In September I headed back to Paris, my one-time home and forever favorite city. It was glorious – the weather was sunny and crisp and the cheese was just as delicious as I remembered. Nom.

My week in Paris was part of my two-week vacation to Europe. Two weeks off work felt luxuriously long, and I got so lucky with the beautiful weather. All in all it was the perfect escape from real life.

Also, can you believe the last time I was in Paris was two and a half years ago?! I can’t. Anyway, without further ado, the highlights…

Attending two birthday parties my first night in Paris

My first night in Paris, I attended two French birthday parties completely in French. Everyone was super welcoming and complimentary of my French, which made me happy – I guess those French classes in Boulder are paying off.

Plus, the parties made me happy because they was just so French. Half the party-goers were wearing glasses, everyone kept talking about books, and the wine was unbelievably good. Guys, the next time you’re in France please try a white burgundy – they’re unique and mineral-y and absolutely delicious.

Waking up to dozens of French cheeses

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The next morning, I was so tired that I slept in and missed the Sunday market. But my French friend went to the market and brought back an assortment of my favorite cheeses: tomme, goat cheese with with fig, Selles-sur-Cher, and a truffled brie. What a guy.

Also can you believe he bought all of this for 33€?!

Day-drinking on the Seine

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Is there anything better than day-drinking on the Seine with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot? No, no there is not.

While the rest of Paris was at work, Edna and I had nothing to do and nowhere to be. So what did we do? We threw ourselves sumptuous picnics with champagne, still-warm baguettes and lots of fromage.

Eating… everything

What to eat and drink in Paris

I’m writing a full post about what I ate in Paris, but let me tell you, it was all delicious. I finally visited Marché des Enfants Rouges, a 17th-century food market that I highly recommend.

Also, the salted butter caramel crêpes at West Country Girl (above) were everything.

Finally staying in the city proper

Despite all the time I’ve spent in Paris in Paris (one year and three summers), I’ve never actually stayed in the city. I joked to my French friends that I’ve lived on every stop of the RER A, except the ones inside the périphérique.

So it was a joy to finally stay in the city itself and even better, to stay in Le Marais, my favorite neighborhood. Our apartment was in the North Marais, close to République and the 11th. It was a stone’s throw from Paris’ hippest bars – Pasdeloup, Le Mary Céleste, and Candelaria, which naturally, I took full advantage of.

Going on a (somewhat modest) shopping spree

Back when I was an au pair I made 125€ a week, so I didn’t have a lot of extra spending money. So on this trip I made up for that by buying (almost) everything I fancied.

I splurged on over-the-ankle suede boots at Minelli, a solid perfume at Diptyque, and butter-soft sweaters at Princesse tam.tam. I even almost bought a gorgeous leather jacket at Sandro, but luckily talked myself out of it.

In any case, the exchange rate was very favorable, so I didn’t feel too bad.

Just being in France

What to eat and drink in Paris

God I love France. Being back was a joy – speaking French, walking the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, ogling all the pseudo-intellectual, bespectacled Parisian men on the metro.

Even though I miss Paris all the time, on this trip I realized I don’t have to be sad because Paris will always be home to me. I will always have friends there, I will always speak French, and no one can take the years I spent there away from me. And of course, I can always go back.

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Are you a Paris fan? What do you think of the city?

Important info – this was the cute Airbnb where we stayed in Le Marais. Sign up here with Airbnb and get $35 off! 

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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