After my five-week Eurotrip across Italy, Switzerland, England, Wales and Spain, I knew there was one place in Europe I still had to drop by- Paris.
As long-time readers know, I spent a year in Paris working as an au pair, drinking cider on the Seine and becoming the oh-so-clichéd American expat in Paris. I made a lot of close friends during that year, both French and foreign, so I knew I had to pay them, as well as the city I called home, a visit.
My week in Paris felt… exceedingly normal. A friend even commented, “Honestly, it feels like you just never left and still live here!”
And as I remembered, there is nothing like spring in Paris. Between the pollarded trees and the plentiful picnics, a huge part of me just wanted to say, “Forget the rest of the world trip! I'm not leaving!”
Here's how I spent my week in Paris.
The view from my friend's apartment! Pas mal !
As I've mentioned before, this year's visit to Europe was all about seeing friends. And see friends I did, from picnicking in Parc Monceau and the Bois de Vincennes to partying until the dawn in Oberkampf and getting a ride home on a French guy's motorcycle. Let's just say not much had changed.
While some nights I crashed at “The Cupboard”, my friend's shoebox apartment, I spent most of the week with my friend Vens at his place in Puteaux. Vens was an excellent host, and we spoke about 80% French- exactly what I needed to brush up!
A weeknight picnic in the Bois de Vincennes with my former au pair family. Ah, just look at those rillettes! Pre-gaming on the Seine like old times. Though I have to say, the Seine's a lot busier in summer!
New Sites Around Paris
Although I tried my damndest, somehow I still have not seen all of Paris' sites. So this year I checked a few more of my list: Sainte-Chapelle, a tiny Gothic chapel, the Promenade Plantée, a railroad track turned park, and Musée Carnavalet, a museum dedicated to the history of Paris.
Thoughts? I loved both Sainte-Chapelle and the Promenade Plantée but would give Musée Carnavalet a miss.
And on my next visit I still need to see the Picasso Museum and the Catacombes. Good God there are way too many tourist attractions in Paris.
Paying Saint-Germain-en-Laye a Visit
I couldn't very well visit Paris and not stop by the town where I lived, now could I? I popped over to Saint-Germain-en-Laye to visit my au pair family and was pleased to see not much has changed. The château still stands proud next to the métro, the rôtisserie chicken still turn in the streets and the teenaged girls are still rocking the I'm-so-effortlessly-thin-and-gorgeous-I-don't-even-have-to-brush-my-hair look.
Eating French Food
While in Paris, I ahem, attempted eat light- did you see what I scarfed down in England and Spain? I still made room for lots of my Parisian favorites: duck confit, gâteau basque, baguette, my favorite yogurt ever and steak frites with a glass of red wine.
And although I'm far from a pastry lover, one morning I even had pain au chocolat. Because, Paris.
Discovering My New Favorite Bar
While I admit I filled my week with lots of unblog-worthy things, this one is worth sharing!
Blog readers, meet Café de l'Industrie. If Hemingway were still alive, this is where he would hang. From the neo-colonial décor to the inexpensive wines by the glass, it's everthing you want in a Parisian café/bar/restaurant.
Overall writing this post and seeing these photos makes me sad- I have no idea when I'll next see Paris, a city where I've made some of my fondest memories. But I'd like to think I'll be back soon enough- there's too much calling me back not to visit.
Have you ever returned to a place where you lived abroad? What was it like?
Thank you to Vens, Laura and Rach for letting me crash! Come visit soon!