Archive | June, 2013

Expedia’s Film Contest with NFFTY and How I Plan to “Find My Picnic in the Park in Paris”

30 Jun

I recently had the opportunity to attend the #TBEX Travel Blog Exchange conference in my hometown of Toronto. I was so blessed to live in the host city for the conference this year as all I had to do was take a short subway ride to be able to meet travel bloggers and companies from all over the world. Expedia was a great supporter of the conference and I’m thrilled to share their special “Find Yours” contest with all of you…

Since Expedia launched their “Find Yours” campaign last year at the TBEX blogger conference in Keystone, Colorado, they’ve told stories that illustrate the personal relevance and emotion of travel. Of all the possible ways you can tell a travel story, film is perhaps the most powerful. What travel blogger hasn’t been inspired by the great travel destinations seen in film?

Now one travel blogger will get the chance to star in his or her own travel short film! This spring marked the second year they’ve partnered with National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), the world’s largest youth film festival. They’ve partnered with NFFTY to determine five iconic cities often seen on the silver screen, including: Australia, Paris, Morocco, London, and Seattle. The Expedia Viewfinder Film Contest starts June 5 and the entry period will close on June 30, 2013 (only a few hours left!).

To enter the contest, travel bloggers must write a blog post on their own blog about how they would “find theirs” in one of the locations above if they were chosen for the star of a 2-3 minute film then share it on Expedia Viewfinder ™ by putting your blog post URL in the comments of this blog post –  Entries and film suggestions can be fiction or non-fiction. After the entry period closes, a panel of judges will evaluate the entries based upon the following criteria before selecting and announcing the winner in July:

  • Incorporation of the contest elements (chosen destination and Find Yours)
  • Creativity
  • The Focus or theme of the entry (for example: culture, adventure, food/wine, family-friendly travel, budget-friendly travel, luxury travel, etc.).

One blogger, along with a NFFTY representative and an assigned NFFTY filmmaker, will win an all-expense paid trip for up to four nights to the winning destination to create a “Find Yours” video.

How I plan to “Find My Picnic In the Park in Paris”

Back in 2006, I had the pleasure of joining a few girlfriends on a quick 4-day trip to Paris. That trip changed my life, as I tried some of the most amazing food and beverages I had ever had and I finally came face to face with a piece of art that I had been obsessed with since I studied it in high school.

It’s considered to be a Paris tradition (or perhaps a tourist’s tradition?) to sit by the River Seine and have a “Paris picnic” of a baguette, cheese and a bottle of wine. My vision is a different one, I want to show the world how to create the perfect Parisian picnic and recreate the scene of my favourite painting, Edouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe [Luncheon on the Grass] in Paris.

Edouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l'herbe [Luncheon on the Grass] at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Photo credit (Musée d'Orsay):

Edouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe [Luncheon on the Grass] at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Photo credit (Musée d’Orsay):

Now, there is the slightly complicated matter of a lack of clothing on the female subject in the foreground of the painting, so to be safe, I’ll assume the role of the clothed woman in the background! Seriously, I want to recreate the scene in this painting in Paris and invite strangers to my very own “Déjeuner sur l’herbe” – surrounded by the delicious delights that Paris is famous for: macarons, baguettes, champagne, cheese and yogurt (yes, yogurt!). I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian (I enjoy dairy and eggs but I avoid all meat, poultry and seafood) and I love beautiful art, so this short film puts the best of my favourite worlds together into one.

My short film would start off at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, with me sitting on the cold floor, in front of my favourite piece of art. When I visited in 2006, I sat in front of Edouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe for over an hour, soaking in every detail. In broken French, I told the security guard where I was from and that this was my favourite painting of all time. He was so kind and suggested a spot where I could admire the painting and not be disturbed for some time.

The film would then cut to Paris’ food markets, such as Marché Rue Cler or Marchés Bastille et Popincourt where the journey to build the picnic would begin. Together we would collect beautiful fruits and vegetables (specifically tomatoes, as they were particularly amazing in Paris!).

Marchés Bastille et Popincourt. Photo credit (Paris Top Ten):

Marchés Bastille et Popincourt. Photo credit (Paris Top Ten):

We would then pop into a Franprix shop (this is a grocery chain in Paris) and pick up a few exotic flavours of yogurt. I had never seen as much yogurt as I had when I visited Paris, as apparently yogurt is a staple for dessert.

Amazing selection of yogurts in Paris! Photo credit (Hey, I'm Anna blog):

Amazing selection of yogurts in Paris! Photo credit (Hey, I’m Anna blog):

Next, we would visit a boulangerie or two to pick up a beautiful baguette and some croissants (particularly pain au chocolat, chocolate-filled croissants, one of the greatest culinary creations of our time!).

Then, we would visit a fromagerie and purchase a selection of cheeses, including Brie de Meaux, Camembert de Normandie, and even a few funky French cheeses such as Rocamadour and Saint-Nectaire, which I’ve only had there.

Next, we would take a quick train ride to Reims to visit the Champagne region, learn about the production process and pick up a bottle for our picnic.

Finally we would take viewers to Pierre Herme’s patisserie, where I tasted macarons for the first time. I bought a “Macaron Mogador” – chocolate passionfruit macaron. I stepped outside the busy shop and took a bite into it. The flavours travelled to the tips of my toes and my knees buckled, leaving me sitting on a sidewalk on a busy Paris street. I’ve been addicted ever since!

Macaron Mogador from Pierre Hermé Paris. Photo credit (Pierre Hermé Paris) –

I believe in budget travel with a luxury twist. Travel is meant to be enjoyed and I truly feel that you can scrimp on some things and splurge on other things while travelling (specifically food and drink!). Overall though, you must enjoy the best of what you can afford, who knows when you’ll be back in that place again right?

I can’t find the words to describe what it is like to finally see a piece of art I only read about in books and I can’t find the words to describe fresh, simple food that was so delicious that I can still taste it on my lips 7 years later. Expedia, I hope that you’ll help me to find the words and create my own “Déjeuner sur l’herbe” in Paris!

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