Paris is ALWAYS a good idea

Paris est toujours une bonne idée

I am very content with my decision to come to France a week before my semester starts in Toulouse. Not only was I able to spend time with my pen pal, but I was also able to spend New Year’s in a different country with new friends and see Paris from a local’s point of view. Of course there were touristy things done; it HAD to be done. It was just way cool to be able to stay in a studio, rather than a hotel room or hostel, in le 17ième arrondissment nonetheless.

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Jour 1 

Since the journey from Villejuif to Paris, on the Metro with deux valises/ two suitcases, was needless to say difficult, it was necessary to relax a little and settle in at Ambre’s apartment. After, we ventured out to walk the streets of Paris, beginning with the Champs Elysees.

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There are these Christmas markets, simply called des marchés Noël, with a variety of foods, drinks, novelty items, stands decorated with lots of lights and more food. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures because I was more focused on watching my bag and my face; they were so many people! A mix of locals and tourists, and la police.

Then, we decided to walk to the end of the Champs Elysées to the Louvre. Between the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre, you have the Tuilerie Gardens and the Place Concord.

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By the time we got to the Louvre, night was beginning to fall; so why not keep on walking? Vers la Tour Eiffel! It was halfway through that my feet started to get tired and it started to rain; but then, I saw this:

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The sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower and the streets of Paris after it’s just rained… AKA the 8th Wonder of the World; so beautiful and breathtaking that I just stood there in awe. I would end up just staring out the window of the apartment, at the top of every hour after dark, to watch the Iron Lady sparkle. You have to see for yourself before you can fully understand. She is the epitome of why Paris is called the City of Lights.

The last stop of the day was Ambre’s au pair family’s flat to visit and so that they could trade Christmas presents. It was there that the parents strongly encouraged, not that I needed tons of encouragement, to sample “the best cheeses in France.” Of course I couldn’t turn that down. More amazing French hospitality.

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  Jour 2

The first stop of the day was to 1D World Paris. I know what some people will say: you’re in one of the most beautiful cities of the world and you’re going to a store dedicated to One Direction? … Yes. It was located in a mall called La Vache-Noire, and it was interesting to see that despite being in a completely different country, the love for the One Direction boys is still the same.

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After, we went to see the Notre Dame, the bookshop called Shakespeare & Company, the Pont de L’Archevêché, and the Île de Saint Louis.

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Jour 3 –

 My last full day in Paris.

We began at the Eiffel Tower, since I had yet to see it during the day this trip. (I think it’s more beautiful at night, but I might be biased.)

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Sacré Cœur

The view from Sacré-Cœur is one of the most beautiful in Paris when the sky is clear. It wasn’t clear this day. Zut alors!

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The rest of the day I spent packing up again since Ambre had to watch the kids. After, we met up with her friends for dinner at a 50’s American diner themed restaurant. I never felt so much at home, yet so out of place. As I was about to grab my burger and eat with my hands, I saw that everyone was eating with forks and knives. Ambre and her friends were nice about it, but after a while, I started to feel kind of awkward. It was such a humbling experience, and I took it with a laugh.

If there’s one thing I learned during my stay with Ambre, it’s that if I’m ever going to make it through the next 6 months, I have to not take myself too seriously. And that my French conversational skills need a lot of work; but that is why I am here.

I never imagined in a million years that I’d spend the first days of the new year in Paris, with someone whom I’d been exchanging letters and emails with for 2 years; but it was an experience that I’ll always remember and cherish forever.

À la prochaine, Paris!

Next stop: Toulouse.

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