living the PARISIAN dream - PART 1

We all have dreams. Whether they are big or small, they are our dreams. Call it a bucket list, if you may. Sometimes it takes a long time to scratch off just one item from that list, for others, not so much. But nevertheless, scratching off something makes us feel accomplished, in some little (or big) way. Doing a shoot in Paris, was definitely a small dream all three of us had.

I am fortunate to have met people over the years that I share things in common with. Michelle and I have shared a photography friendship for 10 years now, and just recently, about a year ago, we met Hannah, a beautiful young model, starting out her career in the industry. We all share something in common: we love to travel, and we love fashion and art. So when I proposed to travel to Paris, France for a fashion shoot, we were all excited, and not one of us hesitated - we were all in!

My job was to create a statement. It wasn't hard for me at all, I mean Paris was my favorite city in the world! There's just something about it that makes me want to call it my 2nd home. I've been there twice now, and somehow I have a feeling it won't be my last. For heaven's sake, I've even gone out of my way to try to learn the language! But I digress. Hannah had the perfect look. If you think about it, she could pass for Angelina Jolie's doppelganger! She is so young and pretty, she was gaining all the attention of French boys across the city. But that is a different story for another day! We took with us four (4) outfits, and the plan was to shoot at Trocadero, and the vicinity of The Louvre Museum.

Day one was pretty hectic. We had a list of things to do, and we had not had any sleep yet. So if you factor in the jetlag, we were probably up for a good 36 hours. We didn't have a choice- we had to stay up to adjust to the local time. So the first stop we had was the pharmacy. At the time, we needed to have a vaccine pass to be able to access restaurants, museums, trains, etc. We did have a date at Jules Verne, a Michelin Star restaurant at the Eiffel Tower, and this was a requirement at the time.

We decided to walk around to get to the pharmacy, it was a good 20 to 30 minute walk according to Google Maps. Along the way, we found a nice cafe that served breakast. We ordered the complete breakfast, which consisted of a baguette, pain du chocolat, cafe, and orange juice. Imagine the shock on our faces when we had that first sip of orange juice and tasted pulp! The orange juice was freshly squeezed!!!

After breakfast, we crossed the street over to the pharmacy, fell in line and paid for the vaccine pass. Shortly after, we saw a macaron store, and a flower shop, so we had to go in! At that point, I just realized that were were no large department stores in the area, there were just small specialty shops everywhere. It was so refreshing to see that just a block away, you'd find a grocery store or a stationery store- it kind of reminded me of New York. Part of my young life I grew up in the Bronx, and I could just walk to Bainbridge for fruit, or shop for groceries, pizza, Chinese food...well you get it. We found a Farmer's Market that sold pretty much everything. Food, souvenirs, jewelry. We all bought scarves to bring home. They were beautiful, all 100% silk.

We walked back to the hotel after an eventful morning, to get a little rest. We tried so hard not to fall asleep, and after an hour or so, we decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower to do a little sightseeing. We took the back roads, and it was such a pretty sight on the way. Although it was a bit of overcast when we left, we decided not to take any of our umbrellas- not realizing we would regret it on the way home! We took random pictures, we were like kids in a candy store! Whenever there was something we knew we didn't see in the States, we snapped a picture of it. We must have gotten 100 selfies of us by the EIffel Tower!

Ok, so remember when I said we forgot to bring our umbrellas? Yeah, I forgot to mention that all three of us were actually checking the weather in Paris before we left, and after seeing that there was a chance of rain, we all ended up bringing an umbrella in case it did rain. So, back to that- on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the food trucks over by one of the carousels. Hannah was craving a hot dog. We looked up at the signs and by the Grace of God, they were selling hot dogs! One of the street vendors was trying to tell us something- I didn't really recognize or understand, but I ended up learning two (2) new French verbs after looking at the signs. He was basically trying to tell us, you order there, (commandez ici) and pick up here (patientez ici), which we were in line for but didn't realize at the time. So we had Michelle go place the order while Hannah and I waited in line. What we didn't know was that the line we were picking up, was for the crepes, not the hot dogs. Luckily, I ordered crepes. So the deal was, Hannah and I would stay in line, while Michelle waited for the hot dogs.

But it didn't stop there. We got the hotdogs, and they were: 1. Footlong hotdogs, 2. They gave us deli mustard instead of regular mustard. Apparently, in France, they like to use deli mustard and mayo on hotdogs instead of the regular mustard and relish. Hannah wasn't fond of the deli mustard, so Michelle decided to eat her hotdog and order a new one. Michelle ended up with 2 hotdogs! We sat by the stairs next to the food truck to eat. It was getting dark and it started to drizzle....the situation reminded me of the time when Michelle and I were in Las Vegas working a wedding, and we had to eat next to the dumpster because the vendor didn't have tables for us. We were tired and hungry, but we didn't care. We were eating hotdogs in the streets of Paris, right by the Eiffel Tower!

After eating, we started walking back to the hotel, but before we could get far, we could tell that the rain was getting worse. So, we stopped at one of the vendors and bought 2 umbrellas! I bought a regular one, and a plastic souvenir one that had prints of all the famous Parisian landmarks. At this point, we were now "proud owners of 5 umbrellas", as Michelle would say. Remember we all left our umbrellas at the hotel - we just had to laugh.

After walking in the rain for about 30 minutes, we finally arrived at the hotel and ended our day with a drink at the bar. Jimmy, the hotel owner was nice enough to give us one complimentary drink, so we asked for a mimosa, which was a glass of champagne and orange juice. Now, I just wasn't sure if the orange juice was fresh, but we didn't really care then. We were tired. I personally just wanted to fall asleep. Cheers to our first day in Paris, enjoy these last images of us looking completely faded. Normally I wouldn't post these but its part of the story, so take it all in and laugh now.

Stay tuned for Part 2!