The Boy Visits Paris, take two…

Posted on May 22, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Yesterday it finally hit me that I’ve only got a week here left, which is shocking and a bit terrifying and sad. My line to people about missing Paris has so far been, yeah it’s gonna be tough and I think I would be a lot more sad if I didn’t have the excitement of moving in with S waiting for me back home. Yesterday though, I was riding home on a bus after wandering through the Jardin du Luxembourg and it really truely hit me that I would be gone soon and this wonderful, amazing, sometimes frustrating experience would be over. I will never again be 21 and living Paris. And that’s something I’ve been mourning a bit, even in the excitement of preparing a new life. This city will always be something special to me. I can’t wait to come back here and explore with my children and show them all my favorite places. But still, I’m sad to be leaving what I have here and now, a life surrounded by wonderful, amazing friends, filled with crazy evenings spent meeting people in metro stations and going in search of a host-family free apartment to get together and party in. So, I’m trying to make this last week or so really count, because, damn, I miss these ladies already.

And now onto the promised recounting of S’s visit to Paris during his spring break in March, because despite the sadness to be leaving, I’m completely and awesomely psyched to be moving in with S and sharing a life with him. And here are some reasons why:

In case you didn’t know, we both LOVE to cook. I’m back at Pearls and Cupcakes in about a week and so much food blogging will be had. Very psyched. The second night he was here, after crashing for a bit, we picked out a recipe for marscapone, spinach, lemon and hazelnut pasta, that was, quite frankly, awesome. What was not so awesome, was S forgetting his credit card in the Boston airport, but we figured out how to transfer money between our accounts and so all was good.


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Dublin, the boy in Paris, Christmas at home, 21st Birthday, and Chinese New Years, oh my!

Posted on May 20, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

So the post a day didn’t exactly happen, because of finals and a nasty cold that I can’t quite quit, but I’m pushing through to try and document as much as possible of what happened during my long absence, before getting to the good stuff of my amazing spring break trip of awesome (pictures are already up on my flickr if you are curious and want a sneak peek.) Anyways, I’ve decided that the best ways to get you all caught up is via a short picture diary of the major events of December 2008 to January 2009.

First stop, Dublin: December 5th to December 7th

Travel Companions: Jamie and Alix

Where we stayed: Charles Stuart Guesthouse in a huge triple room. Very friendly people plus tasty traditional Irish breakfast every morning.

Favorite thing eaten: Sausages and Grand Marnier hot chocolate at the Temble Bar Food Market.

What we did: Saw Malahide Castle, went on the Guinness Factory Tour, walked around St. Stephen’s Green, and window shopped on Grafton Street.

Favorite memory: Going to a club where Jamie and I went to grab drinks and turned around to ask Alix what she wanted only to find her making out with the HOTTEST guy I’ve ever seen. Like epically hot. So sad I don’t have a picture.


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A belated Happy Mother’s Day…

Posted on May 15, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

With 16 days left in France, I believe I am at what would be considered the final countdown stage of my year here. And in this final countdown mentality, in addition to driving myself a bit mad trying to get in all of my favorite Paris things as well as study for finals, I feel oddly compelled to make sure I document every little thing so that I don’t forget, even though I’m already starting to. Thus I bring you the week of a post a day until I finally catch up to where I am now, and where I’m about to be.

I had originally intended to post about my mom’s trip to Paris in February on Mother’s Day, but I unfortunately have been without a computer for the last two weeks, which, no, wasn’t stressful at all, thanks for asking. Advice to anyone living abroad used to the wonderful, wonderful, live-saving, worship-deserving US Mac store people, don’t ever try to get your  computer fixed abroad and expect the same level of service. It doesn’t exist, and that makes me very sad.

Anyways, back to the momma’s trip to Paris. She officially came in as my big 21st birthday present, because I decided there was just no way I could live in Paris for a year without her coming to visit me. The first night, a Monday, we stayed in Hotel Residence Henri IV in the 5th, which I would highly recommend. Very nice rooms and in a wonderful location for not so very much. We pretty much just hung around in that area, since my mom was so jetlagged. The next morning, we moved into my wonderful host family’s apartment, as my host sister was out of town for the week on a school trip and my host mom decided to take advantage of the free time and spend the week in Barcelona.

After getting settled in, we picked up Champagne, whose host family was also gone for the week, and headed off to the Musée d’Orsay, which continues to be my favorite museum in Paris, if not the world. My mom was equally impressed. After grabbing a quick lunch at the amazing museum restaurantm we went over to Notre Dame, which was as neat as always.

On Wendsday, we decided to follow (against my attempts to fit in and at least not look like a total tourist) Rick Steves *shudder* walk around Montmartre, which I actually hadn’t made it up to yet. I think Sacre Coeur may be one of my favorite places in Paris, but the area in general was a bit too touristy for my taste. It was weird to be in Paris, but hear more English than French.

I really enjoyed walking around the neighborhood and imagining what it must have been like in the days of the impressionists, back before it became a mass producing tourist mecca. Also seeing where Van Gogh lived was pretty cool.

Thursday was Champagne’s 21st birthday, so we decided to make it into a giant joint birthday extravaganza. After picking up pastries at Ladurée the day before, we headed over to my favorite little lunch place a block away from my house and got several tasty sandwiches. A bottle of champagne from Champagne’s voice teacher completed our picnic and we headed out to Versailles for a day filled with pastries and champagne. And here’s the birthday girl!:

It was more dark and rainy than our previous bright and glorious experience, but pretty darn cool nonetheless. I mean, how many people celebrate their 21st birthday with a view like this?

Although we missed out on the fountains because of the time of year, we did indulge in something Champagne and I hadn’t the first time around: RENTING GOLF CARTS!!! Or more properly, just one, to take ourselves down to Petit and Grand Trianon, the smaller private royal residences nearby. They were both much more liveable than the behemoth that is Versaills, so that was pretty cool. That evening we had dinner at the AMAZING Le Restaurant in St. Germain, where we all shared a 4 course tasting menu of scallops, some sort of asparagus soup, a white fish and several wonderful small desserts. SO GOOD!

Thursday, I decided to get myself some mom-time, so we headed over to the Louvre and pitifully attempted to see EVERYTHING! We made it to everything I wanted to see, but unfortunately spent a bit too much time wandering around the Louvre and didn’t make it to le Musée de l’Orangerie in Jardin des Tuileries. We did however have a nice walk around the gardens, and I got to take some pretty cool pictures of the Champs-Elysées.

After a very long day, we took a bus down the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe and then headed home for some delivery food Indian (I would sell my soul for some nan au fromage right about now). Mom’s last day was spent wandering around the Marais, going to Beaubourg, and then heading off to see the Eiffel Tower. All in all a wonderful trip…

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First day in Paris…Le premier jour à Paris

Posted on August 30, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

So much has happened in the last 48 hours, I don’t think I can even capture it all, but I’m going to try to while its still fresh in my mind and my journal. Champagne and I ended up being on the same flight as 8 or 9 of the other students in our group. After a very annoying flight (we sat on the runway for 2 hours!), we finally made it to Paris at around 9:30, or as Parisians would write, 9h30, which is the way I’m writing time from now on because it’s easier and I need to get into the hang of it.

After a very long bus ride and a not quite so long bit of wandering around Montparnasse, we got to our hotel at around 12h30, only to discover that the rooms that were supposed to be ready at noon wouldn’t be ready until around 3h. So, a large group of us dropped off our luggage and Champagne and I decided jetlaggedly to go in search of some lunch, specifically a crêperie she had seen on the bus ride into Montparnasse.

Well there was a bit of difficulty finding the crêperie or any reasonably priced French food because Montparnasse is quite an ethnically diverse neighborhood, though we did manage to find some really cool Indian, Chinese, Pakastani, Tibetan, and Japanese places we wanted to try. We ended up running into a couple of girls from our program who had found this cute Italian place called Pizza Roma. After much wandering (jetlagged, I’m telling ya), we ended up deciding to get pizzas there, which we quite delicious. We also managed to order everything in French and our waiter mostly understood us. I also had my first legal glass of white wine, which was quite exciting.

After lunch we wandered around Montparnasse a bit more, we decide to go back to the hotel. Our rooms were finally ready, and Champagne and I took much needed showers and I took a much needed nap, after making plans with the others in our group to meet up around 8h to go to dinner.

After meeting everyone in the lobby, we decided to go explore more of Montparnasse, specifically the Place Denfert-Rouchereau. The group of 18 soon realized that it was going to be impossible to find a place with a table for all of us, so six of us went off to a place we had seen before called Chez Papa, which we chose mainly based on the sweet picture of the old possibly Jewish man. However, at six people, we weren’t able to get a table, but we will be back.

So we wandered around side streets a bit more and ended up at this adorable little crêperie called La Belle Ronde, where we made a pact to try and get no one to speak in English to us the entire night. This actually worked and the waiter even joked with us in French. We then ordered 3 25cl bottles of wine for the table, and you can imagine where the evening went from there…just kidding. Champagne and I each had these delicious crêpes with melon, proscuitto and crème fraîche. The table split a chocolate and hazelnut crêpe for desert and then headed out to meet up with the people we had split off from earlier.

The entire group decided to go out to a bar to take advantage of our new legal drinking age status. We ended up in this tiny little place called Smoke that had a hilarious Asian bartender with the habit of dancing around the bar to ABBA as he served drinks. I had a kir, which is white wine and cassis, aka the signature drink of Paris, and it was delicious. Around midnight, we decided to head back to the hotel, which somehow was quite nearby as we had been walking in circles and called it a night.

Next up, maybe even tonight, the first day of the program and meeting my host family.

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