Au revoir, Paris!

Thank you to everyone who followed my blog about living in Paris and those of you who supported my journey over the last three months. I am leaving this week and it has been a wonderful time. There are things I am glad to get back to in the US and friends I can’t wait to see, but overall this adventure is something I will truly treasure for the rest of my life. I worked really hard for a long time, saved up, sought out an opportunity, and made the choices that changed the course of my life — nothing to do with being lucky at all, but I am grateful for the experience.

People have been asking, “What do you like most about Paris?” and “Where are your favorite places in Paris?” I can’t narrow it down! There is so much to do and so much going on all the time, what a vibrant city. If anyone is visiting Paris and wants recommendations, I’m happy to give them. Part of what I saw was from wandering and exploring the city on my own, and part was from suggestions from friends. It was fun to go to places people told me about then tell them about it in turn.

Up Next: I am moving to NYC to both go home and try something new. It has been suggested that I keep blogging. I need to focus on getting a job first but when I get to a blog, you will be able to follow it at lolonyc.wordpress.com (La vie à New York). As a side note, I changed the clocks back an hour this morning in Paris & will be changing them again next weekend in NY. 🙂

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Château de Fontainebleau

Today, I took my final afternoon trip out of the city. I went to visit Fontainebleau!

Some of the rooms include:

Gallery * Ballroom * Library * Marie Antoinette’s Gambling Room * Bedrooms * Napoleon’s Bathroom (I didn’t take a picture of that one!) * Boudoir (where a lady could entertain just a couple of friends) * Throne Room * Counsel Room (to discuss politics) * Chapel

Some of the people who stayed here include:

Napoleon * Josephine (Napoleon’s first wife) * Marie Antoinette (aka Lady Deficit)

Some of the highlights include:

Tapestries * Furniture * Fireplaces * Statues

15 Days Left in Paris

I have 15 days left in Paris!

Things I am definitely doing, or will be very likely to do over the next couple of weeks:

Spending more time with my awesome cousins who visiting from Germany.

Afternoon trip to Fountainbleu.

Café Flore for the first time.

Another visit to Jeff de Bruges.

Go to the theatre to see a French vampire musical.

Visit with two Los Angeles friends who are going to be in the city (separately).

Things I’d like to do but probably won’t have time for over the next couple of weeks:

See the inside of the opera house (10 euros).

Photography Museum near Le Marais.

Musee Picasso (re-opening on 10.25 after a five-year closure).

Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Take the Montmartre Funicular to Sacré-Cœur & go inside.

Things I am looking forward to getting back to in the USA:

The bathrooms.

Jamba Juice.

Less smokers.

Gel deodorant.

My First Time in London (Londres)

While I’m staying in Paris, I figured it’s a good time to see London. I’ve never been and two nights is definitely not enough, but it was a wonderful trip anyway. I recommend the Big Bus (or similar) tour if you only have a short amount of time. I was really able to see quite a bit and get an overall view of the city. Other than a couple of early raindrops, the weather was gorgeous. I took over 300 photos, which I will eventually get to upload & post.

Some highlights from arrival day:

St. Paul’s Cathedral, bridges (Millennium, London, Tower), Tower of London, a river cruise on the Thames, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, statues, parks (Green, St. James, Hyde), Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes!) & much more.

Some highlights from my one full day:

Churches. National Gallery (this is the one museum I really went in and looked around, and it’s free). Dinner and a play with a friend of a friend from LA – burgers & chips at Byron and Speed the Plow with Richard Schiff & Lindsay Lohan at Playhouse Theatre. And much more.

Some highlights from final day:

British Library (wandered the grounds but didn’t go inside to the exhibitions), Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, tea at Fortnum & Mason. And more. 🙂

Wow, what an extraordinary city & trip, and so easy with Eurostar. I wonder if I can make it back one more time before I leave Paris…

I was on a game show!

This will be the vaguest blog post ever since I signed a French confidentiality release and can’t understand a word of what I can & can’t say. But I can tell you that I went to a French TV studio today and was a contestant on a game show! They’re doing a pilot and they did one version in French and one in English with a host from England (Greg Scott, he is wonderful!). I was the only American.

I arrived at the studio and was taken to the green room and met the other contestants. We went through the wardrobe choices I brought, and then I was taken to a dressing room. Next, on to hair and make-up. Can someone please do my hair & makeup every day? I could get used to that. We went over the rules and I can’t get into process or what actually happened but it’s a word game, and it was a ton of fun. They put the mic on me and I got a little crate to stand on because I’m short (I’m Tom Cruise!). I kind of like being on TV, watch out!

They will let me know if the show gets picked up and at some point I can share more pictures and details. Let’s just say my partner and I made a very good team. Too bad it’s a pilot, I wouldn’t have minded the chance for some euros. Actually, all the contestants were lovely and so were the production people and everyone I met there. Happy set.

Special thanks to all my Words With Friends challengers who keep on my word game feet.

What a fabulously unique experience. I had the best time.

Paris Disneyland

I grew up going to Disney World in Florida and then, when I lived in LA, spent time at Disneyland in Anaheim. Of course I had to check out Disneyland Paris. My awesome friend Andrea bought me a ticket so I had it even before I arrived in France. I went as the park opened and stayed until the last firework and the park closed. I took over 200 pictures. It truly is a magical place.

The differences? Mostly good. It was a far more manageable park. I was able to go on every ride I wanted to and also see the parade in the evening and the fireworks/laser/projections show at night. It may be because I went on a weekday after school already started but either way, there were very few lines. Actually, I think Peter Pan may have been the only ride with a line & it wasn’t so bad. I also noticed the characters were everywhere, far more accessible and friendly with the visitors. No child (or adult) would have left without an autograph, photo & interaction. The one thing I didn’t like as much was all the smoking. Just as in Paris in general, lots of smokers all over the park.

Here is a quick layout of what I did:

~Adventureland (Favorite: Pirates of the Caribbean, which is why I came today, it had been closed for renovations all week & re-opened today)

~Frontierland (Favorite: Phantom Manor – which is what we call the Haunted Mansion)

~Main Street USA

~Fantasyland (Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Peter Pan’s Flight, Meet Mickey Mouse, Les Voyages de Pinocchio, Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, It’s a Small World)

~Discoveryland

~Le Magie Disney en Parade

~Disney Dreams (lasers & water-jets in their night time spectacle)

It was a long day but I’m so glad I went – thanks, Andrea!

Au revoir (pour une moment), France!

Last week I explored France outside of Paris. Yesterday, I explored outside of France. When I came to Paris, I had some idea of places I wanted to go outside of France (London, Zurich, Germany) but no intention of heading to Belgium. Well, I have been “In Bruges” (must see that movie now) and I love it! If I ever decided to live in a non-English speaking population, it would be here. Supposedly it is 60% Flemish, 39% French & 1% German. We had a small walking tour, a canal cruise, and free time to wander the historical center of town. I came down with a terrible cold the night before (bad timing) but I still felt immediately connected as soon as we arrived. I’ve never been able to recommend anywhere outside the US before but I highly recommend Bruges (Brugge). The country is known for waffles, chocolate, and beer. What else do you need to know? 🙂