Crepes in Paris | Honeysuckle Life

Does it count as tradition if you’ve only done it twice? If so, we have a tradition that involves the steps of the Musée d’Orsay and a sweet treat and latte from a nearby shop or bakery. Stuffed full of sugar, we head into the museum to view Monet after Delacroix after Manet. Not too shabby for an afternoon’s work.

Paris Tourist Map | Honeysuckle Life
Street Latte | Honeysuckle Life
Nutella Crepe | Honeysuckle Life
Lattes in Paris | Honeysuckle Life

Musée d’Orsay Lobby | Honeysuckle Life Louvre from the Musée d’Orsay | Honeysuckle Life
Lobby of the Musée d’Orsay | Honeysuckle Life
View of Sacre Coeur from Musée d’Orsay | Honeysuckle Life
Clock inside the Musée d’Orsay | Honeysuckle Life
Fleur Rococo Plaster | Honeysuckle Life
Touring the Musée d’Orsay | Honeysuckle Life

The Musée d’Orsay is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30am to 6:00pm (9:45pm on Thursdays). Admission is €11. Photos are not permitted but this rule is not strictly enforced, unlike most other museums (ahem, I’m talking about you Guggenheim!). To create your own little world, put in headphones with a favorite playlist and cruise through the crowds. I recommend stopping to enjoy the views from the museum windows. They include some of Paris’ most famous sites, including the Louvre and Sacré Coeur.

Flying Buttresses | Honeysuckle Life

I can count on one hand the times my husband has surprised me.

But when he does, he goes all out. Like the proposal I wasn’t expecting, or a birthday dinner with my family just after we moved home from Nicaragua. This time? It was two days in Paris gifted to me over a quiet anniversary dinner. With no sign of nerves, no hint or warning, he suggested a trip I’ve wanted to take for most of my life; Paris in spring. With tickets to see Yo-Yo Ma live. Definitely the most romantic thing he’s ever done!

So we spent two long days strolling the streets of Paris. We’ve been before, and checked most of the big touristy things off our list, so this trip was about eating good food, spending time together, and enjoying the sunshine. The perfect break from work!

Balconies of Paris | Honeysuckle Life
Hospital of Invalides | Honeysuckle Life
French Flag Flying | Honeysuckle Life Pink Camelia | Honeysuckle Life
Rooftops of Dupreix | Honeysuckle Life
Hotel Dupleix | Honeysuckle Life Brass Door Knocker | Honeysuckle Life
Metro Line 6 Paris | Honeysuckle Life
Rooftop Sign in Paris | Honeysuckle Life

Square de la Motte Picquet | Honeysuckle Life
Scooter in Paris | Honeysuckle Life
Little White Flowers | Honeysuckle Life
Street in Paris | Honeysuckle Life Vintage Blue Fiat | Honeysuckle Life
Busy Parisian Street | Honeysuckle Life
Pretty Door Handle in Paris | Honeysuckle Life
Vintage Blue Scooter | Honeysuckle Life Parisian Storefront | Honeysuckle Life

Stucco Doorway | Honeysuckle Life
Trees on the Seine | Honeysuckle Life Metro at Dupleix | Honeysuckle Life
Treetop | Honeysuckle Life

Rococo Detailing | Honeysuckle Life
Ferries on the Seine | Honeysuckle Life
Parisian Buildings | Honeysuckle Life
Trees lining a Parisian Street | Honeysuckle Life
Traditional Black Rooftop | Honeysuckle Life
Arc de Triumphe on a Sunny Day | Honeysuckle Life

We flew RyanAir from Dublin to Paris Beuavais, then took the shuttle bus into the city. It was a bargain for both the flight and bus, and relatively painless, despite the variety of complaints we found online. We stayed in Hotel du Petit Louvre, booked on Hostel World. The hotel is across the street from the Dupleix stop on Metró Line 6, and we could see the tippy top of the Eiffel Tower from our window. Most of the tourist attractions were a 15 minute walk from the hotel. The interior was dated (about a 2 star), but for the location and price, I would definitely stay again.

May19

Eiffel Behind Building

From every angle, the Eiffel Tower is a marvel, keeping watch over Paris as tourists come and go. Meanwhile, Parisians go about their business, oblivious to the charming lady in the center of the city.

Tour Eiffel in Spring Paris in the Spring
Paris in the Spring 052
The classic view of the Eiffel Tower from Palais de Chaillot.  Eiffel in Spring
Pedestrians in front of the Effiel
A horse drawn carriage in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris. The view of the Eiffel Tower from École Militaire.
Touring Paris Touring Paris

The view of the Tower is free, but entrance tickets to the top range from €9-15. For more information, and to schedule your own visit to the Eiffel Tower, visit the official website.

Photography by Rebekah Marenda Burder.

May12

Swell

Skellig Michael

The island appears and disappears in the distance as our boat rises and lowers with the swells. An offshore storm has made conditions just rough enough to make the journey to Skellig Michael feel adventurous. We’re unable to land on the island, a disappointment after waiting for so long. Still, the view of the island from the base is beautiful.

Climbing Skellig
Lighthouse on Skellig
Skellig Boat Tour
Skellig Lighthouse
Trail up Skellig

Waves of Atlantic

As we turn towards Little Skellig, the screams of 45,000 gannets can be heard over the sound of the engine. I’m speechless as I realize that the top of the island isn’t white because of the color of the rock, but because of the amount of bird droppings from the thousands of birds that call it home.

Skellig Islands
Small Skellig
Taking a Boat Tour
Elephant Rock
Irish Islands
Island of Birds
Boat Tour of Skellig
Portmagee

Boat tours operate daily from several different towns, including Portmagee and Ballinskellig. Prices vary from €25 – €50, based on whether you can land on the island or not. Skellig Michael is open from mid-May to fall every year. Before visiting the island, visit the OPW website for information about dates of opening and safety details.

Photography by Rebekah Marenda Burder.

Portmagee Ireland

By now, the rows of colorful saltbox houses hardly warrant a second glance. Instead of charm, I see old plumbing and drafty windows. I see the cost of replacement slate, and toilets you can barely turn around in. I’m starting to understand why Irish react so strongly when visitors comment on the loveliness of this lush island. When I told our landlord my family lives in Florida, which is the equivalent of paradise to sun-deprived locals, she responded with “Leaving Florida for Ireland?! Can you imagine?!” She, quite literally, could not understand it. But to someone who has grown up with cliffs dropping into aquamarine oceans, sheep dotting the fields, and so many beautiful things to see the signs can’t fit on the posts, I’m sure it’s hard to see why someone would choose this way over the more modern, and much less charming, American life.

Skellig Ring Signs Irish Fishing Boat
Grassy Field
Rock Layers Irish Fence Posts
Fogher Cliffs
Valentia Island Beach
Rocky Cliffs
Valentia Island Cliffs
Hiking in Ireland
Southwest Ireland
Irish Ram

We spent a half day in Valentia Island, doing a light hike around the peak of the island, and then had lunch in Portmagee. The tiny village is part of the Skellig Ring, and the launching point of many of the boats that take you to Skellig Islands. Valentia is the site where the world’s first transatlantic cable originated

Photography by Rebekah Marenda Burder.

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