An American in Paris: Day 5

Lizzie does Paris

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Travel Journal Continued…

“Before coming to Paris, I was starting to feel, or rather have felt for a while, like I lost my adaptability, my spontaneity. Things are so routine at home for me most days. And sometimes often times, I’ve found myself stuck in my ways. And I greatly dislike that feeling. I also think…that’s not the real me!!

Life is what comes at you. And what you make of each moment. I’ve felt like I haven’t made very much of what I’ve been given. I’ve taken a lot for granted. Maybe I’ve rolled with the punches, but I’ve whined about being punched in the first place.

But along comes Paris and ‘Hello, old girl!’Lizzie does Paris - travel blogI got lost on my first day. I found myself wandering in circles around the Paris Opera House and all of a sudden where I was going didn’t matter, cause look where I was! And hey, I saw more of the city that way, then I did from knowing exactly where I was going and making it there in one piece. Sure my pinkie toes are still busted from New Year’s Eve, but along comes over the counter Paris Advil and we’re back in business.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And I guess what I’m trying to say is, my will is stronger over here, in a place I’ve never been, in a country where I don’t speak the language, when I’m on my own and lost, than it is when I’m comfortable and settled and home. Over here adaptability is my middle name. Over here I am Nomad, I am Wanderer, I am giving directions to lost Canadian tourists.

Hello, familiar feeling of being capable as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!! I am much more capable than I give myself credit for in my every day life.

But…this is the challenge. To bring this spirit home with me. I need to find this version of me in my own backyard. I need to keep all this in my mind’s eye and in my heart’s memory and recall it every single day. I need to draw on this strength of character. And I don’t have to wonder if it’s there…I KNOW IT IS!

I know that the every day life needs to be tended to. Bills need to be paid, routines upheld, commitments fulfilled. But, oh yeah…Life is a grand adventure. I was starting to forget that or maybe I even made it all the way to ‘forgot.’

At the same time that I know I have a life back home worth living…I also know that I could be happy living life on the run.”

Lizzie does Paris - Versailles

Interjection: All this existential life searching happened while I waited in a 3 hour line to get into the Palace of Versailles. It was cold and rainy and the line was discouraging at first. But then I put my headphones in, listened to The Greatest Showman and started writing and all of a sudden I was walking through the doors of the Palace!

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“WOW! Versailles is the epitome of French to me. Walking through these palatial hall, I can’t imagine anyone, even a King, living here. One could get lost simply trying to find the closet.

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

What I can imagine, are the kinds of royal parties that must have been held here and in the gardens outside.

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This was worth every freezing cold minute I spent standing in line this morning. I would love to come back and see these gardens in the Spring (I’ve added that to my to do list for when I return, and I will return!)

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

I opted not to have the audio guides as I walked through the Palace today. I’m sure they are illuminating. I’m sure they add a lot to the history and understanding of this place. But I have enjoyed using my own imagination and thoughts as I’ve wandered through these rooms.

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

Another banner day! Will Paris ever cease to amaze me? Probably not!!

I ended my Versailles day with dinner AND dessert crepes. Can you have too many crepes…the answer is no! Trust me! And a side of Rosé Cider.

An American in Paris: Day 2

Lizzie does Paris

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Travel Journal Continued…

“I woke up way too late today. Jet lag hit me harder than I was hoping. I slept till almost 10am and the whole morning was wasted. However…I feel very well rested, so maybe it was for the best.

Paris weather is a lot like Florida’s. It can’t decide if it wants to rain or shine. Right now…it’s landed somewhere between the two.

Lizzie Does Paris - stopping by the Louvre

I stopped by the Louvre this morning, on my way to pick up my Paris Museum Pass and got some exterior pictures. How funny to be able to say “I stopped by the Louvre this morning.” Like that’s something so casually done by little old me. I found myself to be completely enchanted with the whole landscape of the grounds at the Louvre. I know the pyramids were traditionally frowned upon as not reflective of the architecture usually found in Paris, and while that’s probably true…they are truly magnificent to behold. As I saw them from afar, my heart started to race and the closer I got the more I knew that Paris was exactly where I belonged!!

My cousin Sterling and her husband, Wes, got me my pass for Christmas! Instead of a 4-day pass, I got 2 2-day passes. Because of the way New Year’s Day falls in the middle of my trip, I didn’t have 4 consecutive days to work with and I didn’t want to lose a whole day! It was a little more than just a 4-day, but I think it will end up being worth it!!

Lizzie Does Paris - Paris Museum Pass
Thank you, Sterling and Wes for this little gem!! It made all the difference in the world!

While searching the city for my Paris Museum Pass, (I purchased one online and had to pick it up…somewhere) I found myself a tad lost. Luckily, there were plenty of times where I’d let myself get “lost” in New York City when I lived there. The thing about big cities, for me, is they are surprisingly easy to navigate. So even getting “lost” doesn’t really mean being lost. Not when you have a map in your hand.

In the midst of my morning wandering, I found a little cafe where I could get my bearings and sit a while. From the moment I walked through the door, this gorgeous French cat made eyes with me and found in me a kindred friend. I sat down at a table by the window which was invitation enough for her (I’m assuming it was a girl cat, she was so pretty) to come join me. She hopped up on the chair next to me and kept me company as I looked at my map and reoriented myself for my day’s adventure.

She reminded me a little of my cat at home, Tom Hanks, and she kept me company at a moment when I most needed a friendly face! I’ve named her “Fille Française Hanks” which translates to French Girl Hanks! Here she is…

Lizzie does Paris - new French friend

I have to make a confession to make. Before the Louvre and before finding the cafe where Fille Française Hanks lives, I stopped in at a Starbucks. I was in desperate need of caffeine and was walking in circles, when lo and behold…there was Starbucks like a shining beacon of just what I needed! So I went ahead and did it and you know what…I couldn’t even feel bad about it if I wanted to because it was just what I needed, right when I need it! And one should never feel bad about tiny, personal miracles!

I’m starting the day’s adventures off at Musêe D’Orsay. It’s the museum I’ve been most excited to visit. It has my beloved Impressionists.

Lizzie does Paris - Musée D'Orsay

Lizzie Does Paris - Musée D'Orsay

I finally made it to D’Orsay, with my Starbucks tea in hand! My many trips to Disney World have well prepared me for waiting in seemingly terminable long lines. And the line at D’Orsay was at least an hour and a half wait if not more. But I had Spotify to keep me company. And with the right music playing, lines just don’t seem that long. I wish others could appreciate and try this little trick. I heard lots of complaining about the line happening in this line before I turned my volume up and tuned the negativity out. If everyone had a soundtrack playing as they waited, maybe they’d feel like they were in their own little musical. That’s how I feel! My biggest struggle right now, in this moment, is not breaking out into song! I’ve been listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack all day and it is putting me in the very best mood!!!

Lizzie Does Paris - Musée D'Orsay

The entirety of D’Orsay was just as breathtaking as I imagined it to be…more so, even!”

Interjection: What follows is a noting of a lot of (not all, I chose a handful because the list ended up being more intensive than I anticipated, but I love art THAT much) the paintings that caught my eye in Musée D’Orsay. Here are some:

La Rue Montorgueil by Monet

Lizzie Does Paris - Claude Monet
“Reminds me of a scene straight out of Les Miserables.”

Chemin montant dans le hautes herbes by Renoir

Lizzie does Paris - Renoir
“There are these generous touches of yellow sprinkled throughout that I’m sure he wants us to linger on. It’s where I find my eye landing every time I look at it.”

Régates à Argenteuil by Monet

Lizzie does Paris - Monet
“The boats themselves are gorgeous as they float atop the water, but it’s their reflection in the water, the movement of the ripples that I find most catching.”

One thing I discovered about myself is that I have no time for portraits. They are just not for me. I’d much rather get lost in an impressionist’s landscape or a gorgeously painted vase of flowers than some 17th century face. To each her own, and for me…the portraits were skipped over really quickly!

Vase de piroines sur piédouche by Manet

Lizzie does Paris - Manet

Le Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonic verte by Monet

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“This is quickly becoming my favorite Monet. Something rather shocking to me. Waterlillies has long been considered my favorite. But here I am, looking at both and the bright cheery palette of this one is taking my breath away.”
Lizzie does Paris - Monet's Waterlillies
“Waterlillies is certainly magnificent. And I had no idea it was this big. But the duller tones of this one and the brighter shades used in Le Bassin are confusing me as to which one I’m responding to more. I thought for sure it would be Waterlillies. But as I allow my heart to lead me through the museum, it’s Le Bassin I want to return to. It’s Le Bassin I find I’d like to jump into.”

There was a special Degas exhibit happening at the museum while I was there. Despite my dislike of most portraits, there’s something in the faces Degas draws that captures tue beauty and I find myself drawn to.

La Repasseuse by Degas

Lizzie does Paris - Degas Exhibit
“I could never master drawing hands. Perhaps that’s why his impress me. They have such expression. He knows hands.”

Degas’ dance sculptures are simply breathtaking. The way he captures the body in motion!!!

Lizzie does Paris - Degas scupltures

I like his blue dressed dancers the most.

Lizzie does Paris - Degas' blue dancers

I couldn’t leave without seeing the Van Gogh exhibit!

La Nuit Etoilée by Van Gogh

Lizzie does Paris - Van Gogh's Le Nuit
“Starry Night has been my favorite Van Gogh for as long as I can remember. I’ve never seen it in person and still haven’t. But seeing La Nuit Etoilée in person, the way the stars jump off the canvas, the way the museum has lit it just right…I find myself jumping ship from Starry Night and wanting to own every postcard, print and recreation of this one. Much like with Waterlillies, I’m finding out what I truly love and what I’ve just loved from afar for all these years.”

I could go on and on about the different pieces of art that captured my attention. There were quite a few. I knew I loved impressionism, I always have. But I was surprised to discover an interest in the Neo-Impressionists as well, like Henri-Edmond Cross and Maximilien Luce and Théo van Rysselberghe, to name a few. As well as finding a particular interest in the works of Toulouse-Lautrec.


After leaving D’Orsay, (I had to finally tear myself away) I headed to L’Orangerie where I heard there are more Monets waiting for me.

I walked into the museum with no idea what was waiting for me behind door number one. But I managed to capture the look on my face as I walked into the room and beheld the majestic site of Monet’s Waterlillies in all their glory…

Lizzie Does Paris - Monet's Waterlillies

And yeah….that thing I said about Monet’s Le Bassin stealing my heart from Monet’s Waterlillies…I was WAY OFF!!! I didn’t know what I was talking about. Having only ever seen Monet’s Waterlillies in pictures I just couldn’t imagine what breath-taking magic awaited me here.

Lizzie does Paris - Monet's Waterlillies

The paintings cover entire walls. There’s a whole series of them and they wrap around you from room to room.

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Waterlillies are most definitely my favorite paintings of Monet’s if not of all Impressionists…EVER!

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Wow, wow, wow. I think I could sit in one of these rooms, just staring at these paintings for hours and hours. Probably long past closing time and one of those nice security guards would have to come remind me that I don’t in fact live in Monet’s painting.

Lizzie does Paris - Monet's Waterlillies

How hard would it be to get one to take home and put on my wall? They probably frown on trying that!

Lizzie does Paris - Monet's Waterlillies

With my hair painted these colors right now, with these greens and teals and blues, I feel as if I belong in a Monet painting myself. I feel just exactly like one of his Waterlillies!

So many thoughts went through my head as I beheld the magnificence of Waterlillies. It dwarfed all other exhibits in L’Orangerie. They had a whole exhibit on Dadaism which was fascinating. But Waterlillies capped this day off so well for me that I felt quite content rushing through the rest of the works available to see.

After tearing myself away from Waterlillies, I hit the gift shop and bought an obscenely long postcard of Waterlillies. Then, it was time for dinner.

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AND wine and dessert!! Don’t forget about my Paris rule…always wine and dessert!!!

Lizzie does Paris - new rule...always order wine

My first meal of the day, in fact. Walking around the city today, I definitely found myself too purpose minded to eat. I’ve been running on that one Starbucks, I had this morning, all day long. This is a rare occurrence for me.


Lizzie does Paris - Galeries Lafayette

As I was walking by the windows of Galeries Lafayette, after dinner, I heard the familiar sounds of the song “This is Me” from the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman. The soundtrack of my trip to Paris. The soundtrack of my heart right now! I’ve been listening to it so much and humming it as I walk along, I just thought my mind was playing tricks on me. But as I turned around I was faced with these beautiful window displays the Galeries Lafayette had of costumes and props from the movie.

Lizzie does Paris - The Greatest ShowmanLizzie does Paris - The Greatest Showman

Right there…waiting just for me. It cemented the lyrics as my anthem for 2018!!

“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.”

You know what I’ve discovered…I don’t feel at all alone over here. Not just because this is a big city, full of people to see and interact with minute by minute. But also because I know so many people back home are watching for updates about my trip. That has added a level of fun that I didn’t expect to have. I mean, I love sharing my every day life with my online communities and interacting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But this trip…it certainly takes it to another level. Like they’re all here with me every minute.

Lizzie does Paris - journaling

I LOVE that feeling. It makes traveling by myself the farthest thing from lonely.

PS, I remembered to say Bon soir to my waiter tonight instead of idiotically muttering ‘Bonjour, Adios, Goodbye…Au Revoir.’ Good grief!! I’m trying…that’s something!”

5 Fandom Friday

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5 Characters I’d Invite to My Thanksgiving Feast

Today’s blog topic from The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick is about characters I’d invite to Thanksgiving. Before I begin, you should know a little about my family. We are a very tight knit group of people. We uphold many unique holiday traditions and we are also what you might call… a little quirky. With that being said, adding any more personalities into the mix could be tricky. But we’ve always been a family that welcomes new comers and vagabonds alike with open arms and plates of turkey. So here is my list of characters I’d like to invite to Thanksgiving. From TV to Books to Muppets to Movies, my choices come from all over the place.

#1 – Swedish Chef from The Muppets

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“Gersh gurndy morn-dee burn-dee!”

My family is talented at a great many things. One of them is cooking. So it’s not like we need any help in the kitchen. But I’ve always loved the Swedish Chef from The Muppets. His Mock Swedish dialect and his can-do attitude would make for an upbeat positive guest at our Thanksgiving Feast. Plus we love to add multi-cultural elements to our holiday traditions. So why not add one of his famous dishes to the menu? Like his Flapjacks, Fishie Chowder, Japanese Cake, Frog Legs or his Squirrel Stew. It’s not so much the end result as it is his process that would be the most entertaining.

#2 – Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

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“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”

Sure, he’s haughty and proud. And sure… those are qualities a modern woman would rare to never tolerate in a man. But he’s Mr. Darcy!! And aside from providing some delicious eye candy (Colin Firth is the Darcy I’d choose), he can also provide sparkling conversation when prodded and pushed. Maybe it’s an odd choice, but I’d love a traditional Regency Era Thanksgiving Feast complete with reel and musical concert. Perhaps a little impromptu singing might be in order. And if Mr. Darcy was in attendance you could almost guarantee that something exciting would happen.

#3 – Lady Grantham from Downton Abbey

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“I knew this family was approaching disillusion, I wasn’t aware that illusion was already upon us.”

My Grandmother, Flora, is the matriarch of my family. We have Thanksgiving at her house every year. She is strong willed and stubborn and I think I get a lot of my gumption straight from her. She reminds me a lot of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Lady Violet Crawley. You might wonder, with one Lady of the house already in attendance, why invite another. I imagine that if Lady Violet and Lady Grandmother Flora were ever to meet, they would either become best friends and while away the hours playing bridge, or they would become sworn enemies and take turns delivering crushing set downs. Either way, I think it would make for a most entertaining Thanksgiving Feast!

#4 – Genie from Aladdin

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“You ain’t never had a friend like me!”

A genie is always handy to have around. You never know when disaster could strike and if you had a magical genie of the lamp then crisis would immediately be averted. A genie is useful, but Genie is a delight. Genie has long been my very favorite Disney character. Voiced to perfection by the late Robin Williams, he is caring and funny and the life of the party. He will always be welcome at my Thanksgiving table!

#5 – Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy

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“I may not be able to understand what you say when you say it, but before you say it, I can understand what you’re going to say perfectly!”

This one is for my sister-in-law. She is an avid Lucy fan. Who isn’t! (But she really is!) I think Lucy would round out this quintuplet of Thanksgiving guests. Accident prone and ridiculously goofy, Lucy is always trying to do right, yet always managing to mess things up. I’m not saying she’d drop the turkey, burn the mashed potatoes and end up with pumpkin pie on her face… but it would be worth the invite to see just what might happen!

Happy (less than a week till) Thanksgiving to you all. Who would you invite?