An American in Paris: Day 6

Lizzie does Paris

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Travel Journal Continued…

“It’s my last full day in Paris. I’ll have some time in the morning tomorrow before I have to get to the airport, but this is it. And I just don’t want to leave! Forever may not be long enough for me and Paris and 7 days certainly hasn’t been.

I’m sure I miss home on some level, but right now it’s really deep, deep down. That familiar feeling of knowing I could be ok on my own for the rest of my life creeps in in moments like this. I’m sure it isn’t true. But today, it feels a little bit true.

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I’m back at the Eiffel Tower this morning. I wanted to see her in the daylight too! It’s funny, this whole area from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc du Triomphe felt so much farther apart on New Year’s Eve. Goes to show you what a difference proper footwear can make!!

Lizzie does Paris - Eiffel TowerThe Eiffel Tower is absolutely magical (there’s that word again) in the daytime too! I could just sit and stare at her all day long, all over again! I opted not to go up her. The line is really long and I want to save some things for when I return one day (and I will return one day!)

Lizzie does Paris - Eiffel Tower map

Lizzie does Paris - Eiffel Tower

Instead of going up the Eiffel Tower, I think I’m going to go up the Arc du Triomphe instead. After all, I’d rather see Eiffel in my bird’s eye view!

Lizzie does Paris - Arc du Triomphe

Lizzie does Paris - Arc du Triomphe

Lizzie does Paris - Arc du Triomphe tickets

From the top of the Arc du Triomphe…WOW, what a view! Highly recommended! Of course, it was sunny before I went up, rainy when I got to the top and perfectly sunny when I got back down to the bottom. It was like a time machine…an entirely different day was waiting for me at the top.

Lizzie does Paris - spiral staircase Arc du Triomphe

Lizzie does Paris - bird's eye view

The Arc is also a sight I’m glad I’m seeing in the light of day, with the blue skies flanking it and the sun shining brightly. I’m glad I came back for both Eiffel and the Arc in the daytime!

And now lunch.

A rather late lunch. I don’t know why I keep waiting till I’m faint with hunger to actually eat. I think I’m just so eager to soak it all in that eating occurs to me later than my stomach would prefer.

Lizzie does Paris - Lunch time

For lunch…Ravioli des Fromage…extra Fromage! And Vin Rouge (don’t forget my one rule!!)

I’ve been eating only 1 or 2 meals a day and I actually have enjoyed this practice. I don’t feel weighed down by heavy breads and cheeses as I’m touring the city and walking my ass off (LITERALLY.) If I need an extra snack here and there, pain du chocolat and macarons do the trick nicely! But saving real meals for nicer sit down places, where I can really delve into their menus and order food, wine and dessert has been delightful. And monetarily, it’s working for me too!

Lizzie does Paris - Laduree

Lizzie does Paris - Laduree macarons

Lizzie does Paris - Laduree dessert

I stopped at Ladurée for macarons, macarons, more macarons and a freaking magical cheesecake. I’m taking them all to go and will save them for later.

Lizzie does Paris - Montmarte Village

Ok…I LOVE Montmarte Village!! So many little shops! This was a suggestion from a friend back home (thanks Shirley!) and boy does she know me well! This is my place! In fact, I daresay, this is actually my favorite place in all of Paris!

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Bonus…I got to see the Moulin Rouge. And yes…I sang as I approached it! I couldn’t help myself!! I would have loved to take in a show at La Moulin, but I think I’ll add that to the growing list of ‘Next Time I’m Here.’

Lizzie does Paris - Montmarte Village

I spent hours just walking up and down these cobble stone streets tonight. And it’s settled! I’m coming back here tomorrow. My flight doesn’t leave till 4:30pm. I already asked and the hotel is able to hold my bags for me, leaving the morning wide open for more shopping and exploring. Plus Sacré-Coeur deserves to be seen in daylight just like Eiffel and Arc!! (Like they’re all people and those are their names. But that’s sort of how I feel about these monuments. Like they are living, breathing parts of Paris. With names and feelings and everything! Friends that soon I’ll have to leave behind.)

Lizzie does Paris - Sacre Coeur

I really haven’t had the chance or taken the chance to do much shopping in Paris till today. I’ve been single-minded in my purpose and today in Montmarte I was actually able to think of people back home and get some treats for them. But I know there are more treasures to be found when I come back tomorrow!

Lizzie does Paris

And for now, I’m heading back to little room 105 to eat my desserts and survey all the treasures I’ve bought today.

It was a great last day in Paris!”

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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!”

Channeling Your Inner Darryl Dixon

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There are a lot of differing opinions when it comes to the best mode of transportation in a zombie apocalypse. Most agree that it’s gonna be boats that keep humanity alive. But unless you’re already living on the “True Love” or “Boaty McBoatface” then you’re gonna need to get around on land first. Here are some options:

  1. Personally, I like to stay on foot. No technology or mechanics to rely on, except the good old-fashioned, God-made mechanics. Easy to hide and easy to run. You are more exposed, but I really think I’d prefer to stay on foot for the majority of the apocalypse.
  2. Sometimes, you just need a little more horsepower though. If you’re toting a family around and can’t just go it alone, may I suggest an RV or a mini van. The problem with bigger, clunkier vehicles is the potential to get trapped in it on the road to freedom. But if you have littles to care for, this is really gonna be your best bet for keeping them safe till you can sail off into the sunset.
  3. Next up is your classic 4-wheel drive vehicles. Trucks and cars. They’re great for making supply runs to neighboring areas. In my opinion, food scarcity, personal safety, the safety of your designated apocalypse squad, wondering if there’s a cure for this hell on earth…there’s a lot to think about. I wouldn’t want to add worrying about a steady gas supply to my ever growing list of worries. But it really comes down to a personal choice.
  4. And finally, we have the trusty bike. Loved by the Darryl Dixon’s of the world. Whether you choose to motor or pedal, next to pedestrian life, I’d choose the bike. It’s easy to abandon if there’s a malfunction or if you’re happily biking down the street and encounter a hoard. Imagine trying to complete a 3-point turn in an RV with a zombie hoard approaching from the North. Never mind, don’t imagine it. It’s not a pretty picture. Of course if you choose motor bike or motorcycle, you will have to worry about that pesky gas issue again. But I’d take the chance on a bike.

Which brings us to Week 2’s Zombie Apocalypse Survival Challenge. Cycling. This is your week to get comfortable on a bike. Because, like the kids in Stranger Things, if you choose to ride a bike it’s gonna become part of your story of survival really fast.

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Photo from TheOdysseyOnline.com

Here are some great ways to get that heart rate going (once or twice a week to start):

-Good, old-fashioned bike

-Trendy Spin Class

-Stationary bike at a gym

Darryl would be proud of you!!

And remember…keep on staying alive, staying alive!!

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Jane Austen Syndrome

I am by no means the first delicate female to suffer from this deep affliction. But it is, perhaps, safe to call my case one of the most severe. Long have I suffered in silence, but I cannot continue thusly. I must share with you my struggles in the hopes that you, gentle reader, may commiserate with me and perchance even share in this sickness as well, for I truly cannot be the only one out there who has experienced, what will hence be known as, The Jane Austen Syndrome.

But it’s symptoms are not so easily recognized in everyone so keenly as they are in me. Allow me to illuminate some such symptoms for you, so that you may then be able to seek the proper advisement from your local apothecary to acquire the necessary cure for such an illness as this.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to…

1. Taking long walks for no reason at all

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2. Getting constantly caught in the rain

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3. Spontaneous trips to the English countryside

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4. Learning the art of wax sealing letters

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5. Ballroom dance lessons

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6. Calligraphy lessons

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7. Piano and/or singing lessons

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8. Performing piano and/or singing skills in public at random 

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9. Taking turns around the room

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10. Discovering an affinity for high tea

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11. Wearing overly large bonnets even when it isn’t sunny out

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12. Seeking out men with names like Henry, Edward, Fitzwilliam, Charles, Edmund, George, Frederick, etc.

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13. And finally, when you start considering a double wedding….it’s all over. You are officially afflicted with The Jane Austen syndrome. Go ahead and embrace your inner petticoat!

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Zombie killing may not have been associated with Jane Austen in years past, but thanks to Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” getting the big screen treatment, that’s all about to change. Don’t miss Elizabeth Bennet and company kick serious undead ass on February 5th in theaters! Check out the trailer: