Mission: Eat an Eclair... Accomplished.

We arrived in Paris a little rugged and worn as neither Meghan or I got any sleep on the plane. My French skills were way below subpar as I couldn't even construct an English sentence let alone mentally translate "How do we get to our hotel?"

Our first goal was to find some good ole petit déjeuner (or breakfast for us Americans). We came across Le Prevoyant-- a place we frequented often throughout our three days in Paris. Okay, at least once a day. The people were friendly and even joked with me (in a nice way) when I messed up my verbs. In my defense, pouvoir and vouloir have ALWAYS confused me. Let's just say...

"I can have french fries, please" was more reminiscent of I Can Has Cheeseburger of the LOLCats fame than "I want french fries, please." Lesson learned... it should have been "I'd like some french fries, please." (For the record... je voudrais des frites, s'il vous plaît.)

[My first boisson chaud in Paris!]

Between Sacré-Cœur, a stunning basilica on a hill, and Moulin Rouge, a historical landmark set in a pretty scandelous district which seriously had more than 25 questionable stores on ONE street, I had a few chuckles at the irony.

[Moulin Rouge means "red windmill" for you anglophones.]

(By the way, apparently in Montmartre, there is a "wedding district" as well... wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, and the sort could be purchased from about 50 different salons-- again, on one street. Granted, these stores aren't carrying Vera Wang... but for two American wedding vendors, this made us laugh hysterically!)

The Eiffel Tower was one of our first stops-- because you can't say you went to Paris without seeing this gorgeous monstronsity. It looms delicately over the area with its intricate lattice ironwork silhouettes against a brillant blue sky. It was stunning to say the least.

[This is our Orchestrated mascot! We are taking photos of him everywhere we go!]

[On a bridge over the Seine, these locks are like signing your name to posts.]

We tried to go to the Musée d'Orsay (home to some of my favorite artists' works), but it was closing within a half an hour. Note to self: August means early closings or some summer closings of stores... meaning most places were on vacation. So we decided to head to the Jardin des Tuileries and relax near a random garden pool.

Meghan likes to just sit and relax, and I saw baby ducks, so we were there for quite some time and that confirmed we're good travel buddies. Seriously, I could stare at baby ducks ALL day. It's just one of life's simple pleasures. (I freaked out when I found out there was an Aquarium in Paris... had NO idea and at that time, no time to even entertain the idea of visiting.)

[Rusty, I want to get this on a canvas next to my other baby ducks photo!]

We went shopping, looking for inspiration for our Orchestrated event in November, Ink and Pearl, but we found chocolate and ice cream instead. Champagne chocolate, that is. That can go along with the theme, right? Black and white? :)

Notre Dame was another WHOA moment as I had only taught about its gothic architecture and rose window for two years, never seeing it before. It was intense. I do realize as I'm getting older I don't handle crowds very well. We didn't go inside the cathedral, but I definitely wanted to cry out, "Sanctuary!" just in homage to Hunchback.

It also bears mentioning that I saw the Opera... the very one that inspired Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera. Loved, loved, loved.

I will pause for a moment and say even though I'm writing as if we were go, go, go, no breaks ever... we did take frequent naps. I do enjoy a good nap, and I justified it by the French way of life... Joie de vivre! Relax, enjoy life! I was also very exhausted from being on the go, go, go since January, and this was my first REAL vacation lasting more than one day, and I think I finally let my body rest. From recovering from a massive chigger bite invasion to having to sleep on a rock hard mattress for almost a month, I can say my body was not happy with me. I think it likes France, especially when it gets to enjoy French macaroons-- a naturally gluten-free delight.

The Louvre was one of my favorites (of course). I mean to go to THE world's top art museum. The WORLD'S. I contained my freakout and calmly said where I'd like to go. You must have a game plan when it comes to that place. It's massive and SO MUCH. If we were in Paris for more than three days, I would have divided it up. My top was to see Antonio Canova's Psyche and Eros... that sculpture has inspired me since I first became obsessed with the Greek myth. I'm not a sculptor by any means... even my Play-doh art leaves something to be desired.

To envision and carve something out of marble... there is no room for error! You mess up? You waste money, time, and materials. Yikes.

[You know you're a photographer when you'd rather pose with the butts of a statue than be on the side with icky light. :) ]

Yes, we saw the Mona Lisa. It's dinky. And I will admit people using their camera flashes on one of the most iconic masterpieces annoyed me. (PSA-- They say NO FLASH for a reason. Light and temperature destroy the pigment in the paintings... and they will dull and lose their depth if subjected to these. Thank you. Byebye.)

After the Louvre, we realized we hadn't seen the Arc de Triomphe yet and naturally we darted over... at the most PERFECT time. Clouds dotted the skies and the sun was finally lowering and hung right behind the Arc. It was as if the Ultimate Artist painted the background just for us, at that very time. I kind of vocally squeed.

Slowly but surely, Meghan and I made it back to our hotel near Gare de L'Est, had dinner, and settled in for our last evening.

And yes, I made the finite decision that I would suffer the tummy/skin consequences of having an éclair. The pâtisserie beckoned me, and for 2 euros and a few French words, it was mine. Throw that gluten intolerance to the wind and embrace a high school dream! Because of some prior food issues I had with some cafes, God must have felt sorry for me because I did not suffer as I normally do. It was weird. VERY weird. Though I made myself go to sleep immediately so if I did, I didn't wake up from it. Win win!

That éclair was the trademark of my Parisian journey. Delicious. Relaxing. And a great start to the next chapter of our adventure.

Mission Mr. Darcy... Begun.

- Chelsea :)


  1. YAY! Such a joyous, amazing and beautifully captured adventure so far - I truly can't wait to see more. The images are breath taking (and some amusing as well). Miss you!

  2. This is so not fair! Chelsea, you are making me wiggle in my chair at the thought of going to Europe. I'm sure your heart has continuously been leaping out of your chest with all the beautiful sights!


  3. I'm SOOO jealous but will enjoy Europe through your photos.