11 Insights from 11 Days in France

This summer time we finally realized my lifelong dream of going to France. I spent hours excitedly planning our 10 nights—6 in Paris and four in Normandy/Brittany area. After dealing with very severe well being points since Memorial Day till right earlier than we left for the trip at finish of June (horrific complete physique hives of unknown cause, a number of doctor’s appointments, blood exams, feeling helpless and debilitated, missing work, and one other 10 days of unrelenting cough after the hives), I’m so grateful and inspired by our memorable journey throughout which I finally felt healthy again.

As tourists, we enjoyed all the unimaginable history and sightseeing as we visited the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, Giverny/Vernon/Monet Gardens and house, a cruise on the Seine, St. Chapelle, Versailles, Champ Elysse, and so on.

Mom and daughter at the Eiffel TowerFlowers

After Paris we rented a automotive and drove four hours westward to stay at a Chateau De La Ballue in Bazouges-la-Pérouse, which was built in 1620 with probably the most breathtaking gardens and flowers. From there we spent a day with a guide in Normandy, profoundly humbled by our world historical past, an understanding of the immense casualty for a lot of nations, and unmeasurable loss and grief for humankind. We visited Mont St. Michel in complete awe as all senses have been engaged in disbelief of what humans can construct with their naked arms 1000 years in the past: odor the ocean, invigorated by the cool breeze, suppress the nerves from the unimaginable peak on the prime of the Abbey, hear calls of the seagulls, and feel our achy calves from climbing so many steps!


I indulged in 12 days of not cooking, having fun with French wines (sulfite free, delicious, and reasonably priced) and cuisine, and sure, superb pastries and desserts which have been NOT sweet in comparison with what People are used to. As I inspected all of the unimaginable dishes, took photographs, and tried to chew and eat SLOWLY (highly uncommon for me and my physique), I used to be excited and inspired as I gained ideas for cooking which I hadn’t thought potential or a minimum of was in my own routine making comparable dishes more often than not.

Since returning again residence, listed here are my 11 insights and inspirations as I savor our reminiscences from each day of our superb trip:

  1. Simplicity rules!
    Maybe it’s as a result of we have been in France, however it felt like every part tasted better. Dave, Claire and I joked that French onion soup was simply “onion soup” in France. At a pleasant restaurant, toast served with a can of sardines have been so delicious, I could not consider why we don’t eat sardines at house. Many nights for dinner, whether we had beef stew, fish, or my favorite, duck, meals was wonderfully ready with out heavy butter or creamy sauces. All the time sautéed or steamed veggies have been served with the primary dish. I’ll by no means tire of a fantastic cup of coffee and a freshly baked croissant for breakfast.

  1. Quality over quantity, and presentation is KEY!
    We enjoyed lunch at Laduree and Dave declared he had the perfect “club sandwich” ever! I keep in mind when it came on the plate, it was two rectangular halves which in all probability equated to at least one half of an American sandwich. Skinny slices of ham, turkey, sliced egg, and mayonnaise, but my husband liked it. I had a Caesar salad with hen, superbly plated, few and thin slices of hen breast with child romaine hearts! Perhaps food is simply cuter and more fun to eat when smaller! I noticed it takes time however even once I prepare dinner nice meals, I virtually never actually think about presentation besides when we now have company or am hosting! I will probably be extra aware about find out how to current meals at night time.

    Sandwich at a restaurant in France

  2. Walking and MOVEMENT is vital to wholesome dwelling!
    Regardless of unfortunately arriving in Paris on the 2nd of a 6-day heat wave throughout Europe (94-95°F day by day), each day we took the metro then walked between 7 to 10 miles as we went from sight to sight. We climbed as much as 17 to 41 flights of stairs! Whereas we did complain quietly amongst ourselves and eagerly returned at night time into our air-conditioned lodge rooms, I had forgotten how nice it feels to sweat, actually sweat, and get “tired” from physical exercise. Enjoying tennis is what provides me that same feeling every weekend. This quantity of walking and climbing is obviously not sensible in our day-to-day life particularly when working, however research and present science exhibits that it’s not nearly exercise, however it’s consistent complete physique MOVEMENT that impacts our well being. The French and Europeans carried their infants/toddlers in baby carriers subsequent to us as all of us climbed countless steps at historic websites and monuments. Elderly women and men also walked, natives and vacationers alike. I’m dedicated to every day walks after dinner with our canine and collectively, accepting that no matter frequency is best than none.

  1. Assembling numerous elements creates a new dish!
    Someday for lunch, Claire ordered soba noodles with blanched Shitaki mushroom, broccoli, edamame, avocado slices, and some pickled cabbage slices. The noodles have been minimally flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil, and the veggies have been organized superbly. Mild, wholesome, flavorful, full of protein and vitamins! I keep in mind stating with confidence: “Hey, I can make this!”

  1. Being engaged as a household requires we are targeted, speaking, listening to at least one one other, and NOT just in similar area each on our personal units!
    While in France the times have been long with daylight by 5:15am, and sunset at 10pm (not dark until 11pm). I questioned why we felt so shut as household aside from the apparent 24/7 togetherness without work and faculty separating us. What I noticed was that the best difference was what we did after dinner. As an alternative of resting and “chillin” on the couch watching a show, or Claire in her room, Dave in the workplace, and I on the cough, each evening after dinner we walked from the restaurant someplace, or even when again to the lodge, or to another sight, we have been collectively strolling and talking. Having at the least 1-2 extra hours collectively, before we retrieved to some particular person down time only when again on the lodge or our room, allowed us to feel so shut. One night after our “picnic” dinner on the chateau, Dave and I enjoyed our wine shifting from one garden to the subsequent, feeling the breeze and speaking about Claire and our life. I felt so related to him, and can perpetually keep in mind and try to recreate that by making sure we sit and give attention to each other for a minimum of 20-30 minutes every evening. Sounds straightforward however often not prioritized in our night routine.

    Family in France

  1. Grateful People forbid smoke in public places!
    The actual disappointment is how much the French and Parisians smoke, particularly the women. As we sat in cafes to benefit from the individuals watching and soaking in the tradition, typically I was overwhelmed by second hand smoke. Some areas it’s superb to see the countless cigarette butts, but most of all as a physician I used to be humbled and grateful that in the US smoke-free is the norm in all public places! The health hazard is of concern to me, but perhaps all their strolling and movement supplies them further well being advantages? Curious what their most cancers charges are.

  1. Nature heals everywhere in the world!
    Whether or not at Omaha Seashore and Utah Seashore in Normandy, St. Malo, or just searching into countless beautiful cornfields in the French countryside, taking a look at ocean, water, timber, fields, and wow, the hydrangeas of all wealthy and beautiful colours have been simply a luxurious for our senses and instilled a way of unimaginable wellbeing for me each day. Humbled to be on the American Cemetery where our fallen Heros are ceaselessly honored overlooking the bluff at Omaha seashore.

  1. American norm for “sweetness” possible a results of using excessive fructose syrup, is unnecessary and hurting our well being.
    As we come throughout unimaginable boulangeries and bakeries, patisseries, and so on, the beautiful baked goods as well as desserts we indulged in at restaurant meals, all have been incredibly delicious yet without what our American taste buds anticipated in phrases of the level of sweetness. Each single time we commented, “Wow, it’s not “sweet!” Desserts and “sweets” might be loved with no sickening degree of “sweetness” that has induced the epidemic of sugar habit to our whole inhabitants, worst of all our innocent toddlers and youngsters of all ages. I’ll use much less sugar and have grow to be extremely conscious of what we will take pleasure in whereas re-setting our taste buds for what is “sweet enough”.

    Desserts in France

  1. Experiencing “different” is a present to life!
    I am humbled and grateful as I know not every family can take pleasure in a visit to France, or anyplace outdoors of the nation, or a vacation of this period and magnitude. Crucial lesson I emphasized to Claire, as I mirror alone immigrant background and experiences in early childhood turning into an American, publicity to quite a lot of cultures, meals, languages, sights, experiences, and appreciating individuals of all spiritual and cultural backgrounds, makes one respect how superb and rich life is, and how comparable people and other people really are in our origins. Our values and intent to preserve and shield life, health, happiness, and love of youngsters and the elderly ought to be more comparable than totally different. With out publicity and experiencing “different”, we turn out to be more judgmental, narrow-minded, love much less, much less compassionate and open to others, and fewer “human” in our capability and the way we are created. By limiting ourselves to routines, solely what we’ve recognized and experienced, we breed ignorance and judgment. Even if we are capable of solely travel to the subsequent city, state, or region, as numerous as our nation is, everybody has the chance to make new pals, attempt new meals, and skim and study others via books and the internet. Let’s open our minds to open our hearts, or perhaps vice versa and open hearts first.

  1. Time away from our routine is KEY for artistic considering and studying.
    The brain conserves power by making an attempt to anticipate routines, so that we don’t need to focus every time vital. With my work schedule, I have discovered that “staycations” don’t work for me. Invariably if I take a day without work and we don’t journey, I spend the day engaged on work stuff from residence during a “vacation” day, doing laundry, cleaning the house, choosing up dog poop, cooking, and admittedly back to my every day actions never really taking time to journal, mirror, workout extra, and permit my brain to recuperate and take into consideration one thing aside from day by day routine activities that do not result in higher engagement with household, pals, or any facet of my life aside from the immense strain as a surgeon/physician and all obligations in my roles on the hospital. I think everybody has the same challenges regardless of your job, roles, and duties. Even if we will’t take days off at a time, small chunks of time of 1 or 2 hours, even minutes, journaling or reading could make all of the difference.

  1. Healing comes from inside and GRATITUDE!
    This vacation allowed me really feel physically well being again, and I turned acutely conscious each day, of the incredibly present of this journey to France with all my senses. Separate from the journey itself, I used to be conscious about my interactions with my husband and daughter, even in the course of the tense moments from heat, on the lookout for water, jet lag, and flight delays. I’m so grateful for all of the moments we shared as a household laughing, or just being, and being collectively. Sharing experiences collectively, or even sitting and enjoying UNO, all have been moments spent with people who I say matter probably the most to me. Yet Dave and Claire gets the least of my greatest power and time each day as I dedicate time and power to sufferers, households, colleagues and my organization. While they could by no means receive in quantity of time and power what I would really like them to have, it is completely my selection to offer them no less than in quality, the perfect that I have. I’m grateful for my health once more, and plan to stay with awareness and intentionally in a approach that “heals” from inside.