France: Speed Dating the City of Love (Week 10)

Updated: Jan 31

November 2-5th – Paris


Week 10 flew by, as did my time in Paris this past weekend. To honor my short and sweet speed date with the “city of love,” I’m going to speed date this blog post, too, in the form of 10 short observations.*


*You might think this is a clever commentary about fleeting young love or an erudite use of numbers because 10 and 10 match, but I’m really using this format because a) I’m exhausted from traveling; b) I’m tired of writing long blog posts; and 3) you guys are tired of reading them.**


**I know this because my post about losing money did wildly better than all of my long prior study away blog posts combined. It looks like you guys really like 3 things: humorous ranting, other people’s misfortune, and short humorous accounts of other people’s misfortune. And a good writer should always cater to her audience. (?)


So anyway. Onto my 10 reflections.


1. I visited Versailles without visiting the Palace of Versailles.

This is really code for “I’m an idiot.” After waiting in line for 30+ minutes and paying 20 euros to see Louis XIV’s grand masterpiece, I somehow managed to spend over three hours there without ever stepping foot into the main palace itself. How is this possible, you ask?


Well, I started the tour by walking around a small exhibition hall attached to the gift shop, and after assuming that was all there was to see indoors like a true genius, proceeded to spend the next 2.5 hours getting lost and staring at statues of golden frogs in the gardens instead (at least the gardens were beautiful). So forget the Hall of Mirrors and the throne room  and all that glorious historic stuff. I literally walked in and all around the palace grounds without ever going inside the famous palace itself. Versailles: 1, Amy: -∞.


At least I have a reason to come back.


2. I think I grew a wart on the bottom of my left foot.

Apparently, speed-walking 10+ miles in the cold every day is not the best way to take care of my poor sole (haha get it).


3. I lived the bread scene from Ratatouille.

Bought a plain baguette from Blonde de Pain, a Paris boulangerie (bakery), and all I could think of was this scene:

“How do you tell how good bread is without tasting it? Not the smell, not the look, but the *sound* of the crust.” – Colette

Verdict?


Colette is so right. That baguette crackled like angelic fireworks in my hands (and then in my mouth) and it was the BEST BAGUETTE I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. And the plain butter croissant I got with it was also–you guessed it–the BEST CROISSANT I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. Definitely two defining moments of my Paris experience.


4. Escargot is a go.

I tried snails at the historic Bouillon Chartier for the first time. The butter garlic sauce buttered me up.


Also, shout out to @justafoodienyc for telling me to go here. The 100+ year old  dining hall was something else, and I’m so glad I ordered the same duck confit with baby potatoes you did when you came here years ago. It was duckin’ good.


5. I’m cheesy.

Yes, Kelly and I did the thing where you buy baguettes from a boulangerie (Blonde de pain and Eric Kayser) and cheese from a fromagerie (Androuet) and sit on a bridge overlooking the Seine River to enjoy a scenic picnic.


6. The Louis Vuitton on Champs-Élysées (literally “Elysian Fields” of shopping) is not a store. It’s a three-story museum.

Kelly and I waited 10+ minutes in a security line before we were allowed to enter the flagship fashion store, and after we entered, I got yelled at for taking a photo. Yep, definitely a limited-edition art gallery with the most expensive gift shop in the world.


7. Climbing the Eiffel Tower was a truly hair-raising experience.

See my Instagram picture for explanation.


8. I met my beautiful future husband(s) here.

Yes, French people are some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen.


9. I forgot about the husband(s) during the Moulin Rouge cabaret show.

Correction to the statement above: French women are some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen. Definitely had an existential crisis watching 30+ identically flawless women in the most extravagantly bedazzled costumes dance and sing and act simultaneously. What am I doing with my life.


All jokes aside, couldn’t have thought of a better way to end this trip than seeing the most famous cabaret show in all of Paris. The lights, acrobatics, costumes, atmosphere…”that’s showbiz,” as they say.


10. Traveling with Kelly Chen is amazing. As is seeing your childhood friend for two weeks in a row, first in Prague and then in Paris!  

YOU ROCK, KELLY AND AMBER.

Other places Kelly and I went to that are also worth mentioning:

  1. The Louvre, Pantheon, Notre-Dame, and Arc de Triomphe at night.

  2. Holybelly. Best bacon and rice porridge that made us both miss home.

  3. Musée d’Orsay. Art museum in a renovated train station!

  4. Pierre Hermé for marcarons. 3 euros each. But when you’re in Paris you have to do it. The Ispahan flavor is AMAZING–lychee, rose, and raspberries.

  5. Harry’s New York Bar and the bar next to it! Live jazz piano took me back to the 1920s, and happy strangers dancing and clapping together made me feel 100% carefree.

  6. The Paris airport. Honestly it’s beautiful. So much nice glass everywhere.

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