I know it’s been forever, and I’m sorry. But here it is! The update you’ve all been waiting for! (Assuming you’re still bothering to read this, since I update so irregularly.)
PARIS! We had a long weekend at the very end of October, because in Spain, All Saints Day (Nov. 1) is a national holiday. If a holiday like this falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, it’s common practice in Spain to cancel classes for one extra day, creating a puente, or bridge, between the holiday and the rest of the weekend. Since neither David nor I ever have classes on Fridays, this meant we had a five-day weekend. We came to the obvious conclusion that this called for a pretty serious trip.
I’d been to Paris once before, during Spring Break of my sophomore year, but only for a few days, and David had never been, so we basically did all of the tourist-y things, plus some general wandering. We hit up the D’Orsay (saw the whole thing!) and the Louvre, and had hoped to go to the Rodin, but we ran out of time on Sunday and it was closed Monday. Awesome discovery: since we’re in Spain on student visas (don’t ask my why, that’s just the way the program’s set up…continuing education?), we got in FREE to all the museums. Best deal ever.
We also got to visit my good friend Anna from Haverford, who’s living in Paris working for a graphic novel publishing company, and to see Thea, another Haverfriend, who happened to be in Paris the same weekend (she’s teaching English in Angers in the west of France). It was so fun to see such good friends on this side of the Atlantic! I’m having a wonderful time here, but I really miss friends from home, so it was great to get a chance to see Thea and Anna. Except now I remember how awesome they are and want them, and everyone else awesome, to come visit me in Spain!
The first afternoon we were there, we went to Notre Dame. I was kinda hesitant to go, because it was super cloudy, and I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to see the stained glass well, but David convinced me that we shouldn’t wait because what if the whole weekend turned out to be cloudy (which it was), so we went anyway. This turned out to be the absolute best decision, because while we were in the cathedral, the clouds began to dissipate and by the time we came out, we saw glorious blue skies! After seeing the cathedral, we wandered over to Berthillon ice cream, where Lizzy’s been telling me to go since I was in Paris last time, and then to Shakespeare and Co., a famous English-language bookstore on the left bank. Then we took the metro to the 13th arrondisement and had some incredible pho for dinner. We were stuffed, but it was a great way to end a full day of traveling.
We basically just ate incredible things all weekend long. We got some amazing cheese from a fromagerie recommended on David Lebovitz’s blog, ate two three-course traditional French meals, had several different types of crepes, shared the largest and greenest (pistachio-flavored) meringue I’ve ever seen, found an incredible chocolate shop, and ate fresh pastries every morning for breakfast. We also cooked dinner with Anna and Klearjos, a fun and inventive meal that we collectively came up with at the grocery store: caramelized onions, mushrooms, and sauteed leeks, simmered in some chicken broth with chicken thighs, with creme fraiche stirred in at the end, and served over couscous.
On our last day, we went up to Montmartre shortly before sunset, which afforded us an incredible view of the city. Then we wandered our way down the hill and over to the other side of the river, all the way to the Eiffel Tower, and got to see the city from the other side! It was a perfect way to end our trip.
I can’t think of anything that would have made this trip better. Paris is definitely an expensive city, and I’m glad I don’t have to afford it all the time (sorry Anna!), but I’m so glad we got to visit! Stay tuned for further European adventures, and the recipe for a warm butternut squash salad that I’ve become obsessed with!
P.S. If you want to see more pictures from Paris, let me know and I’ll send you the link to my picasa album!
P.P.S. Finally added pics of food to my last post about Santander, check back if you want 🙂