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Happy Birthday, RUE DE VARENNE

A year ago today I published my first post on RUE DE VARENNE. Suddenly, my reflections, travel tips, and photographs had a place to come together and be shared with others. As a child writing poems and stories in my bedroom, and a creative writing major in college just before the internet became widely available, I never imagined I’d...

park pink petunias stone urns balustrade chairs trees Jardin du Luxembourg

A Day in the Jardin du Luxembourg: Part 1

We enjoyed another amazing brunch of avocado toast, bright green vegetable-laden risotto, juice, and coffee at Judy Cantine Qualitarienne. Sitting next to the window we watched the Sunday rhythm of the street, people walking dogs, families on their way to a day of fun, people sunning themselves on the terrace across the street. As we left the restaurant the...

cobblestone street pastel houses and shutters Arles

A Day Trip to Arles

As the train pulled into the station at Arles on a mild November morning, I found myself entirely unprepared. I’d set off for a day trip to Arles from Montpellier on a whim, intending to go where the wind blew me, finding joy in discovering things for myself, a true flâneur. Usually, I do more planning, but it had...

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Aligning Expectations

I’ve discovered that, for me, the key to planning enjoyable and meaningful travel experiences is beginning with realistic expectations. There are many reasons to travel, styles and personalities of travelers, experiences each person wishes to have, and perhaps different physical needs. Acknowledging these factors and aligning my expectations allows me greater focus when planning an itinerary. I’ve learned to...

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome river bridge angels ancient Roman building sunset

A Winter Day in Rome

One night, I dreamed that I was alone in the darkened streets of Rome. Rounding a corner, there was the Pantheon, lit up in the night, its enormity and beauty breathtaking. Stunned, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to see it if only in a dream. What was I doing there? Why was I alone? It would be...

Rue de Sevigne ©ruedevarenne.com

The Marais: An unexpected meeting

Many travelers love getting to know people wherever they go. However, when traveling alone I tend to keep to myself for safety’s sake. I have, however, been blessed to meet some incredible people, particularly colleagues, but also a small handful strangers. I once had an unusual experience in the Place des Vosges, in the Marais district of Paris, that...

Slow travel: A nap in Paris ©ruedevarenne.com

Slow travel: A Nap in Paris

Last summer, as we prepared for our fall trip to Paris, we decided to put the slow travel philosophy into practice. For the past couple of years, I’ve been reading and listening to podcasts about the slow living movement. It encompasses elements of mindfulness, inspiring you to be selective about how you spend your time, to take life at a more...

Chocolatería San Ginés, Madrid ©ruedevarenne.com

Chocolatería San Ginés

Tucked in a pedestrian passage off of the Puerta del Sol and attached to Iglesia San Ginés, the Chocolatería San Ginés has served chocolate con churros since 1894. This interpretation may not be what many are used to, but the combination is divine. The hot chocolate is similar to a rich, dark pudding; rather than a beverage, it’s used...

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