University of Wisconsin–Madison

41 rue dareau

Paris, ville de l’amour, the city of love. Did I used google translate for that translation OR did a frenchman whisper that in my ear while he gave me a red rose beneath the Eiffel Tower? You decide. Back in July I decided to go to Paris on Valentines Day with one of my best friends Martha. Exactly when we planned out the most romantic imaginable Martha informed me that her excursion was cancelled due to people not participating. Crushed I spent a night in depression but knew she would want me to live it up when I went.

During the entire trip Les Miserable played in my head and I was in CONSTANT search for a mime. Unfortunately I never found one, they must’ve all gone somewhere with their mime sweethearts for Valentines Day.

Due to the generosity of my dear friend and previous roommate Alex I was able to avert the hostel expenses and rest easy on a fotoon with my other friends Corrine and Casey, really got our fill of an old fashioned sleepover. Her apartment resides in the 14th district (i believe) which really reminds me of nothing besides the hunger games. The first night was a bit chaotic due to the fact that Alex gave me the wrong pass code (blames it on her being sick) to her apartment but no matter I made friends with a bartender at a local cafe while searching for wifi.

Friday

  • Successfully purchased and navigated the metro which was cleaner than Barcelona but still was a metro. Everything we went to today all was in the general vicinity of one another so it was manageable and easy.
  • Went to the jewish quarter (le marais) to feast upon the BEST falafel at l’as du fallafel. There were 2a few armed guards standing vigil but nothing overwhelming. Apparently in another more orthodox sector there are many more of them.
  • Then we walked to Norte Dame where I was constantly scanning the bell towers for the hunchback (to no avail). I marveled at the 1detail of it all. Norte Dame was constructed in segments, the first being in 1006 AD. It amazes me that the gargoyles of Norte Dame has seen everything from the Renaissance Period to the French Revolution, both World Wars, and the wedding of Kim and Kayne.
  • Saw a sample of the latin quarter where I whipped out my handy dandy spanish for some street cred
  • Went to a bookstore named Shakespeare and Company which was really eclectic AND had a cat in it. For all you Minnesota people think Wild Rumpus minus the animals and shrink the wall size to european.
  • Who can go to Paris and not see the symbolic lock bridge? Not me. Unfortunately for all the lovers almost the entire bridge was boarded up due to the locks weight breaking the wiring on the bridge. Clearly with my robust love life I was most upset of all.
  • Across the road is the one and only Louvre Musesum where Robert Langdon raced around with a purple light deciphering clues. Like all good tourist we took obnoxious photos of the pyramid and us. And went into the Tulieres garden (not tulipets instead it was originally a clay mine for all the buildings around it).
  • We tasted hot wine which tasted like syrup then alcohol every other sip then barely able to stand metro home.
  • For dinner we went to a cafe near the Eiffel tower and raced (literally sprinted) to the Eiffel Tower to see it sparkle. The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour on the hour. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, I thought it wouldn’t be as impressive having seen it so many time and having a souvenir bronze representative BUT let me tell you I didn’t speak for 5 minutes and doe-eyed stared at what I thought I’d never see in real life.
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The host and hostee
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Corrine and I in awe

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Saturday/Sunday

  • We tasted some wine at this local place that had bottles from 1859. I was in heaven.
  • Saw arc di triomphe which was GINORNMOUS. Way bigger than the one in Barcelona. We didn’t 6have time to climb the giant but hopefully my family will do that with me when we come back in May.
  • Musee d’Orsay – free for students. Is home to Vincent Van Gogh’s “A starry night” “Self Portrait”, Paul Gaugin ” Tahitian Women”, a good portion of Claude Monet’s & Edouard Manet’s impressionist paintings including “Asleep in the Poppies” and “Luncheon on the Grass” by Monet, and “Olympia” by Manet. No photography was allowed in the museum and my number one goal of the weekended wasn’t to go to French prison so I obliged.
  • Being on the avenue des champs-elysees not only made me feel like a celebrity it also allowed us to see the Laduree. Laduree is a French pastry shop decorated with mint green and gold trimmings specializing in macaroons. A macaron is two macaron shells joined together with a ganache filling, the perfect combination of crisp on the outside and soft and smooth in the middle. They come in more than 17 varieties. I tried the framboise (raspberry & alex’s go-to) and died a little inside, I also ate it in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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  • One last thing. After dinner on Saturday we had a visitor in the form of a small vermin, a mouse. Coming from a house notorious for mice I wasn’t freaked out but let’s just say a few tears where shed, screams exchanged, and a mad dash to the local super market for a mouse trap. The program has been notified as of Monday – gods speed to the exterminator. It was a fantastic weekend and I can not tell Alex and her roommates how thankful I was for letting me stay there. If you have the opportunity to go to Paris go.
  • Below is the Parisian food I consumed that I have yet to show you, note the profiterole dessert from a local restaurant called Felicie
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ensalade de primavera with tuna and mozerella
salmon on top of sauteed spinach with pureed potatoes
salmon on top of sauteed spinach with pureed potatoes
ensalade nicoise (learned how to say it correctly too!)
ensalade nicoise (learned how to say it correctly too!)
profiteroles
profiteroles