La Ville Lumière

Say what you want about Paris — it’s bourgois, the people are arrogant, it’s expensive, etc. — but it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in. And full of history and a very subtle liveliness. I can see how to an outsider or  a non-French speaker the city would just look like any other city with famous monuments and history, just with the classic French arrogance tossed in. But imma tell you, it’s really so much more.

Brief sidenote: I really don’t recommend going to Paris via Ryanair unless it really is cheaper. The stress of making the bus to the Beauvais airport from Paris at 8 in the morning (still dark) was not fun. Nor was the total of 30 euro in bus tickets.

I started my first “tourist” day at La Sainte Chapelle, famous for it’s massive amount of stained glass windows. All the glass of which is from the 13th century. A good bit of the lead holdings are new, but if I understood the video correctly, the glass is all kept unchanged.


Then I went to La Conciergerie, a pretty nifty little place where Marie Antoinette was held before execution. I actually don’t know much about it, but I went because it was free! (the first sunday of the month, all the museums are free). There was a huge exhibition on castles at the conciergerie that was pretty cool. And included Harry Potter.


Next, I met up with a high school friend I haven’t seen in two years! That was really cool. We ate lunch at a very nice restaurant called “Café Rubis” where I had my first ever duck dish. It was delicious.


And followed by Crème Brulée.


Next was “L’Arc de Triomphe” and we went up to the top! That was really cool (and free, thank you Sunday). Lot’s to see from up there.

Le Tour Eiffel as seen from L'Arc de Triomphe
Le Tour Eiffel as seen from L’Arc de Triomphe

Then came the Musée D’Orsay, which houses artwork from the mid-1800’s to more modern work and is probably most famous for its GIGANTIC impressionism exhibit. Literally, it just keeps going. Coolest thing ever. Mostly because I absolutely love impressionism. True confessions. You’re also not really allowed to take photos in there, so all you get is this nifty photo of the Louvre taken from inside the D’Orsay in one of the…well in the only area that was actually allowed.


And to finish off our little tourist adventure, my friend and I went down Le Champs-Élysées, full of it’s Christmas lights and market. So cool.


And while that might not be all of my Paris adventure, I figure I can leave you with this for now.


Paris and a Good Day

So tomorrow I’m headed of to the City of Lights: Paris. I’m taking Ryanair which I’ve never done before, so I’m a tad nervous but, let’s be honest. It’s Paris!

Until I actually get to tell you about my super awesome Paris adventures, I’ve got some lovely things for y’all to listen to. Also, when did I start using “y’all” constantly?

Hotel Room Reflections

Yep. I’m sittin’ in a hotel room thinking about all the stuff that I’ve experienced over the last few days. And looking at myself, but that’s a lot less interesting to all you, possibly and probably, random people out there. To say it most simply: it’s been great. Not quite the grand ol’ adventure I was expecting, but it was still very nice. It was relaxing. In all honesty I think Athens is a great vacation place. But I’m also glad I only stayed four days. We really started running out of things to do in the city. Not that it isn’t cool, but it’s not like Paris or London. Not bad, just different. As I said, great vacation spot.

And I got to try for the second time in my life, a long string of just ethnic food. And I mean of like a single cultural identity. It’s really awesome to experience that. ‘Cause back home we cook multi-ethnically. Which, don’t get me wrong, is absolutely fantastic. But at the same time, I’ve never just eaten straight “Greek” food before. I’ve had lamb pitas and tzatsiki sauce and baklava and a few other things before, but not things like “Bandit Lamb” (basically a hobo dinner just with lamb, potatos, tomatoes and some other things), or “Mousaka” or “Pastitsio.” And that has been a real experience.

I almost miss not having that kind of cultural identity. My comfort foods I either can’t make (no oven, lack of ingredients, etc), or are just what I always do i.e. experiment with what vegetables you can throw in a pot and make good soup with. But I wouldn’t even know how to make “Mousaka” (really enjoyed that one). Come to think of it, I don’t know how to properly cook lamb either (which I imagine isn’t all that difficult, but still).

But so many cultures do have this strong tie to their land/nation/culture. And while I think being an American is definitely an identity, it is almost an identity of having no identity. It is a culture of possibility and individualism, of making your own choices and choosing your own path. And I LOVE that. I love that America has this cultural identity with being who you want to be. Because even if we screw up sometimes and try to be someone we aren’t, we were not forced there.

Although it would still be nice to have our own food (no McDonald’s does not count). 😉

I’m Living in New Zealand

So back when we were taking our prep classes for French University survival, we talked about the fact that while the French take lots of vacation (minimum of five weeks, but more often it can be up to nine), they don’t travel abroad as most other Europeans. Why do you ask?

IT’S BECAUSE THEY HAVE FRICKING EVERYTHING! Haha it’s like the New Zealand of Europe. Literally, though. Let me just kind of lay this out for you.

1) France is the only European country to remain 100% agriculturally self-sufficient.

2) The climate of France ranges from Mediteranean, to more British-islesy, to German.

3) Not only are there Mountains (yes, the Alpes are included, as well as the Pyrénes), there are also large amounts of countryside and flat land. Oh. And lots of beaches. And lots of different kinds of beaches. There’s everything from cold and rainy Brittany beaches to the dry, warm Mediteranean beaches of the south of France. They also have “Calanques” these fjord-type things.

4) And they have castles. SO MANY CASTLES.

5) And they have both the Louvre (one of the largest and most visited museums in the world) and the Musée D’Orsay.

6) D-Day Beaches

7) Megaliths. Yep. Not just in Britain my friends. There are hundreds of these things in North-Western France.

8) Adventure activities ranging from Bungee Jumping to Hang-Gliding. And hiking obviously. You know. ‘Cause mountains.

9) I almost forgot! Roman ruins! There’s loads of them, especially in the south.

So yeah. That’s what I discovered while looking at what I want to do in France. Is a year enough? No. Not unless I took that whole year to run around and do all that crazy stuff.



I am boring. Haha Not much to update you all on, although I could talk about any one of my numerous experiences here. Even the small everyday stuff is new. It’s so strange. The way you change in another culture to adopt it. I haven’t really, French culture is very similar to the US in many ways, so it hasn’t been as obvious or profound. But I know it’s still there. Even just the realities of living in a French city. It changes how you act in subtle ways.

But for now I’m going to leave all that. I will say that I have begun to make some French friends, so that’s good. I’m hoping that that continues, because I like having friends and I feel like there’s a lot I could learn from them too.

Praying for my friend in Cairo tonight. The school there has been shut down for a week because of student protests and if they can’t get the university restarted asap, boom. Semester void. So praying she’ll be able to stay there and learn.

I Met a French Person

Which reminds me of this video by Improv Everywhere:

Haha. ANYWAY, for realz though, I actually met some French students. They all go to “Sciences Politiques” but that’s whatevs. I almost went there so it counts.

I should say that last weekend we hosted a birthday party for a French girl who studied in the U.S. last year, so she knew some people from our group (not me. She didn’t go to my school, however she does know my roommate). So I met some people there, and then one of the French girls had another like get-together-type party last night. And THAT was cool because the proportion of French to English was a lot higher. Especially because a lot of the Americans left really early. Ha. Hard night from the night before I heard.

But it was cool. I got to sit and follow some conversations, not follow others. I told an anti-joke and got to relate the story of how my relatives are responsible for Kiefer Sutherland‘s first name. It’s pretty cool to know some French people, so I’m hoping this will continue.

YAY for French Friends!

(And certainly for friends in general)