Merci et au revoir, for now.
"Though I did and saw all of these fantastic things, I still have unfinished business in Paris. There's still a few sites to see, clubs to go to, and more fun to be had with the friends I made and the ones I will bring back with me. Paris is a wonderful place when you embrace the culture. It is by far an addicting city despite the amount of euros I spent. I will be back sooner than you think. As a very ambitious, independent, determined woman, I took complete advantage of almost everything in Paris without counting on a soul (and left a few things out on purpose so I have an excuse to come back), not to mention I got all As in my classes again. That's how I like to live life. If you haven't been to Paris, I hope you have it on your to-do list before you die. I love you, Paris. There's a special place in my heart for you now."
FROM AN OLD BLOG POST
Art + Fashion
And of course, the insatiable, the Eiffel Tower! The jogs around it, the picnics, the train rides to and walks there. Dining where there was randomly a perfect view of it (Trocadero, and omgosh, if you strike luck and get a reservation at night..the Eiffel sparkling? No words), going to the top to overlook Paris, the nights where we just sat on the grass, drunk wine, and watched it sparkle in the night were ALL magical. They were all forever-type-of-memories. I'll never forget.
"Versailles was absolutely GORGEOUS. Marie Antoinette, learning about her through History class, has always been a favorite historical figure of mine to study. That place is simply, magical. I plan to go back there at least one more time in my life."
Spotlight: Restaurants & Nightlife
"The Latin Quarter and Trocadero had great restaurants. It took me forever to find a convenient restaurant for me and all of my friends in The Latin Quarter. I had my first view of the Eiffel from Trocadero, actually. I had Japanese food at Le Shangai and Chinese food at Chez Chang and Eurasie, but crème brûlee, escargot (snails), entrectôte, macaroons, cheeses, chocolate, crepes solidified my Paris experience.
I also regularly ate chocolat and macaroons from the famous Maison du Chocolat. I tried all different types of cheeses (Swiss, Brie, Camembert, Bleu Cheese) like everyday for lunch or dinner as a traditional addition. I enjoyed a banana and nutella crepe from Montparnasse, literally only 4 or 5 blocks from my residence. I also think I had a ham and cheese crepe right after Mass at Notre Dame lol (fancy). I enjoyed escargot on my 2nd to last day in Paris (I believe); I really tried hard to hold back form it, but it was a must-eat in Paris. I drank Ricard, a drink you should drink before eating so you could be hungry (how it was explained to me -- I'm sure I sound stupid lol). Because I was so homesick for Jamaican food, I searched for Jamaican restaurants in the Paris area (just like I did in Rome) and found one called Cool and Calm about two different train rides away from where I lived. My friends and I (me, once) had to go there three times for us to figure out that it was closed down permanently. We were so upset and felt so stupid lol! I couldn't believe Paris didn't have a Jamaican restaurant when they have way more Africans than Rome! Nothing could compare to Jamrock in Rome though. And of course, I occasionally ate at KFC and Mcdonalds (Europeans hate this entirely, you learn not to blame them). For the most apart, I did a lot of food shopping at the country's most popular supermarket chain store, Carrefour. So I cooked a lot and ate a lot of homey meals. I also didn't get to try Kir, but after tasting Ricard, I don't think I want to.
It made my nightlife experience richer, especially when they played Niggas in Paris. Now sadly, though I visited most places the average tourist doesn't get to do in a trip, I did not get to visit several places (that all came up when I first went there, however). I learned very fast how popping Paris' nightlife was, and after making a few loyal friends, I got in-the-know for where to. I definitely planned to hit up VIP Room, Sens, and L'ARC, but I never got a chance to hit those nightclubs. It is very hard to get into these prestige clubs as an American, unless your famous or know someone. I got to attend Palais Maillot and a few other prestigious clubs only through friends I made."
Spotlight: Living in Paris
From an old blog excerpt done circa 2012-2013.
I ventured off everywhere in Paris, sometimes with others, most times by myself (especially because my friends and I never had the same time off from class). While living in Paris, I coordinated midnight runs and soup kitchen visits for the students I studied with. I walked and sometimes stopped at the post office while on a job to drop off postcards to my family and friends in the states and Jamaica. I also jogged throughout the Luxembourg Gardens several times. Because my school is a Catholic school, I went to mass at our campus in Paris where St. Vincent, one of the most famous Saints, is tombed. You can see his body. This was the case for so many places I visited: catacombs and the Vatican in Rome, several churches throughout Paris.
What WAS regularly scheduled for me and my girls in Paris, was a bottle of champagne/wine per night PER PERSON. My whole Europe trip was almost hard-liquor free with the abundance and cheapness of wine and champagne throughout the region. It was magical. Sometimes I even drunk two bottles a day because my body was so immune to them. I easily became a wineaholic. I voted as an absentee for Obama since I was abroad, which I considered a unique experience.
One thing I do remember, you can hardly get ANYTHING on a Sunday. You'll be lucky to find stores open. It's the little things that make you appreciate New York City and the city life more and more.
I think if I had spent more time in France, I would've visited Lyon more often and loved it more than Paris. Everyone I've met who has lived in Lyon likes it better, and I completely see why. It's less snobbish and way more lax.
I saw one of the famous rallies Parisisans are known to have. This one was one for freedom, naked freedom lol. Some were in bras and panties and some were even naked.
During each trip I take, no matter where I go in the world, I make a list prior to leaving for the country of the must-sees and must-dos when I get there. Now since I knew I would be living in Europe for a long period of time, I wrote down an extremely extensive list for places I knew I would visit. As soon as I land, I obtain a map for each city I'm in so I can mark it up and plan where I'm going to go first, what days, right up until the very last day of my stay in that place.. You could imagine how much fun I had living in Europe. Pre-planning always reaps benefits."
"I really need to express and share the gratitude and love I have for Paris. I had the time of my LIFE in Paris and I have to partially thank Briana B. back in Boston for introducing me to some of her friends here. It is true that Parisians are snobby, but once you are friends with the right people you'll think otherwise, get into the best clubs, be introduced to the best restaurants, and have a total different experience than what a tourist would have. I got the tourist experience (venturing off a l ot on my own), but i ALSO got the experience that an ordinary Parisian would have -- which is important to em when going to every country!
Living on one of the richest streets in Paris set my eyes on the true Parisian life. From Rue de Sevres, I walked everywhere to take in the scenery, only talking the metro if I was in a rush or if a lazy friend accompanied me. Some walks went up to an hour one-way. I enjoyed venturing off to museums by myself: Louvre (Mona Lisa, Venus, Hammurabi Code), Musée du Vin (favorite), Orsay, Musée du Luxembourg, Orangerie (Monet), Rodin (The Thinker statue), Pompidou. Attending Mass at Notre Dame and seeing relics from Jesus' time was a lifetime experience. The Arc de Triompe, Pantheon, Hotel des Invalides (Napoleon's tomb) and a few historic churches were beautiful. Helping out at soup kitchens and doing midnight runs to feed the poor opened my eyes that poverty exists even in the richest cities. I've now tasted Amorino's gelato in Rome, Paris, and NYC! As expensive as Disneyland Paris and Moulin Rouge were, THEY WERE AMAZING. Experiencing the environment at Paris Fashion Week was a dream. Visiting and buying from the first Chanel to have ever existed was unreal.
Spotlight: Moulin Rouge
"Yesssss! Yes, yes, yes I did go to the real damn Moulin Rouge! I can't believe it either and it ISN'T something I had thought about before leaving for Europe. I didn't even know that they still do the original Moulin Rouge in Paris! What a show!
I paid almost 100 pounds for the admision ticket. It was an extremely classy event where they served champagne, catered, and ushered, just like how we know it to be. Moulin Rouge is one of my favorite movies and musicals along with gangster films are my favorite movie genres. This was beyond a dream. The line went down for blocksss.
The performers were extraordinary. My favorite act (don't want to spoil it, so don't read on if you plan to see it), is when the woman jumps in the pool with snakes. Amazing! Be ready to see lots of breasts also. One thing I wasn't prepared for were breasts, and I totally disregarded the fact that breasts make the show! Awesome, spectacular show. It's worth the money becase it's a classic. Trust me, when you get there and you see the windmills outside, your starstruckness will make you forget how much you paid to see one of the best shows on the planet. Well worth it."
Spotlight: Disneyland in Paris!