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Road trip Biarritz & Paris

When I started the blog here at aisaaraujo.com I decided not to transfer any posts from the previous blog into the new, fresh, clean one. “From the Archives” is a way to remember the past by updating some of those posts and posting them here. I hope you enjoy these little trips down memory lane.


As you know by now, this week is all about road trips and traveling in France. So today on “From the archives” I’m sharing with you guys the first road trip I did on French lands. It was such an amazing and special experience, definitely one of those “life changing” moments when you realise there’s no turning back and that your once platonic adorable love for a foreign city, country and culture just became something very real. – Curiously, right now I’m probably visiting for the second time some of the places featured here.


Originally posted at 13/12/12 under the title “Road trip Biarritz & Paris – Looking at the past and making plans for the future” :

“I’m finally having the much needed time to go through some not so urgent folders of photos ( and some are so old that I wasn’t even a photographer at the time ). One of those folders is so special that even though the photos are not great ( photographically speaking ) I want to share here in the blog for their sentimental value. Our first big road trip ever, from Porto, Portugal to Bilbao, Biarritz and Paris.

The beginning of the trip… expectations, expectations… ( I really miss my short hair…)

We didn’t even had Frida at the time ( my baby, my cute/crazy/person like dog ), or the 1976’s Bedford van to sleep in and I was still working has an actress, which means I never had time for big vocations so we only had one week to do the entire journey.

I’ve mentioned this road trip and my unconditional love for France in the blog post Provence & The Côte D’Azur: A road trip and a short movie. but since I’ve never shared any images of it, now here they are. Hope you enjoy.

The beautiful beach of Biarritz.

This place really made an impression on us, I guess we like it so much that the car felt it and decided not to work for 2 hours. PANIC ! We were almost deciding to call the “travel assistance” and go back to Portugal, when suddenly, magically and happily it started to work again. I was so relieved, so close to Paris ( well… not that close, we were still 800 km away… but still, it was the closest I had ever been ). I guess the car was just testing our dedication to this trip 😉

I can’t imagine any dog wanting to take care of his business here, but still this is “oh so french”, that I just had to make a picture of this “Le Relais du Chien”

These were the first and second images I saw in Parisian lands… The first was when I opened my eyes ( yes… a 24h drive can make you really sleepy ) and my heart just jumped out of my chest, “I’m in Paris, I’m in Paris” I screamed like a little child on Christmas. The second image was when we got out of the car and I don’t think it needs any explanation, right?

We knew we wanted to start in Montmartre because we didn’t had that much time and this way we could work our way down ( meaning, from north to south ). So we looked at the map and thought Boulevard Clichy would be a good starting point. And boy oh boy were we right !

Place des Abbesses, Paris, France.

This guy was a character. He was sitting their screaming “lovely” things like “Fasciste ! Dictateur ! Putain !” and all of the sudden – usually when a pretty girl passed by – his entire posture and attitude would change, and the insults were replaced with “Je t’aime ! Mon amour ! “.

Being the movie geek I am, and without the time to visit museums or set my Flâneur completely free on the streets and get lost, I made a list with all the film locations of some of my favorite movies set in Paris. I’ve watched every single movie set in, filmed in or about Paris but of course it was impossible to include all of them, so I managed to include the really special ones set in the centre of the city so we could see them while discovering “La Ville-Lumière“. These 2 photos are in the Café des 2 Moulins, in Montmartre ( Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s “Amélie” ) and the bookstore “Shakespeare and Company” on Rue de l’Odéon in the 6th arrondissement (Richard Linklater‘s “Before Sunset” ).

The outdoor booksellers by the margins of the poetic Seine.

Eating sorbet.

Back then I didn’t had a digital camera, the one we used for all these images belonged to a mutual friend. But I had my Fisheye and Supersampler cameras. The photo on the left is in Biarritz, and the other at the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain, snapping a photo of Café de Flore, where my dearest Simone de Beauvoir used to spend some of her time.

Louvre and Passerelle des Arts, eye candy for lovers of Parisian urban landscapes.

I think this was when we embraced the tourists in us ( because, bien sûr, we don’t consider our self tourists, but travellers. Even thou we had just spend the entire day following movie locations, I mean, how more of a tourist can one be? But still…. ) by refreshing our tired feet on the cold waters of Fontaine de la Pyramide and doing a “Pont des Arts” or “Passerelle des Arts” picnic with wine, cheese, bread and watching the sunset before climbing the Eiffel tower and hitting the road.

Now… with the following confession you’ll understand just how pathetic I am.

I cried.

Yes… it’s true, and I’m not talking about being in a very emotional state where you feel you could cry or you even shed a small tear.

No. No, no, no… I cried. Has if I had spend all my life in those streets and I was going away from all my memories, close friends and family for eternity.

Before I went there I knew I had to visit Paris, and now that I was leaving I knew I had to live there at some point in my life.

Biarritz, Jardin des Tuileries and Notre Dame.


I am Gil Pender from Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris in so many aspects. And I know I’ll live in Paris. It’s not something I want or desire, it’s something I know it will happen.
Usually, when I move to a different city, or country it’s something very spontaneous. It ordinarily happens when I’m felling restless and I sense that I have had the most I could out of that place and I need to move on, and if the circumstances present themselves as favorable, I’ll just organize everything, deal with the bureaucracy, and go. It was, in fact, what happen with our coming to Barcelona.

But not with Paris, no… Paris is different.

I’ve been making the mental plans to move there for a long time now, and because I have a very clear idea of what I want to do there, of where and how I want to live, I’m not willing to give up of any part of my dream just because I couldn’t wait any longer so I know it will still take some time until all the pieces are placed together.

For now other places of France are presenting as good candidates for me to work on my french, keep evolving in my photography, increase my income, expand my french contacts and so on.

We will see… and in the meantime…


Midnight in Paris Intro Scene


Note: Thanks to the wonders of the internet, while you are reading this post I’m probably eating Bayonne‘s famous chocolate, “surfing” in Biarritz beaches, longboarding my way on Hossegor‘s streets, and, as usual, falling in love with every single person who speaks to me in french – yes, I’m a ridicule francophile like that. This week I’m road tripping through The French Basque Coast so all the articles will be in some way related to the Côte Basque, road trips and traveling in France.

  • Top 10 Best Road Trip Movies EVER (epicatravel.com)
  • Hanging in Biarritz (debandsteveontheway.wordpress.com)
  • France’s Pays Basque (heyprettyworld.com)

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