March 23, 2014

Perhaps the Most Romantic Spot in Paris, and Week Highlights

This week's highlights have been defined by one thing: The SUNSHINE! I don't think one fully understands the positive affects of that heavenly burning ball of gas, high up in the sky, until you live somewhere that experiences rain more than three times per year. Not only sunshine, but also sorbet, a new work opportunity, an American diner, and perhaps the most romantic spot in Paris. A big claim to make, I realise, but keep reading, people. Keep reading.

Last Sunday, a friend and I had brunch at Rose Bakery, a Franco-British establishment with a few locations around Paris. It's been quite hyped up in "hipster circles" (for lack of a better term), and for good reason. The façade and interior are unassuming and comfortable, the food feels hearty, simple, and of good quality. That morning, I had a cappuccino, a pear cranberry muffin, and a quiche. The muffin wasn't all sugar, and the quiche differed from French quiches in that it was square-shaped and had a sturdier crust. Only got a snapshot of the pretty foam on my cappuccino.

After brunch, we took a trip to the flea market at St. Ouen. I hadn't planned on coming, so without having any idea of what I was looking for, I left with nothing. In in all honesty, it's quite overpriced. We had a fun time admiring all the crazy things, though. There's even a little brasserie embedded within the open-air, alley-section of the market, and that afternoon we heard some live French music emanating from inside.

Next stop that Sunday was, of course, ice cream. How can you say no to ice cream? The lines at every single retailer of Berthillon on Île-Saint-Louis was lengthy, but the wait was so worth it. I went for my usual salted caramel, but changed it up a bit with an extra scoop of Mango sorbet. On our way across a bridge and down to the riverbank, a strange man asked us for a taste of our ice cream cones... "je peux goûter, je peux goûter?" I responded with a strong "NON" and a highly protective arm gesture. Don't mess with my ice cream! Do you see the dense line of people chilling on the river bank? The sun really lures the people out.



We just couldn't bear to end our sunny day there, so we hopped on a bus to Luxembourg, and had a walk-through. No joke, every single park seat was occupied. Even the section of grass that people are permitted to sit on was packed full with grass-loungers. The diffused sunlight cast long shadows of the trees on the ground.



Fast forward to Thursday, when I had my first experience in a new opportunity. I don't want to call it an internship, because that's not what it is. Officially, it's something of an "exchange." An exchange of my time for use of their space. It's at an art gallery, allows me to learn about a portion of the art market, take on small projects, and in the meantime, build up a reference for the future. It's nothing fancy or too interesting, but at least it's something to fill up my time and to build up my resumé ever so slightly. The gallery is near my old neighbourhood and very close to the Eiffel Tower, so it's a lovely area to visit once a week. I took this picture below in the Champs de Mars during a little walk I had nearby.


Fast forward once again to this Saturday, when I met a couple friends for a traditional American diner brunch and some more island-time. Breakfast in America is the perfect place for lost expats and homesick university exchange students. This time around I had an omelet with potatoes, a root beer, and a slice of pecan pie! Ellen and I (both American) invited my new Serbian acquantance along for a little slice of America; it's always so fun to show other cultures some of your home country!

The most amazing thing happened that day. When we surfaced from the metro, the skies were horribly gray, the weather was cold, and the wind was strong, but upon exiting the diner, the skies had suddenly become a bright blue canvas filled with white pillow-clouds.

Charles Dickens really sums it up: “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

We walked through a nearby park, meandered down a narrow street, and ended up at Notre Dame, once again. I seriously should branch out! I always end up right at the islands somehow!






Since I hadn't been there since last Fall, I said to Ellen, "Let's go check out this little park at the tip of this island!" So - we did. If I had been there with Erik, we definitely would have been one of the many couples being cute and cuddly on the river banks. The park covers the triangular tip of the island, with paved space all around to sit, legs dangling over the sloped edge. If the temperature was a bit warmer, a blanket, a bottle of wine, and some sandwiches would have been in order. I think the best part about this section of the Seine were the the romantic weeping willows - it's no coincidence that Taylor Swift films a bulk of her "Begin Again" video under these very willows, it's just so damn romantic. Combined with the unreal sky, it was too much to handle.





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