dimanche 29 mars 2015

Grinchmas in Paris

Y'all know I am usually a super Grinch but I absolutely love Christmas. I was a retail slave for most of working life (until I married rich, duh!) so I am no stranger to the craziness that the season brings. Surprisingly, despite the enormous crowds and eternal hours, the holidays were always my favorite. What can I say? I love the chaos. I think it goes without saying that I have probably heard every single holiday classic imaginable. Still, I love the music, especially by the Ronettes or anything on the Home Alone soundtracks. I love to decorate my haus with stockings and big ass red bows, hang a million ornaments on my poor tree, and try to figure out who my Secret Santa is. I also watch my favorite Christmas movies over and over cause I am a total holiday ham. When I am not busy quoting Christmas Vacation or Home Alone (1 & 2 ONLY), one of my favorite pastimes is judging people when I ask them whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween or Christmas movie. In short, I am a total savage (albeit a joyous one).

Just like Macys, Barneys, and Bergdorf in New York City, the big department stores in Pahree (Printemps, Le Bon Marché, and Galeries Lafayette) join in on the Christmas fun and decorate their windows, too. It is a holiday tradition and I couldn't wait to see them. Since I left home on Black Friday, I was missing out on the Christmas Mania back home. How was I supposed to know how many assholes got trampled at Wal-Mart this year? I wasn't going to be back home til mid-December, so I was gonna miss out big time. To cheer myself up, I headed over to check them out-- and what a treat they were! Galeries Lafayette's were my favorite, obvi. The theme was Noël Monstre ("Monstrous Christmas") and it was so cute and creative. Remember that it was the dreaded Dimanche (Sunday), so although the store was closed, the windows were open for all to enjoy. It was nice to see families out together for a leisurely stroll. Tourists and residents alike stopped and stared at the windows, absolutely entranced. Kids had their tiny little faces pressed against the glass, watching every move. I swear I even saw adults smiling. I am not making that up! Who knew these Frenchies had it in them? Their little Grinch coeurs grew three sizes that day. With enchanting windows like these, how could they not?

The windows featured mischievous monsters of all colors, shapes, and sizes having some fun. I have added a short raggedy video at the end cause pictures just do not do them justice!

dimanche 15 mars 2015

In Photos: Palais Garnier

Confession: I'm part-time bougie. I love ballet and try to catch a performance wherever I go. There is one major place I'd love to see a performance, and it is #17 on my Ultimate Bucket List. Obviously, I had to visit the Paris Opera. Back in the day, society people came to the Opera to see and be seen, not to enjoy a performance. The opera or ballet that was being performed came second to hanging out. It was mostly background noise. How do you say "flexing" in French? Nobody got here on time cause being late meant that you were busy and important. That means no street rats allowed! Not surprisingly, most of the corridors and landings interweave, permitting people to be social during intermission. This is also why the staircases, halls, and foyers are so large compared to the auditorium itself. People were just out here loitering. The ballers and other members of high society would come here for a grand affair. The world is a stage, bro. Thought you knew.

Did you know that there is even a little plaque at the box where the Phantom "sat"? Who commemorates a ghost?! Friezes, columns, statues-- they have it all. More is more at the Palais Garnier and I am here for it! I love the glitz and gilded luxury. Although it used to be Ballers Only, us plebes can now enjoy a performance for as little as 5€. There are tons of nods to Greek Mythology in and around the building if you are into that sort of thing. Outside of the Opera, there was a ska band playing. It was pretty cool to see. I love street performers in Paris. Anyway, the rest of the photos are of the Opera, including a picture of your girl. The last picture is a panorama to show y'all just how ornate and exquisite the auditorium is.


Hanging with the Phantom at the Paris Opera

When I last left y'all, I was STILL thirsty. I hopped on the Metro to make it to Palais Garnier in time for my rendezvous with the Phantom. I got there a little early, as always, so I went looking for some water. At this point, I would have paid 10€ for a bottle. It was that serious. 

I walked past Galeries Lafayette and noticed that they were closed. I kept walking and came across the Lindt store. That too, was closed. WTF? That's when I realized it was Sunday. NOTHING IS OPEN!!! Fuck. If you are wondering why I didn't just stop by a mom and pop or a random dude on the street to get my water, it's because I only had big bills and there was NO WAY they would break it for me. Getting change is like pulling teeth here, but what can you do? I feel like I haven't posted a picture of some chocolate in a while, so check these out. It was like a mirage.

That's when I got the Phantom's text. He was ready to see me. Man, I am totally kidding. I sound like a psycho. The truth is, I had a guided tour of the Opera that was meeting at 1:30 (13:30). I had never been to the Opera so I decided to check it out. I would highly recommend it! It is such a beautiful place. Don't believe me?



              

dimanche 8 mars 2015

In Photos: Père Lachaise


Here are a few pictures of the area surrounding Oscar Wilde's grave at Père Lachaise. I am not kidding when I say that this place is absolutely beautiful. It is a veritable city of the dead; there are allegedly over 1 million people buried here! There are tree-lined avenues with names and divisions grouping graves together. It is really a sight to see.

 I love the sweet memorials and the collection of flowers in various states of decay. Damn, that sounds morbid but it truly isn't. I didn't even scratch the surface during this visit because I was pressed for time, so I didn't get to walk around that much. Look at the variety! It is stunning. Some of these sculptures are truly next level.. I wish I'd had more time to check it out, because this experience was totally different from my last. The autumn leaves and the gloomy skies definitely added some charm. There is so much character and history here, I mean everywhere you look there is something cool. Someone once asked me to be his girlfriend at a cemetery (swear!), and I totally loved it. I'm a creep, whatever.

This is what a real cemetery looks like to me. It is kind of a bummer that the ones at home look so bland and boring. Have you ever thought about what you want your grave to look like? If not, come here and get some inspiration. I already know what I want engraved on mine, and that is Und die Vögel singen nicht mehr ("and the birds sing no more"). It's a line from my fav Rammstein song, duh. Anyway, enough about me and my ghoulish ideas. Do yourself a favor and visit! Tell 'em Snoop Dogg sent you.
 


















Wilde Times at Père-Lachaise

Bonjour! What a great morning. As soon as I got up, I watched another episode of Arrow. The only thing more important to me than Starling City is Paris, so I opened the window and was greeted by a flawless view.


I fucking love Paris, for real. Room temperature sodas and all. Have you ever wondered why Paris is the beigest city in the game? All of the buildings look the same and you have Georges Haussmann (and Napoleon III) to thank for that. N3 decided to renovate the city and enlisted Haussmann to make it work. This was one of the biggest public works projects to hit the scene. I won't bore you with the details, but this is why Paris looks the way it does today. From the scenic parks to the wide avenues, Haussmann heaven gives Paris its timeless look. There is only one thing they forgot to build:


SOME FUCKING ELEVATORS!

I swear, elevators are unicorns here. This is what I had to deal with the entire time. There is actually a small elevator at the hotel, but the stairs are much faster. Can you believe that I wasn't even on the highest floor?! Still, I don't really mind the stairs. What is the point of traveling if everything looks the same? I don't mind huffing and puffing, I'm in Paris!

So, remember I told you guys I was thirsty? Across the street from my hotel was a little Carrefour, which is the French equivalent of a Target. It was about 9 a.m. and I thought it was weird that the store still wasn't open. I figured it was no big deal and headed out to the cemetery.

Père Lachaise is one of Paris's most famous cemeteries. It is really, really big! Disneyland big. The first time I came here, I even had a picnic. Everyone does it! Don't look at me like that. I mean, if you are going to hang out at a cemetery, you might as well do it here. You'd be in very good company! There are really important people buried here, from the gawd Frédéric Chopin to La Môme herself-- Edith Piaf. Jim Morrison of the Doors is also buried here. In fact, his is one of the most popular graves here. I don't give a care, but maybe you do. The cemetery is divided into sections and they have signs up showing you where people of note are buried.


Anyway, I could go on forever but I won't. There is one person buried here who matters most to me above all. To get to his grave, get off at the Gambetta stop. I am assuming you are coming on the metro, cause this cemetery is in the 20th. You can also take Bus #69 (stop it) from the Eiffel Tower. Coming in through the Gambetta entrance allows you to enter at the back of the cemetery and directly to my boy's grave. From here, you can explore the rest of the cemetery walking downhill. Can you believe I did this the opposite way on the hottest day on Earth? Please learn from my mistakes!

So who is this mystery man? Let's make our way to see Division 89s most popular resident.


Still no idea? It's Oscar Wilde, of course! I am a super huge fan. This was the 114th anniversary of his death, so I was lucky to be here for that. His grave is probably the second most popular, even though it deserves to be #1. People come from all over the world to kiss his grave. Well, at least they used to. A few years ago, they put up a plexiglass wall to deter people from kissing it because it was eroding. I made it here before the glass was up and I have to say the glass is hideous. Sometimes people leave passages from his awesome work or leave messages expressing their love. It's really cool. If there is anyone who would appreciate the kisses, it's definitely Oscar. Anyway, here are some pics.








Of course, there are many other interesting ornate graves here. It's such a beautiful place! You can literally spend hours here admiring the scenery. I will give y'all a little glimpse of the cemetery in another post. For now, I continue my story. It was now past noon and I was still thirsty. I was also wondering what Arrow was up to. I popped into McDonald's to get a room temperature Coca Light since European restaurants hate ice more than they hate me. The line was long as hell so I changed my mind, but before I left I caught a glimpse of this. 


Bruh, they have my PSG lads out here at Chez McDo! You mean to tell me I can get a cleat-shaped makeup bag or a soccer ball with my food? That's a real happy meal. America, get it together! I was running short on time cause I had an appointment with my bff the Phantom of the Opera at the Palais Garnier aka the Paris Opera. I was so sure I'd find somewhere to grab a drink along the way.

Spoiler Alert: I didn't.

Comme Indy J'ai Cherché le Graal: Catching Precious Z's in La Ville Lumière

I'm back, and yeah that's an Indiana Jones reference in the title. Duh. Did you forget I love Spielberg?

When I last left y'all, I woke up in the middle of my flight. I am part of the Window Master Race so I am all window, all the time. I got lucky because my seat mates were really cool. They always alerted me when the Flight Attendants came by with drinks. Y'all the real MVPs. They were two women going on a wine cruise in Bordeaux, how fun is that? They were super excited for my trip, and that made me excited. It was so sweet. The rest of the flight was uneventful. I finally got around to watching X-Men: Days of Future Past and I also watched a Louboutin documentary. I had acquired seasons one and two of Arrow but I wasn't really in the mood to watch it. Since I had nothing else to do, I began to watch Arrow and got hooked instantly. I was so pissed when we landed cause I wanted to see more of my husband Ollie. I should have begun watching it since I got on the plane! I'm dumb.

Bienvenue à Paris, girl! The last time I was here, it was hot as fuck because some freak heatwave decided to crash my vacation. This time, it was pretty chilly. YES. I had also stayed at the Plug Inn Hostel right off of Rue Lepic in Montmartre. The location was excellent! It was literally around the corner from Café des Deux Moulins aka the Amélie cafe. It was also a 2 minute walk from the Moulin Rouge. I still remember the utter debauchery that went on. Man, that was a blast. I'll probably write about that trip at some point on this blog. What a delightful blur. Anyway, I loved my stay in the 18th. I guess you can say it is the ghetto, but I felt right at home. I'm from South Central LA! Of course I did. This time, however, I booked my stay at the Hotel France Albion in the 9th. I didn't feel like dealing with roommates or killer hangovers. I just wanted to chill and be alone... with Oliver Queen. Sike!

You may be wondering what I mean when I say "the 18th" or "the 9th" and if you aren't, that's too bad cause I'm gonna tell you anyway. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (districts) and they are all very different. The 1st arrondissement starts at Île de la Cité (where the Louvre is) and begins to spiral clockwise like a snail's shell. Confused? Check out the photo below!



See? The blue line is the Seine river. Be sure to check where your hotel is located in regards to what you wanna see. To be totally honest, walking around Paris is like navigating a plate of spaghetti. The roads are not in a grid pattern like they are here in America, so you can easily get lost if you don't pay attention to where you are going. That's part of the charm, though! If you are ever wondering what arrondissement you are in, just check the last two digits of your zip code.

Back to my hotel I went. It was small (this is Paris, after all!) but it was perfect. I loved it because it was in a residential neighborhood so there was peace and quiet. This would be home for the next 3 days. Even the key to my room was cute! The staff was friendly and didn't even laugh at my raggedy Franglais. I can read and write French just fine, but it had been YEARS since I'd spoken the language. As a result, the words coming out of my mouth had the linguistic elegance of a 4 year old. 

give me some tassel!

I stopped by Galeries Lafayette to take a quick peek at the Christmas tree, but I was still very tired. I decided I'd come back tomorrow to check out the windows and do some shopping. As I walked back "home", I thought about stopping to get a bottle of water, but decided to do it later. I just wanted to get to my room/shoebox. I mean, look at it. It was so cozy. 


As soon as I got here, I showered and went to sleep. I planned on taking a little disco nap, but my Rip Van Winkle ass woke up at 11:00... as in 23:00. There went day one! It wasn't my first time in Paris, so sightseeing wasn't really an issue. Besides, I was so comfortable! Since I was now wide awake, I decided to see what was on TV. I really love French gameshows, so I was hoping I'd catch one... but what I saw was even better. Are you ready? 




Why, it was none other than Mariés, deux enfants. Yes, Married... with Children dubbed in French! I couldn't stop laughing. I stayed up watching TV until like 3 in the morning. I was really regretting not having grabbed a bottle of water. I only had the liter I had purchased at the airport to break my 50. I drink a lot of water, so I should have known better. Whatever, it was going to be my first order of business in the morning... 

... but the universe had other plans. You knew this, right?

On the next episode: What's a thirsty girl to do when everything in this city is closed? Putain!

samedi 7 mars 2015

Plane Crazy: Paris Bound

Let me set the scene. It was November 2014. I had stupidly booked a trip to India months earlier, not knowing it would fall right in between midterms and finals. Canceling my trip was absolutely out of the question. This meant that I not only had to do my current courseload, I had to do a whole month's work ahead of time, too. Work was crazy busy, and to top it off Thanksgiving was looming. I work and go to school full time, so this was really fucking exhausting. Did you forget that I only had a little under 3 weeks to do this because I had just returned from Cancun? Clearly, nobody hates me more than I hate myself. My plane was scheduled to depart on Black Friday and I was so short on time that right after Thanksgiving dinner, I sat down to take a midterm. Then I began to pack. Yes, I still pack the night before. Sometimes I even pack the day of! I'm a lost cause. In the haze of my exhaustion, I came on here and posted a note before I left. Little did I know how things would turn out. It's always something with me, isn't it?

It was actually cheaper to stop in Paris for a few days instead of flying directly to India. Well, there are no direct flights there, but you know what I mean. Paris is my favorite city in the world (real original!). How could I resist? I was gonna have two trips in one and still come out ahead. Hell yeah! Finally, the big day was here. By the time I made it to LAX, I was so tired that I didn't even care about anything anymore. My life felt like a Dalí painting. I just wanted to get on the plane and sleep for hours on end. As I walked around the airport before boarding, I spotted Steven Spielberg. I am a HUGE fan of his, but I left before he saw me. I knew I would be too tired to decline his request to cast me in a major motion picture. Just kidding! This is when I got excited and realized where I was and, most importantly, where I was going. Thank you, Spielbergo!



As soon as I settled into my seat, I had a glass of champagne and promptly fell asleep. This is where I was when I woke up. I had already slept for 6 straight hours and I only had... 6 more to go. Merde.