It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted! I’ve been keeping quite busy here in the magnificent city of lights! I swear it seems like there is always something new to do or see, which is why I haven’t gone to visit any other countries while abroad. Another reason why I’m always stumbling upon new things to do is because I have a horrible sense of direction and get lost really easily (luckily those episodes have become less frequent thanks to my human GPS Callie!) Aside from constantly exploring Paris (I’ll tell you my top ten in a bit!), there is that other thing called school.
Good ol’ school. Now, with only three weeks left in Paris [so sad!], I’m adjusted to school here. But let me tell you, that wasn’t always the case. The fact that classes were three hours (instead of the fifty minute/one hour & fifty minute classes that I was used to back at DU) took some getting used to. Back home, I used to think one hour & fifty minute classes were an eternity so you can imagine how I felt when I was sitting in a much smaller class for three hours! It’s not like you can do the occasional zone-out because the teachers would for sure notice! Aside from the length (which doesn’t seem so bad to me now!), I think it’s really cool that I’m in a class with not only ISA-ers, but also students from around the world! I have classmates from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Venezuela, Germany & Iran, just to name some off the top of my head. It’s really cool that the common language that connects all of us is French, and it’s just nice to meet people that I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
Moving right along to my top ten…you guys have already been forewarned that I am a foodie, so I will not apologize if more than one thing on my top 10 are food or food-related items! Also, I’m going to try to pick different ones for my top 10 than Fodor’s Paris 2012’s Top 10 (it’s a really great guidebook that my sister bought me before I left and has been super handy!), even though I do think the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, etc are all wonderful!
1. Christmas markets!
With the holiday season coming up, Christmas markets are beginning to open! Some friends and I have visited the one at Champs-Elysees [pictured above] & we just went to the one at Le Defense this weekend! This is a must-do if you’re in Paris…unless you’re a complete grinch :)
2. ISA took us on an excursion awhile back to the Loire Valley a few hours away from Paris with all the Castles. If you’re into castles, then you gotta check this out! Also, we had passes to row boats and bikes while there. I did both–biking with a huge castle and autumn leaves as my backdrop? It was as lovely as it sounded! (Except I hadn’t ridden a bike in years so I had to take five minutes to relearn. Lame, I know. I really should try to sound cooler…haha)
3. Pere Lachaise cemetery, where famous people like Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison & Chopin are all buried! Apparently, Ryan Gosling was spotted visiting at Pere Lachaise recently, too. Can’t believe I missed him!
4. Okay, I know I know this one can’t measure up to important monuments such as the Eiffel Tower & the Arc de Triomphe, but this should be monument-status in the food realm:
gelato up around the Sacre-Coeur area!
which brings me to number
Since we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside Sacre Coeur, I took pictures of the view of the city we got to see. Lovely, isn’t it? Tip: If you’re planning to go, make sure you get off the Anvers stop. It’s closer to the Funiculaire that will take you up the hill. My room mate and I did not do this last time and had to do a lot of walking!
6. Boat ride on the Seine River! Nuff said
7. Salon du Chocolat: Any chocoholic’s dream! Chocolate EVERYWHERE! & yes, free samples as well
8. France vs Bosnia Game! There was so much spirit and so many French flags waving in the stadium. It was a really great experience! Just make sure you’re ready for the packed metro ride to the stadium! I have never been in a metro that tightly packed before in my (almost) three months here!
9. Boulangerie Tour: ISA took a group of us to a bakery where we learned how the French baguettes were made, and even got to do a little hands-on activities (such as rolling a croissant), too.
we even got baguettes to take home! & yes, I did buy a pig pastry. It’s me we’re talking about, here.
10. Galeries Lafayette: If you’re looking for great deals, you will not find it here. Chanel, Louis Vuitton and all the big designer brands are present in this 7 floor shopping center! Even so, it’s definitely something worth seeing, just for the beautiful, giant Christmas tree!
Okay, well that’s all for top 10 [I had to go back and recheck my work. Apparently, I couldn’t count to ten properly and ended up with 11! So a mention goes to the Sparkling Eiffel Tower & L’as de Falafel!] I’ll talk to you guys soon!