One month in Paris. One month is never quite enough; there will always be something you leave without accomplishing or seeing, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s what gives the city its energy and keeps people returning. You have to leave something to dream about, after-all. While my French has come along since my days of saying, “Bonjour, je m’appelle Kari,” and “Merci,” I still have a long way to go. I’ve learned everything by ear, which means my writing skills are that of a kindergarten student. During my month in Paris I decided to enroll in a language course during the mornings to learn a thing or two about writing. It helped, but it also confirmed that the best way to improve my French is by reading, speaking with people, and making loads, and loads, and loads of mistakes. So, to make these mistakes I wandered the streets, went on walking tours, spent days in cafes bantering with servers and bartenders and the evenings with friends, and friends of friends. Even with a few friends around, Paris is a difficult city to crack in a month. When you’re trying to learn a new language, find a job, create social and professional networks all in a matter of a few weeks, sometimes things feel downright impossible. However, even when it feels like everything is going in the wrong direction, you might as well make the most of where you are and enjoy. In Paris that means picnics in the park, a glass of wine and some nibbles at up and coming restaurants in the 11th arrondissement, people watching, peaking into art galleries, and taking a stroll on the original “highline” – a park built on top of old railroad tracks that gives you a view of Paris from the sky.
I played tour guide my last week in Paris when my parents (Jon & Sue) and sister (Jena) came to visit (we missed you, Eric)! They claim that I have an abnormal amount of energy and like to go, go, go. That might be the case, but I wanted them to see as much as possible… and a little caffeine fixes everything, right? ...Maybe not when jetlag is involved, but they survived!
On the first day I took my parents to see one of my favorite markets, Marché d’Aligre, where you can find everything from freshly cut meat to fruits, veggies, olive oil, cheese, and more! We had lunch at Les Provinces Boucherie, a quaint little butcher shop that doubles as a restaurant. You have a seat, choose your cut of meat, and enjoy a glass or two of wine. We sat down at a long table where it turns out a small group was doing a wine tasting. They invited us to join in, and I tasted what was quickly added to my top 10 favorite wines; the only problem is that only 200 bottles of it are produced and you have to be a friend of the owner of the vineyard to receive one… I’m working on it.
Sacre Couer (above) II Mur des Je T'aimes (below) We made our way to most of the tourist attractions including a visit to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay (my all time favorite), Notre Dame, and Sainte-Chapelle. We walked through Montemartre, visited Sacre Coeur, overlooked Paris, and visited the Mur des Je T’aime. We strolled along the Champs Elysées and had tea at Laudurée. We smelled the flowers in the Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens and made our way to an evening cabaret at Moulin Rouge. People say it’s touristy, but there are some incredible routines I’d love to go back to see again!
Musée d'Orsay At the Louvre. Mona Lisa might be the most famous of them all, but one of my favorite pieces is the statue. The sculptor was way ahead of his times when he molded this man taking a "selfie." :) Inverted Pyramid The Luxor Obelisk and the Dôme des Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, are two of a handful of monuments with real leafed-gold. The Obelisk was a gift from Egypt and stands where the guillotine once stood. The magnificent stained glass windows in Sainte-Chapelle. Tea and macaroons at Laudurée. Moulin Rouge
There’s a brass compass star that lies in front of Notre Dame. It is considered the center point of Paris and rumor has it that if you spin on the star, you will come back to Paris; if you jump on the star, you’ll find love in Paris. Let the voting commence… did I jump or spin?