First and foremost I thought I should take a moment to address the concerns I’ve received from family and friends related to the protests and demonstrations happening all throughout France. I have not purposely omitted details of the protests from my blog. It has just, well…not really been something to “write” home about.
Yes, there are protests, and from what I read on the internet, escalated riots have taken place in some cities throughout the region. I will admit that I did walk right through the middle of a protest down the street earlier this week, but I barely even noticed…really! If it wasn’t for a few police officers and some frustrated drivers, I would not have known anything was even happening. The protest was actually a bunch of high school aged kiddos chanting, holding signs, and blocking rush hour traffic for about 5 mins. That was it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Despite continued news reports in the U.S., I still see bright-eyed, bushy-tailed tourists capturing photo memories to add to their scrapbooks back home, and Parisians spending lazy afternoons at the local café, sipping teeny espresso’s, and smoking like chimneys. I have yet to see “alarm” on any of the faces around me. It appears that things such as this are, well, normal.
Please know that if I ever, even for a moment, felt threatened or concerned for my safety I would be on the first flight home. I would also be dragging whomever was here visiting me at the moment right along with me. Call me crazy but I’m actually thrilled to be here during a time when Parisians are passionately standing up for what they believe in against their government. I feel that things like this only help to enrich my own personal experience: I am seeing what living/being/breathing in France is REALLY all about.
P.S. Sarah wanted me to mention that the most upsetting thing out here thus far, is that her hair straightener is not working…
Okay, now for the good stuff!
Sarah and Tristan are here! Yipee! Despite carrying a hefty load of suitcases, they found their way to me with minimal difficulty. After much encouragement from me to “take a nap” or “rest for a bit,” I was denied. We quickly headed out the door to do a bit of exploring before nightfall. I showed them around my neighborhood, pointing up and down, left and right, as I excitedly overloaded their brains with tidbits about Paris. I was immediately impressed with Tristan’s eagerness to learn about the culture, and his continued attempts to speak French to the locals. I was equally impressed by Sarah’s unwavering efforts to snap photos of EVERYTHING from trash cans, to pigeons, to the Nutella bottle at the local creperie.
Regardless of being quite cold, we walked along the Seine, gazed up at Notre Dame, peeked around the Latin Quarter, and ate a yummy meal in St. Michele. During dinner, Sarah and I shared a ½ litre of wine, while we all chatted about Sarah and Tristan’s recent honeymoon, the current status of friends and family, and what was to come in the future. It was nice to have family around after being alone for 2 weeks, and such an honor for me to see Paris through the eyes of newcomers.
Can you find Sarah and Tristan in the crowd?
The amazingly gorgeous insides of Notre Dame.
Sister love in Paris.
Sarah and Tristan ordering their very first crepe!
Out on the town.
Sarah’s 1st experience with French pastries. Yum. Yum. And Yum.
After only 12 hours of sleep (wink, wink!), we traveled by metro the next morning to the Arc De Triomphe and the Champs Elysees. We laughed at the cars going round and round the Arc and all stood in awe as each car nearly missed the other.
We trotted along the Champs Elysees gazing at all of the store fronts and fancy cars. Eager to see the insides of the massive Louis Vuitton store on the Champs, we stood in line (yes, you heard me correctly – we stood in line for what had to have been 30+ minutes). Despite my lack of patience, and utter shock around the store’s admittance procedures, it ended up being well worth our wait. This was not a store, but more like an actual museum in and of itself. There were ancient trunks, books and books of fashion history, and the most immaculate, stunningly gorgeous fashions, shoes, watches, wallets, bags and belts. It was quite a sight to see.
We continued our way down the Champs Elysees in the afternoon sunlight, stopping in Maison du Chocolate (a chocolate lovers must according to all the guide books) for a sweet treat. Sarah and I gushed over our pick: a white chocolate ganache and coconut filled dark chocolate triangle of yumminess…imagine it as the most super swanky Almond Joy you’ve ever had…pure heaven. We swore up and down that we would most definitely be coming back for more…
Our fashion quest was completed with one final stop in Chanel, where I drooled over all the CC logo necklaces, and Tristan sampled the latest men’s fragrances. We ended up giving Tristan a hard time over his choice of cologne, as we gagged on it for the rest of the afternoon.
We eventually made our way to the Eiffel Tower where we snapped shots of each other and pinched ourselves for being in the presence of such a magnificent monument (I don’t think I’ll ever get over the surreal feeling of seeing that dang thing)! We then meandered our way back to the apartment, ending the evening with dinner at home complete with a French baguette (of course) and wine (a no brainer), a quick trip out for gelato, and a movie before bed.
***I should mention as well, that on this particular day I had what I would call a “cliffhanger moment” on the metro on our way home. I courageously reached out to grab a woman who had lost her balance and was about to topple over the poor man standing behind her. Sarah and Tristan attempted to convince me that my feat was “nothing special,” but only I saw the fear in her eyes and knew that my efforts were quite impressive and worth noting ; )
A morning breakfast of French yummies aka SUGAR.
One of the many near misses.
Waiting in line for Louis. Tristan looks “oh so thrilled” doesn’t he?
This one speaks for itself.
Today, I sent Sarah and Tristan off alone to visit museums and shop, while I stayed back at the apartment to job search, blog, and ponder the future. Have I mentioned yet that there is a WHOLE channel here all about fashion?! And it’s in ENGLISH! It’s so great to peek over at the runway shows while I reflect on my time here and sit in the calm, and quite of my apartment. This very modest little thing I am calling my “home away from home” is one of the greatest blessings of this trip. My little kitchen, my shower with hot water, and the big beautiful windows that span across the entire west wall make me just simply smile. I love Paris.