Paris Sidelines


Author: John Holmes
Fair Play 740

I had a great trip to this fantastic and beautiful city not long ago. Monday was a day off for a national bank holiday in England where I had been working for nearly two years, I took Friday off as a vacation day, and arranged a package tour flight that departed early Friday and returned late Monday, giving me nearly 4 full days in “vive’ la France”. As soon as I arrived in town I raced to my hotel, checked in, dumped my bags in my room, and left Paris! Continue reading

Top Ten Favorite Travel Photos of 2013

10 countries and countless cities made it on my 2013 Bucket List. France, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Jordan, Aruba, Curacao, Canada, USA, Mexico, and Fiji were all part of my whirlwind of adventures and new experiences. I never envisioned such an amazing year of opportunity; my life continues to be a dream come true. I am blessed. Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.

Here are my top ten favorite travel photos from 2013.

Number 9 – The Streets of Marseille

Old Man in Marseille, France

I don’t know the man in the photograph; I didn’t speak to him or get his name. I just felt like it had a story to tell. The buildings are aged and covered in the marks of time and experience. The white-haired man slowly worked his way up the stone street toward the unknown… at least for me.

Where do you think he’s going? Where do you think he’s been?

Read about my other experiences in the European Capital of Culture. 

What’s Your Angle?

Marseille, France MP2013

As I moved and wandered about the terrace of Château de l’Empéri in Salon-de-Provence, Felice Varini’s monumental painting danced and came alive, taking on new shapes and forms with each step. It is one of the most unique artistic creations that I’ve seen and it offered a whole new angle on Salon-de-Provence.

Can you tell from the picture that the shapes take on a new form from every angle?

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Why Did Marseille, France Make My 2013 Bucket List?

Downtown, Marseille With 300 days of sunshine a year, Marseille is an example of the art of living. Palace and museum visits, inspiring seascapes, sun-kissed afternoons or moonlit evenings on the terrace, leisurely strolls through the cobblestone streets… the joys of exploring are found everywhere, everyday. In the streets of Marseille, 2,600 years of history meet bold new enterprise. Walled, old towns and historic sites are a testament to Marseille’s rich history deeply rooted in the past. Modernity, bursting with energy and growth, is resonated through transportation, culture, and tourism. Marseille is a hub for culture, making it an ideal fit as the European Capital of Culture. The title of European Capital of Culture is a coveted and sought-after distinction that attracts a large number of tourists and visitors. Each year, the title is conferred on two cities chosen through an international contest. For the winning cities, it provides the opportunity to showcase a high concentration of European cultural excellence for a full year. This year, Marseille Provence is sharing the spotlight with Kosice in Slovakia. I’d already ventured through the beaches of Normandy and Nice and the historical landmarks of Paris; now it was time to experience the culture of Marseille. Continue reading

The Streets of Marseille

This is my favorite photo during my trip to Marseille. I don’t know the man in the photograph; I didn’t speak to him or get his name. I just felt like it had a story to tell. The buildings are aged and covered in the marks of time and experience. The white-haired man slowly worked his way up the stone street toward the unknown… at least for me.

Old Man in Marseille, France Continue reading

It’s 2 O’Clock in the Morning


It’s 2 am and the streets of Marseille are still alive. People move about as if it were the middle of of the day. From my balcony at La Résidence Hotel, I can safely watch the night move. It’s elegant, graceful, peaceful. Even the sound of scooters passing by is a low humming lullaby. It’s my last night in Marseille and I want the culture and and beauty to follow me into my dreams.  Continue reading

110 Years of Expertise


It smelled clean, fresh, like when I take a deep breath in that aisle at the grocery store. Darren doesn’t understand why I love that smell so much but he knows that I always take a few extra minutes in that aisle, regardless if we need it or not. I take it in and feel an instant euphoria. I love the smell of fresh, natural soap. Considering my infatuation with it, you’d think that I knew more about how it’s made. It’s surprising how little I know about the products I use daily. I wouldn’t do very well in an apocalypse or a zombie invasion. I’ve participated in several unique experiences before but today was my first time at a soap factory. With 110 years of family tradition and expertise, I followed the process of Marseilles soap making at the Marius Fabre Soap Factory.

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Notre Dame’s Legend

Every famous building has a story, a legend hidden deep within it, which intrigues people. In the case of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, it is the story of the hunchback who was the inspiration for the books, movies, and cartoons known as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

The Cathedral itself is the most significant aspect of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” novel, acting as both the main setting and the focus of the story’s themes. My passion for reading and my love for the hunchback story, brought me to the Notre Dame Cathedral. I had visualized its beauty and imagined the sound of Quasimodo ringing its bells; actually walking inside was like walking through the pages of my mind.  Continue reading

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #9 Paris, France

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited

I’ve experienced some of the most amazing cities that the world has to offer. From great beaches, climate, friendly people, personal interests, world-famous attractions, architecture, history and culture, there are many different factors that make a city great, let alone top ten!

#9 Paris – France

Paris is the most visited city in the world with an estimated 15.6 million visitors a year.  Continue reading

Storming the Beaching of Normandy

There was only one real reason to go to northern France and it was the Beaches of Normandy. After four years of studying war history at Dalhousie University, I wanted to pay tribute to the soldiers who fought and gave their lives for our freedom. Juno Beach, the only Canadian sector, allowed me to re-live the pitiless battles fought by the Canadian Infantry and mindfully walked the beaches in the soldiers’ honor. Juno Beach is sometimes referred to as the Canadian beach because of the Canadian Division capturing the beach on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. The Canadian history, the sandy beaches, and the museum made Juno Beach a fascinating visit. It was a quiet, reflective day that I will hold with me for the rest of my life. Continue reading