Epilogue: How I Fell Even More In Love With Paris

I have two hours until I leave Paris for good, get on a plane, and finally start the long journey back to the states.  This morning I figured I would take one last walk around the neighborhood, and pick up a small treat  for myself to have on the plane.  I went to a boulangerie I’ve passed hundreds of times but  have never gotten around to visiting.  I had my eye on a croissant aux amandes, and I ordered one almost immediately upon entering the store.  But as  I counted the change I had hastily stuffed into my pocket (yes dad, I know, I should’ve just had my wallet on me) I realized I was ten cents short.  The following happened:

Me: Désolée mais je n’ais pas assez d’argent…umm….un pain au raisin en place de ça s’il vous plaît. (Sorry but I don’t have enough money…um…a pain au raisin instead please)
Propriétaire: Pain au raisin en plus? (Pain au raisin in addition?)
Me: Non, en place s’il vous plaît, je n’ai pas assez d’argent pour le croissant aux amandes, je manque dix centimes (No, instead please, I don’t have enough for the croissant aux amandes, I’m missing 10 cents)
The propriétaire procedes to put TWO croissants in my little bag, and hands it to me with a wink.  “N’inquiete pas” she says (Don’t worry)
Me: Vous êtes sur? (You’re sure?)
Proprietaire: Oui bien sûr. (Yes, of course)
Me: Merci bien Madame (Thank you so much)
Propriétaire (with another wink): De rien. Bonne journée (No problem, have a good one)

I have officially had the best final experience I could’ve asked for.  Paris, je t’aime.

The Final Post

It’s finally come to this, the last post of the blog.  I’ve just finished my final final and I’ve walked home from my college for the last time.  I crossed the Pont Des Arts, and looked all the way up and down the river, trying to take in one last look at the city that I’ve lived in for the past four months.  It’s a very strange feeling, being at the end of the semester.  After some rough times and now that all my friends are home, I’ve been feeling like my life and everything good in it is waiting for me in New York.  I’ve been constantly squeeling about how excited I am to get on the plane, how I’m most certainly going to burst into tears when I see my city come into view from the window. But now that the end is here, now that all I have left to do is pack and buy a few last minute French goodies, I’m sad, and almost reluctant to leave.  I’m sure I could’ve known this would happen; pretty much everyone has told me it would.  I think what the most shocking part of all of this is, is that for the entire semester I have felt like New York was my home, and Paris was just a city I was living in, an awesome city to be sure, but never truly mine.  But today, as I went to buy bread in a boulangerie and cheese in a fromagerie, casually chatting with the woman there about the weather and how I could store my cheese, I realized that this city has really become my second home.  I always say I have a love/hate relationship with Paris, but today for the first time that feeling of belonging snuck up on me, and suddenly I felt like I was leaving my home.

But I’m not going to dwell on the emotional sappy-ness that is my reflection on my experiences here.  I know I’ll be back sooner rather than later, and I understand this city now in a way that a true parisian actually might.  I have my spots, my bars, my boulangeries.  I have my favorite wine and cheese and chocolate combo from monoprix. I easily slip into French without even thinking about it.  These are all the things I will take home with me, and these are the things that will make me feel at home every time I come to Paris.  I have become a girl with two cities, New York and Paris, and I think I would be at home in either one.

And now, to conclude, two lists:

Au Revoir Paris.  Vous seriez toujours une ville incroyable, si jolie et completement magnifique.  Vous êtes devenu la mienne, et j’ai hâte de revenir.  (Goodbye Paris.  You will  always be an incredible city, so beautiful and completely magnificent. You have become mine and I can’t wait to come back)

And now, I am off to pack, eat chocolate, hit up my bar one more time, and at long last get on that plane to New York!!!

Paris: The Farewell Tour

According to Owen Wilson, Paris is the most beautiful in the rain. While I’m not sure I agree with that myself, I do think that Paris is most representative of Paris when its grey and raining. Paris is a city meant for the rain, with the grey tiled roofs, the whitish tan stone buildings, and the balconies that lovingly drip water onto every part of your body. So I suppose its only fitting that my last few days in Paris will be rain filled, as per the forecast.

But no matter, its finals week and the rain is as best a motivation to study as any I could find. Except when I procrastinate by making blog posts but that doesn’t really count…really…(On a side note, the beauty of study abroad programs is that finals are pretty lenient, meaning that I can choose to take my grammar final during any number of time slots this week, which works out great when its pouring nonstop and I don’t want to leave the house…guess I’ll be taking both parts of my exam tomorrow instead of split up between two days!)

I was lucky enough to have spent what’s looking like was my last sunny day in Paris completing a personal goal I had set for myself: to walk a 1/2 marathon through the entire city, visiting all of the major monuments that have made such an impression on me these past four months. It was kind of like my farewell tour to Paris, a symbolic way of saying goodbye before other commitments, studying, and packing obligations got in the way. My legs are still sore, but I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it. It gave me time to reflect on all that I’ve done while I’ve been here, and gave me a sense of accomplishment that leaves me content, and not all that sad, to be leaving the city that’s become my second home.

there would be a bread festival in paris…

one last look at notre dame

my last berthillon: mirabelle sorbet made for the perfect choice

of course the obligatory panini

in front of les invalides and the tomb of napoleon

rue cler, one of my favorite market streets

of course the eiffel tower!

arc de triomphe

tuileries gardens, the louvre far ahead in the distance

opera garnier

Giverny

On Friday I realized one of my life’s dreams. Not to be dramatic or anything, but pretty much since seeing my first Monet painting I have always wanted to go to see his house, his gardens, and the countryside that inspired him at Giverny. Monet is my favorite artist by far and always moves me in a way that most artwork doesn’t. So when the day finally arrived that me and 4 other friends got on the train to head out to Vernon, the town right next to Giverny, I didn’t really know what to expect. And then, 40 minutes later and a short, confused walk to the center of town led us to this.

And I knew I had found my dream.

Honestly I don’t think any words can really capture how much seeing the Gardens meant to me. Aside from being completely stunning, I was overwhelmed at the thought that Monet, the Monet, had lived here, painted here, loved here. A slow promenade through the gardens he had so painstakingly organized and taken care of and you understand why he painted the way he did. You understand why his style is so perfect, why his colors seem to leap off the canvas, why there is always warmth in every single painting.

A Much Needed Trip to Ladurée


Ladurée is one of the most famous patisseries in Paris. Known also for having a store in New York, the shop is famous for its delicious and unique macaroons. Made fresh daily, flavors that are the epitome of flavors and seriously can’t get better. I’ve been meaning to get here since the beginning of the semester, but since I promised myself to only spend money on macaroons twice this semester, once in the beginning (at Pierre Hermé) and once at the end, I made myself wait until my second to last week. And boy was it worth the wait! I got three fantastic flavors, all tasting as much as releasing scent into my nose as I bit into each one:

Cherry Blossom

Orange Blossom

Rose

a little smushed from travel (and a bite I couldn’t resist)


All were so floral and sweet but without being overpowering. This is a totally different kind of macaroon than the ones at P.H. Rather than blasting you with flavors, these slowly sneak through to your brain, until you slowly realize that you are tasting a smell and smelling a taste and its delicious.