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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,


  1. Well I love the Paris metro too. It can get you anywhere! Compared to DC with its red, orange, yellow green blue lines, Paris has, oh 12 or 13 lines!?!? Amazing! And seriously, you can figure out the underground mazes, it is like following a path. And what about the fruit and vegetable stands underground? You do need to know how to say Pardon, instead of excusez-moi, but that is an easy one. Stand, sit, and if you are lucky, a slightly drunk woman will sing Opera to you on your way back from Pere LaChaise cemetery and then wont even ask for money. Another woman will lecture you on how great the city is, and then ask for money, but get off the train before she gets to you so its all good. Love Mom

  2. Hey girl, you need to go to that garden behind the Palais Royale - across from the Louvre. There is a corutyard with columns in it that you can stand on, and beyond the courtyard is a formal garden with an allee of trees.
    oo la la

  3. ahhh... Le métro parisien, tout un poème! Il est source d'inspiration pour les râleurs du matin, pour les poètes du quotidien (Zazie dans le métro de R. Queneau), pour les musiciens des rues, pour les fêtards (avec un peu de chance, tu auras bientôt une soirée "stations de Paris")... De jour comme de nuit, il palpite de sa vie propre, cœur de la vie parisienne, veines qui courent underground, on ne pourrait vivre sans!