In Which I Return to the Louvre and CROWN THE WINNER

Not in the Louvre, but it should be.

I pass this whistling guy every day on my walks, and I love him. He reminds me of Craig Thompson's work, which I adore. And Craig is, in a very very roundabout way, one of the reasons why I am here.


I haven't talked about that much, have I? I mean, I assume you know. Or can guess. But perhaps I'm wrong, so this is a nice time to make it clear. Although a GREAT deal of this trip is play, I am, indeed, here for work. I'm fact-checking Anna and the French Kiss and researching Something Else.

Which is why I'm not showing you everything I do! Because not only would it grow tiresome, but . . . I am rather fond of secrets.

Me, collecting SECRETS

I'm scribbling in a red Moleskine. It's just a coincidence that it matches my coat, which, by the way? Day twenty?

I am ready for a new coat.

So another thing I love about France is the availability of Moleskines. They're EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE!! As if the pâtisseries and boulangeries weren't enough, Paris has to whisper, "Duuuude. You neeeeeeed another notebook. This one is pink. You don't have a Moleskine in pink."

Except like my friend Shelley, who recently left the ranks of LWATWD (Ladies Who Abuse The Word Dude), Paris does not say, "Dude."

I am not sure what it says.

So, anyway, I'm busy. Seeing the Big Stuff. Seeing the Little Stuff. And eating as many Nutella banana crêpes as I can in between!


Fire blankets.

So when the pilgrims inside Notre-Dame catch on fire, the rest of us tourists can extinguish them. (Credit goes to my sister for pointing out this awesome tidbit.)

And look! I went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe!

Otherwise I never would've gotten this picture of the insane traffic circle that surrounds it.

Watching the traffic circle was one of the unexpected highlights of this trip. It's like the cars and buses and motorcycles and scooters (and bicycles! Those crazy cyclists!) are playing an extra-dangerous, live-action Frogger. It's a million bad car crashes waiting to happen.

And believe me. Everyone on top of the Arc de Triomphe is waiting for it to happen.

I've also been hanging out with Manning (LIKES: werewolves, rock and roll) and his fabulous girlfriend, Marjorie (LIKES: rabbits, Dunkin' Donuts) who've been taking me to their favorite restaurants — crêpes, raclette, Tibetan, sushi — and cafés and bars, and have answered approximately eighteen zillion questions.

Manning is also the recipient of phone calls like this:


ME: I'm lost. I can't find the thingy. It's supposed to be right here.

MANNING: [politely] Try turning around.

OH! There it is!!

Thanks, Manning!

The above picture is taken in a park just across the bridge from the François Mitterrand Public Library. (Yes. That's the detail I remember. The library.) There are twenty-ish peculiar statues made from industrial road materials like manhole covers and gas pipes. The materials are collected from different countries around the world, and then assembled to look like a person from that country. Or, more often, a stereotype from that country.

It's fun to find hints to the harder statues by reading the place names or languages imprinted on the materials.

Manning is standing beside the American statue. This one had a tiny plaque with a name on it, something along the lines of "Joe the New Yorker." As Manning (American) and Marjorie (French) are preparing for a move from Paris to New York City, we felt it was appropriate.

It was also messed up. THE STATUE HAS A HEADDRESS, YO.

But wait . . .

Wasn't there something I was supposed to tell you in this post? Something specific? What was it? Whaaaat was it . . .


I returned to the Louvre today. Which means a WINNER was crowned.

That's right. I'm about to announce THE HOTTEST DUDE OF THE LOUVRE. Can you guess? Do you know whom it is? It wasn't Creepy Uncle, but for the record, Creepy Uncle came in third. Ha!

Because of his outstanding showing in a competition for which he was not even nominated, Jarrod gave him some love:

SooOOOooOOoo dreamy.

Oh, hey, guess what? I finally made it to Ladurée! For REAL macarons.

Pistachio, Lemon, Rose, Coffee, Chocolate, Vanilla, Blackcurrant Violet, Orange Flower. (I KNOW.)

They were all outstanding, but the blackcurrant violet and orange flower were stunning. SPECTACULAR. The tangy juicy boldness of the blackcurrant! The delicate, sun-warmed flowers of the orange . . .

Oh. Wait.

Are you still waiting to hear about THE WINNER? Without further ado . . .

Well, not TOO much further ado . . .








Alexandre Colin AND Léon Reisener!


They each received twenty-one votes. Initially, I was a bit sad there was no Official Singular Hot Dude, but now I'm happy for everyone who voted. These two — HOT — men were neck and neck, back and forth, the entire time.

So. I present to you . . . your official . . . Hottest Dudes of the Louvre:

The Street Urchin! Alexandre Colin, making women faint since 1798.

Mr. Darcy! Léon Reisener, making women swoon since Colin Firth dived into the pool in 1995.

If you visit the Louvre, make sure to visit them in the 18th century French paintings wing on the second (top) floor. Appropriately enough, they're in side-by-side rooms, #61 (Alexandre) and #62 (Léon).

OH. And Creepy Uncle is in #63.


  1. Yay Creepy Uncle! I totally campaigned for him. But I'm really, really glad he didn't win, because then we wouldn't have had such an adorable fan-photo-montage.

    Or, squaretage. I'm not really sure what to call that. But it was adorable.

    And for the record, day twenty and I am still completely coveting your red coat.

  2. I am completely jealous of the macarons.... and the sad thing is, there is no equivalent of those macarons in the states....

  3. I had a macaron last night and thought about how you're in Paris eating the real deal. Seriously, I'm salivating.

    I can't remember if I voted for the street urchin or Mr. Darcy, but I love the photos you took with them!

  4. This by far is one of my favorite posts from Paris. That is a CRAZY traffic circle. Are you KIDDING me? There are cars going almost completely sideways. I loved your phone call with Manning. That is awesome.
    And the headdress, YO!
    Love Jarrod with creepy uncle. Now you need to get him with that clown.
    I love blackcurrant, and that just sounds yummy. Can you bring some back for me? NO? Okay...
    And I think my fav picture of you is where you are fanning yourself in front of Leon.
    Enjoy the rest of your trip, and can't wait to find out what the secrets are.

  5. I have the same picture of the traffic, or the circle of death as I fondly named it? Have you driven there yet?

    My husband and I arrived in Paris, hired a car (with the steering wheel on the wrong side because we're Aussies) and then drove into the guts of Paris. Fast-forward 3 hours of driving aimlessly around and several nervous break-downs later--brought on by the driving styles of the French!

    Yeah, fond memories.

    Keep the awesome posts coming.

  6. You look fabulous in red, Steph.

    Thanks for finding the Hottest Dudes in the Louvre. I love the pictures. I think you could market them. I mean, how many followers do you have now?

    I have never had a macaron. I may have to go Google them right now.

  7. I wanted to say, "Dude, I totally have a red moleskine! and I'm writing my ren faire YA in it!!!!" But, alas, I cannot use dude... so I'll rephrase:

    "Oh Best Beloved (love me some Rudyard Kipling), I, to possess a somewhat pretentious notebook in that exact shade of rouge."

    Yeah, I know. Dang impressive.

    Love the coat.


    PS. I think my moleskine is lucky. Is yours?

  8. I was rooting for Creepy Uncle, but yay for swooning + gasping montages :)
    Ah Laduree...I think I waited over an hour to get a seat there, but the macarons were worth it. The Rose flavor bemused me -- it was like eating perfume. The blackcurrant and orange were my two faves as well!

  9. I love it all...your red coat, Joe the New Yorker (who looks like he is wearing an Indian headress) and your hot french dead guys. I can't wait to one day discover your secret project.

  10. Reading about your adventures in Paris are making me even more excited to read your books! Wasn't Notre Dame amazing?! I was there about seven years ago and it was the first time I thought maybe there was something spiritual about churches. You can't walk into that place without getting the chills!

  11. If absolutely nothing else in this world makes me want to visit Paris more than the chronicle of your adventures, Stephanie, I won't be surprised AT ALL. I am now officially 2000% mega-jealous. :-)

  12. Those macarons look like the most delicious thing on earth! And they're so pretty!

  13. Alright, Creepy Uncle!!!! Though if I hadn't squandered my vote on him, the street urchin would have won, so Leon Reisener should be thanking me with a big smooch.

    The macarons! Ooh la la!

    And Stephanie, as much as you are blogging, it is not ENOUGH. More! More Paris! More pastries! More hot 18th C dudes! For us languishing back here in the States. Just kidding, you're doing a great job, but I want to climb into the pictures and look around and see more. And of course, Jim wants to go just for the bookstores (he is so jealous, and you haven't even been to Angouleme yet!)


  14. The winners revealed but the secrets deepen. Hmmm. I love the matching coat and notebook.

    I was so into the Papeteries when I was there. I wanted to open one here in the US when I got home. They had the coolest stuff.

    Have you been to the Galeries Lafayettes? I totally love the setting there. The ceiling is awesome. Plus, you can shop.

  15. Ooh, I really like whistling guy! That's wonderful that you get to walk by him everyday :)

    (And I'm so excited to learn the secrets. When they're not, you know, all secret-y anymore but still EXCITING!!!)

    And I'm getting nervous just looking at that traffic circle. Are you sure 50 people don't die there everyday?

    Finally, congratlations to The Street Urchin and Mr. Darcy! I would love to come visit you in the Louvre someday.

    Thanks for the awesome pictures and for holding the contest, Steph!

  16. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog, Stephanie! What a gorgeous picture of you with your ruby jacket, rose and matching Moleskine. :D Even though I feel like I've been right there with you your whole trip, I'm still going to grill you for more gorey details over a hot cup of tea when you get back! What a great contest...and a TIE? These two studs have earned their dual victory. Muuahahah! I'm SO SO SO happy you're having a fabulous time! LOVE!!!

  17. I love your Paris pics! I really can't wait to read Anna and the French Kiss (although I loved the original title so much but c'est la vie!) So excited. It needs to be published, like, now. Je t'aime Paris. =)

  18. Cuteness!! And by the way, Steph, I'm angry. Why, you ask? BECAUSE YOU MADE ME SO HUNGRY FOR FLAVORFUL FRENCH THINGS. Plus I want a notebook, because I have way too many that aren't filled but I still keep buying more because they're beautiful.

    Paris looks so brilliant! I love your coat. It is just great.

  19. I'm with Laini. Everytime you blog, it's like getting to go to a fave movie I've been waiting for.

    I heart your trip :-)