After a month of calm and quiet and cows in Le Puy, I was so happy to finally experience one of the best parts of being in France – vacation! For one week of our almost two week ‘vacances de la Toussaint’ (All Saint’s Day vacation) we spent time in one of the most exciting places in France – Paris!
I was incredibly relieved to be in a city again. So much to do and see, so many shops and museums and parks and people and even the smell of the metro made me happy. We were also lucky enough to be able to stay with two of my favorite people in the world, my friends Julia and Hélène!
This was my first time in Paris with Igor and also my first time as a semi-adult (as opposed to a 16-year-old girl with a school group) that I really got to explore Paris and experience all it has to offer. It would take me forever to write about everything that we did and saw and ate, so here’s a list: 4 museums (Centre Pompidou, Les Arts Décoratifs, Musée Rodin, Musée d’Orsay), Montmartre/Sacré Coeur, Versailles Gardens, Jardin des Plantes, Jardin des Tuileries, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, picnic by the Seine, a vintage clothing show/market, Notre Dame, Saint Germain des Près, Bateaux Mouches, homemade crepes chez Hélène, Halloween French style, local market in Belleville, Moroccan food, romantic dinner in the Latin Quarter, macaroons, street crepes, fig goat cheese, walk along Canal Saint Martin, walks along the Right Bank and the Left Bank… I think we did pretty well for one week. My feet were killing me by the end, but it was definitely worth it!
It’s hard to say what the best part was, but I think for me it was just that there was so much to look at. Beautiful gardens, the banks of the Seine, art from all eras in museums and on the street, ornate churches from the 16th century, even some of the metro stations are beautiful! All over Paris you find extravagant architecture and touches of gold that you would see nowhere else. It was inspiring. Also, I realized on this trip just how BIG Paris is. Each arrondissement has its own character and its own charm. I am jealous of Julia and Hélène. Although, like New York, I’m not sure I could handle living in Paris all the time, but I think if I went to museums often enough I would do ok. There is just so much beauty and history there. I’m not usually too interested in history, but now I can appreciate it because history is what gives Paris such a diverse array of amazing buildings and works of art and food and people, too. Like any big city, it also has a lot of foreign influences (oh how I miss Indian food!) that keep things interesting. I wish I had eaten more foreign cuisine in Paris, because in Le Puy the most interesting thing you can find in restaurants are the special green lentils from Le Puy that everyone is obsessed with (which I still haven’t gotten around to trying, I’ll have to put that on my list).
After sorting through almost 1,000 photos of Paris (of which at least 100 were of the Eiffel Tower. Yay tourism!) I’ve chosen some of my favorite pictures to share in this post. More to come later!