Although I had the quick trip to Paris earlier in March, I went again last week. With 6 friends from Regents, we rented an apartment, and nibbled baguettes for the next 4 days. The neighborhood we stayed in was actually where Edith Piaf was born (supposedly under a lamp post on the street) and was inhabited by actual Parisians, no tourists. Upon arriving, it was my 21st birthday! Alex and I arrived first to collect the keys and find croissants. Before everyone got there I had time to relax, drink a little "officially old enough even though I'm in Europe I know don't remind me it doesn't matter" wine, and take a bath in our fancy apartment. Once everyone got there we decided to just eat bread and cheese and have an in-house dance party. It was perfect.
Next day, we went grocery shopping, so we could make all our meals for the next few days, and with the help of a little vegan guru chef, we ate like french queens minus the frogs legs. Venturing into the city, we decided it was museum day because of the rain, oh and hail. We walked through the hills of Montmartre, one of my favorite neighborhoods, and went to a Salvador Dali museum. I was utterly surprised by Dali's surrealist art and how much I liked it. Then to go in a completely different direction in the art craze for the day, we went to the Louvre. This museum, as exciting as it sounds, gets frustrating after 20 minutes. Mona is so tiny, and everything starts to look the same. I preferred Dali. Which I wasn't expecting. Once we were 'arted' out, we went home where we made our first French feast.
The following day, I explored the Latin Quarter, which is such a cool area. My favorite place in Paris (indoors to be fair) is hands down, the little nook bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. I spent a few hours in there this time, perusing some books, talking about books, writing notes on the wall, and playing the one song I know on their piano. I want to live there. Apparently, they have walls that are really secret doors to apartments for writers to stay in for free if they are traveling around. I was waiting for Ernest Hemingway to appear from a secret door, but I suppose that only happens in Woody Allen movies. Regardless, I would be fully content to live in Paris and work in this bookstore someday because it's atmosphere is so welcoming and quirky.
The next day I officially fell in love with Paris. The weather was warm and I was able to wear a skirt, bask in the sun, and roam along the river all day. What's so interesting is how alive Paris became when the sun came out. There was a big market below the Eiffel Tower where you could buy croissants and flowers. All the Parisians sat along the river with wine, cheese, and guitars to just spend a day there. A whole day. It was so calming to see these people outside, content, and taking a break from their busy lives. Alex brought her Ukulele and we tried our best to join in. We played in the grass of the Eiffel Tower and on a bridge filled with love locks.
That night my vegan hero made Ratatouille to complete our feasts of French themed cuisine. The next morning we left incredibly early to make it back to London before class started.
Paris is such a beautiful place (as is London), but there is something so different about the two cities that is hard to describe. Paris is such a flirtatious city. The architecture, people, and food create a feeling of luxury wherever you go, well, excluding their metro system. But walking around you are bombarded with art and beauty in such a way that you can't get away from it, not that I would ever want to. The city of London is more polite and straightforward which I appreciate at times, but something about Paris is so alluring that it's all I've thought about since I got back here.