Dionysus, Paris, and Wine! #Travel
I love Paris! Of course, I love the Grande Dame (the Eiffel Tower) and the Champs-Elysees, but Paris has other wonderful little things to see. From the street cafes, to the boulangeries (bakeries) and patisseries (pastry shops), Paris (and France!) has a lot to offer. There’s nothing quite like a fresh croissant or quiche in the morning before heading out for a day of sight-seeing.
I was in Paris again in December for the Christmas markets (and to celebrate my birthday). The markets are so much fun. Chalets of goods lined up along the street—it’s so easy to shop for handmade gifts. From jewelry to bags, scarves to hats, and meats and cheeses, there’s nothing quite like shopping the market with a cup of hot mulled wine and enough cheer to last well into the holidays. This year, I fell in love with a yummy black truffle cheese and my daughter had a cup of strawberries covered in warm, melted chocolate.
I love the cemeteries of Paris—especially Pere Lachaise. Chopin—my favorite composer—is buried there. Also interred in the lovely cemetery are Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. So many people left lipstick kisses on Wilde’s tomb, they had to encase it in plastic!
This trip, I also got to take a private tour of some castles in the Loire Valley—not too far outside Paris. Chenonceau, Chambord, and Château du Clos Lucé are beautiful sights and not to be missed. Chenonceau is a beautiful castle with a bridge structure that goes across the river. There’s a huge ball room spanning the entire river. When we were there, a gorgeous Christmas tree all in gold was the star of the ball. Chambord has 440 rooms, 282 fireplaces, and 84 staircases, including an amazing and imposing double spiral stairway that’s very impressive. We went to the roof, and I was really moved to be walking in the footsteps of history. Clos Lucé was Leonardo da Vinci’s home and it’s filled with amazing inventions.
When you go to Paris, you must take a boat down the Seine and see the city from that vantage point. Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the most breathtaking cathedrals you’ll ever see. Being there for mass is something you won’t ever forget. We were there for Vespers this year and it was beautiful. I don’t think anyone can go into the cathedral and not feel the weight of history.
If you haven’t been to Paris, I urge you to put it on your list. The city has something for everyone—and if you like history, it’s one of the great places to visit.
Forbidden Fruit - Gods of Olympus Book 10
Cast out of Olympus for his latest over-the-top drunken party, Dionysus wakes up in a field in the French wine country. Zeus has made it clear that Dionysus won’t return to Olympus as a party god—he’s got to show he’s worthy by unselfishly helping a mortal. He must prove that he’s responsible, or the godly life is over for him. For now, Dionysus is stuck on earth with few belongings, nowhere to sleep, and a heck of a hangover.
Abrielle’s family vineyard is on the cusp of bankruptcy. Frazzled, she travels to the wine festival in Paris where she’ll try to win a tasting competition and maybe get some restaurant orders for her wine. With a rival pushing her to sell the vineyard, her staff in revolt over late wages, and her strong feeling of guilt for letting her grandfather down, she’s not in the mood to deal with the cocky man she meets at the festival.
When he challenges her to a wine tasting, she can’t refuse the terms. But letting the arrogant man work at the vineyard is not going to happen, especially with the way women act like crazy fan girls around him. No, she doesn’t need drama on top of everything else.
If Abrielle will allow Dio to help her save her vineyard, he could earn his spot back on Olympus. But temptation and debauchery may very well ruin everything.