I Am TOTALLY In Paris, You Guys

Bienvenue à my neighborhood. C'est beau, non?

As you see, I made it! And I have not embarrassed myself too badly. Yet. I'm being brave and semi-talking to people, and I've only accidentally said "gracias" instead of "merci" once.


My sister and I had an easy flight in, an easy taxi ride to our apartment (complete with funky techno beatz), and an easy time orienting ourselves to the neighborhood. The only hitch was that the phone and internet weren't working in our apartment when we arrived, so we couldn't tell our families how easy it was.

They were a wee concerned when we finally got in touch with them the next day.

Thank goodness for Manning Krull, winner of my new "Superhero Friend" award. Manning, you may recall, designed my FABULOUS website last fall and runs a great site called Cool Stuff in Paris that not only has detailed lists of practical things you should know before traveling, but also tells you about the weird places to visit.

I am a big fan of weird.

Anyway, Manning is a superhero for a billion reasons, but mainly because he is very, very friendly and helpful, AND he helped us buy a cell phone here! AND set it up in English! AND, if it weren't for him, we wouldn't have found out about the Musée des arts forains, an amazing private museum of antique carnival odds and ends which had it's last public day today.

I mean, look at all the awesome stuff we would have missed:

A bicycle carousel!

A creepy unicorn costume!

A racing waiters game!

And this very, very uncomfortable Mickey Mouse:

If I had a pole up my butt, I'd make that face too.

Manning also told us about La Sainte-Chapelle, a gorgeous Gothic chapel with crazy-huge stained glass windows that I'd never heard of. He told us to go on a sunny day, which are rare here this time of year, and — miraculously — when my sister and I woke up this morning, IT WAS SUNNY.

It's breathtaking in person. You'll just have to trust me.

(Thank you, Manning!)

My sister and I also made it to the Île de la Cité's exotic bird market, Marché aux Oiseaux, which happens every Sunday. There weren't a toooon of birds, but those they DID have were quite beautiful.

[Even though, I must confess, birds in cages make me squirm a bit. Not that it's any different from rodents raised to live in cages, which I am certainly guilty of owning.]

I thought these pale orange canaries were especially pretty. I can't recall ever seeing any in America, though no doubt they're there somewhere!

I won't show you everything I do on this trip — that would be wretchedly boring of me — but here are a few more things I saw this weekend:


The shadow of Voltaire's statue in his crypt.

Your guess is as good as mine.

That last one was taken inside Le Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette, Madame du Barry, and several other historical figures I am mildly obsessed with were held prisoner before being sent to the guillotine.

I must admit, it's a much different experience traveling when I have time to explore everything. A much better experience! There's no rush, no panic, no "I have to do these fourteen things before I leave tomorrow or I'll regret it for the rest of my life." I'm enjoying the leisurely lunches in cafés (best so far: panini with goat cheese, arugula, and tomato) and the wandering and window shopping.

And I am REALLY enjoying this:


I'm grinning like an idiot, because I am *living* one of the most important moments in my novel. And because I know I have an entire month to get this picture again without the other tourists in the background.


[If you'd like to see more pictures, and you aren't following me on Twitter, I'm posting one a day here on Twitpic. Be sure to click on the pictures — ah hem, Mom — to see them better.]


  1. Make sure to get that picture again on a sunny day! And continue to tell us about everything you eat (I'm all about the food)!

  2. Too much fun! I'm slightly green over here.

  3. Okay, call me lame, but I'm totally tearing up over the last picture! Steph! I'm just so happy you're there.

  4. See-I told you there was nothing to worry about! And you are right, La Sainte-Chapelle is one of my favorite places. Another--even though its a TOTAL tourist trap--is climbing the towers of Notre Dame. You just can't call it a Paris trip if you don't take photos with gargoyles in the foreground and the Eiffel Tower in the background. Oh, but if you do it, keep an eye out for a street performer who likes to entertain the tourists in line by wearing a creepy mask and scaring people walking by. He's been there the last 3 years I've gone, and he's hilarious--until he does it to you (which yes, he got me last time!) Have fun and please, share more pictures!!!!!


  6. What an amazing thrill!

    Have a wonderful, wonderful time, Steph.



  7. I have that exact same photo, except that it's me on the stairs and not you because that would be odd and confusing.

    I'm also not at all jealous that you're in Paris for one month because we all know Paris is lame and the food sucks and the people have boring accents.

    Now I am remembering the chocolate éclairs and as a result I am border line depressed.

    Have fun!

  8. I'm so jealous. Way to start the 2010 with a bang!

    Thank you so much for blogging and taking pics--at least I can pretend to take a Parisian vacation. :)

  9. I WILL go to Europe. I WILL go to Europe. I WILL go to Europe... Awesome pics - I'm so happy for you! What an amazing dream come true. ;-)

  10. Yay Paris! I'm glad to hear you got there safely and am super excited to hear about all the adventures you'll have :)

    And I especially like the bicycle carousel!

    And I didn't get the chance to comment on your last post about leaving for Paris, and just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed learning about the psychedelic tunnel. I'm leaving for Italy on Tuesday for just a couple weeks for school, and I'm pretty sure I know less Italian than you do French (linguistically speaking).

    Have fun being where your novel is!

  11. Oh, and if you visit Sacre Coeur watch out for the people that come up and offer to braid bracelets on your wrist/rings on your finger. You may have already heard about them. They are forceful and charge lots of money if they catch you. At least, they were there when I was in Paris for a music thing a couple summers ago. My friends and I hugged our arms to ourselves when we walked by.

  12. The stain glass windows are among the most beautiful things I have even seen in my life (and I am talking here about your pictures, never having seen La Saint-Chapelle in person.)


    Love it.

    Be careful.


  13. Oh, freaking wow. This is awesome. Please keep sharing pics! I love living vicariously through you!

  14. This is so happy making, and will help me plan my trip!!

  15. Bienvenue a Paris!!!! J'espere que tu t'amuses ici! Isn't la saint-chapelle BEAUTIFUL? Most people end up missing out on it, which is so sad! :-(
    Looks like you're seeing such cool places!
    Enjoy the rest of your trip here!

  16. Yay! SO AWESOME! It's perfectly fine with me if you detail everything you're doing with photos and text. I'm living vicariously right now. I'm so happy and excited for you! What a great way to start 2010. I hope this is the trip of your dreams!

  17. This is so totally fun! Please please please keep posting! You've got time :-) You're in PARIS!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I am so happy for you Steph! It has been my dream since I was a child to go to London and my husband and I are making that happen this fall (although only for 8 days), so I can imagine how excited and disbelieving you are - you are really there! Yay! What a great start to what is sure to be a stellar year!

  19. OMG that pannini sounds so delicious! (hmmm perhaps i should eat some lunch soon...)
    the Musée des arts forains sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing your pics!

  20. That Mickey Mouse picture made me laugh out loud!

    I love the stained glass in the cathedral and the picture of you on THE STAIRS.

  21. Very cool. I love not being rushed. It is the French way. Enjoy. Another thing I thought about is hot chocolate at Angelina. It's right by the Louvre. The richest hot chocolate you'll ever consume. It's like getting a chocolate IV. Yum. Their pastries are good too.

  22. Dude! That is so epic! Like some cool author coming-full-circle! JEALOUS!

  23. I love the stairs pic. It was meant to be!
    And I laughed when I read that you accidentally said gracias.
    Enjoy your stay!

  24. I wish I could be Steph for a day! Love the updates.

  25. I have a feeling this will be the best month of your entire life!!! How LUCKY are YOU, girl! I adore Paris (and France) and so want to go back. I have pics from our trip on my website if you want to take a peek. www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com

  26. Sosososososososo awesome!!!! Love the last pic!! (I'm getting really really excited to read the book again, in its totally finished state. And see the cover!!!!)

    Re: the Conciergerie, I just finished The Silver Blade, follow-up to The Red Necklace, by Sally Gardner, and I really loved them -- French Revolution, gypsies, creepy automatons, a magical dwarf, a beautiful girl, heroics, love, the guillotine, etc etc. I think you'll really dig it :-)

    Have fun!

  27. La Sainte-Chapelle is definitely one of my favorite places in the city, and one that most people don't make it to. Another place you must see if you like stained glass is Église Saint-Séverin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-S%C3%A9verin_(Paris). It has traditional stained glass but also modern panels. If you go when it's sunny, the sun comes in through the windows and it looks like the place is on fire. Beautiful.

    Love seeing all the pics- I'm bummed I never got to go to the carousel museum!

  28. No, no, show us everything! I mean it!

  29. Ohhh, I LOVE La Sainte-Chapelle - Clark and I had to go see it when we went to Paris a gillion years ago, because it was practically the only thing I remembered from my college art history class. love the pics!