CLAIREINPARIS's SparkPeople Blog CLAIREINPARIS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Hiking in St Clair - with wild orchids! I wasn't too far away from home for my hike today, roughly 30 minutes... at the border between the Paris area (Ile de France) and Normandy. Indeed, it was in St Clair that Normandy was created, in 911... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And it was so green! Well, it was the first day without rain I have seen in a llllong time! No, wait. The first afternoon without rain, it rained this morning! ;) <BR> <BR> <im... Sun, 19 Jun 2016 17:42:30 EST Tallinn (Estonia Part 2) I had hoped to go to Tallinn, capital city of Estonia, one day, and so I was delighted when I was asked to attend meetings there! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Even more so when I remembered it was home to one of my favorite contemporary composers, Arvo Part... Here is one of his pieces that touch me the most, 'Spiegel im Spiegel', to accompany you if you wish on this discovery of Tallinn. :) <BR> <link>www.... Tue, 14 Jun 2016 07:11:42 EST Lahemaa National Park (Estonia Part 1) This is my last day in Estonia, and I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this work trip ! Great meetings, great atmosphere, great food and great country. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Moreover, yesterday, with 4 other colleagues, we had decided to stay for an extra day in order to get to see a bit more ... Sat, 11 Jun 2016 18:55:38 EST Happy and healthy weekend in Normandy! :) I often mention Normandy in my blogs because I so love hiking there on the beautifully green paths! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So isn't it fitting that Boyfriend E lives in Rouen, Normandy? ;) It is only a little over 1 hour North-West of Paris by train. Here are some pictures of our walk around town on Sunday, before I share our hike on the beach the day before... <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 6 Jun 2016 07:40:49 EST Sat + Sun (Minnesota Part 3) I am now in transit waiting for my flight back home to Paris. A nice opportunity with all these hours ahead to share with you my impressions and pictures of Saturday and Sunday in Minnesota! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was another beautiful day at Holly's! (Here lunch with Holly - HOLLYM48 -, her husband and daughters.) <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 23 May 2016 15:37:02 EST Landscape Arboretum (Minnesota Part 2) This is how my mornings start here at Holly's (HOLLYM48) in Minnesota... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Hard life, hey? <em>211</em> <BR> Every morning, among the many options, I choose low fat Greek yogurt with berries and pecan nuts, with a latte. All that in the garden in the sunshine. Ahhhhhh I could get used to this!!! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 22 May 2016 19:58:03 EST Como Conservatory (Minnesota Part 1) After my crazy but wonderful time in Philadelphia for a work conference, I flew to Minneapolis on Wednesday night and was welcome at the airport by HOLLYM48 and her husband, whom I had met in Paris last year. Then on Thursday Holly and I met WILDASTER (Annette) at the Como Conservatory... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was a PERFECT day! So sunny and warm, not at all the way we tend to imagine the North of t... Sat, 21 May 2016 15:20:26 EST Philadelphia! Just in case you didn't know already... I am in the US!!! <BR> <BR> I arrived in Philadelphia last Monday for a big conference, which is hard work as I am part of the organising team. But fun too and I am delighted to be with several of my wonderful colleagues (some of whom you might remember from my trip to Ethiopia last year)... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is the view from the top of the hotel where ... Sun, 15 May 2016 21:04:07 EST Normandy - Part 2 of my wonderful weekend I am glad you all seemed to enjoy my first blog about my wonderful weekend! Here is Part 2 - my hike in Normandy with L, the eldest daughter of my Dutch friend Cora, who visited me last weekend. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I know I say it each time I go for a hike in Normandy, but really, I love Normandy! :) <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 20 Apr 2016 00:50:33 EST Paris - Part 1 of my wonderful weekend! I had such a wonderful wonderful weekend! My head is full of great memories. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was a very full weekend, from the moment on Friday afternoon when I picked up at the station L, my Dutch friend Cora's eldest daughter (above looking at the view over Paris from the Sacre Coeur Church on top of Montmartre), until I took her back to the station this morning. <BR> <BR> <img src="http:/... Mon, 18 Apr 2016 14:52:31 EST Sunny London! I am back from London! Rainy Paris was waiting for me after I left a very sunny London! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I had some really useful work meetings in England (so good to see my colleagues after 3 months of working from home!)... and, as you can tell, a great time with my friend Liz -- as always! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR... Sat, 2 Apr 2016 18:08:01 EST My Good Friday hike My hike yesterday started at the foot of this cross, in Montmille, Oise (about 1 hour North of Paris). Fitting for a Good Friday hike, don't you think? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I had parked outside the nearby town hall... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... with the flag half-mast following the Brussels attacks this week (F... Sat, 26 Mar 2016 02:47:27 EST Hiking between winter and spring I went to Famechon today, in the Somme department near Amiens, North of Paris. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Quite a lot further North than I usually go, but it was close to the motorway, so it took me about one hour to get there from my home in the suburbs North of Paris. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photo... Sat, 12 Mar 2016 14:53:08 EST My long weekend in Brittany I was looking forward to this long weekend in Brittany! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And not just because of all the blue shutters and doors I would be able to see! :) <BR> <BR> Before I continue, I would like to share this YouTube video of a French singer I like who comes originally from Brittany and sings in Breton here: <BR> <link><BR>list=RDjTuBnZrLbq0#t=9 </link> ... Mon, 29 Feb 2016 08:15:03 EST Albert Kahn Gardens + an unexpected night walk I had a good and interesting afternoon today! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I met a friend outside Gare du Nord (the station where i arrive from my home in the suburbs, 15 minutes away from Paris)... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> ... Sun, 21 Feb 2016 17:24:10 EST Update on working from home + dating again - rollercoaster time! I haven't written a blog for way too long, I thought I needed to touch base tonight before I go to bed and assure you all I am ok. :) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> As you may know, I have been working from home since early January, although I was away for 2 working weeks that month. So in total I have worked 4 weeks from home and guess what... I am LOVING it! It is nice to be in a warm office that I really enj... Sat, 13 Feb 2016 17:31:38 EST Back from Lisbon I am home! I flew back from Lisbon late last night, having made sure our conference's participants were all on their way home. Phew, what a week. It was wonderful to see all my colleagues but I am pretty tired! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Before I continue, I must tell you about Fado! Have you ever heard Fado music? It is the soul of Portugal and you might enjoy listening to it as you read this blog... <BR>... Sat, 16 Jan 2016 13:47:59 EST Thoughts on working from home and a few other things! I started working from home a few days ago. I really didn't want to! Actually it puzzled me (hence this blog!) when in my latest blog I mentioned that I would be working from home permanently that so many of you seemed really happy for me. I sooooo didn't want to!!! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> (My home office as it looked like a few minutes ago... I love the sheep skin under my feet! It is actually a very light of... Fri, 8 Jan 2016 12:38:30 EST A warm and sunny Christmas hike! We are having an incredible Christmas season in Paris, warm and sunny... It feels like Easter more than Christmas! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> To me it was perfect weather for a hike! Yes, there were still autumn flowers (we haven't had any frost yet!), but also winter berries, and also my beloved wild clematis, looking at their best in this gorgeous sunshine... <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpe... Sun, 27 Dec 2015 11:59:44 EST My weekend in Laon Laon isn't a touristy city. But it should be in my view! It is beautiful. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I went to Laon last weekend with A, a Parisian friend I met during one of my recent trips to Africa. Laon is only about 145 kilometers (90 miles) from Paris. And the view you see above was exactly the one that greeted us on Friday when we entered the living room of the friends we were staying with. <BR> <BR... Mon, 7 Dec 2015 17:02:12 EST A walk around Christmassy London <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I was in England for meetings this week and stayed a little longer to visit my friend Liz in London (I am writing this on the Eurostar train heading back to Paris Saturday afternoon). As expected, it was a day packed with walking around London, talking, shopping, eating and laughing. <BR> <BR> We started the day with a walk along the Thames... <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkp... Sat, 28 Nov 2015 14:43:49 EST A strange Sunday It should have been a happy Sunday and a beautiful hike. Nothing went as planned. And I think it was fitting. Nothing is going right in Paris at the moment, so why should it have been a normal Sunday? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> France is grieving. On Friday night, I was at the cinema in central Paris but decided not to have a drink with my friends afterwards as I was tired. I went home and checked my emails... Sun, 15 Nov 2015 13:25:16 EST A hike near Versailles I went to Jouy-en-Josas, near Versailles (South West of Paris) for my hike yesterday. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It is normally a bit too far away from my home in the North, but I had to run an errand South of Paris, so of course I stayed in the area afterwards - a great opportunity to try new hiking paths! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 9 Nov 2015 06:27:32 EST Back in Ronquerolles We moved the clocks this morning in France. Of course the night falls earlier now, so I had to be careful not to leave too late for my hike today! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Everything was packed... (I had another small bottle actually... I always take more water and food than necessary in case I hurt myself and get stuck somewhere!) <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 25 Oct 2015 18:04:56 EST Hiking around Coulombs-en-Valois Yesterday I went to Coulombs-en-Valois, North-East of Paris. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I love that hilly area and its quaint villages. I have a booklet with lots of hikes around there and have done quite a few already. But as is usually the case, it was the first time I did yesterday's hike. <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 19 Oct 2015 06:01:19 EST A gorgeous autumn day for a hike It felt like ages since I last went for a hike, after being away for 3 weeks! I went on lots of urban walks during that time, but it really wasn't the same. I missed my hikes, and I missed the fresh air. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I wanted to walk through the fields and the woods, and today was such a gorgeous autumn day to do that (I know you might say 'fall' instead of 'autumn', but each time I am about t... Sun, 11 Oct 2015 16:36:06 EST A beautiful stay When I arrived in Algiers (capital city of Algeria, North Africa), a little over 2 weeks ago, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this stay, and was dreading being away from home for 3 weeks. You know how I love travelling, and I travel a lot, but I am not usually away for so long. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> (View from the top of the building where I am staying) <BR> <BR> It has been over 2 weeks, and it fe... Sat, 26 Sep 2015 08:09:34 EST Get to know you... These questionnaires are often fun! Would you like to answer this one too? I have ‘stolen’ it from my dear Sparkfriend WILDASTER (have a look at hers here: <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5976115 </link> ). <BR> <BR> Where is your cell phone? <BR> - On the shelf near my chair, next to a Friday evening glass of Bordeaux wine I have just poured myself! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 4 Sep 2015 14:40:28 EST My Sunday hike in the woods It was a hot summer day in the Paris area today, so I decided it was the best day for a hike I had kept on the side: a 17K (11 miles) hike entirely in the Carnelle woods (Forêt de Carnelle), about 20 minutes away from home. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> OK, it was humid! But it was so much less hot in the woods, it was really pleasant. Only I did a stupid mistake which could have had some nasty consequences: ... Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:25:57 EST Hiking around Saint-Just- en-Chaussee, finally! After a gorgeous summer, the weather has been very wet and much cooler these last few days in Paris (and it is again today). So yesterday I was deligthed to see it was a warm, sunny day! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I drove to Saint-Just-en-Chaussée, in the Picardie area, about 80K North of Paris. From the start, it was lovely! I parked outside the library (isn’t that a beautiful building?)... <BR> <BR> ... Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:55:06 EST Sweet encounter in Bouafle A hike, finally! I have been on vacation for a few days now and was longing for a hike! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Yesterday I went to the Yvelines area West of Paris, not too far away to where Holly and her husband and I hiked a couple of weeks ago (was it already so long?!). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http:/... Tue, 18 Aug 2015 12:22:50 EST Hiking in Andresy with HOLLYM48 On Wednesday, during a lovely evening with HOLLYM48 and her husband (who are currently visiting Paris from Minnesota!), we agreed to go on a hike today in the North-West suburb of Paris. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> About 2/3rd was through the town of Andrésy and the rest in the woods and the fields. It was such a perfect day for a hike! Sunny but not too hot, without too much wind, and just enough little c... Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:18:53 EST Discovering Hermes and its neolithic paths! I decided to go back to Hermes today (near Beauvais, in the Oise area North of Paris). I had tried to do this hike 3 weeks ago but had to give up after 10 minutes or so, realising it was way too hot (well over 30C/90F). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So I went back today, and the weather was just perfect. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR>... Sat, 25 Jul 2015 18:45:50 EST I love hiking in Normandy! Oh how I love Normandy! Hikes in Normandy are often my favourites. Today, I was in Pressagny-l’Orgueilleux, near Vernon (and near Giverny, Monet’s house and gardens), for a 16K hike. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My hike started near the Antique shop. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And a few minutes later, having crossed par... Sun, 12 Jul 2015 16:57:12 EST Hiking around Rosieres between sunshine and rain It could have been a 'not so nice' hike... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... first because I forgot my camera's memory card at home (thank goodness for phones!)... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... and also because it rained, twice -- and I even heard some thunderstorm in the distance (but it never came close, phew!)... So it a... Sun, 5 Jul 2015 14:58:13 EST Ethiopia Part 2 - Awash National Park In my first blog about Ethiopia, I shared what we saw on the way between Addis Ababa and Awash National Park, where we were heading for a couple of days. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, after 5 dusty hours on the road, we entered Awash National Park and drove to the Awash Falls Lodge. We had been a bit worried of the rain season, but we didn’t see a single drop! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.spark... Sat, 27 Jun 2015 06:46:39 EST Ethiopia Part 1 - a glimpse of rural life I had a great time in Ethiopia! I came back feeling really grateful for a wonderful time of friendship and sightseeing… <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> … and very fruitful meetings too! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I was in Ethiopia for work, but I am so glad I took a few days off at the end to discover a (tiny) part of the ... Sat, 20 Jun 2015 05:52:46 EST A beautiful day for a hike… or to visit gardens! As I am going to spend the next week or so in a capital city (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), trapped in meetings all day long, I decided that for today I needed a hike in the middle of the countryside (no cars, no people, nothing!). <BR> <BR> Haha. Well, things didn’t go according to plan at all! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> From the start, immediately after I passed by Auvers-sur-Oise’s church, I was confronte... Sun, 7 Jun 2015 14:01:44 EST A sunny hike with SARAWALKS Sparkfriend SARAWALKS is back in France for a couple of months, and yesterday we met for a hike. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> (I love this picture of Sara, so typical of her! Very lively and happy!) <BR> <BR> It had been almost exactly one year since our last hike together, and we went to the Vexin again as it never disappoints (the Vexin is a National Park North and North-West of Paris)! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeo... Sun, 10 May 2015 13:15:31 EST A lovely stop on the way back from Burgundy On the way back from Burgundy, last Monday, my friend Liz and I stopped in the little town of Avallon. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> (We had been staying in a village about 30 minutes South of Avallon in the Morvan area.) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Avallon was such a nice discovery! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... Fri, 8 May 2015 07:46:16 EST Hiking between showers in Burgundy I had been dreaming for a long time to visit the Morvan area of France, in Burgundy. You get a glimpse of it from the motorway when you drive from Paris towards the South of France, and I stopped once or twice to visit little towns, but never for a vacation. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Well, I am here now for a long weekend, with my friend Liz from London! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 3 May 2015 03:31:26 EST An enchanting hike... almost til the end! My guidebook described today’s hike as ‘enchanting’. I thought it was worth giving it a try… See what you think of it. :) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It started in Fourges, in Eure (Normandy), where I did another hike (actually very different) a couple of years ago. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> ... Sun, 19 Apr 2015 16:15:58 EST Wild anemones paradise around Crouy-sur-Ourcq I believe most of the woods around Paris are a wild anemones paradise on this long Easter weekend! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It certainly was around Crouy-sur-Ourcq yesterday! I love that area! It is North-East of Paris, when I more often go North-West, and it feels different, like I am much further away from home than I really am. <BR> <BR> <img s... Mon, 6 Apr 2015 13:30:40 EST Morocco - Rabat mostly! I have been back from Morocco for almost two weeks now, it is about time I write a blog about it! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> (photo taken in the old Kasbah in Rabat) <BR> <BR> As the title of this blog shows, I was in Rabat 90% of the time, apart from a very short trip to Casablanca one day when we had to pick up a colleague at the airport and took the opportunity for a short walk by the ocean. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.s... Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:15:50 EST A spring hike with Cora I am having a great weekend with my Dutch friend Cora, who got here a couple of hours after I flew back from Morocco on Thursday night (blog about that trip coming later this week!). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> (This morning as we were having breakfast in a café!) <BR> <BR> Cora took plenty of pictures of me during our hike in Saint-Pierre du Vouvray (Normandy) on Friday, so you’ll see me hiking for once! :-) <BR> <BR> <img src="h... Sun, 22 Mar 2015 07:50:18 EST A spoilt hiker You know what? I think I am spoilt! Tonight as I was driving back from my hike (30 minutes away from home), it struck me: many people would be delighted by what I saw today! So why am I a bit uncertain about it? <BR> <BR> There was beautiful weather and even warmth (about 19C/66F wow!)... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... and even though it was a bit too 'suburban' at times... <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 8 Mar 2015 16:02:15 EST Snowdrops! Early signs of spring... How I love these! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> When I see snowdrops I know we are getting there and soon I'll be hiking with sunshine warming my face, birds singing and the flowers' smell! But for now, snowdrops already bring a big smile to my face! They were everywhere today, right from the start in the pretty village of Valmondois. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 1 Mar 2015 15:24:14 EST Hiking around Royaumont's Abbey I have been to Royaumont's Abbey (built 1228-1235) a few times, but I always get a shock when I get there... it is so beautiful it takes your breath away! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> When I reached Royaumont, I parked outside the abbey, took a couple of pictures, and then put my hiking boots on and looked for the path into the woods! I wanted to start with the hike, the visit of the abbey being the reward. :) <BR> <BR> <img src=... Sun, 22 Feb 2015 13:00:23 EST Bay of Somme - Day 3 I am back home! And you know, I am already dreaming of going away again, possibly to the same area (almost)! More on that later... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thank you all for your kind encouragements after my fall on the ice yesterday. I am completely fine today, not even sore apart from my right shoulder which is a bit stiff. But it often is, so I cannot even be sure it is because of my fall. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photo... Sun, 8 Feb 2015 13:28:38 EST Bay of Somme - Day 2 I started the day with a 3-hour hike in Le Hourdel. It was a gorgeous morning! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The tide was low and I loved the colours of the Bay! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-... Sat, 7 Feb 2015 17:54:43 EST