I’m well aware of the fact that it’s July. I know I’ve missed a zillion months of posts, and I know that I’m way behind on my list of things I meant to write about. For those things, I am sorry. But I promise that I have an excuse (three jobs, no time), in addition to the fact that my upcoming musings are a little bit awesome. Just a little bit.
Anyway, so this past April I had the privilege of traveling to Paris with a close friend from school who was spending the semester in Budapest. We met there on Friday (or Thursday? I can’t remember) and stayed until Sunday. Truly, it was everything I thought it would be. City of lights, city of dreams, city of romance. I’ve never been so overwhelmed with culture and sheer joy. Enough about my feelings, though—you just want to hear about the “stuff.”
(By “stuff,” of course, I mean food and activities and accommodations…and I’ll start with accommodations since the first thing we did was check in to our hostel.)
Emma (see photo) and I stayed at the youth hostel Auberge de Jeunesse Adveniat, right off the Champs-Élysées. The price was right, the amenities were reasonable, but most of all the location was unbeatable. Because of our address, we were able to walk to Paris’ most famed locations: The Louvre (which is free with a student ID and passport), Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens, The Eiffel Tower, and many more. It also meant that we were never walking through dodgy side-streets as two, short, (obviously) unarmed girls. The only time we took a taxi was after a late-night dinner, the orientation of which was questionable. What I mean by “reasonable” amenities is that while it was extremely clean and the staff was incredibly helpful, it had some inconvenient rules. Wi-fi was not free, alcohol was not permitted on the premises, and the check-in/check-out desk had very inflexible hours. We knew those things when we made the reservations, though, and our overall experience was completely worth the minor inconveniences. A definite recommendation for any student travelers.
I won’t bore you with my tales of walking the Seine or drinking champagne. Not that I don’t recommend them, but you can get that stuff from a guidebook. I will, however, talk about something people my age don’t seek out in Paris: a classical concert in Saint Chappelle. We found out about it by accident, while waiting in line for the Saint Chappelle tickets. There was a flier with the word “VIVALDI” stamped across the center, so…you know I couldn’t resist. There was a small group of strings playing the show that night, with a performance set of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” Bach’s “Chaconne,” and obviously the “The Four Seasons.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that I cried nearly from start to finish. The soloist moved with his bow in a way that only the most talented musicians can, and I went through the motions of each season as if they were internal. It was a truly moving, magnificent experience in one of the world’s most incredible chapels.
Finally, I’ll talk food. On my last night in Paris, I was alone. Emma had returned to Budapest a day early on Sunday so she could be back before class, whereas I had opted for the cheaper flight on Monday morning. And I’m glad I did. I stumbled upon a Mediterranean restaurant called “Villa Spicy,” and checked myself into a “party of one” reservation. (Some people hate dining alone, but I do it every so often just as a me-treat). Despite the weirdness I sensed from the hostess, the manager and waiter were both pleasantly generous and very attentive. And nobody made fun of my botched French. I started with my first ever glass of Bordeaux for 6 euros (as a recommendation from the manager). And oh my god, it was incredible. I’ve been an avid Bordeaux fan ever since, which is huge since I didn’t like red wine when I arrived in Europe. When it came time to eat, I decided on the 33-euro pre-fixe menu that included an appetizer, main course, and dessert. Enormous portions. Absolutely incredible. Especially the pasta (see below) and chocolate brioche with caramel and vanilla ice cream. I left with the best kind of stomachache, practically crying that I would never eat again. A perfect goodbye to a Parisian-dream.
Of course, I also experienced fantastic champagne, créme brulee, and a romantic girls night out at Cepe et Figue, but at some point the gushing must stop. I recommend all of the above, plus a stop at Laudurée and anywhere with Parisian lace. It broke my heart to say au revoir, but only until next time. And now that I’ve fallen in love with the city of romance, a next time is inevitable.
Expect coming posts about worktime wardrobes, foodie finds from London, and my most-worshipped styles from Spain.
Until then, stay beautiful.