CLAIREINPARIS's SparkPeople Blog CLAIREINPARIS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Back on my feet and walking around Chantilly I have missed my hikes during these last 3 weeks and a half! My hikes and people, if I am honest… 3 weeks at home after the hospital, I am more than ready to see my colleagues in the office tomorrow! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But I am back on my feet and, as I said, I’ll go back to the office tomorrow (for 3 days, then stopping again for a few days after Christmas). To celebrate this, I decided to go for a walk in Chantilly today... Sun, 21 Dec 2014 12:00:49 EST Weight loss surgery - one week post-op Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> La vie est belle! Life is beautiful! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> If you have been following my hikes and travels for a while, you know I am convinced of it. Yet, life can also be tough. I gained about 100lbs in 3 years for several reasons too personal to explain here, and I didn’t manage to lose them later. (Before you ask... Healthy eating – check! Exercising – check! Counseling – check! I con... Wed, 3 Dec 2014 06:25:21 EST A lovely time in Athens with NUOVAELLE and BLOOMINGLENA Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> Greetings from Athens, Greece! That was the view that greeted me when I reached the hotel on Saturday evening… <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Striking no? For me however, being in Athens isn’t just the beauty of the city and the excitement of work meetings (NOT!!!), but of course… <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> … meeting with NUOVAELLE a... Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:43:02 EST Hiking around Vétheuil Do you know Vétheuil? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> If you are a Claude Monet fan, you actually know Vétheuil! The painter lived in the village between 1878 and 1881 and made over 100 paintings of it. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 2 Nov 2014 06:20:53 EST Lost but not shot! I am sorry for the dramatic title, but today was an eventful hike indeed! I don't think I like those, I'd rather have one of my usual hikes, where the worst that can happen is to get a bit lost... And speaking of getting lost (to start with the fun bit!), I haven’t lost my touch! <em>334</em> Although it hadn’t happened in a few months, I still know how to get completely at the opposite of where I am supposed to go during a hike!!! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 18 Oct 2014 17:24:41 EST Hiking back in time I had wanted to do this hike a few weeks ago already, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the terrible Ourcq Battle that took place in these fields and on these paths 6-9 September 1914. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was the very beginning of WWI, and everybody thought it wouldn’t last, and the boys would be home in no time. Sadly, as we now know, it wasn’t what happened. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 11 Oct 2014 17:51:23 EST A hike at last! It feels like ages since I last went on a hike, although it is only a little more than a month. So much has happened since then! September was mad, with 3 weeks away from home in total. <BR> <BR> But back to today’s hike! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I went to Sigy-en-Bray today, in the beautiful hilly Bray area that I love so much, between Picardy and Normandy. The sun was shining bright (with just enough clouds to make the sky ... Sun, 5 Oct 2014 14:54:17 EST Rome - Part 3 I am really glad so many of you have been enjoying my blogs about Rome! I am now back in Paris but still remembering with delight the few hours I had to walk around the Eternal City. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I haven’t shown you many ‘touristy’ places as such, because I had seen these during my previous visits to Rome – and they are rarely the places I find the most atmospheric! But I did see some of the main attractions of Rome... Sat, 13 Sep 2014 17:11:03 EST Rome – Part 2 In my previous blog about Rome, I mentioned the little street where I stayed (I am still in Italy but now outside Rome attending meetings): via dei Chiavari. The picture below is of a little square right next to it, called ‘Largo dei Librari’. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I liked it, and it was surprisingly quiet in a very busy area (at least quiet at day time!). This is in the Campo dei Fiori area, for those of you who know Rome ... Sun, 7 Sep 2014 16:45:50 EST Rome – Part 1 I arrived in Rome yesterday afternoon. I left my luggage at the hotel and headed straight to the Trastevere, South West of Rome, across the river Tiber. It is one of the most well known and loved areas of Rome nowadays, but it was hardly ever visited not so long ago! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, after a quick detour to a nearby ‘gelateria’ where I enjoyed a wonderful ginger and sage/raspberry ice-cream, I crossed the 15th cent... Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:33:11 EST Around my favourite village Gerberoy is on the list of France’s Most Beautiful Villages. And rightly so in my opinion… <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Even without the roses that Gerberoy is well-known for and which had been mostly destroyed by the awfully wet summer we have been having! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This me... Sat, 30 Aug 2014 04:37:37 EST A morning hike on my doorstep For most of my hikes, I drive about one hour away, and it really feels like I am on a mini-vacation. Well, not this morning, I only drove about 10 minutes to reach my starting point... I very much hiked on my doorstep! Or I should say on my mother’s doorstep as I was very near her nursing home at some point. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Most of today’s hike was through the woods, the gorgeous Montmorency Forest North of Paris. As ... Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:07:07 EST A hike in the Brie area East of Paris Jouy-sur-Morin, where I was yesterday, is a 1.5 hour drive from my home North of Paris. A bit too far away for a 3-hour hike! But today I had to go to that village to collect something I had found on ‘Le Bon Coin’ (the French equivalent to Craigslist). So I immediately looked in my booklet about Seine-et-Marne’s hikes (that is East of Paris), and guess what… there was a hike precisely around Jouy-sur-Morin! Awesome. <BR> <BR> <img src=""... Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:24:04 EST Hiking under a threatening sky Look at the sky that welcomed me as I reached Bréançon, in the Vexin area, this afternoon… <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Yet, the weather forecast was for a nice afternoon with no rain, so I decided to trust them! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I must say this weather was very nice to walk in, cool and refreshing, as long as you didn’t stop to think: “What if there is a th... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 15:00:55 EST My after-work hike I had taken the afternoon off yesterday to go on a hike, but by the time I managed to leave the office, it was 2.30pm already. Too late to drive for an hour to reach the beginning of my hike! So, I decided to do a hike I had always left ‘for later’, even though it is only 15 minutes away from my office. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Why? Oh because I am prejudiced! Completely! Because the hike started in Goussainville, which is seen a... Wed, 6 Aug 2014 06:40:06 EST A lovely day hiking in Normandy I love Normandy. The part of Normandy I go to most often, the ‘Vexin normand’, feels almost like home as I have done so many hikes and visits there. If you are after green and picturesque (which I am most of the time!), it is wonderful. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Rosay-sur... Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:51:58 EST Yesterday’s hike - a stupid thing to do My excuse is that I hadn’t been on a hike for about 6 weeks! When I saw the weather forecast for the weekend (rain again, and thunderstorms), I decided to take Friday afternoon off and head to the Beauvais area (North of Paris), despite the very humid heat (35C/95F). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Well, it was a very stupid thing to do. Saint-Paul and the countryside around it were lovely, very green and welcoming (I must go back!)… ... Sat, 19 Jul 2014 07:14:33 EST Getting to know your Spark Neighbour It's time for another get to know your Spark friends… borrowed from _BABE_!!! <BR> (I had to add some pictures to make it more fun... some are mine, some I found on the Internet.) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Your go to chewing gum flavour… I don’t like chewing gum (oh dear, it isn’t starting too well, is it?!!!). <BR> <BR> Best time of the year… Early Spring as I just love to see Nature waking up, and autumn for the colours of cour... Thu, 3 Jul 2014 11:59:14 EST A couple of nice walks – and some news Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I am finally home! I always love that moment. These last 11 days in the Netherlands have been busy to say the least and it really is good to be home! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> On Friday evening, to celebrate the fact that the most difficult meetings were over, I finally took the time to go for a walk on the beach near the hotel (to answer one of your questions, yes, it was the North Sea coast).... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:09:23 EST My Sunday in the Netherlands Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I don’t know about you, but I had a wonderful Sunday! I am in the Netherlands for countless meetings (or so it feels… I am not a ‘meeting’ kind of person!) for over 10 days. Yesterday was my one day off, and my Dutch friend, Cora, picked me up at the hotel on the morning so that we could spend the day together, enjoying some catching up, sightseeing, walking, cycling... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR>... Mon, 23 Jun 2014 11:42:29 EST A very happy hike! Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> The weather forecast for today for the ‘West of Paris’ area said that it might rain. So I decided to go East! :) And it didn’t rain! I went to an area I had visited a couple of times, but I had never done this specific hike. I thought about TERMITEMOM very much, as I remembered that she commented once that her parents had a house in the area. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It started outside Crouy-s... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 16:56:39 EST Hiking in Picardy Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> Three weeks without a hike! No no no no way! Well… life happens. Travelling for work, dealing with a very wet weather, and trying to find solutions to various problems... Needless to say I NEEDED a hike today! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This hike which started in Cinqueux, in Picardy, was wonderful. I know, I know, I ... Sat, 31 May 2014 16:58:45 EST Hiking at the Rocher du Duc I wanted a completely different kind of hike yesterday. Something that would surprise me and give me a great workout. I wasn’t disappointed! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I went to the Rocher du Duc (Duke’s Rock) in the Essonne area, South of Paris. That’s basically the opposite to where I live when looking at the Paris area map. But every minute of the 1 hour and 15 minutes’ drive was worth it! (I had taken the day off... the weath... Sat, 10 May 2014 04:29:53 EST Nursing home - hitting a wall… again… Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I need to open my heart again. Sorry for the rant, I know it won’t be a positive blog… I am just trying to keep calm and turning to you for advice and support please. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> First I want to say I am VERY grateful for the support I receive from so many of you. Honestly, it has kept me going many times in the last few weeks. I know talking about aging, sick parents isn’t glamo... Sun, 4 May 2014 13:11:34 EST A beautiful hike – with and without bluebells! Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I love it when my prejudices are beaten. And they were indeed about this place. Boulogne-la-Grasse. First it is an ugly name (‘la Grasse’ meaning ‘the fat one’, which relates to the fact that the soil is really rich in the area). Then it is an area I have always thought as ‘not interesting’, North of Paris, East of a little town called Montdidier. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Well, it was far fro... Sat, 3 May 2014 16:17:43 EST Around the Parisian ‘passages’ with SARAWALKS (Part 2) Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> As promised, here is Part 2 of our walk around some Parisian passages. Some of you asked me how long our walk lasted. Well, almost 5 hours! But we did some window shopping too. :) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After we left Galerie Vivienne… <BR> – here is the link to Part 1 of our walk yesterday if you haven’t seen it already: <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual... Sun, 27 Apr 2014 05:44:51 EST Around the Parisian ‘passages’ with SARAWALKS (Part 1) Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> Sara (SARAWALKS) and I had such a great time hiking together 2 weeks ago we wanted to go on another hike again this weekend. But the weather forecast for the whole weekend was ‘lots of rain’, so we decided to go on a walk around the Parisian ‘passages’ instead. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I had done a similar walk about 2 years ago, so it might sound familiar to some of you! :) If you want to ha... Sat, 26 Apr 2014 16:20:53 EST An artistic hike around Crécy-la-Chapelle I decided to make the most of the last gorgeous day of the week! Yesterday I took the day off to go on a hike in an area I didn’t know at all, East of Paris, around Crécy-la-Chapelle. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Painters love Crécy-la-Chapelle and the area around it. Impressionists and pre-impressionists alike spent time here, such as Camille Corot whose house I passed by. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:14:27 EST A great hike with SARAWALKS Meeting Sparkfriends is one of the joys of Sparkpeople! Especially when you meet Sparkfriends you have been in touch with for quite a while, across the Ocean, and especially (in my opinion) when you go hiking together! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Yesterday was a perfect day for meeting a Sparkfriend – a perfect day for a hike! It was sunny but about 18C (65F), which meant that even in the sun for 4 and a half hours, we weren’t melti... Sun, 13 Apr 2014 05:15:39 EST A hike for wild flowers’ lovers <BR> Hello dear Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> Hikes are unforgettable in the Paris area in April… there are so many flowers! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I had kept this hike for this time of the year, hoping I would see wild orchids. It was a bit too early and they weren’t out y... Sun, 6 Apr 2014 13:55:45 EST A castle, and woods covered with wild anemones - my routine walk Hello dear Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> Life being a bit crazy at the moment, I have decided about 10 days ago to get into ‘High Stress gear’: as it is difficult to fit a hike at weekends (I will go back to my hikes though, don’t worry!), I am going on daily walks in the neighborhood instead. It could make me sad or sorry for myself… but it doesn’t because I am happy with my neighborhood! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> You see what I mean... Wed, 2 Apr 2014 11:33:26 EST Alzheimer – fighting for my Mom... and rare moments of joy... Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I don’t often post a really personal blog, I mean more personal than my hikes and travels! I wondered about sharing about this side of my life again. It is very sad, but it is a huge part of my life, and, I know, part of the life of several of you who read this. This dreadful disease, Alzheimer. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My mother has been suffering with Alzheimer for a couple of years now. Bu... Sat, 22 Mar 2014 08:37:24 EST ‘Redo by DRY weather’ Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> We are having the most gorgeous weekend in the Paris area (and all over France actually)! So yesterday was another wonderful, sunny hike. It was even warm! 18C (about 64F). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I had originally kept that hike near Beauvais for the summer, and it was probably wise. Actually, I’ll write on my hiking book: “A refaire par temps SEC.” (Redo by DRY weather.) <BR> <BR> <img s... Sun, 9 Mar 2014 08:35:59 EST Getting lost... with a smile and lots of sunshine! Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> As I think about my hike today, I feel a bit… hmmm… what is the word I am looking for? Disappointed? Yes, maybe a little. A bit stupid too! I missed the path I was supposed to turn into and went completely the wrong way!!! Then it was so late that I had to turn and go back to my car. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So let’s just say things didn’t go according to plan!!! It makes me smile that it can... Sun, 2 Mar 2014 13:12:16 EST The Medina and the Central Market (Tunis) Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> It is my last morning in Tunisia (North Africa), and I am so grateful for the couple of days I have spent here. I’ll have to come back for my work in the future and I am glad. Tunis is a beautiful city and I met so many welcoming people! Yesterday, as I had hoped, I got a couple of hours to explore Tunis, especially the old part of Tunis, called the Medina. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Let’s open t... Mon, 17 Feb 2014 00:47:29 EST Books, music and flowers... a lovely Sunday walk! Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> The weather forecast for today wasn’t great, and my sciatica being still painful, I decided to be wise: I went for a walk around an area of Paris, in the 15th arrondissement, rather than a hike in the countryside. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> As I walked in the area, I passed by a few really nice old-fashioned shops, like the Poîlane bakery above, and what used to be a bakery I believe and is now... Sun, 9 Feb 2014 16:26:38 EST Walking around medieval Mdina (Malta) Thanks to MAZMIGNUNA, who commented on my previous blog about Malta (and who lives on the island, lucky woman!), I heard about Mdina, the old capital city of Malta. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So when today my 3pm meeting was postponed after dinner, I jumped on the occasion and took the bus to Mdina. Buses here are really good and reliable, from what I could see, and very cheap too! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpe... Sun, 26 Jan 2014 15:48:59 EST A morning in Valletta (Malta) Welcome to Malta! I really enjoyed the two and a half hours I spent walking its little streets yesterday morning. My meetings started in the afternoon, and when I saw that no other had been added on the morning, I almost ran to the nearby bus stop to go to Valletta! :) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I didn’t have any idea that the capital city of Malta was called Valletta… Nor that it had been French at some point! <BR> <BR> <img ... Fri, 24 Jan 2014 02:31:18 EST A hike with a destination Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I looked carefully through my hiking books to choose this particular hike. My priority to be honest was to go on a nearby hike, as my back has been bad these last few days (sciatica). Too much driving wasn’t a good idea. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I finally decided to go back to Viarmes, and redo a hike I had done over two years ago, as it is less than 20 minutes from home. It felt pretty diffe... Sun, 19 Jan 2014 10:01:50 EST It could have been a great Sunday, but it was very good still! Hello dear Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> When I opened the shutters this morning and couldn’t see the house opposite my apartment as it was so foggy, I must say I didn’t have the courage to go on a hike. That was a mistake, and I won’t do it again because now I wish I had gone! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Instead, I went for a walk early afternoon around Grouchy Park, where I had wanted to go for a long time. It is a big park around a... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:58:47 EST Happy 2014!!! <BR> ... Just a few words to thank you for another wonderful year together and to wish you the best for 2014! <BR> <BR> Bonne Année !!! <em>408</em> <BR> <BR> P.S. I am not usually out of breath like this, but I was a bit intimidated! ;-) Wed, 1 Jan 2014 10:13:55 EST The last hike of the year Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> It has been a wonderful week, with my friend Liz visiting from England! Today, the weather was great, perfect for a Sunday hike, probably the last one of the year. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It started just outside a blue door (how special is that?! you know how much I like blue doors and shutters!!!))... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:05:25 EST No Christmas shopping - a hike please! Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> Three weeks without a proper hike! What on earth happened to me? I guess I got captured by the December craziness!!! But today, after I brought some Christmas parcels to the post office, I escaped! I needed a hike and the sun was shining, woohoo! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My hike took me around Montreuil-sur-Brêche, a little village North-East of Beauvais (roughly an hour and a half North of P... Sat, 14 Dec 2013 16:41:18 EST A walk around my favorite Montmartre Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I needed to buy some fabric for my sewing projects today, so I went to the best area for this kind of shopping in Paris: Montmartre, around Place Saint-Pierre. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I didn’t really think I would write a blog about it as it was something fairly banal for me. But at the last minute I took my camera... Sat, 30 Nov 2013 16:07:13 EST Oh la la!!! Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> Well, I think the title of today’s blog says it all: I am speechless. Today’s hike didn’t look like much at first… <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It started in Marolles, a village about 80 Km (49 miles) North-East of Paris. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But as soon as I reached the woods (which was going to be most of today’s hike), I k... Sun, 24 Nov 2013 14:35:45 EST Any sign of pre-historical times? Hello dear Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> I wasn’t too sure I would have time to go on a hike today as I had some English friends staying for the weekend. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Luckily for me, they were happy to do their own thing and climb the Eiffel Tower without me... So I could go hiking this afternoon! These are the last few days of autumn colors in the Paris area and I wanted to make the most of them! <BR> <BR> <img src="... Sun, 17 Nov 2013 15:36:58 EST Hiking bliss in the Chevreuse Valley Park Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I was so happy when I saw the sun was shining today! Perfect for a hike in one of the most beautiful places of the Paris area: the Vallée de Chevreuse (Chevreuse Valley). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I parked outside Chevreuse’s St Martin church (12th century) around 1pm… As you can see, it is still very mild in Paris, we haven’t had any frost yet and the hanging baskets’ flowers were in full blo... Sun, 10 Nov 2013 13:48:08 EST My sewing box – a more personal blog Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This big wooden box moved into my apartment a few weeks ago. But it had always been there in my memories as a child and teenager. <BR> <BR> It used to belong to my grandmother... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> She was an amazing amateur sewer (she sew my mother’s wedding dress), who also made her own hats and all kinds... Sat, 2 Nov 2013 10:58:38 EST The SP activity tracker meets the French countryside! I don’t know about yours, but my Sparkfriends are really the best! A few days ago, I received a wonderful gift in the mail: the SP activity tracker... Thank you so much dear FITMAY!!! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So the hero of today’s hike, it’s definitely the SP activity tracker! (And my dear friend May too!) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I went to Normandy this afterno... Wed, 30 Oct 2013 18:08:20 EST Luzarches… will it rain? Hello dear Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I couldn’t go on a hike last weekend, and this weekend the weather forecast is awful. So I took the afternoon off today, hoping to avoid the rain (the weather forecast was ‘sunshine’, but honestly it was very very grey!). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I don’t usually do a hike twice, it bores me! I like to discover new places. I had done this hike in March, one year and a half ago, so it was very ... Thu, 24 Oct 2013 17:43:08 EST