe I needed a bit of help from the Green Fairy? I did look up tickets and they were around 115€ and up. Maybe one day we'll be able to catch a show! It was our first taste of Paris and it was really lovely. The real star of Montmartre is the Sacré-Cœur, but that will be a post for the future. Just for now, enjoy all the photos from our mini tour of Montmartre!

Cafe des Deux Moulins | Montmartre, Paris

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Let me take you back to 2001. I just graduated from high school and was in my first year of college. I spent four years bumbling through high school, hating everything and everyone, most of all myself. I really didn't know who I was. No one liked the same things I did and deep down I knew I was different than my parents, my family and my friends. So I spent a lot of that first year feeling alone and misunderstood. That all changed in November when I watched the French film Amélie. I know it's weird to say that a film changed your life, but in a way it did. I've always loved movies and stories, but no other movie affected me in such a way.  

Everything about the movie resonated and helped me realize that it was okay to be different. She was so quirky and interesting and there was a quality to the movie that a lot of films lack. One of my favorite lines from the film is, "Les temps sont durs pour les rêveurs," or "Times are hard for dreamers." It's crazy how this is still so relevant. I could go on and on about it, but I think that would have to be a story for another time. If you've never seen the movie, I highly recommend it. So that brings me to our recent trip to France and how Amélie ties in...

Amélie is set in Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. When we knew we were going to be in Paris for two days, I purposefully planned to spend a day exploring the same streets and haunts as Amélie. The first place that we stopped at was the very same place she worked, Cafe des Deux Moulins. I will admit the place is a bit of a tourist trap and overrun with tourists gaping and gawking outside. It took me forever to get a chance to get a photo in front and there were still heaps of people hanging around. Nevertheless, Cafe des Deux Moulins still retains it's charm. There are locals that frequent the place and can be seen having a cafe and reading the newspaper. Markus and I decided to have breakfast instead of stopping in and taking photos. We ordered the, Petit déjeuner (12€) that came with coffee, orange juice, viennoiserie, butter bread with jam and three eggs. It wasn't a fancy outstanding meal, but it definitely was a small price to pay to spend an hour or so in such an iconic place. 

Stykkishólmur, Iceland

Stykkishólmur is a sleepy little town situated on the northwestern part of Snæfellsnes peninsula. Even though the town is very small, it's the epicenter for services and commerce on the peninsula. Fishing and tourism are the main sources of income for local people. I really loved Stykkishólmur and the vibe there was much different than any other town. Out by the bay, there is a large rock formation that you can climb and the views were incredible. Stykkishólmur was also a filming location for "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." In the scene where Kristin Wiig serenades Ben Stiller with Space Oddity was filmed there. It's one of the most pivotal scenes of the movie and one of my favorites as well!