Gasp! Non-food photos!

I’ve realized that I haven’t written a post or shared any photos from last year’s trip to Paris and Rome that wasn’t about/of food. And although it seemed like it, I didn’t just eat and eat the entire time I was there. I saw the sights, too.

So I’m sharing some of my favorite pictures from my trip to Paris last year, and none of them features food that I actually ate, imagine that.

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I love the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. It takes an exhausting climb to get there, but what’s 284 steps to see what is arguably, the best view of the City of Lights? I like that it’s high enough to get a breathtaking view of the city but but still low enough to see structures and buildings in detail. Plus, from this vantage point, you get a bird’s eye view of the craziness that is the Place de Charles de Gaulle.

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I have to admit, my mouth was hanging a little open in disbelief as I stood here and took this photo. This (unfortunately vandalized) plaque marks the spot on the Place de la Concorde where Marie Antoinette of France, my 2nd favorite historical figure, was beheaded during the French Revolution. I simply could not wrap my head around the fact that I was standing there, where history took place, where Marie Antoinette’s life unjustly  came to a grisly, violent end over 300 years ago. I felt the exact same wonder and awe when I stood at the Traitor’s Gate where Elizabeth I (my #1 favorite historical figure) entered on her way to be imprisoned in the Tower. I swear, both were practically religious experiences for me. And yes, I know how incredibly nerdy and geeky (and creepy?) that potentially sounds. I don’t care.

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I remember seeing this building and thinking, “God, I want to live there.” I guess I could say that about almost every other building in Paris, but there was something about this particular one that made it so memorable to me. Maybe it was its proximity to and view of the Eiffel Tower? Or that it was about five minutes away from Rue Cler? Or that its style and architecture is so distinctly Parisian? Whatever it is, I want to live in this building (although one on Avenue Foch would do just as nicely I daresay. Haha.).

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Now this one for me is a head scratcher. While this woman with the baguettes in her backpack is, in all likelihood, a tourist, what she’s doing here, exposing her bread to all the elements is very Parisian (very French? Is this practice a nationwide one?). I cannot, for the life of me, understand how you can carry your food around uncovered, exposed to dust, smoke and viruses and bacteria floating in the air and still eat it afterward. I. Just. Can’t. Why don’t they make bags big enough to cover the whole baguette? Haven’t the French ever heard of airborne diseases? As a germophobe, I just don’t understand.

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L’église de la Madeleine looks nothing like a church from the outside, since it was built like a Roman temple. Inside though was one of the most beautiful and solemn churches I have been in. Yes, it is not as colossal as the Notre Dame or as grand as Sacré Coeur, but I daresay Madeleine has an aura unlike the other cathedrals’. With its Roman columns and muted lighting, there is something understated and stately about L’église de la Madeleine.

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And, another one from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Just because.

Sigh. I love and miss Paris (and not just its food).

My trip in Instagram/iPhone

I think I’ve been converted. I used to own a Blackberry but switched to an iPhone when I lost my Bold. And I’m loving it.

One of the biggest surprises about the iPhone was its camera. I used it during my trip when my camera battery conked out or when I left my memory card in my laptop (stupid, I know). It’s pretty good, no, considering it’s a phone camera? And one of the photos that convinced me that it was a good camera was this:

From the garden at the Carmelite monastery in Lisieux, France (where St. Therese’s remains lay): the Million Flower (that’s what I was told it was called), uh, flower. It was one of those days (yes, it happened more than once) when I left my memory card in my computer. But the flowers in the garden were so pretty, I had to take photos. And these flowers and this photo are my favorite of the lot. I was really surprised how the iPhone camera captured the detail: the veins on the leaves, the teeny-tiny blossoms and the even tinier specks on the bigger flowers. The photo’s so good, it doesn’t look like it was taken from real life.

And here’s another photo of other flowers in the same garden. I love the contrast of the bright yellow against the deep fuchsia:

And although I know some real artists and photography enthusiasts scoff at the app Instagram, I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s real easy to use and is a great help for those of us who want to tinker with the look and feel of our photos but don’t have the time/money/skill/patience to take photos on film or edit digital ones themselves.

And here are some of my favorite Instagram photos from my trip:

The macaron display case at the la Grande Épicerie. I had to take this stolen shot with my iPhone because photos aren’t allowed inside the store.

And the same is true with this shot:

Another stolen shot of another pastry case, this time, Ladurée at Rue Royale.

I didn’t just take prohibited photos of sugary things, of course. I also took photos of the touristy stuff from my iPhone, including one of my favorite photos from my trip:

And proof that throwing a coin into it works:

I threw a 5-peso coin into the Trevi Fountain the first time I was in Rome. And ta-da! I got to go back. But I forgot to throw another one in this time around. Oooops.

Obviously I had fun with my iPhone and tinkering with Instagram during my trip. Instagram, I think, is great way to sort of have a different version a memory of a moment or place , to give a photo a feel that an un-Instagrammed photo can’t capture.

And besides, when the photos are as yummy-looking as this one, don’t you want as many versions of it as possible?

PS: You can follow me on Instagram: tightsarntpants.

PPS: You can see more of the photos from my trip by clicking on the link to my Flickr account, which could be found on the right sidebar.

Bonjour from Paris!

Or bonsoir, if that would be applicable at the time you’re reading this.

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So I’ve made it to Paris after a seven-hour flight delay. I promise to blog more often than I usually do during this trip. But for now, this short note (and my picture of a flashing Eiffel Tower) is all I have. As you can imagine, a mixture of jet lag, headache, un-normalized ear pressure and a cold is not conducive to writing.

I promise to post something tomorrow, so check back.

For now, au revoir!