Paris, France

24 Jun

2013-06-10 11.46.41My dear friend Danguole and I had been talking about taking a trip abroad together for a long time. In fact, we were thinking about going to Columbia together a couple of years ago. I ended up moving to New York, and she (being the brave, little toaster that she is) went on her own. But finally, we got ourselves together and decided to go to Paris. A lot of people were surprised by our choice. The trend for people our age is to go to more exotic places, like Asia or Central America. Those are places we discussed, and it just came down to Paris. D had never traveled around Western Europe, and I’ve been dreaming of Paris for years. It’s kind of a mainstream option. But not liking something because it’s popular is just as sell-out as liking something because it’s popular. Like what you like, do what you wanna do. We had an amazing time in Paris.

Nutella crepe in the Tuilleries Gardens

Nutella crepe in the Tuilleries Gardens

Our trip was divided into thirds. Paris the first third, Normandy the middle third (later post), and back to Paris for the last third. We spent the first third doing all the things one has to do and see. Eiffel Tower, Louvre (outside, we didn’t go in), Musee D’Orsay, Notre Dame, Arc du Triomphe, Place de Concorde. All the major things one is supposed to do. But it got to the point where we were weary of our guidebooks and didn’t want to be herded like sheep along with thousands of other tourists. We had seen that side of Paris.

The French don't fuck around with salads. This one has foie gras, duck breast, and roast potatoes.

The French don’t fuck around with salads. This one has foie gras, duck breast, and roast potatoes.

The French have the idea of how to live right. They take their time with things, they enjoy everything. If you’re going to eat a meal, why not eat a delicious one? If you’re going to drink coffee in the morning, why not have a delicious espresso while watching the rain inundate the streets? If you’re going to get dressed in the morning, why not look stylish and amazing all the time? Some of the laws the French have might sound unnecessary, but they make life more enjoyable, so why not? One of their laws is that all bakeries have to make bread both in the morning and the afternoon, so that your evening baguette is as fresh as your morning one was. So. Logical.

10AM watching storm clouds roll in

10AM watching storm clouds roll in

So much of Paris is an experience. While I was there I was reading a book called, “The Most Beautiful Walk In the World: A Pedestrian in Paris” by John Baxter. It’s written by a man who gives literary walking tours in Paris. While he talked about his favorite places in Paris, he likewise talked about how Paris is at its best when it becomes your own experience. D and I stayed in the Northern neighborhood of Montmarte, and it got to the point where after a day of sightseeing, we were so happy to be back in our neighborhood. OUR neighborhood. Our last couple of days we didn’t even leave Montmarte.

Having a picnic of baguettes, cheese, and strawberries in front of the Sacre Couer, Montmarte.

Having a picnic of baguettes, cheese, and strawberries in front of the Sacre Couer, Montmarte.

So I can tell you how we ate two meals at La Marmite on Rue de Clichy. But I can’t guarantee that when you go there you will also have Linda, the most badass waitress we’ve ever met or that it’ll be pouring rain just beyond your table. I can tell you that we drank beer and chain smoked cigarettes at the bar across the street, but I don’t know if you’ll have as much fun as we did playing “Marry/Murder/Sleep With” as French boys walk by. You can go to Les Deux Moulins where “Amelie” was filmed. But if like me you sit and write for an hour, I can’t guarantee that two French boys will wave at you and go to great lengths to get your attention and make you smile. France was an experience. It was a true vacation with relaxing, eating, drinking, laughing, staying out late, getting soaked in the rain. It was perfect.

View of Paris from the Sacre Coure, Montmarte.

View of Paris from the Sacre Coure, Montmarte.

  • Travel Notes
  • Learn a little French- Just a little! Know how to say hello, goodbye, know how to order in a restaurant, please, thank you. I’ll take you a loooooong way. The French were so warm and kind to us, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we made a bold attempt to speak their language.
  • Sacre Couer- I know I said that Paris is your own experience, but if there is one touristy thing I can recommend, it’s going to the Sacre Couer. We went a lot. We had picnics, I laid in the sun reading, we drank beer at 1 in the morning while someone blasted pop music from their car nearby. Best view of Paris.
  • Eat with abandon- I gained 5lbs in Paris. I’m not ashamed. I ate duck, foie gras, escargot, stinky cheeses, weird pastries. I regret nothing!
  • Dress your best- This is Paris after all. When I travel, I often opt for the comfortable walking shoes, layers, maybe even a backpack. In Paris, people are on display. The seats in cafes all face the street, none face the other way. Parisians love to watch one another, to inspect your fashion choices. So give them something good to look at. It’s the least you can do.
  • Find your hood- Paris is divided into arrondisements (neighborhoods). We loved Montmarte and were happiest exploring every nook and cranny of it. But there are many other neighborhoods that are lovely as well. St Germain de Pres was incredible, the Latin Quartier was beautiful. Enjoy your neighborhood, don’t rush through it.
  • Take your time- Enjoy that beer. Sip your coffee. Taste every last bite of your Duck Confit. Stare at that piece of art for 20 minutes. At one point, I saw a little old French woman let go of her husband’s hand, walk toward a beautiful rose bush, lean in and take a deep breath. She literally stopped and smelled the roses. That’s the way to enjoy Paris.

4 Responses to “Paris, France”

  1. queerf0x June 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    I made notes of things I wanted to comment on while reading your post. I may be a little obsessive right now. And also a little over-caffeinated. Anyway, here they are:

    OMG, you went to Paris and didn’t go in the Louvre?!? Blasphemy!

    I LOVE the photo of you! You look gorgeous!

    “Marry/Murder/Sleep With” sounds like an awesome game. I’d totally play it.

    I loved everything in this post. I SOOO want to go to Paris now, and it was never on my list, lol. It sounds so amazing and wonderful and magical, though. Well done, you writer, you. ^_~

    And hey, random question: Any chance you’ll be in the Seattle area in July? ‘Cause I will be from the 12th to the 31st, and it’d be awesome to meet up!

    • Chrissy June 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Haha, you are too funny! You should definitely add Paris to your to visit list, and you should definitely play “Marry/Murder/Sleep With”! I’m hoping to visit Seattle sometime this summer, but it might not be until August, but I’ll let you know if I’m there in July!

      • queerf0x June 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

        Try to come for at least the last couple days of July! It’s been waaaay too long since we got to hang out, and it might be a while before I finally get to New York to visit…or you could just come to Hawaii sometime… or both! Lol!

  2. Danguole June 25, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    You have the weirdest pet names for me, and I totally love it. And definitely agree with all your tips. Can’t wait to sort through all of my pictures–we did so many fun things!

    Your brave little toaster

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