Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

List No. 4

It is my second-to-last day in Paris and I am currently stuck sitting at my desk. Which brings me to...

Things I would rather be doing right now than studying for a final exam:

1. Ice skating outside the Hôtel de Ville. At least, I think the rink is still open - it's certainly cold enough out today.

2. Going for one last hurrah at the soldes (sales!). They only happen twice a year, after all.
3. Seeing a show at the Opéra Garnier. Any show - I'm not picky when it comes to this place.
4. Getting some coffee and pastries à emporter from Angelina's and taking a wintry stroll through the Tuileries.
5. Going to Merci one last time...sigh. I shall miss thee.
6. Paying a visit to my favorite crêpe guy in Montmartre. I'm going to miss those too...Anyone have a good recipe for crêpes?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Window Shopping: Lanvin

Taking a break from lists for a bit to indulge in this craziness. If you're wondering why I happen to post about Lanvin's window displays so often, you should know that I pass the store on my way to class. I swear I do not have a constant stalker-esque watch on their windows.

But they do have quite a way with mannequins, don't they?

22 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris, France

List No. 3

A few of my favorite things to do on a rainy afternoon in Paris:

1. Visit the Musée d'Orsay. Hands-down my favorite museum.

2. Spend some time admiring the couture at Le Bon Marché, or even better, soaking in the sensory overload that is La Grande Epicerie.

La Grande Epicerie, via here

3. Get lost in the haphazard coziness of Shakespeare & Co.

4. Swing by Colette, where the loud music, loud colors, loud tourists, loud everything will make you forget all about the rainy-day blahs. Just click here and make sure the volume's on, you'll see what I mean.

5. Sit by the window in a café and watch the world go by, sipping your tiny espresso and looking all French and aloof.

6. When all else fails...give in to the gloom! Grab an umbrella, sprint to the newsstand on the corner for a couple magazines, sprint back home, curl up in bed. Sometimes it's just necessary.

[Musician with umbrella found here]

List No. 2

Eating is practically a religion in France, so this list is all about food! Here are my favorite things to eat in Paris and where to find them:

1. Crêpes, especially banana + nutella. Just make sure you get a freshly made one and not one off the stack that's been sitting there all day (soggy crêpe= very disappointing experience).

There is definitely going to be some nutella in my post-France future.

 [image via flickr]

2. Macarons from Ladurée. I had never had macarons before I came to Paris, and before I bit into one for the first time I really had no idea what they would taste like. The answer? The most delicate, crispy, creamy bite of heaven you've ever eaten. Especially the rose and bitter chocolate flavors. Mmm...

[images via here]
Plus they're just so darn pretty!

3. L'As du Falafel (see this post)

4. Angelina's hot chocolate. Like drinking a melted bar of dark chocolate.

(Lovely watercolor by Carol Gillott)

5. Café au lait served in giant pretty bowls at Coquelicot in Montmartre.


6. Indiana Tex-Mex. Funny name and some definite genre-confusion, but relatively good Mexican food.

7. Breakfast in America for when you're really craving a burger and a root beer float.

8. My host mom's dinners. While sadly not available to the general public, I couldn't leave her out because she is such an incredible cook!  A perfect cheese soufflé and homemade chocolate mousse? Oh, just another regular weeknight dinner, no big deal. It's a good thing I only have two dinners a week with my host family or I would have gained the equivalent of a kindergartner.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

5 days / let me count the ways

That's right. I can't believe it, but there are only five days left of my five months in Paris. I haven't quite figured out how I feel about that yet. More than anything I'm excited to get home and see my family and friends. Oh, and peanut butter, I've really missed peanut butter. Yes, I am definitely looking forward to being home.

However, mixed in with the excitement there is a little tristesse. I can't help but feeling kind of sad to leave my temporary home here in Paris - my beautiful neighborhood that has grown so familiar, my amazing host family. And oh yeah, being able to hop on the metro and go to the Louvre any time I feel like it isn't so bad either.

So, for my last few days here I thought it would be nice to do a little recap of the last five months. And since there are few things I like more than making lists, that is what I am going to do.

So here we go with list number one:

My favorite places to do one of the best things you can do in Paris - wander aimlessly.

1. The Marais + Place des Vosges
Winding streets with cool shops and cafes around every corner, plus the gorgeous 17th century architecture of the Place des Vosges.

2. Montmartre
Bohemian artists, Amelie, and nightclubs like the Moulin Rouge have made Montmartre into tourist central, but it's still a great place to spend an afternoon. You can avoid the crowds if you stay away from Place du Tertre, but it's worth it to go to Sacre Coeur.

3. Île Saint Louis
This is the island next to the Île de la Cité, where Notre Dame is located. I love to come here for the quiet streets, the amazing views of the Seine, and the great sense of history - this area was at the very center of the medieval city.

4. Père Lachaise
I know, I know, a cemetery does not seem like the ideal place to just hang out. But when you're there it doesn't feel creepy at all. It's actually really beautiful.

5. Parc Monceau
I'm kind of biased about this one since it's literally 2 minutes from my door, but Parc Monceau is by far my favorite Paris park. It's in a residential area so it's always full of just regular Parisians - families, joggers, and people reading the newspaper on park benches after work. The Tuileries are great, as is the Jardin de Luxembourg, but I love the more low-key vibe of Parc Monceau.

That's all I've got for now, stay tuned for more highlights to come!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Friday!

(from the Lanvin store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Centre Pompidou

As I was studying for my 20th Century Artistic Institutions class this morning I was reminded of my trip to the Centre Pompidou.  Although it's been a while, there is one piece that still stands out clearly in my mind because it was just so incredible.

At first glance the panels seem to just have a cool pattern, but if you look closely at the shadows you can see they spell out words! These were so beautiful and ethereal in person - it was kind of like being inside a giant floating nest.

Unfortunately I've lost the paper where I wrote down the name of the artist, so if you have any idea who this is feel free to comment, I'd love to know!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dear Rob Ryan,

You are awesome.

(Rob Ryan papercuts, seen at Le Bon Marché)

At the Westin

Loving these quirky holiday decorations at the Westin Paris.

(And yes, I know the holidays are over, but I'm in denial.)

More Merci

I just found this New York Times article about my favorite store in Paris, Merci (and this fun illustration courtesy of the Merci website). I might need to make another trip soon...

Monday, January 4, 2010

To the library

I had to go return a few books to the library today and was lamenting the 30-minute metro ride across town until I got to the main building of the Sorbonne and was struck once again by how beautiful and how full of history this place is.

A library like this makes studying, well, still not fun, but at least less unpleasant. It gives you something to look at while you're staring off into space and pretending to think.

(Bottom image via somewhere on the interwebs - can't remember where I found it)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

From above

I took these from the front balcony of the Opera Garnier when I visited with my mom last week. It was the first nice day we'd had in quite a while and it was so great to be out in the sun.

L'As du Fallafel

I was over in the Marais the other day and decided to finally make the trip to L'As du Fallafel, the much raved-over "best fallafel in Paris." 

I have to say it definitely lived up to the hype. On the Rue des Rosiers in an old Jewish neighborhood, L'As du Fallafel is pretty unassuming, just a little hole-in-the-wall place with a few tables and a noisy kitchen. I was by myself so I didn't feel like sitting, despite the ever-increasing drizzle outside. So I took my fallafel to go, stood under an awning down the street and devoured the whole thing. I then noticed several other people doing the same. Very messy, but so good.

photo via Richard Harbus, The New York Times