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Friday, April 23, 2010

Les Petits Plaisirs de Paris

Ahhhhh, I love Paris!  Especially now that the sun is starting to shine and the weather is getting warmer.  I'm on spring break this week, and Paris has proven itself to be quite pleasant when I don't have work hanging over my shoulder.  Some things that I've loved:

  • The "Great Outdoors": here in Paris, this consists of the Champs de Mars (the big field at the foot of that huge iron thing, the Eiffel Tower), the Jardins des Plantes et Luxembourg (fenced-in parks in the city), and the concrete-walled banks of the Seine.  Now that it's nice enough, everyone is flocking outside - to take walks, people watch, or just sit in the sun - something that I've done EVERY DAY this week.  Glorious.  
  • "Bon appetit!"  I've written before about the French love for food.  Eating here is serious business!  A few weeks ago, I went to LaDuree, a French pastry house and restaurant known for its macarons.  I bought one mini-macaron (rose-petal flavored), and then stood outside waiting for my friend.  Just as I was about to take a bite, a passing man wished me a "Bon ap!"  I had a similar experience this morning.  Walking from the boulangerie toward the metro, I was enjoying my still-warm-from-the-oven croissant, when a passing woman said "Bon ap!"  In both these instances, while I didn't catch sight of my well-wisher's face, I took a bite feeling a bit more loved by this city.  
  • Paris metro.  Today I had a girl tell me she didn't like the Paris metro and I was like, WHAAAT??!!  Turns out she didn't like crowds, which seemed to me to be the only logical explanation.  But then I thought some more about it, and remembered that quite often the Paris metro consists of tunnels, where if you take one wrong turn it means a 4-minute detour down a horrible-smelling hallway maze.  But... the metro gets you anywhere you want to be!  Oftentimes, especially in the center of Paris, if you get off at the wrong stop, you simply walk a mere two blocks to your actual desyination, easy as pie - it's worth the smelly ickiness!  But I think that the real reason that I love the Paris metro is because I feel like a connaisseure - a total metro pro.  I speed through the gates by tapping my Passe Navigo (like a SmartTrip or CharlieCard), hardly look at the exit signs, read my french book, and roll my eyes at tourists.  

I could go on and on, but I'm going to Barcelona for the weekend and I need to pack! 

Much love,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Baaaaack!

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the hiatus - I have been busy !!  Three straight weeks of visitors, including MOM, SARAH, and ELYSE!  And Dad is coming in two weeks - too cool!!!

Let's do a recap, with lots of pictures, of the family visit.

SHOPPING!  Sarah came to Paris with the goal of purchasing a prom dress, prom shoes, and some shorts. While we only hit one of them (prom shoes), she did try on a 400 Euro dress.... Ahh what fun.  Asides from checking out some of the less expensive shopping districts (mostly in Le Marais, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements), we also checked out some of the oldest department stores in Paris, Le Bon Marche and Les Galleries Lafayette.  These department stores are from the mid-late 1800s when the Baron Haussman was transforming Paris to the city it is today - big boulevards and instituting building codes, etc.  These buildings are AWESOME.

Sarah and Elyse on the escalator (left!) in the Bon Marche

Galleries Lafayette + ceiling

Looking down at the Galleries

Elyse with a Donald-Duck SEQUINED dress.  It could be yours for a mere 500 euros!  NOT. JOKING.