Sunday, November 29, 2009


exactly what this week has been. Wilson left for the states on Friday morning- quite bittersweet. I'm elated that he came to visit, but then there's always the downer of parting ways. But at least we'll always have Paris, right? I managed to give him a thorough tour of Paris with the time we had- hooray! Here's some pictures of our adventures in the city of light. 

they were setting up the Christmas tree in front of the Notre Dame

recognizing our asian culture in front of the arc du triomphe

the ceiling of the arc du triomphe!

The Galeries Lafayette all decorated for Christmas

the HUGE tree inside

what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to go to the Louvre? 

Note: If you ever go to the Louvre, go when it opens at 9am- its far emptier than if you go at, say 11am, and the experience is just so much more enjoyable when you don't have to fight through crowds. We went in around 9 and were out by 11, and had lots of fun laughing at the swarms of tourists trying to get into the Louvre as we waltzed out. 

Inside the atrium

preparing Thanksgiving dinner at my place :D
we had chicken, pasta, apple crumble, and peach champagne. yumm. 

Thank you for an amazing week, Wilson! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009



He randomly showed up at my door on Sunday afternoon. Yes, a spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous visit to Paris for the week so I wouldn't have to spend Thanksgiving alone. You cannot imagine my shock/disbelief/joy when I answered my door! I thought I was seeing things... he was supposed to be in San Diego visiting friends and snowboarding in NorCal for the week. 

I still can't believe he's here- its unreal. I'd wanted so badly for him to come and experience everything that I tell him about, and now here he is. We're having a very busy week seeing all the sights and eating all the culinary wonders Paris has to offer! I'm so excited to show him everything in the city i've gotten to know so well. I don't want this week to end, ever.... 

At the Apple store in the Louvre. Can you see the tip of the glass pyramid? :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

the adventures of bartholomew

...because it is long overdue.

Ice cream in a french cafe

visiting the hall of mirrors in versailles

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

espaces verts

Paris, being like any other metropolitan city, has lots of cars, too many people, weird smells, and too much noise. Get over your romantic image of 'la belle Paris,' people... 

However, Paris does have an appreciation for small green spaces. In a city where not many people have backyards, archways and balconies hang with vines, flower stands are popular at the metro stop as well as the market, and flower shops boast new arrangements every other day. French etiquette calls for bringing flowers as a polite gesture when visiting someone's home for dinner, and I've seen numerous people carrying home bouquets, along with their baguettes, on their way home from work. Here are some pretty snapshots I thought I'd share. Most of them were taken when I was walking around the Marais. 

without the vines, this archway would probably not be so eye-catching.
a cafe-restaurant I saw at the end of the street. It looks so cozy!
I was so curious I turned the corner to go check it out. Story of my wanderings- I follow whatever catches my eye, usually getting me lost. 

A bucket of flowers


more roses- I love this arrangement, despite my usual taste for the red/pink mix. 

tiny buckets

sunflowers- I was browsing some racks out in the front of a clothing shop, and i turn around  and BAM! these huge sunflowers were looking right at me. 

the street market at Corvisart metro stop- every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday morning.

gladiolas at the flower stand at the Versailles market

pretty flowers don't come cheap...

These pretty splashes of color are a sight for sore eyes- a nice break from the grimy sidewalks and gloomy days that autumn brings. Luckily, I get to walk through the Luxembourg gardens on my way to class, my window looks out onto the center green of the Cite U, and the Parc Montsouris is right across the street from my building. If I lived in the center of the city, squeezed in to the row upon row of tiny apartments, I think I'd really miss the big green spaces I take for granted at home. 

There are huge parks here- the Luxembourg, the Tuileries, the Jardin des Plantes- but unless you're lucky enough to live near them, a nice big park with lots of green lawn (that does not say 'pelouse interdit' - do not walk on the grass) is a rare find. Even at the Jardin Tuileries, it is much more likely that your shoes get coated with dust from the gravel of the meticulously landscaped Parisian garden than mud from the grass. Oh Parisians- what use is gravel and trimmed topiaries?  It makes me feel so confined and restricted, like I'm still in the city and still need to abide by the rules of civilization. I thought the idea of the park was the bring us all back to nature...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

pâtisserie des rêves

The dude who opened this patisserie, Philippe Conticini, also wrote a cookbook that consisted of all nutella recipes, so of course it merited a visit. Two, in fact. This place is apparently one of those new chic and trendy patisseries. Think the 'Sprinkles' of bakeries (although there are no cupcake vendors in Paris- the horror!). It uses trendy deco as opposed to your mom and pop shops with checkered curtains enticing you with the smell of old country bread (I walk by these on the way to class) or the mainstream commercialised patisseries (like brioche doree, or pain au pomme, your McDonalds of patisseries). Patisseries are everywhere in Paris- something I will definitely miss when I am back in L.A. and without my fresh bread that only costs 50cents.

Talk about presentation- all the pastries were displayed under glass cases that made them look like prized jewels. Notice the weights hanging from the ceiling- those actually come down when you lift one of the glass covers. So cool!

a close-up  

our purchase. included: cloth napkins. 
notice the cool window display!

close up shot of an apple tart (i think) sitting in the front window. 
I wanted to try everything! 

I love how their brioches look- like a little mountain of whipped cream! 

the final purchase! Apparently its a traditional Parisian pastry.
Annemarie and I took this to the park and devoured it (after taking numerous pictures)

the cross section. 
Think cream puff meets eclair meets millefeuille. 

I would go back if I had time, but there are simply too many places to try in the short time I have left! The first time I went, they were out of everything. No joke- most patisseries only make a day's worth of pastries, and sell out by the end of the day. Patisserie des Reves is hip enough to be sold out- I went around 3pm the first time, and they were already sold out. Lesson learned. 

I went to Angelina's the other day , and will post about that soon! Sorry I'm so spotty about posting- life is hectic, with me jetting off every few days or so. I was in Dublin this past weekend, and will be going to Mont Saint Michel this weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

le système français

The BHV: Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville dates to 1856 and is the 2nd oldest department store in Paris. The building closest to you in the picture is the city hall, or l'Hotel de Ville.

On Monday, I went to the BHV (think huge department store that sells everything) to return my charger I had bought for my Macbook. Mine burned out, and of course Apple products are wayy more expensive here than in the states (86Euro for a 60 watt charger = $100+), so I bought one while waiting for my American one to arrive in the mail (still cheaper, plus shipping!). Anyway, dealing with the 'French' way of doing things really made me appreciate the  quick no-fuss service that is offered in the states. 

First off, I had to go to 4 different offices on 3 different floors in order to finally get my "rembourse" (refund). 
1. I went to the counter at the electronics section, and they signed my reciept.
2. I went to another counter at the other end of the store, where they asked for my address, etc. and filled out other necessary paperwork. They gave me this paperwork, and sent me downstairs to another desk. 
3. I don't remember
4. Finally arrive downstairs, where they run the forms through and ask me if I want the credit returned to my card. 

Really, people? Please.

At the Best Buy/Costco/any store at home, I can go to any register and they would be able to do the job in one transaction, voila! But no... thank goodness I knew enough  French to know what was going on, otherwise it would have been one huge headache.