March in Paris, pt. 3

If Saturday was our “picture perfect day” in Paris, then Sunday was the day where Murphy’s Law kicked in and everything went wrong. It was drizzly and overcast, but not unbearable, so we hit the streets early and headed down to Notre Dame on the Île de la Cité. We walked along the Seine before heading into the behemoth church. It was packed with Sunday morning mass-goers and tourists alike, celebrating its 850th (!!!) birthday. It was beautiful inside, and we caught the tail end of the mass services (delivered in French, obviously), and as we were walking around the back of the cathedral, the processional of priests and alter boys came down the aisle towards us with the incense and all the religious accoutrements they use in mass. It was incredible. I took a quick video on my camera, and then switched the dial back to Manual mode. The screen on my camera showed a red error message of “BUSY” and then seemed fine. (This is what we call ‘foreshadowing’).

We spent the rest of the day wandering around Saint-Germain and having a fantastic (and fantastically overpriced; it was €7 for a tiny bottle of Orangina) lunch at Le Bonaparte, macarons at Ladurée, and shopping on the Île Saint-Louis. We also walked along Rue de Seine as part of my book research (remember that?! I’m writing a book! supposedly!); Rue de Seine and the streets around it have a ton of small galleries and art spaces and antique furniture stores, and is the setting of Sylvie’s gallery, where Mirette works. I’d spent so much time researching this neighborhood and virtually walking around in Google Earth, and so much time developing these characters and their habits and their lives, that to finally be there, on that street…it felt as if, at any moment, one of my characters would just pop to life on the sidewalk in front of me. That’s how real it all felt. It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life.

Unfortunately, all of my pictures from that afternoon were lost. My memory card corrupted when I tried to take a video in Notre Dame (hence the error message), and didn’t capture anything I shot after that. While everything I’d shot previously was safe (THANK GOD), it did result in 40 or so lost photographs, a lot of tears, and something that looked like this. We ended up finding a store that sold memory cards and camera equipment, but this being a Sunday in Paris, everything was closed until Monday. JAMAL fed me macarons until I got over it enough to compose myself, and we headed down to Rue Poissonnières for the comedy show that night, “How to Become Parisian in One Hour.” Only neither of us had checked the tickets since he gave them to me for Valentine’s Day, and we were both under the impression that the show as at 8pm. False. The show was at 6pm, and we arrived at the theater to find the gates down and the doors locked. More tears!! I was practically inconsolable at this point, but thankfully some kind man working inside the theater opened the doors and gave us the business card of the woman who organizes the show, and told us to call her tomorrow to explain we were dumb Americans. The icing on the cake was that we had planned to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant near the theater, and when we walked over, we found out they were closed for vacation.

So yeah, not everything goes perfectly in Paris! Here’s where the story gets a happy ending though: I bought a new memory card Monday morning, we re-visited a lot of the places we’d been the day before, I re-shot most of my deleted photographs, we called the woman who ran the show and she took pity on us and gave us free tickets for Tuesday night’s performance, and we ended up having an amazing (and cheap!) boozy Indian dinner Sunday night instead of Mexican with some of the best paneer we’ve ever had. All was not lost.

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Some of these stairs have cat paw prints imprinted on them, from the famous cats of Montmartre. They exist! JAMAL’s allergies were going haywire.

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March 19, 2013 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 21

21 comments

  • Okay, I literally clutched my chest when I read “one memory card.” Girl, what were you thinking? Only one memory card? I took two memory cards on a two-day trip to a condo three hours from here. Just.In.Case. Okay, Lauren. Breathe. Now you know, right? Please tell me you re-format you card every time you pop it back in your camera, yes?

    Lecture over. Gorgeous, stunning photos, OF COURSE. I love how they’re all muted golds and then there’s a sudden pop of turquoise and pink from the sign or a macaroon or a flash of light from your ring!

    • Okay, I knowwww. Well, I know NOW anyways. In my defense I never take my memory card out of the camera (I’ve had bad luck with card readers in the past!) and it was a 32gb card with like, 4000 pictures left on it. I thought (incorrectly) that I would never need another memory card. You live and you learn, right? I’m looking at it like this: we got to find a new store on a new street and have coffee and croissants at a new café while we waited for them to open. This is me looking on the bright side now that I’m out of it, because JAMAL can attest to it: I was a fucking wreck. My own fault though!!

      xoxoxo

  • some moments are so good they’re meant to exist only in our personal memory banks! of this i’m sure…

    • What a fantastic & positive way to look at it, Sue! xoxo

  • side note: what if you never take out your memory card and you just let your photos get magically deleted once they have been uploaded to the computer – do you need to reformat then?

    oh my twinsy-pooh this was funny. i am sure i was born under a curse of murphy’s law so i could imagine every moment of this day perfectly. but things do have a way of working out and i think (for me) it makes me feel so grateful for even the most simple things when they do! i hope that guy really did tell you to tell the theatre lady that you were just dumb americans, ah that part made me giggle extra.

    i can’t wait to hear more about your book, i love imagining them there at that corner walking to and fro . . . and i love that that it was such a beautiful moment for you. it’s all real! and your ring is giving off some serious bling in that photo – those macarons looks heavenly too! xoxo

    • Ooh, those are rules I don’t know. I just plug my camera directly into my computer without taking the SD card out (for one, I’m terrified I’ll lose/drop it/Fitz will eat it, and two, I’ve broken my fair share of card readers, most recently by spilling Gatorade inside of one. don’t ask). That might a question for Mr. Google!

      Haha, no, the dumb Americans thing was totally us, we offered that up as a defense and hoped for sympathy (it worked!). It’s true, we were. Who doesn’t check the tickets?? UGH, I know it worked out in the end and we saw the show after all, but I am still not ready to let that one go, haha. Those streets made me tear up, the ones in my book. It felt magical, like I’d made the whole place up and then finally seeing it made me feel like everything else was real, too. Hard to describe without sounding too crazy ;) xoxox

  • I really love that you got to visit with your book in mind! I bet that that’s so much better than Google mapping it!

    Notre Dame is my favorite church in the world. I’m not into old churches, and I’m not very religious, but some how, when I visited Notre Dame, I just felt like there was so much beauty in the world. It’s a gorgeous church, and you are so lucky to have been there on it’s 850th b-day!

    I’m glad JAMAL knows how to cheer a girl up! Macarons are the cure-all.

    • Google Earth is great in a pinch, but nothing compares to the real thing :) Notre Dame is seriously gorgeous. I’m just like you, I love old churches but am the least religious person. You’d adore Belgium. Ghent and Bruges have a million old churches, each more impressive than the last. They aren’t as Gothic as Notre Dame, or as extravagant, but still pretty.

      Macarons make EVERYTHING better! xoxo

  • I’ve lost countless photos in my time and it’s sooo gutting (is that British English only?!) so i feel your pain. I love these though, especially the blue cafe tables and chairs and that incredible picture of the macaroons (they look yummy, can you send one my way?!)

    • Hm, I think gutting crosses the Atlantic! I know what you mean, it’s the big downside to all this digital media! Thank you so much for your kind words, Niki. If I get my hands on more macarons, you’ll definitely get a little treat from me! xoxo

  • (slaps forehead) Ay Ya Yay- what a doozie of a day!
    1. Love love LOVE the shot of cafe tables and chairs
    2. Work that ring Ms Erin!

    • A doozy indeed! It was a good lesson in reality though: a bad day in Paris is still a bad day, haha. Thank you Santa!! xoxo

  • Oh man! When it rains, it pours. That whole day must have been so maddening. At first, I thought you were going to report there were no stores that carried your memory card. Well, thank goodness that wasn’t the case. You know your writing is as good as your photography so I was beautifully picturing everything in my head. My favorite part was imagining you walking around and doing research for your book, and eating those world famous macarons. And then the photos followed and all was right.

    • Life is like that sometimes, but there is no way to rationally think it through when you’re IN it. Which means I cry a lot, haha. Oh man, it would have been brutal if no stores carried them, and that’s what I was half-expecting the entire bus ride back from Saint-Germain to our apartment when I realized something as wrong with my camera, finally. THANKFULLY everything turned out right in the end. You would have heard me wailing all the way in California!! Haha. xoxox

  • Erin why are you writing a book about perfect french people with pretty names, when your stories of unlucky Americans are hilarious! Please put some antics and mishaps in your book :) I laughed out loud at the mexican restaurant part (though i promise i did feel sick over the memory card)
    Glad to hear it all turned out for the best on Monday!

    • Hahaha, oh hush you’re making my ego get all inflated. As much as I wish my life were as slick and glossy as the one I’m writing, I have to say it makes for a better story being the goofy American that I am :) Haha, it’s okay that you laughed, by the time we got to the Mexican restaurant the only reaction I could muster was maniacal laughter. OF COURSE they were closed! xoxo

  • Still can’t get over the RING ((yay))

    • Haha, how do you think I feel??! xoxo

  • Great pic of Jamal.
    Boo about your memory card but double yay that you managed to salvage the day. You Americans, milking your craziness, hilarious ;-)
    Macarons and engagement rings – a match made in heaven :-)
    xx

    • Aw, thanks. We were teetering along that path by the Seine but it was flooded in some spots. I turned around and saw him balancing on that ledge, carefully avoiding falling in. My heart stopped beating, obviously, haha.
      Yeah, everything worked out for the best! It’s hard to see that when you’re navigating through it, but now that we’ve made it out I can focus on the positive :) Macarons make everything better! xoxo

  • Oh what a shame about your photos. But that photo of the roof is stunning. I’m not entirely happy about Jamal standing like that, he could have fallen in at any minute!
    Love that you are flashing your ring in the macaroon (note spelling) photo.
    xx