October 21, 2018 – January 3, 2019
The last couple months of the year were spent in the city of love, Paris! We had visited Paris once before but just for a night. We knew we would be back during this time since it was part of the tour plan. It was amazing to be able to live in Paris for the couples months we were there. It was awesome to slowly get to know the city, the subway, the way of Parisian life and discover a new place together. It would be a super long post if I actually told you about what I did each day. Instead, this city is grouped into places or memories. Below I wrote about some places I got to visit and some memories I loved the most. Enjoy!
- Palais Garnier
12/17: We went to see the Opera house on one of Caoliang’s days off. We heard good things about it and the tour ticket wasn’t so expensive, so why not! The Opera house was very easy to get to. Once it was the tour time, our guide Cindy came to meet us and the many other English speakers to show us the Opera house. During this tour, we got to learn about the history of the Opera house, why the mirrors were placed where they were, what types of people frequented the Opera house, and even about the seats in the theatre. One of the interesting things I learned was that the Opera house was really a place to be seen and to see others. The nobility and celebrities of that time really didn’t care about the shows happening on stage. It was like a real life soap opera or gossip newspaper. The Opera house also had a small library with books as old as 200 years. There was also a beautiful room with chandeliers, gold trim everywhere, and a beautifully painted ceiling. Cindy also told us that the Opera house (or its rooms) could be rented out for a hefty price. Apparently, Rihanna had once rented out a room. It was awesome to see a bit of history and to sit on those red velvet seats! The Opera house still has shows now and the cheapest seats would be like 30 euro.
- Lachaise Cemetery
12/20: It might be strange to have a cemetery on your list of places to go, but when that cemetery is old and has some famous celebrities, it is understandable the desire. The cemetery was open in the early 1800s and is the most visited cemetery in the world! I originally wanted to go here to see Jim Morrison’s grave but got even more excited about Oscar Wilde when I saw he was there too. This cemetery was different from the ones I’m used to seeing in Texas. The name plates looked more like name houses! Many of the graves had a small house or shrine like structure where their graves laid. The cemetery was very big, too. Luckily it wasn’t raining this day but the cloudy skies and cold air did make you think about how this place would be like at night. When we got to Oscar Wilde’s grave I was surprised to see how modern the gravestone was! There also was a glass protective barrier around it with lipstick kisses on it! While we were here, we also saw many other visitors around the cemetery, either paying their respects or checking out a tourist sight like us.
- Louis Vuitton Foundation
12/10: As many of you may know, I really enjoy museums. Caoliang, not so much but I think being with me he has either gotten used to it, or learned to like them too. The LV Foundation is a modern art museum so I figured it might be a little easier for Caoliang to digest. During this time, they were featuring two artists, Egon Schiele and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I hadn’t really seen neither one of these artists’ works before but was very intrigued when seeing them here. First, though, I must tell you about the structure of the museum! It was very modern with its shape and choice of materials. Just opening four years ago in 2014, the building was still very new. We started our visit on the terrace which was a mix feeling of being inside but actually outside. It was a great spot to see the sunset and also admire the architect of the museum. Inside, the gallery spaces were huge (as museums should be)! Basquiat’s pieces were nicely displayed since the rooms were big enough to carry them. His work is very colorful with an obvious influence from Andy Warhol. Schiele’s work, to me, was more impressive. With Basquiat I feel like you kind of expect that from the 80s, but with Schiele, I would never expect his artwork came from an artist in the early 1800s. Schiele’s work was very modern and graphic. It looked like stuff you would see from artists now! It was really striking. This museum was pretty cool to see. We stayed about 3 hours and spent 14 euros each for our admission.
- Theatre Shows:Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show, CHICAGO
In the ten weeks I was in Paris, I’d seen the most shows in my life! Not only did I get to see circus and cabaret shows, but also some theatrical ones as well. One of my friends on tour, Ashley had asked me if I wanted to see Chicago. I was a bit weary at first because of the language thing and because seats for these types of shows are usually expensive (I am fortunately lucky to get free tickets to awesome shows). But she had mentioned there would be subtitles and that the cheap tickets were only about 30 euros. I guess it would be an experience so why not! To prepare myself for the musical, I watched the movie the night before. On the day of the show, I was so happy I watched the movie beforehand! Our seats were literally the last row and sitting so high made me feel like I was going to fall off the balcony! The stage was tiny and the height made me feel like I was going to have vertigo. Also the subtitle board was way on the right side, very far from the stage! It was aching for my head to keep looking back and forth from the stage to the subtitles. I did think the singing was very good though and so was the acting. Maybe it was the seats or the lack of language, but Chicago was an experience I probably wouldn’t do again.
One I would is the Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show! When my sister was visiting me, we decided to book these tickets for something to do. I watched the trailer beforehand and it looked really interesting. Honestly though, I wasn’t sure what it was about or what to expect. I think my sister was in the same boat. This show was also a bit more expensive, about $65 for the seat type we got ( I did not want to pull a CHICAGO and get the cheapest seats again). When we got settled and the show started, everything started to make sense. The show was about Jean Paul Gaultier, a French fashion designer. I had heard his name and seen his products in stores before, but being I’m not too much into fashion, I didn’t know much more. Watching this performance allowed us to learn about him, see his amazing fashions, hear awesome vocalists and musicians and appreciate the talented dancers. The show was full of artistry and even though the stage was simple, there was lots to dazzle to eyes. One thing I thought was cool was that Jean Paul Gaultier’s goal was to one day have a show in this exact theatre, Folies Bergere, and sure enough, he did it! To me, it was just hard work and determination all coming together. Great show!
- Musée d’Orsay
12/6: This museum has to be one of my favorites in Paris. The same friend I went to the Louvre with accompanied me to this museum as well. Because she has membership at the Louvre, she was able to get a membership at the d’Orsay as well for a discounted rate. Unlike at the Louvre, she is able to take a guest any day! So on a Thursday (they open late on this day), we made it a night at the museum. We previously visited the d’Orsay a week before but couldn’t see much because the closing time. On this second visit, we were able to see much more including the Picasso exhibit, Blue and Pink. Picasso’s “Blue and Pink” period happened from 1900 to 1906. It was very interesting to see Picasso’s earlier work and probably work people are less familiar with. Unfortunately, the exhibit was so full it was hard to enjoy anything! There were so many people and you could barely stand at a painting without quickly being pushed by another person to move on. I did enjoy seeing things Picasso did when he was just starting out as a painter. This time, he was only twenty to twenty-five years old. That’s nuts! It really makes me feel a bit useless for not being as creative or artistic as Picasso in my twenties! For me, though, it was interesting to see his different styles. I have written before that as a creative, I struggle to figure out what my “style” is. But seeing such famous, talented artists such as Picasso also experiment and have different styles throughout their lives is encouraging for me as a creative looking for that same thing. Along with the Picasso exhibit, the d’Orsay was filled with beautiful paintings and sculptures. I find myself really loving the paintings dating from 1850-1900s, where the skin is so flawless and faces so realistic. They are just marvelous! I mean how is it even possible to make paint look this way?? It was really amazing. I enjoyed the d’Orsay so much because of its unique architecture, it used to be a train station, and its collection of artwork. The museum is so pleasant to visit, has lots of places to sit, huge rooms filled with amazing things to see and history to be learned.
- Musée Orangerie
This museum was smaller than such museums like the Louvre or d’Orsay but also really nice. This museum is probably most famous for housing Monet’s Water Lilies. We didn’t want to start with the most famous painting, so we started downstairs to see the temporary exhibit along with other famous painters, such as, Renoir, Cézanne, Rousseau, Matisse, Picasso, Derain and Soutine. To give you some background on the art in this downstairs collection (Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection): Paul Guillaume was an art collector and accumulated these pieces of art during the early 1900s. This collection was originally in his gallery or personal home. They even had a tiny model of what his office and home looked like with all these paintings. Can you imagine living in a place with such iconic paintings all around you?? It was really cool to see all these classical painters and names you hear so often in the art work all next to each other. The different styles were so apparent when placed in the same collection. After we saw the downstairs collection, we made our way up to Monet’s famous Water Lilies. Before entering the gallery, me and Caoliang spent some time reading the informational plaques before the entrance. I’m glad we stopped because we found out some pretty interesting stuff! Monet actually designed the space itself since he had a very specific intention with this piece. He wanted Parisians to have a place in the city to come and be calm, reflect, meditate and take in some silence especially since the time he presented this work, the first World War was just finishing. In 1909, Monet wrote: “Nerves strained by work would relax in its presence, following the restful example of its stagnant waters, and for he who would live in it, this room would offer a refuge for peaceful meditation in the midst of a flowering aquarium.” Monet also took inspiration for this painting from his water garden at Giverny. I also found it interesting that the two oval rooms, side by side, are an infinity sign. Monet wanted this piece to capture that endlessness, no beginning or ending, “the illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon and without shore.” And like many artists, Monet’s Water Lilies didn’t gain attention, fame or appreciation until much after it was presented. It was presented to the public a few months after he died in 1927 but didn’t gain popularity until after the Second World War. Being in the space was pretty soothing. The space was wide, calm, and a beautiful space for reflecting as Monet intended. It was great to see this piece of art and learn more about it. Oh and if you are wondering why this museum is called “orangerie” it is because it used to house the orange trees of the park in which it is located. Pretty interesting right?
- Musée de Louvre
The Louvre is probably THE most popular museum in Paris..heck maybe even the world. It is homes to many great works of art but the most famous would probably be The Mona Lisa. Admission to this museum is usually 18 euros a person, luckily for me, my friend Ashley got a membership that allowed her to take in a friend for free Wednesday or Friday night after 6 pm. So one Friday night we had dinner and then proceeded to check out some art at the world famous Louvre. The time I had gone to Paris before with Caoliang, we didn’t get to go inside the Louvre but just took some pictures from the outside. It was awesome to actually go inside and see all the beautiful paintings and sculptures. As you may of heard, the Louvre is HUGE and if you actually spent a minute at each piece of art you would be there for..I think a year straight or something. Point is, there is A LOT of art here. We didn’t have that kind of time but I did get to see the famous Mona Lisa. The thing is much smaller than you’d think!! Also, in that room, the painting directly across from it is HUGE. Like the painting literally takes up the whole wall so it makes the Mona Lisa seem even smaller! After checking that out, we walked around and saw some other huge paintings. Unfortunately, we had to leave after barely two hours there because of closing time. Even though I only saw the inside once while in this city, I was happy I actually saw some of it. It’s a big task to try to see all of it and there are so many other great museums in Paris, I had to share that museum time (and money) with other places!
- Les Noctambules
As many of you may know, I started training aerial silks about a year and a half ago. In every city we go to, I make it a point to try to find a new training place. I’ll be honest, in Paris I feel like my aerial training has declined immensely. I feel like my strength has left me and my knowledge of tricks, drops or sequences has diminished. Even though I haven’t been able to train as much as I would like to, I did find this pretty cool training place that wasn’t too far from where we live. The place was found online and is called Les Noctambules. Their property contained two tents that look like actual circus tents! This was my first time actually getting to train in a real circus tent! I think that was probably the most exciting part about this training space. The place was also pretty cool because it was super affordable. It was only 60 euros for eight days/evenings of training. So even if you went in one evening but took three classes back to back, it would only count as one!! Pretty good right? Even though I only took the aerial classes there, they also had many other classes they offered such as handstand, tumbling, trapeze, and Chinese pole. The set up for aerial class was different than I’m used to also. There was ONE teacher for like over twenty students a night. So there were five silks rigged with five different groups. He would then run to each group, show them a trick or two, and then leave to go to the next group. Was it safe or the perfect set up to learn? Probably not. But I at least got to train, meet some nice people, learn a new trick or two, AND be in a real circus tent. I guess in a new city/country, training will always be a mission but at least it was better than nothing!!
- Cabaret Shows: Moulin Rouge, LIDO, Crazy Horse
One of the many perks of working for a company like Cirque is…free show tickets to other shows!! In Paris, there are many shows to see; theatre shows, ballets, musicals, circus shows, and cabarets! Some of the biggest cabaret shows in Paris are Moulin Rouge, Crazy Horse and Lido. Fortunately for us, we got tickets to see all three!! I won’t go into too much detail about each show but I will tell you this, you will definitely see your fair share of boobs…boobs and beautiful women. Out of these three shows, I enjoyed Moulin Rouge the most. Yes, the show was a bit cheesy but the part that really won be over was the huge costumes and big production. Everything was very colorful and there was so much to see. I think some other people have mixed reviews about it because of this reason and the tackiness but I actually appreciated all those details. Plus, it is such an iconic show to Paris that it was a must see for us being here. The show LIDO is much more recent. You can tell in its production with their projection, costumes, story line, and stage. It was also nice but honestly, I got a little bored watching that show. It was too much of the same thing. Crazy Horse was my least favorite. The show is ranked very high in Paris but I just don’t get the hype. Sure the women are beautiful and their bodies flawless but I was expecting much more from the girls and stage. Anyways, I’m super grateful we got these tickets for free cause each other these shows, the seats would’ve costed well over 100 euros each! Thanks Cirque du Soleil!!!
- Atelier des Lumieres
12/17: This exhibit was very unique and different to what you would normally think of when you hear “exhibit.” This show was a show of lights, a show of projections! The space was an empty warehouse space with high ceilings and blank walls. The cost to enter was 14 euros a person but the time you could stay was really limitless. We arrived at 10:30 am and stayed for two hours. Two hours seems like a lot to watch some lights on the wall but it was actually really interesting! The shows they had playing were Klimt, Hundertwasser and Poetic AI. The “shows” were series of projections with music. Klimt’s was the longest and I think the one many people came to see. The show transformed many of Klimt’s paintings into larger than life projections, including his famous “The Kiss” painting. Along with Klimt’s, I really enjoyed the Poetic AI show. It was short, only a couple minutes and primarily black, white and grey but it was so eerie, futuristic and dark that I really enjoyed it. The place also really filled up after we arrived. That made sense though because it opened at 10 am and since no one has to leave at a certain time, the room just becomes more and more crowded. There were a few seats but many people just sat along the walls or out in the open space. If in Paris, and interested in unique art, I would definitely recommend this exhibit!
- Circus Shows: Speakeasy, Saloon, Cuisine and Confessions
Like I had mentioned before, I got to see so many shows while in Paris. Some of my favorite ones were circus productions. With the circus connections Caoliang has, I was able to see Speakeasy, Saloon and Cuisine and Confessions. These show were put together by companies: Cirque Eloize and Seven Fingers. Many might not know that these companies are actually under the umbrella of Cirque du Soleil. Every time I see a circus show, the raw talent of these performers always amazes me. Watching them really makes you feel ordinary though. I mean we are all human but their bodies are so much stronger and can do incredible things! I guess I should take this as a push to do something incredible with my human body!! Anyways, the shows were great and it was good to see circus on a smaller stage.
- Sainte Chapelle and Conciergerie
This place was actually one of my favorites in Paris. I came here with my husband and parents during their visit. Both places could be purchased with one ticket, about 15 euros a person. Originally, I was thinking we would only see the Sainte Chapelle but when we were there, my parents suggested just to see both. Ok sure why not! The Conciergerie actually was very interesting. This was was a prison that held many people during the French Revolution, including Marie Antoinette. It was really cool to walk around and read the history that took place on these grounds and spaces. Next we went to the Sainte Chapelle, which is famous for its 1,113 stained glass windows. The sight you get when you walk into the chapel is amazing. So much glass and colors. Luckily, the day was not so bad outside so we could see the stained glass colors. Even though the chapel was small, the beautiful glass keeps you there admiring and finding new images.
- Parents in Paris
If any of you follow me on social media, you guys would’ve known that my parents came to visit us for a few days in Paris. They started in Paris but quickly left to Italy and Portugal. Not to worry though, they did actually stay in Paris for the end of their trip. I won’t get in all the details of what we all did together or where I took them, but I just wanted to mention how great it was to have them here on tour. This was my parents first trip overseas since they came to America in the 70s. Can you believe that?! I mean my parents have travelled parts of the States, Canada and Mexico but not technically crossing an ocean. We were so delighted and blessed to have them come see us and see how life is for us. I was also ecstatic to show them a place they hadn’t seen before. This time with them also felt a little different because I am now married. It is hard to explain what that slight difference was but it was as if they weren’t looking at me like I was a child. Anyways, I was so happy to see my parents doing something together on their own. It was so cute to watch them be husband and wife. Truly my parents are examples of true love and I will always admire them for all they are and do.
- Disneyland Paris
This may be a place for children, but when my youngest sister coming to visit me and us having lots of sister time, we had to make a trip out to Disneyland! It is called Disneyland Paris but it is definitely not in the city limits. It took about an hour to get to Disneyland on the train. Luckily it was just one train so it was pretty easy. Me and Christina planned to go on her first full day in Paris. She didn’t have time to adjust to the time difference and was catching up on sleep on the train. This particular day was pretty cold in Paris. Nearly 32 degrees (Fahrenheit). We knew it was going to be busy but we were hopeful we would get to ride some rides without having to wait too long. This park was much smaller than the ones in The States. That worked out for us, though, because with only a day to see it, we were able to walk the whole park and kind of backtrack to the rides we wanted to ride. That day, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean and Thunder Mountain. The wait time was about 70-80 minutes. Yes it is kind of crazy especially with how cold it was!! Thunder Mountain was definitely my favorite. That ride was so fast and it was so cold out that you literally felt like you were speeding through a freezer! I had wished the park wasn’t so crowded so we could ride it again. I really wanted to stay for the fireworks show but that wasn’t until closing time, which was at 10 pm. By 6 pm, our stomachs were getting hungry (again) and our toes were going numb. Disneyland fireworks, we would have to see you in a warmer season. Along with that, I wasn’t so thrilled about possibly having to ride home in a super crowded train because everyone would be leaving at closing time. So we headed back to the city to get some better food and to be indoors with a heater!
If any one has ever dined with me, they know I’m one of those persons who takes pictures of their food before eating. Yeah, yeah it is totally an “Asian” thing to do but really it’s because I like to write reviews to let others know how the place was or for me to remember when and what I got at said place! Paris was the perfect place for baguettes and croissants!! It was so easy to go into a boulangerie and pick up a fresh pastry. Too easy!! I didn’t go out to eat so often as most the time I am alone, but on the days Caoliang would have off or when my sister with me, we definitely would go explore new food places. Paris is such a good city for food. There was great Asian cuisine places to choose from. I think I ate pho more in Paris than I do at home!
- Cheese & Wine Tour
Speaking of food, when my sister came to visit us, we also signed up for a cheese and wine tour! It was her idea, and what a good idea it was! The tour was at a wine bar, O Chateau in the city. There were about twenty guests like us and one sommelier. The tour included about five different wines, white, red and a champagne and about five or six cheeses with charcuterie. I really enjoyed the tour because they even provided a take home sheet with a guide as to what was taught that day. It was pretty hilarious to pretend that we actually smelt all the things the sommelier was describing to us. You have got to have a very acute nose for that job! There was a goat cheese there that looked very questionable, but ended up being my favorite! It really is amazing to learn how different pairings of flavors can affect the experience of the food or drink. Food is honestly science that’s edible, or drinkable! After this experience, we felt like we wanted to experiment more with wine and cheeses. It made us more brave to venture out and try new things. Too bad wine and cheese are expensive and isn’t as healthy! Hah!
Thanks Paris! It was wonderful! If you would like to see the video version of my time in Paris, CLICK HERE! Au Revoir!