Guide to Paris, France

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 Paris, France

Eiffel Tower

I’m back. Well, sort of. In the time that I’ve been gone from blogging, so much has changed. We’ve elected a president who tests my ability to be scared/shocked/appalled with each passing day, I’ve discovered I’m really not with the times anymore (What is this millennial lingo? Stay woke? Fleek? Why am I referring to it as millennial lingo if I’m Gen Z? So many questions), and graduation is encroaching yet again somehow. I’ve also made my first trip to Europe and here’s my guide to Paris.

I’ve never been in a place that I’ve felt so comfortable and amazed by. Cliché but the architecture is amazing and I’ve come back with a lot of photos of random buildings and things.

IMG_0965 Stay

Les Jardins du Marais is a hotel in the Marais part of Paris and the location is perfect. Marais is the historical quarter of Paris (or as a French woman called it, “Ah, old Paris”). There’s a grocery store (Carrefour) that’s a block away, a pharmacy that’s on the corner (stock up on French pharmacy skincare!), and two close Metro stops (Robert Lenoir and Saint Sebastien) nearby. The rooms also come with kitchenettes, which is nice if you want to stay in for a meal. The concept store Merci is also really close. The staff are fluent in a multitude of languages (Spanish, English, German, Chinese, Japanese and more) and at breakfast I met a lot of Americans. I occasionally thought I was in the US somewhere but alas.

IMG_0944 IMG_0946 Book from Bibliotheque Interuniversite Sante Read

What trip to Paris is complete without a trip to Shakespeare and Co? Photos are forbidden within the shop but I snuck in a lot of photos here and there. The inside is as quaint as you'd want a bookstore to be, with original books from when the store was first founded on the second floor, and areas for people to read. Their schedule is something to look into because they do really cool talks. A cat crawled in through the window and scared the bejeezus (#reasonswhyI’mnotcool) out of me when I was on the second floor but I’m sure that’s not a typical experience.

Since I actually went to Paris for academic reasons, I was able to see some really old medical textbooks at the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de Santé, some of which were from 1595. The director, Guy Cabolot, took them out casually with his bare hands and I was amazed, not only by the preservation of the books but his casualness with the books, some of which were rare. I suppose it’s the American in me as “Americans think 100 years is old but Europeans think 100 miles is far”.

Versailles Versailles Pont Alexandre III Eiffel Tower Notre Dame
I didn’t check that many things off my list since I didn’t have a lot of free time but I did go to Versailles and the Eiffel Tower (definitely do the ferry tour of the Seine River). Everywhere I went, I spoke English and was understood with relative ease. How much of a power that is, to speak your native language in another country that speaks another language and be understood! Not something that is common (try speaking French in New York). I did try to say bonjour/bonsoir, merci and au revoir when I could though. The only non-English language that I did speak ended up being Chinese at the Carrefour since the cashier I had was Chinese and I wanted a bag for my groceries.

It’s through moments like these that I marvel at how fortunate I am, knowing English and being able to go to a non-English speaking country and be able to survive relatively alright. It’s not just due to the fact that I fortunately had free data (mostly 4G/LTE within Paris) and texting in France through my T-Mobile plan, which made getting around really easy, but the fact that English is so ubiquitous.

Currently, I’m thinking about how I can go back to Europe again (probably not anytime soon). Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of the Laudarée macarons that I finally had for the first time in my life and the experiences I’ve had.

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