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My Flight to France Cost $5

At the request of close friends and fellow bloggers, I’m posting my advice and experience with frequent flyer programs thus far. I am certainly new to this game, but I think that I’m a quick learner.

To begin, I flew from Florida to France this past August– and I did so while enjoying a first class seat. And to brag a little bit more, I spent only $5 on my flight.

As of right now, I only have a frequent flyer account with Delta– which leads to my first piece of advice:

1. Start small.

Frequent flyer programs usually don’t cost a dime to join! So why not just sign up for every single program you can find? Despite what I’ve read about joining more than one program, I think it’s better to get your feet wet first. If you have itchy feet and your travel destination can simply be listed as “everywhere,” then you should still probably pull in on the reigns a little bit. If you try to open several flyer program accounts at once, then you’ll be paralyzed by the options when it comes to choosing flights. In addition, they are called frequent flyer programs for a reason. You’ll only be able to enjoy the rewards from frequent loyalty.

I’m sure some may argue against this, but I still think I have a solid argument. The best analogy for this is to recall that time in college when you tried to juggle more than one significant other etc. What happened? You spread yourself too thin (pun intended). You forgot about dinner with one or accidentally texted an inside joke to the wrong person or simply didn’t have enough stamina to offer your sloppy seconds. In result, they lost interest in you and left, or your relations and ambitions fizzled out due to over-exhausted efforts. What seemed like an awesome idea at first did not offer the benefits you expected. Instead, you’ve spent all this money going out on the town and you still don’t have someone to bring you soup when you’re sick (-slash- sleep with you).

If you try to juggle more than one airline program, you’ll take much longer to see any benefit from your loyalty. You need to learn how to play the game first. How can you quickly rack up the miles to fly free if your miles are spread through 5 or 15 different programs?

2. Earn Miles Without Flying

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This is often very possible. You can earn miles in several ways, such as credit cards (more on that in a bit), surveys, product promotions, etc. The key to this is thorough study whatever frequent flyer program you’ve joined or are thinking of joining.

One program to check out is e-miles.com. It’s a free program where you register and respond to different marketing surveys and campaign. I’ve managed to rack up about a 1,000 miles from participating.

3. Find a Credit Card to Earn Miles

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Frankly, if a credit card isn’t offering some kind of reward, then you shouldn’t have it. Credit cards often offer flyer’s miles, or points to redeem to flights, merchandise etc. Do some thorough research for choosing one to apply for– and if there’s a credit associated with an airline that you frequently fly with, then consider that card if it’s a good offer.

I have the American Express Delta Skymiles credit card, and it is awesome. I chose Delta because so far I’ve had only positive experiences with them and their Sky Team includes a lot of international airlines, so I can usually earn at least 25% of my miles from co-partner lines. This card earns at least 1 mile per dollar spent and there is usually a bonus offer of a few thousand miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

Keep in mind that this advice is only solid if you’re responsible with credit cards. My habit includes putting all of my expenses on my card and paying off the balance every month. However, most people don’t have the training or discipline to not spend more money than they have. I’ve personally had my own dark battles, and during the holidays, and arriving spells of boredom etc. I often lock my credit cards in a safe. I have a friend who even cut his credit card in half.

If that’s an issue, then put all of your monthly  bills that debit automatically from your bank account: cable, internet, Netflix, cellphone bill, etc. These usually have a fixed amount that is charged each month. You can set up an auto-pay for that predetermined balance and lock the card away so you’re not tempted to buy anything outside of your budget– which is an essential practice if you’re trying to save up for a trip.

If you do this, then you could be magically earning miles without having to do anything!

4. Study Your Program Thoroughly

This is how I managed to acquire 120,000 miles in approximately 7 months. The great thing about Delta is that I can earn miles without spending a dime. There are often promotions outside of the American Express card.

For example, I can spend anywhere from 2-30 minutes filling out surveys earn money through e-Rewards. Once I reach a set amount, I can use this monopoly money to buy miles. I’ve been able to scrape at lease 1,000 miles from these surveys, which I often do while sitting on a train or when I was bored and had nothing to do at work.

Another opportunity they offer is Delta’s Skymiles Shopping. At my job in the United States, we would order our office supplies online. The store was affiliated with the Delta Skymiles Shopping program, so instead of typing the web address for Office Depot, I would log into my Delta Skymiles Shopping account and click on the Office Depot link from there. This would tag the purchase through the Delta promotion, and in result, every time we ordered office supplies, I would earn $2 per mile (I asked permission from my boss first).

Delta has many other ways to earn miles, which is why they’re my main program that I stick to.

I would have never found out about these offers if I hadn’t read through all of the promotions and offers listed on Delta’s website. If you’re avid about acquiring miles, then you must do homework.

In the meantime, I am chilling here in Paris thanks to a free flight– and I already have about 50,000 miles again– so perhaps I’ll fly home for $5 too!

Are any of you part of a frequent flyer program or credit card? If so, which one and how is it treating you? Have you learned any tricks or can you offer any of your own personal tips? I’d love to hear about it and maybe we can continue to provide each other some insight!

Learning French Through YouTube

Christmas is over and the new year has begun. As we rekindle last year’s failed resolutions to try to become more productive, why not try to turn a bad habit into a good habit?

I love YouTube for all of its counter-productive qualities, but why not turn those shameful YouTube binges into something more productive? Many of us are guilty of spending countless hours on YouTube watching everything from Harlem Shake renditions and twerking choreography to other shorts such as Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.

But believe or not, there are some really awesome YouTube channels for learning– and I mean learning for almost everything.

Maybe after you watch some Nyancat or Jenna Marble’s weekly Wednesday video, you could try out these two channels:

Learn French with Vincent

Vincent is a great guy that posts awesome videos teaching vocabulary, useful phrases, and French grammar. He seems to cover everything so far. I often sift through his grammar videos to learn new mechanics and reinforce whatever the heck my French teacher was talking about that I didn’t understand because… you know, she said it in French. I think this guy’s love of teaching language rather than profit shines through in these videos. I do a lot of my language learning with this channel, especially when I want grammar and review.

And trust me, there is PLENTY of material. He has posted over 200,ooo videos! And if English isn’t your native language, n’inquitéz pas (don’t worry) ! Either he, his friends, or his fans have converted them to cater to native speakers of German, Portuguese, Arabic… the list goes on.

Extra French avec sous-titres

Extra French

These are videos of an some old Discovery education series. I have no idea who uploaded these, but they’re awesome for several reasons. If you’re a beginner looking to reinforce the basics that you’ve learned, then you must watch these. In addition, the acting is god-awful and the writing is even worse, but honestly, it makes them that much more fun to watch.

It’s kind of like French version of “Friends” except… bad. But it’s in French!

You can tell whoever wrote this series was very intentional. They are good at implementing basic vocabulary, grammar, and repetition for reinforcement. Honestly, I wish more series likes this existed for language learning.

For more resources, check out my previous post here.

Are any of you learning a language at the moment? If so, which one and what have you found helpful?

Roam the World. Not the Internet.

The only thing I dread about planning any trip is figuring the best way to travel there. Although I appreciate the overwhelming selection on how to get anywhere, it’s often very tedious to figure the most efficient way.

It’s a juggling act between the time and money spent in order to find the best route. A bus may be cheapest, but maybe it triples the travel time. Flying is awesome, but often expensive, and if a train’s available that may be better and even faster since it cuts down on check-in time, etc.

But since I am not familiar with the destinations I travel to, I often have to spend hours trying to figure out how long it would take to get there by train versus bus versus plane, etc.

But then I found this awesome site that calculates all of that for me. So now, my hours spent researching that question only takes a couple minutes.

Rome2Rio.com has been a god-send so far.It helped me plan how to get from Paris to a tiny city in Sweden for Christmas. It’s kind of like Google Maps, but specifically created for those trying create a travel itinerary and find out how to get from each destination to the next. It’s multi-modal, multi-destination travel search engine.

If you choose a route, it often provides the websites needed in order to book tickets, reservations, etc. It’s basically a travel agent without having to actually pay for one. Do all of your transportation research and leg work on one website instead of having to shuffle through several.

So please check it out! Read their about section and get to know what they offer, because I’ve already used it quite a bit.

Learning French- No class required

Most people would probably agree that learning another language is a valuable skill. I certainly do, and that’s why I am in France. However, although many of us would like to learn another language, we can’t always just uproot ourselves and move to another country. Nevertheless, that is not an excuse for not trying to become bilingual.

Thanks to this marvelous system of interconnect computers known as the internet, it seems that you can learn almost any language– and do so for free. Before that, most of us probably learned French through this gem:

If you just watched that YouTube clip, then you’re either giddy with nostalgia or very confused. Let me know which by leaving a comment.

Without further delay, here are my resources at the moment, in no particular order:

1. FrenchPod101.com

This is service isn’t free– but the podcast is. Just search for “French Pod 101.” The only downside is that you’ll have to sift through the episodes because they’re not broadcasted in a progressive order. On Monday, they may post a beginner less, but then Tuesday they may post an advanced session.

The premium service is only $25 per month, and the resources available on the website are plentiful. There are audio lessons, flashcards, quizzes, etc. You can create a dashboard based on your level and listen to the audio lessons that consist of daily French conversations and read along with the transcript for anything you don’t understand. Afterwards, you can add the vocabulary words to your flashcard deck just by clicking a button. You’ll learn common French expressions, grammar, and also French culture.

They also offer the same resources for many other languages, including English, Spanish, German, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Polish, etc. 

2. News In Slow French

Again, this is a website, but it also offers a free podcast. This is my personal favorite at the moment. However,  I don’t recommend this to beginners. If you’re still trying to learn basic phrases and vocabulary, then hold off on this for a couple months– or not, maybe just use it as secondary study. I use this everyday while I’m on the train and metro.

News in Slow French is simply that: the week’s news spoken in slow French. Catherine and Rylan share the week’s top news stories while speaking slowly and enunciating each word so that you can train your mind to listen and comprehend while not feeling too overwhelmed. This is a great way to practice listening comprehension and acquire new vocabulary. Repetition is key. Pick about 4-5 podcasts and listen to them repetitively throughout the week after reading along with the transcript a few times first.

I love this program because I’m expanding my vocabulary in a practical manner by learning words that I’d want to know immediately. It also offers grammar lessons, and teaches a new French expression each week. However, this is only available through the subscription, which is also pretty cheap. I think I paid $100 for the entire year or something around that price.

The only downside I can think of is that now I have an irrational fondness for Rylan and Catherine. I really want to meet them and to know what they look like. I’d like to say thank you for  offering an awesome podcast. Maybe we can grab lunch. This is a usual side-effect that I suffer from while becoming a regular listener to a podcast. They have very nice voices and Rylan sounds like a very animated and funny guy. I think we should be friends.

3. Le Petit Quotidien

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One of the kids has a subscription to this and I keep stealing them. These are a great resource to practice reading and acquire new vocabulary– but since it’s for children, the writing isn’t complicated. This also makes them perfect for a beginner to lower intermediate because you can focus on acquiring new vocabulary while not feeling intimidated by an overwhelming amount of complicated grammatical structure. Instead, you reinforce the grammar you have already learned while picking up maybe only a couple new structures.

The stories are fun and often come with supplemental information. The pictures help by providing context clues and visual aids to remember and recall what you’ve learned.

Each issues covers vocabulary, current events, the weather, etc. Additional information varies, but from these I’ve learned French vocabulary for geography, earth science, cultures, etc. You’ll learn by reading about fun educational topics that range from “How Earthquakes Work” to “What is Racism?” In all seriousness, that was one of the headlines for one of the editions earlier this week. It’s a great tool for youth education. Does anyone know if the New York Times has something like this available for kids in the United States? If not, they absolutely should.

Although the resources that I’ve just listed pertain particularly to French, there’s most likely an equivalent out there for most languages. However, if anyone reading this is interested in finding resources for another language, then please leave a comment and I’d be glad to take on the challenge and see what I could find!

But of course, it goes without saying that the best way to improve your language learning process is to TALK. TALK. TALK. TALK.

And I know: it’s easier said than… said done. I have difficulty seizing the opportunity to practice and I actually live in France. But there’s resources for that too that I’ve recently found!

I’ll continue that topic next week. Bisous!

For more resources, check out my other article about Learning French Through YouTube

Pardon My English

I came to Paris without having studied French other than a month or so before I left. Before then, my knowledge of French didn’t extend much beyond silly phrases from childhood cartoons– such as this:

We all loved this guy back in the day...

We all loved this guy back in the day…

I think it would be informative for me as well for others for me to recount what methods are working for me and which ones are not.

If you or someone you know is trying to learn another language, particularly French, then perhaps you’ll find this useful– and also, I’d love to hear from you.

What I have found to make this process difficult is the following:

Paris is inundated with English.

Paris is a #1 tourist destination and receives something around 20 or so million visitors per year. In result, English is everywhere. It’s the language of business and commerce, and therefore, it is the language world. Most locals and tourists can speak decent English and often use it on  a daily basis. This is great when you’re a tourist visiting for a few days, but not when you’re trying to learn French while living in Paris. The French immediately pick up your accent and will often switch to English.

However, I will not pin this as rude. I’ve read quite a number of blogs or heard accounts of people being offended when the French switch to English. If you visit and this happens to you, don’t take offense. It’s not because they don’t like your accent, it’s because they’re trying to accommodate you and they’re probably excited to practice English too. Just keep replying in French. If it’s someone you’re comfortable with or know personally, then ask them to speak to you in French.

On a related note, don’t feel intimidated to speak French (this is an issue I battled with everyday as well). Immediately address people here in French– and always precede your encounters by greeting them with “bonjour.” It means a lot to them for you to at least take a stab at French while asking for directions, even if you’re awful at it. (Which is another topic I’d like to address in the future.)

Before I left for Paris, I heard many stories about Parisians being rude and criticizing foreigners’ French. I’ve yet to feel any criticism or judgment. Yes, I have witnessed some confused expressions from those who couldn’t make sense out of whatever I managed to garble out. I honestly think that most feelings of being judged derive from one’s own lack of confidence.

Worst case scenario involves me giving up and apologizing. I often say (in French), “I’m sorry. I still learning French.” And that often eases the situation.

But really, English is everywhere.

Right now, I’m writing this article in a Starbucks in Opèra. They’re playing Christmas music– in English of course, and I’m referring to all the classics and contemporary renditions: Frank Sinatra to Michael Bublé. I feel more up-to-date on American cinema than I’ve been in the past few years. Most films are available in “V.O.” or “Version Originale” with French subtitles. Furthermore, going to the movies here is much cheaper, so I enjoy it much more often than I used to back home.

All in all, if you’d like to learn French in Paris, go for it! It’s available as long as you’re disciplined– but if you want to learn English too, that’s plenty available.

In my opinion, most key factors to learning a language, derive from motivation and discipline. I don’t care what articles are out there ranking how difficult one language is compared to another. I don’t agree with them. If you’re motivated and disciplined enough to learn, then you will learn.

In my past 3 months, I’ve picked up so much more French than I’ve expected to– and I want to share my tips and resources with everyone because I think I’ve found some great stuff that’s helpful! So for the next few weeks, I’ll be posting about this subject.

In the meantime, here are the simplest, yet most essentials tips. For anyone who has researched the best ways to learn a language, you’ve heard this over and over again, but my experience so far prove them to be axiomatic.

1. Stay disciplined. Study and practice every day.

2. Incorporate all facets of comprehension and production on a daily basis: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.

3. Go out of your comfort zone. Walk around and meet other people who only speak that language and make friends. You may spend a long time struggling to communication, but nothing expedites the process faster than immersion.

Thanksgiving in Paris

Yesterday it was Thanksgiving in the United States, and the few days preceding the holiday were perhaps the first times that I truly felt subtle twinges of nostalgia. Perhaps it was the Facebook posts from friends excited to visit home, or perhaps it’s because the Starbucks in Opéra where I study French began to incessantly play American Christmas music weeeeeeeeks ago.

In the months prior to leaving the US, my occasioned thoughts about spending the holidays alone  and abroad often caused my imagination to picture myself with my laptop playing illegally downloaded holiday films while eating whatever form of “pumpkin spice” anything I could forage in Paris.

But on the actual day of Thanksgiving, I did not have time to even acknowledge those feelings of homesickness, let alone stew in them. Instead, I spent much too long trying to hunt down cranberry sauce.

First I tried Le Bon Marché, where I found a foreign food aisle labeled “USA”

This was a fantastic experience, because I was able to able theorize on the following questions:

  1. What do the French or Parisians think of as what Americans buy in the market and consume at home?
  2. What can Americans buy in Paris from Le Bon Marché when they miss home?
  3. What does Le Bon Marché think of as cuisine that is indicative and representative of the American diet and culture?

And from this aisle the answers include the following:

  • Ranch dressing
  • Beef jerky
  • Salsa and guacamole
  • Chili-flavored potato chips
  • BBQ sauce, yellow mustard, and relish
  • EasyMac
  • Cheese Whiz
  • LOTS of Planter’s peanuts
  • Popcorn but it was some French brand called “American Classic Foods.” This shouldn’t count. They need to sell Pop Secret, Butter Lover’s edition in order to place it in the USA aisle. Come on, France; I know ya’ll can do better.

Please note that cranberry sauce is not on the list. I was told I could find some there, so I felt dejected and slightly panicked because I needed to be home in an hour.

At one point, I  suffered from severe emotional whiplash: in about 1 second, I suddenly felt exalted and victorious, to absolutely crestfallen because I had (wrongly) thought that I had found cornbread. Turns out it was just  more of those damned Madeleines.

Eventually, I stopped following advice and typed “Thanksgiving in Paris” into Google…maps. Google Maps. Yes.

There is a rather famous stored located in the Le Marais area of Paris called Thanksgiving in Paris. You can take the metro to St. Paul  and walked to Rue St. Paul to get there. I found plenty of cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie filling, stuffing, gravy, and you can even order turkeys. And yes, there was also Pop Secret popcorn.

Of course, the moral of this fable blogpost is that Thanksgiving isn’t really about cranberry sauce, despite my over-investment into locating a can of that crap. The actual point of this blogpost is to recount the particular memory that kept running through my head while I was thinking about Thanksgivings back home these past few days.

Thanksgiving and the winter holidays back home is a time to be with family– however, my family back home doesn’t consist of much than my mother and my sister. In result, you can imagine that cooking a turkey for three doesn’t leave you all that motivated… our participation in these winters holidays began to diminish when I was about 15 years old. We don’t even buy a Christmas tree anymore. So back home, my holidays are a bit lackluster.

I remember a few years ago when my mom and I were discussing what to do for Thanksgiving that year because all we would have was each other: why cook for three? What should we do instead? Go to the movies? A theme park? Vacation of some sort? No matter what alternative was conjured, nothing seemed to suffice.

To be honest, I can’t really recall how we came to our solution for our Thanksgiving crisis because it was so long ago. I don’t recall any “aha moment” or any flashes from lightbulbs that were hovering above our heads… it sort of just happened.

For however many years now, we’ve had what I’ve always called an “Orphan’s Thanksgiving.” We invite over whomever we can think  of that we know is alone for Thanksgiving. During our first Orphan’s Thanksgiving, within a matter of a couple of days, our empty holiday turned into a small-scale logistical mess of trying to plan and cook for 12 or so people. Our guests consisted of our friends who were most often foreign and living on their own in the United States. They often left family to either find work in the U.S. and/or go to school. Even though Thanksgiving is a holiday that does not exist in those other countries, its presence remains overwhelming. You can’t work and you don’t have school, and all of your American friends and co-workers have left to be with family. Even if you’ve never even heard of Thanksgiving, if you’re in the United States during that time, you can feel a bit left out.

Every year in college I’d invite any friend I had made who was studying abroad while my mom, sister, and I continued to have our regular guests attend. Our Thanksgiving family includes loved ones from Myanmar, Croatia, Puerto Rico, Nepal, Argentina, and so on. And despite spending the holidays with people that perhaps I’ve barely met or don’t know that well, it is those memories that I cherish most. Those Thanksgivings has been the most fun and it’s been great to meet so many people from everywhere without having to leave home.

This is the memory that kept replaying in my head these past few days; it’s my first Thanksgiving spent away from family, no matter how small or big my family is. What should I do? Cooking a turkey for for 1 is even sillier– and let’s be honest: it has nothing to do with finding a turkey. It’s spending hours cooking with my mother and being annoyed by her simultaneously; that’s the fun. So I’m applying the same solution here in Paris.

 

 

If you’re abroad or have been abroad for the holidays, I’d love to hear about that! If you’re interested in hearing more about Expats celebrating Thanksgiving check out NPR’s Project Expat

Serendipity While Sitting at the Train Station

Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects about traveling or living in a new place is how– no matter what obstacles or mishaps occur– things always seem to turn out alright.

In the 2nd week of arriving in Paris, (and I mentioned this in a previous post) I managed to take 2 hours to get home. Why? Because my last train home that I had originally planned on taking was cancelled due to a strike.

For a local (and now, even me), this is not a big deal. There are plenty of other ways to get home. You can take a taxi, walk, ride a bike, or take a bus. But when you’re a 23 year old American girl who just arrived in a brand new country with no money, friends, or french vocabulary in order to get home, you start to get a little anxious.

Fast-forwarding through the stumbled, mucked-up Franglish conversation that I had at 1am with the info kiosk, I found the night bus that I needed to take home. However, now I am standing alone at a bus stop at 1:30 in the morning, surrounding by a bunch of people that I don’t know and I cannot strike up conversation with because I can’t say anything beyond “Hello” and “how are you,” let alone, “is this right bus? Would you happen to know which stop I need to get off at to get home?”

And of course, this is the part of story where I manage to meet a very nice stranger named Peterson who speaks English. He asks me, “you’re not from here?” Nope. I’m not. Apparently, it’s that obvious. I probably looked stressed out.

Peterson helps me get on the right bus, and he lets the driver know that I’m foreign and new, and that I’ll need him to tell me which stop to get off from. Meanwhile while at the bus stop, we have good conversation– and he even teaches me some French. Unfortunately, I don’t have a phone, but I figured “Hey! Potential new friend! Can I have your e-mail address? We can strike up a deal for some language exchange.” That night, I am not more indebted to anyone than Peterson, who went out of his way to help me get home .

But sadly, I lost his e-mail address.

 

Let’s cut to about 7 weeks later. I’m a pro at taking the train, bus, AND metro home. Lost? Psh. Please. I finally know what I’m doing. One night, I am boarding the train home at platform 13 to catch the 22:35 ride back. I sit and sit and sit on this train and it doesn’t move. Also, no one else is sitting on this train. It’s now 22:35– what’s going on?

I look to my left and this is what I see: my actual train leaving from platform 13. I accidentally boarded the train on platform 14 and somehow didn’t notice. C’est la vie. So now it’s time to get off of the train I’m sitting on, and walk back down to the lobby area to wait for the next train home.

How on earth did I manage to miss my train when I arrive 15 minutes before its departure? How did I manage to not deduce from the empty car that perhaps I am NOT on the right train? And how on earth did I manage to read “Voie 14” and I think, “yep, platform 13. That’s my train, right there.”

I will probably never know.

At this point, I am slightly irritated. I am tired and I just want to go home. I sit down on my bench and start at the list of departures waiting for my 23:05 train to announce it’s platform. I have stuffed my headphones into my ears and am listening to some kind of music so that I don’t have to talk to strangers because tonight, I’m not just in the mood.

Apparently the person sitting on the bench to right of me begs to differ.

I can barely make him sight of him, but my peripheries do catch sight of someone waving at me to try and catch my attention. I ignore it.Sorry pal, but tonight is not your night. I’m tired and exhausted from being sick, and I want to go home. Nope, wave all you want; I’m going to continue to ignore you.

Ugh, okay fine. I’ll look and see what the hell you want from me.

It’s Peterson! Nothing could have perked up my night more. 7 weeks later, a lost e-mail, and an absent-minded, unintentionally made choice to sit on the wrong train allowed me to run into Peterson again. What are the odds of that?

Probably higher than I think– but for that moment, the serendipity was too sweet to spoil with statistics.

Friday Flashback: China

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Last February I visited China, and Shanghai was one of three cities during my trip. I was feeling a bit nostalgic today, I thought I’d pay homage.

Photogenics: Père des pigeons

“Only the tourists feed the pigeons.”

That’s what I’ve been told– and yes, it seems to be true– and I’m sure it’s true for other places besides Paris. If I remember correctly, a friend of mine from New York City said they call them rats with wings.

Parisians love to picnic when the weather permits so– or rather, it begs so. So far, Paris in the summer and early autumn is absolutely divine… but pigeons pecking at your baguette or cooing nearby for crumbs can be quite irksome.

However, when I first arrived, I was walking alone the Seine near île de la Cité when I noticed this man feeding pigeons from his balcony. Unfortunately, I did not manage to snag a shot of a pigeon perched on his hand, but I swear this happened. He caught my eye with a pigeon perched on his thumb. To me, I thought he must be  a local living in the high balcony; I presume that there must be some kind of routine involved in being able to entice a bird onto his arm.

Pére des pigeons

I found the moment to be quaint, and it added to the picturesque setting that I was already saturated in, so I had to pull out my camera and try to snap the moment– and furthermore, it’s my proof that not only tourists feed the pigeons.

Photogenics: Sunset View from Pont des Arts

This is form Pont des Arts, which Pont Neuf behind me.

Fun fact: Every time I read and heard “Pont Neuf” I presumed it meant “bridge nine.” But nope, “neuf” can also mean “new.” It’s “new bridge.”

I took this photo in the evening; the sky was beautiful and I had to try to snag a shot. So far, I enjoy the sky here. For some reason, it always looks as though it can change colors form one end of my view to the other. For example, from outside my bedroom window once sunset starts, even at its earliest, the left side of my view will look like a light teal, but then it will morph into a dark shade of blue or pink. It’s as though two completely different skies are sharing the same space. I hope that makes sense.

To see it in its original size, which is slightly larger, just click on the picture.

Enjoy!

View from Pont Neuf

xx -J