Adventures with Henry: Bonjour, Paris!

Quick facts:

Who: Lindsay, Annie, Holland, and Lexie, with occasional cameos by Steph and Lauren.

When: Midnight 10/24 until midnight 10/28

Where: Paris, France!

Most used phrases:

Bonjour (bon-jor): hello – but here’s the thing: this is more than just ‘hello.’ You’re expected to say this to EVERYONE when you see them, especially shopkeepers. It’s considered incredibly rude in France to barge into a shop without first saying hello to everyone working there. Annie was reading The Sweet Life in Paris (story of a pastry chef moving to the big city to pursue his dreams – wonderful read) and found this fact, and I didn’t believe it until I saw every French person prove it true. So, say hello.

Pain au chocolat (pan aw choco-laht): essentially, bread with chocolate in it – delicious bread that was my first introduction to Parisian pastries.

Camembert (cam-a-bear): cheese that is some of the best cheese ever to exist in the cheese world. Cheese.

My favorites:

Eiffel tower: Yeah, you knew this would be first. And to be honest, before I hopped on my bus: I didn’t think it would even make the list. I’m not much of a sightseer, so I figured I would go with the group to appease them and then happily frolick off to enjoy something a little more exciting. But I happened to LOVE it. It’s seriously one of the most gorgeous sights in the entire world, especially when lit up at night. We all got a tad emotional walking down to see it and then had a squealing fit when we realized it sparkles for ten minutes of every hour. You also have the option of tramming up to the top, but I only had the oomph to get to the first balcony: still VERY high up with a wonderful view of the skyline. Plus it’s fun to be there by yourself since you get hired to take pictures of all the couples.

Macarons: I wasn’t really into these guys either, but I got convinced. After watching Annie have a near religious experience with one, I knew I would have to give them a try. For those of you who don’t know, a macaron (not to be confused with the American macaroon) is a meringue and almond-paste cookie with a sweet, creamy filling. In other words, delicious. They come in every size, color, and sparkle-level (yes, some had sparkles on them) and they are scattered all over Paris. Annie tried the pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, and raspberry and said they were all amazing, so the first chance I had at tasting one, I went with vanilla. Good choice on my part. You could actually SEE the flecks of vanilla bean in it and the whole thing just melted in my mouth. Yum.

Shakespeare and Company: Cramped bookstores are some of my favorite places ever. This one happens to have the added bonus of previously housing Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even Hemingway! So, basically, it seeps creative juices. Plus, there are loads of used books, first editions, and other gems here and there. I accidentally ended up buying three books (oops) and one ended up being a signed copy! The best part is they stamp the inside cover of every book you buy so it has the official “Shakespeare and Company” seal. Definitely looking forward to reading everything…once exams are over.

Louvre: It’s sort of stupid to be in Paris and not see the Mona Lisa. But, there’s so much stuff crammed into the Louvre that you have to stay for a bit longer than the one Da Vinci. (Fun fact: if you spent nine seconds looking at every picture in the Louvre, you will be stuck in the museum for over three months.) We, of course, visited the famous painting, but also explored the entire Egyptian exhibit, most of the African art, and a few Greek sculptures – including Venus de Milo, my personal favorite. The whole experience was surreal and completely worth it – though we definitely needed a few hefty street crepes afterward.

Disneyland Paris: Okay, okay, I know: why would I go to Disneyland when I had all of Paris to explore? So thus I answer you: WHY WOULDN’T I GO TO DISNEYLAND PARIS?! I had actually never been to any Disneyland/world before and I was completely overwhelmed in the best way possible. We rode the best rides (Space Mountain TWO), bought so many souvenirs (well, they bought souvenirs, I bought my own set of Pumba socks…), and experienced one of the best light shows of my life. We also got to meet a tri-lingual Jack Sparrow named “Schmitty” who accused us all of being mermaids. All of this topped off with a lot of laughing and a scoop of Ben and Jerrys: simply perfect.

Other favorites:

Tea by The (best hot chocolate I’ve ever had, plus right outside the Louvre), NEW Paris walking tour (more learning took place in those three hours than I think I’ve ever learned ever), McDonald’s “Double Potatoes” (shockingly good potato wedges AT MCD’S!), and the love locks bridge (very romantic - we even added our own lock!)

End result:

I would like to rechristen Paris as the city of wonder. Love’s great and all, but a city has never floored me quite like Paris. This was the fullest weekend I’ve had yet and I would go back in a heartbeat – just save me a few beignets.

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