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A Weekend in Paris on a Millionaire’s Dime

Catacomb Skulls  Paris, France

Catacomb Skulls  Paris, France

In 2005, I was working as a part-time actor bartender in NYC, living with my (now ex) fiancé who was the personal assistant to makeup mogul, Trish McEvoy. Maybe you’ve seen Trish’s line; sold at most high-end department/vanity stores. Without divulging too much info, according to my ex (not me, Ms. Lawsuit), Trish was a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality.

One minute Mrs. McEvoy went through an assumed serotonin stabilizer withdrawal, throwing tantrums, screaming at her employees.

The next moment, she lavished everyone with a comped meal at Nobu.

One minute Trish scoffed snootily at my ex for having never visited France.

The next minute, we’re  on a flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport, her treat. Not kidding.

At the time, I had never been out of the country—I was so amped up I didn’t sleep the ride over the Atlantic, drank entirely too much wine provided by the flight attendant, sprinted off the plane, got to the swanky hotel on Boulevard Haussman in Arrondissemont 7 (also comped), aaaaaaand promptly fell asleep for 5 hours.

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Dude, seriously. Wake the fuck up. (photo by Le Ex)

Oh, grasshoppah.  No bien.

Once I regained consciousness,  I hit Paris hard, osmotically soaking up everything like so many environ sponges.

My absolute favorite spot in the city, represented by the lead picture, is Les Catacombs.

Quick history: since the onset of Christianity in France waaaaay back in the 10th century, people buried their dead in church cemeteries. Paris grew exponentially, fast-forward to the late 1700’s, the city’s cemeteries are now full and horribly unsanitary. The cemeteries were so full, a common occurrence was for the earth to completely saturate, and overflow into the streets, or worse, burst, uninvited into nearby houses.

Child: “Papa, can you pass the salt?”

Papa: “Oui, my little angel.”

Mama: “What do you say, Dear?”

Child” Merci, Papa.”

Mama: “Good girl.”

The walls crack, a huge sound, dead bodies pile into living room.

Child: “Grandma’s back! Yay!”

Parents: “AHHHHHHHH!”

Basically, it was the movie Poltergeist, but French ( Le Boo). So, to remedy the situation, French officials had nightly horse-drawn bone runs (hehe…bone run),  moved the remains to abandoned mines, left to rest peacefully. But, some twisted, arty, amphetamine sniffers decided the bones weren’t organized enough, and made them ‘a-real nice’!

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Here’s the info on Les Catacombs website. It’s creepy, macabre, and uniquely Parisian.

Like any life-changing moment, the sounds, smells, and visions of Paris still stick with my everyday life. Here are some more pics queued up from my imagery jukebox:

Motorbikes/Smart Cars/Volkswagens

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Cigarettes, cappuccinos, and standing conversations at a café.

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Mistaken for a local near Hemingway’s old haunts.

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Culture Shock

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Sweating through clothes, climbing Sacre Coeur’s spire in Vertigo-inspired frenzy.

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Drinking absinthe like Oscar Wilde

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Lenin Wedding

Lenin’s Ghost holding a fire-breathing cat that hates Philippine weddings.

No more Absinthe.

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Getting an eyeful of Eiffel. Gorgeous day, did you know there’s a restaurant up there? As an acrophobic, “I’d like to place an order for delivery, just toss it over the side.”

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oooh la-la. Upskirt shot.

Wandering through walls like le passe-muraille. This mural is based on a story about a man who can walk through walls, and is NOT in fact, Salvador Dali. Walking through walls is a pretty cool superpower, if you’re a total creeper.

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Sheet, I am, how you say, stuck.

Realizing Moulin Rouge is really a Moulin Ruse. Moulin is the Times Square/Disney World of the semi-naked lady world. Ptooey.

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Moulin Booooo

The trip was a whirlwind. When we landed back in NYC, I felt alive, informed, and vowed to explore, travel always.

Now you know a little backstory to my wanderlust.

I have a multi-millionaire makeup mogul to thank for planting the international travel seed in my brain.

Trish, I wrote you a thank you letter, but never heard back, so, thanks again. Here’s some free advertising:

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36 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love this! I didn’t know that about Moulin Rouge and will skip over that tourist trap.
    Such a great idea to go back to a trip taken a while back. I’ll have to scan some photos of one of my pre-blogging adventures.
    France is on the top of my list. We went in 2001 and am way overdue to go back. Besides my book takes place in Provence and I need do some recherche…
    ….runs to kitchen to make French toast….

    March 1, 2013
    • Huge tourist trap, super expensive. Basically a very tired broadway show. But, the area around it is really cool, so we just bar hopped instead of looking at le bush.

      Tapped the old travel vault – I’ve got LOADS of pre-blogging adventures, thinking about doing a piece every Friday as travel inspirado.

      Wait! Are you working on a book, or you’ve written a book? If the latter, how did I not know this?

      Au croissant.

      March 1, 2013
      • I think you should do one a week. Wow! That’s 52 a year! I bet that will inspire some more travel.
        The reason I started blogging 2 years ago was to build an author’s platform for a snarky non-fiction book. My humorous take on society.
        I joined a Friday fiction group. Ohhhh! How I fell in love with writing fiction! It was so much easier. I didn’t have to worry about anyone saying, “Ha! I know who she’s talking about.” I could let my imagination run wild. Not hard for a Wild Rider.
        Needless to say, I shelved the non-fiction book. I am expanding one of my short stories. !’m almost done with the 859th rewrite and then it is off to beta readers to mark up. Note to self. Must find beta readers..
        It is a paranormal fiction about a haunted young woman from Boulder who visits her sister in……you guessed it! Provence. She has a premonition that starts coming true and has to solve the mystery surrounding her brother-in-law before ba, ba, bom…..it’s too late.
        Can’t wait until its done!

        March 1, 2013
      • Ok, maybe every other week. 52 a year seems overzealous but we’ll see.

        That’s awesome. Are there friday non-fiction groups left? :)

        Interesting. How long is the book after your 859th rewrite? Are you looking to self-publish?

        Well, I’m intrigued. When can I read it?

        March 1, 2013
  2. Nathaniel Hahn #

    Great Pics…love the fire breathing cat! I never knew there was blackberry and vanilla musk…i only thought musk came out of animals from the weasel family…a vanilla flavored wolverine musk might actually be real nice…skunky…yet sweet like yogurt. Keep up the roaming RAM!

    March 1, 2013
    • That was a real cat. New species, very rare.

      hahaha, Wolverine Musk: A new cologne from Calvin Klein….

      March 1, 2013
  3. Jason #

    Another good read- made me want to surrender

    March 1, 2013
    • I tried to not laugh at this comment, Jason, but failed.

      March 1, 2013
  4. Awesome story! France does that to people – It was also the place that definitely kick-started my travel fever that hasn’t calmed down! =D

    March 1, 2013
    • Thank you thank you.
      You too, huh? There’s something in the water in France that makes people unsettled and travel lusty.

      March 1, 2013
      • HRH #

        Peut-être l’eau a absinthe ;-)

        April 5, 2014
  5. Good gawd, man is there no end to your escapades? This was great. I love the ooh-la-la French pics — have always wanted to go there and go there, I will. Inspiring, Mike and funny as always. Le hilarious.

    March 1, 2013
    • Haha! I hope it never ends. Got a lot of stories to tell.
      You have to go, Brigitte. Fly Iceland Air out of NYC to Paris. Relatively Cheap. Get lost in the city for 3-4 days.

      I have this picture I took in Paris that reminds me of your avatar. Have to send it to you….

      March 1, 2013
  6. That upskirt shot of the Eiffel Tower is great. Weird question, but how was the coffee in Paris? I’ve always wondered how good the coffee is in Italy and France.

    March 1, 2013
    • Thanks, Mike.
      The coffee is absolutely phenomenal. Though I’ve traded coffee for tea, I’d probably drink some if I ever go back to France.

      March 1, 2013
  7. I’ve never had a desire to go to Paris, but after seeing those pictures, I’m kind of digging it.

    I love the little promo shot for Trish at the end. Nice touch.

    March 1, 2013
    • No desire at all? How come?
      What’s your ideal vacation spot?

      Yeah, vanilla blueberry musk shout out. eau de sex. french style. le bush.

      March 1, 2013
  8. Fantastic and funny article. I have never been to Paris, just to South Africa and Brazil. Would you go back there? And were you able to get internet connection out there everyday?

    March 1, 2013
    • Thanks, Wanda.
      Wow, South Africa AND Brazil? That’s amazing. For travel, or work?
      Would definitely go back to Paris, spend a week revisiting and exploring. Yep, Paris is definitely a tech-savvy town.

      March 2, 2013
  9. I like that you were “wondering through walls”. I wonder through conversations sometimes. Or entire days.

    March 2, 2013
    • Dammit, Laura! :)
      I really, really suck at writing this week. Mistakes all over the place. I need a beer…

      March 2, 2013
  10. I hope the rest of your blog made up for your slanderous remark at the beginning – maybe not in America, but in Australia all you have to do is intentionally publish something slanderous from you or not…and it’s slander…:) Oh God, I’m cruel. Great post and funny as always. A regular travel blog is a great idea, and it’s a good way to keep a record of them too.

    March 2, 2013
    • Uh oh… Really? Well, shit. I did thank her…and I’ll remember to be really nice when I visit Australia. :)
      Thanks, Sara. The stories needed to escape the grip of dusty travel logs.

      March 3, 2013
  11. Great article – I’m looking forward to heading to Paris this summer for my 25th anniversary – first time ever there. Now i have to find a way to encourage my wife and kids to visit the Catacombs.

    March 3, 2013
    • That’s awesome,Battle. How long are you going? I suggest bribery…

      Early congrats on your 25th – hell of an accomplishment!

      March 3, 2013
  12. anita hanes #

    Great post, Mike!

    April 18, 2013
  13. Awesome. Really makes me miss Paris.

    June 3, 2013
    • Was only there for a few days and I miss it. Did you live there, or travel through?

      June 4, 2013
  14. An up skirt shot in Paris and lunch delivered at three floors per second. Tries bien.

    July 3, 2013
  15. I really like your blog, Mr. Mike! Just loving how you’re bringing the world back to us in your own perspective! I’m also making a blog and I would really appreciate it if you could check it out and give me some tips. Thanks again and I definitely look forward to your next post!

    elmbranch.wordpress.com

    July 10, 2013
    • Awesome! Thanks, firerain. Appreciate the love. Will check out your blog soon, give some tips.

      July 11, 2013
  16. I love underground tunnels. Once, a friend led me to the hidden entrance to the underground tunnels that ran beneath my old university. We spent a couple hours wandering around down there. Fascinating but dangerous. I inserted those tunnels into my newly published novel. Some fans say it’s their favorite part of the book.

    August 10, 2013

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