European Adventures Concluded...For Now...

Now to show my other adventures that weren't in Paris! Almost every weekend I lived in Paris I went on some sort of cool mini trip (save for maybe 2 or 3 weekends...)

My first full week I didn't leave Paris really, but we did go to Euro Disneyland and the movie lover in me really loved the design of the parks (especially the Pixar section...so awesome!) I had some movie moments with that, as well as Narnia, Star Wars and some others :)

But our first actual trip was to Normandy. This was really one of the highlights of all of my time in Europe (but honestly...there were a lot of highlights!) I really wish we could have spent more time on Omaha beach. The spirit there was just incredible...and you couldn't help but be filled with thousands of emotions. Pride, gratitude, admiration and sorrow for the sacrifices made there. This was just an amazing sight to see for the history alone though it does have small film significance too (Saving Private Ryan.) The moment of walking on that beach in the pouring rain was one of the most vivid and beautiful memories of my life. I'm so grateful I was able to go there!

The next place I got to see was the French Riviera where I visited Nice, Monte Carlo in Monaco, Cannes, and Marseille. Each of these cities (especially Nice and Monte Carlo) were just like a freaking paradise. They were just amazing. Everywhere was beautiful, and everything I shot looked like it could have been taken off a postcard. The silly movie Killers inspired me to go there because of its gorgeous scenery and in person it didn't disappoint. Many movies are set in this land of the rich and famous including a great french film Priceless, the classic Hitchcock To Catch A Thief, and also the comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I was also really happy to visit Cannes, the official home to one of the biggest film festivals in the world: The Cannes Film Festival. It wasn't anywhere near when the festival is held, but I got to walk on a tacky red carpet for tourists that are out all year anyway... but I was happy to do it! This trip was great, and also had two vivid memories that occurred in Nice. Swimming in that beautiful Mediterranean Sea was one of the greatest moments of my life (it was just so beautiful and peaceful)...until I got stung by a jellyfish! That was awful, but only made the trip the more memorable I suppose!

The week after Nice, I finally made it to a place I've wanted to go my whole life: London! I loved England. It was so disappointing, we were supposed to be there for a much longer period of time but due to BYU Nazi's we were only got 2 days in that one city, in that one beautiful country, (originally we thought of going to see Stone Henge, Bath, and even visit Ireland for a day...but alas). England is so great, and it has so much film history. A lot of really awesome things originated over there. You've got Peter Pan, The Beatles, Jane Austen, Harry Potter, Charles Dickens to name a few. What can I say? I just love English culture. It's fantastic. There's honestly too many movies to even count that have an English connection! In London, I saw all the sights there are to see (thanks in part to Brittany Helvey who, poor girl, begrudgingly played tour guide.) I loved the parks of London...they were just cinematically beautiful if that even makes sense. And Big Ben was also a favorite as it gave me a total sense of Peter Pan!

The next week was another southern France trip, but more to the West this time as we saw some really cool medieval castles. In these regions everything was picturesque...it looked like a Disneyland creation...but it was real! (When I went to Belgium I also had a similar feeling.) Each town and each castle was just incredible. I loved the little town of red, where every building was red, I'd never seen anything like it..but would have still preferred it if it was a blue city instead :) One of my favorite castles was apparently even in the movie Ever After. It wasn't me who found out this fact...nor do I really care too much because I thought that movie was rather meh...but hey any film connection is okay I suppose :)

Then...there was Belgium. Bruges & Brussels to be exact! This was a fun trip. The food was fantastic and it's just a fun country.
In the way of film, the only film I know to be set there was In Bruges, which I have not seen but have heard great things about. I need to see it ASAP just to relive the wonderful scenery of Bruges. I loved the details of all the buildings and the canals everywhere. It really was lovely.

Next was Italia! 3 of the most beautiful cities in the world happen to be in this country and we saw them! Venice, Florence, and Rome were all just incredible. Although there are certainly many wonderful romances in film that take place here (most notably, Roman Holiday) I didn't find love in Italy any more than Paris (I wasn't looking anyway :) ) More like Julia Roberts in the mediocre Eat, Pray, Love my love story was with the wonderful food. Venice was, as my friend Trisha described it "exquisite" and Rome was just mind blowing. The gondola ride, the first night in Rome eating dinner by the fountain whilst being serenaded by violin, the Colosseum...the moments on this trip were incredible, and again, will stay with me forever.
And finally, I got to live out some serious princess fantasies when we visited the Loire Valley. There we saw 8 castles in the span of 2 days! Each one was so amazing! Day 2 was my favorite when the first one we saw (with the expansive gardens) was covered in a picturesque fog that reminded me of Wuthering Heights. But it certainly wasn't the only castle that blew me away...each was unique and glorious in their own way (and I'm definitely a sucker for anything having to do with water, so the one on the pond and the other on the river were definitely favorites too.)

But sadly, those adventures are all over now. Happily though, I can always keep the memories and those are just as precious as the experiences themselves. I am optimistic that these adventures will resume again, even if only on a small scale for now, but someday soon I hope to return!


Bookends: Looking Back on the Mayhem, An Ode to Paris

WARNING: Ridiculously long post follows!

Hello, neglected blog! I know a lot of you were really disappointed I didn't blog more of my experiences while I was in Europe. I just felt so overwhelmed with all of my schooling that I just didn't have the drive to. There are far too many stories to go back and tell, but I figured it would be cool to show you some of the things I saw from a film lover's point of view :)

As I'm sure you're all aware, I spent the majority of my time in the lovely country of France. More specifically, I lived in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris. But I was certainly not the only person ever to be wowed by this city as I can recall many filmmakers who have also fallen for its charms and documented that love in their films. So here's a look at their adventures alongside mine!


Nothing is more iconic to Paris than the famous "Le Tour Eiffel" or in English "The Eiffel Tower" :) I have many wonderful memories associated with that wonderful landmark. I went on top of it twice. The first time I climbed 700 some odd steps to the second floor....which is the middle of the dang thing practically!) I met a gypsy and gave her a European nickel for her dying father or something...she refused. Apparently beggars can be choosers nowadays. We went on top again during the last week, and I did come to visit it my very last night to see it sparkle on last time (as seen in my pic). Ah, the memories. But The Eiffel Tower is just as iconic to cinema as it is to France! I loved seeing it in Ratatouille, Moulin Rouge! and Paris, Je T'aime. Poor Eiffel tower also seems to get destroyed a lot in action flicks. It makes me really happy to be able to say "I've been there!"

Another thing I wanted to do the whole time I was there was to take a boat along the Seine river. There's just something so romantic and beautiful about seeing a city while coasting along a river, and in Paris that river happens to glide along the most beautiful parts of the city....or maybe I've just always thought so after seeing the film Before Sunset.

This was an activity that was saved towards the final weeks, however I wish I would have gone twice (once during the day-- seeing it at night was incredible too though!) To the left some boat river cruises as enjoyed by movie characters, me, and some disgusting couple getting some action....can't say that I blame them...there couldn't be a more perfect setting. Haha, I took a pic anyway :)

Also because of Before Sunset I was inspired to visit many of the lovely parks that Paris had to offer, and I found that the beautiful park walkway they visit in the movie was actually within walking distance of my Paris apartment. Another cinematic sight that was within walking distance to a place where I spent much of my time (the LDS institute) was the fountain by the Pompidou as seen in Sabrina.

Another iconic building to France and world culture in general (found numerous times in art, literature and film) was within walking distance from where we went to school as well. The Notre Dame! I loved to walk there on my breaks and just admire the beauty. It was one of my favorite places in Paris for sure and every time I walked around it I felt so blessed that this was my life (even though it took me a few months to actually go inside...I just kept saying "I'll do it later I'll do it later..." But glad I did do it finally.)

Two of my favorite movies ever are set in Paris....more specifically the area of Montmartre: Moulin Rouge! and Amelie. So it was one of my first priorities to get myself over to that area of town so I could explore the cinematic sights (even if it was a sketchy part of town...love of cinema triumphs over all!) Montmartre is absolutely gorgeous...it's a very hilly part of town with the Sacre Coeur overlooking everything, and it's simply stunning. The Moulin Rouge? Haha well, I was happy to see it because of the love for the movie, but it's definitely not the same Moulin Rouge of the film that's for sure! I saw many locations from the movie Amelie as well (I already mentioned the Sacre Coeur) of most note would be the diner...but alas I did not take any pictures there.

In addition to those In addition to those two favorites, another new favorite has a lengthy sequence shot in Paris: Inception. A few friends and I had a little Inception field trip (thank you, Roxanne, for doing the research!!) where we saw the cinematic sights showcased in that film. We found the location of the deli (which actually didn't exist) where Leo and Ellen Page experience one facet of dreaming, as well as the bridge where she practices her training (also the same spot where he had the memory of he and his wife). Our little field trip was one of my favorites for sure....the film lover in me was all too excited!

No Deli here!

Two of the most breathtakingly, ornately beautiful places I've ever been in my life (and in France) were the Opera Garnier and the palace of Versailles. I wasn't crazy about the movie Phantom of the Opera, but I kind of want to watch it again just to see if their version of the famous opera house could even compare to the real thing. Everywhere you looked inside was just gorgeous.

Versailles was very similar (well....other than that terrible Japanese art being displayed in it...but THAT's another story). For me though it reminded me exactly of Pemberley from Pride & Prejudice. When I looked out the windows and onto the lake I recalled exactly as Keira Knightley's Elizabeth did in the movie....just wow.

And finally, as a movie lover one of the places I was very happy to visit was the Cinematheque Francaise.So much history contained within....I was just eating it up. Isaw so many things that I had studied before in my many film classes (Edison's first kinetoscope and the Lumiere Bro's first projector). It was just so cool to be able to look around at these things and think that they were how it all began....they are responsible for this crazy passion of mine :) Unfortunately pictures weren't allowed inside, so I can only show you the exterior. Haha! It's covered in hair because there was an exhibit upstairs examining the differences of how blondes and brunettes are portrayed in cinema (TEAM BRUNETTE!!)

That should be a sufficient recap of my time in Paris, from my cinematic standpoint at least (I didn't even touch on the wonderful museums I went...everything was so lovely). I definitely had far too many experiences to try and relive. I learned a lot and lived a lot! It was some of the best times of my life...full of growth, adventures and hilarity (not written here are the numerous times I made a fool of myself through Frenglish and things lost in translation!) But don't worry, there's more to come. Soon I will recap my other non-Paris adventures in Europe...hopefully it doesn't take me as long as it took to do this one.