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.


Laurie & Clint said...

I'm so glad you went. I have never regreted any of the
money I have spent on traveling. It really enriches your life

Johanna said...

Ditto Laurie's comment. Loved hearing some of these stories that I hadn't heard before.

Sarah said...

You got to see so many cool things. As Laurie said, it was money well spent!

Amelia said...

Great Pictures!! Paris je t'aime!

Johanna said...

Seriously lucky to have the experience of a lifetime. The opportunity to see beauty, history, and how other people live is choice indeed.

In my next life, I'm going to be a world traveler.

And while we missed you while you were gone, I'm glad that you went.

Unknown said...

What, no reenactment for The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Nice write up, thanks for sharing your adventure. :)