I am almost at the three-week mark of my time here in Paris, and I am finally starting to get the hang of things! The school/class system here is very different, so that took some getting used to, but I everything is going great. Plus, with three weeks under my belt, I have also had some time to explore more of Paris! I may be traveling to many different countries in the next few months, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to explore my new home of Paris! The past few weeks have been full of amazing sights and even better food.
One morning we decided to have a girls day and all the girls in my program got up and went to the Champs-Elysées together for brunch and shopping! We got off the metro directly in front of the Arc De Triomphe and my mind was instantly blown. I definitely need to go back and go to the top! We ate at a cute little cafe and I ate my first croque-monsieur. We also stopping in the famous Ladurée to buy macarons! They were to die for. No girls’ day is complete without a little bit (or a lot) of shopping, so we spent the next few hours going in as many shops as we could handle. The first few weeks of the year mean big sales all across Paris, so we scored some great deals!
I don’t have class on Thursdays so last week Ally and I decided to adventure out into the city and visit the Louvre for the first time! As students, we get in free so we knew this would be the first of many times there. I was not expecting it to be as big as it was! We walked in, got a little overwhelmed, and just decided to wander for a few hours and see what we stumbled upon. We ended up walking into the French sculpture exhibit; I was blown away by the huge marble statues. They were gorgeous. My favorite thing we saw was the recreations of Marie Antoinette’s and other royal rooms. The furniture and decor were beautiful. And of course, we couldn’t go to the Louvre without seeing the Mona Lisa, so on our way out we made a pit stop. Thankfully, it wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded so we got to stand in the front row! Overall it was a successful first trip and I cannot wait to go back and see more.
A few nights ago almost the entire group got together and we took the metro into the heart of Paris and had a family dinner together! Table for 18, please. We ate at a bistro called Bistrot Victoires, and it was amazing! They are known for their steak with burnt thyme, and it seriously comes out with the thyme glowing from being on fire! I ordered a crème brûlée for dessert and we all left extremely happy.
This weekend, we took a quick 45-minute train to Versailles! Wow, Louis XIV sure did know hoe to do things big. We explored the palace and gardens and stopped for a little coffee break in one of the cafes in the garden. I loved all the gold! Honestly, I was most impressed with the gardens. I can’t wait to go back in the spring time and spend all day exploring them.
Today, I had a lazy Sunday, which was great after such an exciting week. A few of us had a late brunch at Arsène. It was a quirky place, but really good! Their set brunch menu included an omelet, pancake, potato cake, French toast, orange juice and coffee, so needless to say we all left stuffed! I can’t wait to try out more cute cafes and restaurants.
This week we planned two more trips (a weekend trip to Brussels, Belgium next weekend and a week long trip through Italy in February) but I have been having so much fun just exploring Paris as well! I feel so lucky to be living here this semester. I know I will never run out of things to do!