Barbie for big girls.

Travel

Paris Fashion Doll Festival 2013

Paris sightseeing aside…it was time to attend the event that brought us all to Paris…The Paris Fashion Doll Festival.  This year, the Barbie event was held on a boat so we needed to make our way from the convention hotel over to the Seine River and the lovely Eiffel Tower that stood in majestic splendor over our point of departure.  It was a frigid morning at the Tour Eiffel but we still managed to take some photos and enjoy our time…and enjoyed stopping at a café for some chaud chocolate or thé au citron afterwards.

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Our intrepid group…Dan, Carole, me and Hilda.  Many thanks to the lovely Spanish couple who took this photo for us.IMG_2437

After a quick stroll through the Eiffel Tower’s surrounding grounds and neighborhood….

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We arrived at the Bateaux Parisiens for our most fabulous Barbie luncheon on the Seine.

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The weather albeit cold was not rainy so it was possible to enjoy the sights of Paris as we cruised down the Seine River sipping Kir au vin blanc and eating foie gras…heaven!  We all had the opportunity to see these sights.  I, however, was having way too much fun talking to new Barbie friends so I did not pay attention to the beautiful sights passing by me.  I had the extreme pleasure of sitting with not only my Barbie buds pictured above but also the lovely Rebecca from Paris.  Folks, if you liked the “updo” tutorial I did on this blog, you should be thanking this woman.  She was the one who inspired me to do it.  When I grow up, I want to be as chic and lovely as Rebecca from Paris…that’s my goal.

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Photo credit:  Photo generously taken and shared by the fabulous Carole (Yes,  I am still lusting after your phone camera )

One of my best buddies ever…the person I played endless hours of Barbie with as a girl..my sister from another mother…Carole.  This trip was so much more than another Barbie experience.  It was a trip to celebrate life and the living of that life to the fullest.  So happy to have this experience with you my sister.  { Sniff, Sniff …okay on with the program}

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Photo credit: taken by my new Barbie buddy Rogier

I also had the opportunity to meet and visit with a fellow blogger and new collector Rogier.  Meeting Rogier and his partner Ruben was one of the highlights of my trip.  We had conversed about various Barbie things via email for the past couple of months so it was an extreme pleasure to meet him and get to know him and Ruben better. 

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Ruben and Rogier

Rogier also writes a fabulous blog with a fresh and very interesting look into Barbie..particularly Silkstone..collecting.  If you love Silkstone, I highly encourage you to visit his blog.  I simply love how he shows us his love of this hobby through his photos and words.  It’s infectious… in a very, very good way. http://dutchbarbieworld.wordpress.com/

I also want to say a big “Thank You!!” “ Un Grand Merci!” to all my readers who came up to say hello.  It was so very lovely to hear that people are enjoying the blog and I very much appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to come and tell me that.  I am humbled and completely honored.  These wonderful French collectors also get extra credit for standing there and listening while I butchered their beautiful language with my pitiful attempts at it.  I have decided that I simply need to come to France more often so I can practice and get better at it….yes, that is my plan.

I was having so much fun, I almost…almost forgot that we were going to get a doll at this event.  A special Silkstone Barbie was given to all attendees and she is a beauty.  Her name is “Paris Luncheon Ensemble”

Paris luncheon ensemble

Photo credit: Mattel

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Ahhhh!!  She is in pink!!!  Happy

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Photo credit:  The lovely Carole again…with the lust inducing phone camera..I’m not bitter..really.

It was another great day in Paris.


Opéra Garnier

I could have labeled this blog post with any number of titles.  I mulled over a few different options but ultimately, I titled this post with what was most impressive that day…the Palais Garnier.  In the number of times I have visited Paris, I have never made it to the Opéra GarnierShocking!  It was always on my list of things to do but somehow always manged to get pushed to the back of priorities for the day of sightseeing.  For this trip, our intrepid trio rose early and made the walk down the Avenue De L’Opera and arrived at Opéra Garnier just as they opened for the day.  I was prepared for opulent.  I was not prepared for opulent plus, plus.

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Oh my word!!!  Chagall…a ceiling of Chagall!!

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If you are ever in Paris, DON’T miss this one.  You don’t even have to be a fan of Phantom of the Opera to appreciate the pure beauty of this place…although it enhances it.  You know I was humming “Masquerade” as I ascended that staircase right??  Yeah, I figured you did.

Oh and I have to give a hand to my little Canon PowerShot SX130IS here.  This little “scrappy doo” of a camera can handle low light/no flash like no other point and shoot that I have ever owned.  To my Canon PowerShot…I salute you.   It’s not a Canon 5D Mark III…but it will do for a grab and go camera and I was extremely pleased with it on this trip.


A Day at the Palace of Versailles

I have visited Versailles a number of times.  It has mostly been during the high tourist season of summer .  In that season, you steel yourself to the inevitable crush of humanity…wall to wall people, no chance for a photo without someone’s head getting in the shot and the 1 out of 3 blown shot because someone accidentally brushes your arm as you attempt to take a non flash photo in low light.  Fun times.  So…I was excited on this trip to attempt Versailles in low tourist season.

First of all..I would like to pass on to those who are thinking about going to Versailles and think they need the tour with a guide on a bus.  YOU DON’T!  Buy your ticket in advance ( approx. $25 Euros) and take the train (RER C) out to Versailles.  Our group decided we wanted to see Versailles but not pay the over 100 Euros for a half day tour.  We took a short walk across the Seine from our hotel to the Musée d’Orsay where you can catch the RER C train out to Versailles. 

After a very peaceful 45 minute train ride out of Paris, we arrived in Versailles to sunny skies and cold temperatures.  Perfect for touring Versailles…it gets really warm inside with all those people Smile.  All in all the experience was so much better in low tourist season.  Not the mad crush of people.  Don’t get me wrong…there were a lot of people there…just not a HUGE crush of people.  This photographer was extremely grateful.

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And…if you are lucky enough to be living in this beautiful country, this is where you get to take field trips.  Ohhhh man!  All I ever got to do in Illinois was visit Lincoln’s tomb.  NOT the same.  NOT even in the same ballpark.  {Long Sigh….} C’est la vie.

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Since we were not on an organized tour and completely at our leisure, we toured the Palace, had a quick bite, then decided to brave the cold elements and walk the 30 minutes through the gardens to The Grand Trianon. 

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Oh my word!!  All that pink marble and gold yumminess.  And…best of all…hardly anyone was there!!  The photographer in me was literally jumping with joy.

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Many, Many thanks to my travel companions who were patient with me as I snapped a bazillion photos here.  Never in a million years did I think I would be able to capture some photos of this outdoor space at The Grand Trianon without a dozen people in the shot.  I had the place to myself and I was loving every single second of it.

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It was another most excellent day!!


After the Snow…You Climb a Hill

What do three intrepid travelers choose to do after a snowy evening in Paris?? We decided to climb the hill to Montmartre.  This is the area where we were told you could find Paris’s premiere fabric market…and find it we did.  One of the members in our party is a couture designer and she was in seventh heaven in this nirvana of Parisian silk, satin and lace.

Sacré-Cœur in the snow!

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Command central for this trip

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The breakfast of champions Smile

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A Snow Day in Paris

You know those annoying phrases you learn in the first year of a foreign language class in the US. They were the ones you first learned to say in the language you were learning. You said them over and over again until the were burrowed into your subconscious and you can still pull them out 20 to 30 years later. The first phrase I learned in French was ” Oh zut! il neige”. I never in a million years thought I would be able to use it but after our second day in Paris, I can say that I have actually used the phrase!

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We did not let the snow infringe on our activities though…even though it meant very crowded metro rides, we braved the elements and enjoyed a day at the Musée d’Orsay.

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We also managed to have the most fabulous lunch in the most exquisite place at the museum.

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We had a Kir Royale to celebrate

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It was a good day in Paris! Smile