A smattering of photos of Paris (one more month left until I leave!)

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Mimes roller blading on the Quai of the Seine

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Statue of Liberty

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Jardin des Plantes

 

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Canal St Martin

 

 

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When clothing stores start taking over boulangeries.

 

 

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Le Jardin du Luxembourg

 

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Parisian Fashion: Not Exactly My Cup of Thé

After spending two and a half weeks in NYC for Christmas vacation and another 2 weeks in Paris pre-Spring semester, this Monday marked la rentrée: the commencement of school in France.

View of NY/NJ.

View of NY/NJ.

Flying back into Paris in 2013 and settling in again in my room and old routines reminded me of how different this period will be compared to Fall Semester. Being in New York reenergized me and made me approach my experience in Paris differently. I’m not in need of an adjustment period, other than the first few days spent to get over le décalage horaire. And instead of conforming to every social expectation and custom that is typified as the French way to do things, I will be less apologetic about doing the things that I enjoy though not considered ‘normale’.

 

View down a street in Paris.

View down a street in Paris.

I’ve been somewhat disappointed with the way Parisiennes dress. I appreciate that the Parisian uniform dictates a clean, well-fitted style and that, contrary to the overwhelming abundance of borough folk I saw in NYC, no one is wearing pajama pants, sportswear, or carpenter jeans. I’m conscious of respecting people’s style even if I don’t agree with it or find it boring (the more I disagree with your outfit, the more diversity there is!) but the fact that there is such a limited variety in what Parisiennes wear is a bit frustrating knowing that this city is supposed to be one of the fashion capitals. There’s little room for daily creativity or innovation when you’re in a society, especially as a foreigner, where people generally feel it’s their duty to correct you if your appearance or behavior is ‘abnormal’.

The main categories of style as worn by women in Paris seem to be of three camps:

A: The young Parisienne rebels with blank, unsmiling faces

B: The young to middle aged ‘professional’ women usually toting a novel, a shopping bag from Le Bon Marché or a child while coming home on the metro.

and the most daring of them all!

C: The 60+ ladies who will not be slaves to your fashion humdrum! 

Camp A: They shop at Zadig et Voltaire, Sandro, H&M and Zara. They wear the same exact styles, in approved colors (black, brown, gray, olive or eggplant), and can’t say no to apparel that is studded. They own a pair of black motorcycle boots with studs, sneaker wedges, skinny jeans and cotton fingerless gloves so their hands are always free to text or light up a cigarette. Leather jackets or large fur coats are what she prefers to complement her chunky infinity scarf. And she usually sports long, wavy hair and black eyeliner. She loves a good leather bag with some studs or zippers or the infamous Vanessa Bruno bag with all those sparkles. She broke curfew once two years ago and since that night she has been using fashion as her way to rebel.

Camp B: She’s a newly graduated woman searching for work or a middle aged professional who keeps Americans begging the question ‘How can I attain that classic, Parisian je ne sais quoi?’ The answer does not lie within Chanel number five or grandmother’s Hermes vintage scarf (although it could), but Repetto ballet flats or heels no taller than 2 inches (I can attest that footwear higher than 2 inches will cause too much of a rio), opaque tights paired with a pencil skirt, and poncho-styled wool coat. She generally abides to the neutral-colors-and-black-only rule but may surprise you with a flash of blue, red or pink with her cashmere scarf. Her bag of choice comes from Tod’s, Lancel, Hexagona, Longchamp or Chanel. Makeup is minimal and confidence is foremost; never look up from your phone or book while on the metro unless you want to surrender your expression of indifference.

Camp C: My favorite group of Parisian woman who inspire me and make me feel like maybe it’s okay to stand out. While not all older woman dress super stylishly, most of the time the most daring outfit and the boldest of colors are worn by a woman above the age of sixty. While modest in her choice of skirt lengths and necklines, she is the true rebel when it comes form deviating from fashion norms by wearing prints, colors and flashy accessories. She has the advantage of a stockpile of clothing from different eras including at least 3 different designer bags from each decade and no one can critique her look. She’s got moxie and she doesn’t think twice about smiling in public. She prefers her hair in a bun and who knows she may even be in your ballet class. (Yes, really!)

This was all in good fun and I hope this doesn’t come off as offensive to anyone! I don’t think that I dress so incredibly different from the rest of the crowd, but I was definitely more concerned about fitting in with the Parisiennes during the fall than I am now. I have always been one to take some risks even if they were huge mistakes and I am here in Paris to continue said lifestyle.

Maybe I am not really going to be Stacey: La Parisienne and more like Stacey: Hey, I once lived in Paris, can you tell?

xx

Spotted: In the 75008, Stacey La getting scolded by une petite vieille dame

Paraphrasing what a little old Parisian woman said to me today:

“It’s really a shame that your skirt is so short. If it were longer it would be much better. You have to be careful going around with a skirt like that. If you go to certain neighborhoods you could get raped. (Did she really just say that? Yes, I think she did) You’re so cute but it would be best if you wore longer skirt. Goodbye. Have a good day.”

Yes it was windy, yes my flared skirt was short and appeared shorter with heels but I was wearing opaque, black tights and holding my skirt down gracefully! Not to mention she’s sharing her belief that a woman’s outfit causes her be harassed and raped, but that’s another problem for another day.

I’m not really bothered but I thought it was funny and very frank of her, a complete stranger. This is something that has never happened to me and I don’t think would ever happen to me in New York.

One month Anniversary

My camera took its final breath last Saturday, so I won’t be posting any more photos until I get a replacement.

So, to post a quick update without the aid of photos, I will write about my week briefly. This last week of September included:

-Getting use to the routine of my classes and doing homework (oh, that’s right, the reason I’m in Paris is to study)

-Visiting the exposition “Paris: Vue par Hollywood” for the second time. The exposition, although poorly executed with missing “fiches” (I have no idea how to say this in English.. it’s the card under/near the display that describes what you’re looking at ?)  and a floor plan that makes you feel like a mouse trapped in poorly designed maze, it was actually pretty enjoyable. And the exposition did inspire me to watch a bunch of Audrey Hepburn movies including Funny Face.

-Eating sanduiches chez Eric Kayser

-Drinking a lot of hot tea in order to warm up in this apartment where it’s 10-15 degrees colder than the temperature outside

-Reading A Moveable Feast and having the privilege to visit or know the addresses that Hemingway describes/ visited/ lived at.

-It’s getting more and more easy to speak French but I don’t know if that’s really an improvement; just because I can speak a little more quickly doesn’t mean I’m speaking coherently and without grammatical mistakes. And I know there’s no way to improve my French but to practice and communicate often but I have a feeling I’ve fallen into a dangerous zone of perpetuating my own errors of grammar and conjugation.

-Exploring new streets and neighborhoods. This is the one thing that has contributed to my continually and slowly growing affection for Paris. I have to admit that as much as Paris has been refreshing, intriguing and lovely to look at, I have not really been in love with the city or felt too attached to it (and I still don’t. New York still reigns supreme). However, I just recently started to genuinely warm up to it when that internal map and sense of direction, all inside my head, began to get more detailed. It’s a process of becoming familiar with boundaries and neighborhoods that eventually leads to my being able to orientate myself in a large city.

The concept is personal and difficult to explain, so I might try to write a post on it but for now all I can  say is that it’s the feeling of comfort and familiarity that goes with knowing that the shop that sells hot chocolate to die for is near my school, which is on the way to the vintage shop where I love to window shop, which is not too far from the quality sandwich shop, which is only 2 blocks away from one of the best spots for gelato.

-I realized that I am really irked by something things commonly found in Paris[ian culture]. Or maybe it’s because they are so common that they irk me. This list will continue to grow but so far it includes:

a) Les Sacs cabas by Vanessa Bruno. If I  walk 2 blocks I can be sure to pass at least 5 girls with this bag. I just don’t understand how it’s come to be so popular that women, from 7-70 years old, carry this ugly sequined bag that’s just, in my opinion, an overpriced version of something I’m sure the Children’s Place once sold for $20. Since it’s not practical, sophisticated, nor well-designed, why are Parisians so taken with it?

b) The phrase “c’est pas pareil” (It’s not the same/ it can’t be compared). This phrase irritates me because it’s often uttered when I’m trying to make an argument or a comparison to explain my point of view. Once it is uttered the debate is over, my point has become invalid and my opponent somehow won the debate all because “it’s not the same!”.

c) … I don’t want to be too hard on Paris so I will end this list with: Pigeons.

until next time,

S.

Le Regard

Well this hurts. I had written a long and lovely post but one way or another it got erased. I will try my best to recreate it:

Before arriving in Paris I had collected an arsenal of cautions, tips and addresses from American, expat bloggers and from my friends who had recently returned from their year in Paris. Some of the advice was what seemed to me like common sense (don’t stare at someone unless you are hoping to give them the green light to start a conversation with you) and some of it was unexpected and pretty helpful (careful where you step, Parisians are notorious for not picking up after their dogs. The metro in Paris does not run 24/7. Do not order a café au lait in a café; that’s only a drink you have at home in the morning), but all was shared with the intention of helping me adapt to Paris as an American student who has a conversational grasp of the language (at best.)

And so now I cannot tell if it is due to this year and a half long period of preparing myself and familiarizing myself with the cultural and social habits of Parisians or the fact that the Parisian culture is not unlike that of New York City, but I am disappointed to say I have had very few issues adapting myself to the Parisian lifestyle. Compared to my classmates who have spoken about their issues acclimating to Paris and the anxiety they feel over the unfamiliarity of it all, I have yet to feel severely overwhelmed. Which is definitely a good thing but I also have to admit that I am a bit disappointed that there isn’t a great and remarkable contrast between the Parisian and New York culture. After I had spent two years in the safe, comfortable and charming community and town of my college, where the worst thing that could happen to me would be finding out that the dining hall had run out of the plain yogurt that I ate every morning, and I was hoping I would be awakened and bouleversée by all the social oddities of Paris.

There was one thing I was anticipating and had prepared myself for but hasn’t been an issue: I had been told that Parisians love to stare. This is, for me, very untrue. Not only on comparably so, but also in absolute terms.

I want to avoid sounding narcissistic but the fact is that in New York City there is not a single day that I can leave my house and walk outside without being catcalled, whether it’s just a hello, psst psst or another verbal comment, or the silence that goes along with being stared at. Every time I pass by a group of young guys, construction workers or people hanging outside a bar, I instictively brace myself for their comments or their stares. It’s not pleasant but it is something that I have come to expect and accept, since it’s generally harmless, because the effort I would have to put in to stop it isn’t worth it.

However, in Paris, where I had been warned about those “randy French men” and how Parisians love to stare, this hasn’t been an issue. And it’s not that I miss being yelled at by strangers, it’s actually a relief, but it is unfamiliar. At first I spent a brief period thinking I was just too ugly for Paris. But even if that’s true, I have come up with some other theories:

1. The city is full of attractive and well dressed women so you have to be a perfect 10 to be garner attention.

2. The well dressed and perfectly coiffed men are playing the same game I am. After all, they didn’t spend all that time getting dressed in the morning not to be noticed and they’re definitely not going to look at you first. Whoever is the first to look at the other person is not only admitting their interest but their inferiority as well.

3. On a normal day there are 100 high school girls in a 5 block radius that are dressed better than I am.

4. With a pace that is a near jog and New York-trained poker face, I come off frigid and unapproachable.

5. Parisians are, in effect, less rude than Americans/New Yorkers

There is one demographic that loves to stare at me: French women. I don’t know if it’s because they are checking out my outfit or trying to figure out where I hail from ( on certain days I am evidently UN Parisienne since I fail to adhere to the uniform that is strictly black, gray and/or dark purple during months that have an R in the name).

But for all that my New York roots has blessed me with, it has also rendered me insensitive to vowel sounds and that is something that will keep be very much StaceyL’Americaine. That is, until my Phonetique class knocks it out fo me.

À bientot,

S

Man down

Paris has got me down. This week has been highly unproductive, comparatively as well as on absolute terms. And instead of studying for tomorrow’s exams, I am going to add to my low productivity and write this post. But I think it’s important I take the time to remind myself of how crappy Paris can treat its inhabitants (as well as let you all know that not everyday is full of buttery croissants and picnics under the Eiffel Tower.)

Monday arrived, passed and was relatively pleasant: I went to Pere LaChaise cemetery and wondered around, had some meetings at school, made small talk with a French woman on the street whom I had asked directions for a certain patisserie, had a marvelous croissant experience at said patisserie, I also tried the famous Berthillion ice cream (I chose two flavors that were recommended to me, chocolate and caramel, and not the ones I knew I would love so I can’t really rave about the ice cream yet..) and wandered around my neighborhood. To top it off I had an amazing dinner of mussels in a curry sauce (my favorite over rice.

Then Tuesday arrived and, garçon, what a contrast. Not only was it grey and rainy, but I accomplished nothing that day. I tried twice, one two seprarate occasions, to find my Paris university with no luck (The directions which I found online and double checked were wrong.. somehow..?). I then tried to go to the Musée d’Orsay but the line was enormous and even went across the street and down the block. I only realized why after I arrived at the Louvre: The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays so every tourist, student and their mother went to d’Orsay on Tuesday.

Wednesday I tried to register for my classes at the Paris University, that is, in person like it’s 1995. After 4 hours of being confused, babbling like a moron, getting lost and having to wait for the workers’ 2 hours lunch break to be over with, I only successfully registered for 1 out of 2 of my classes.

Today, I am successfully enrolled in my classes (5 in total: 2 at Paris VII and 3 at my college in Paris) and was feeling like things were finally in place. I then rewarded myself with a trip to the Musee d’Orsay where I only had to wait 5 minutes in line before getting in and got to see some superb paintings. After that, I was on a roll and headed over across the bridge to Les Arts Décoratifs to see, once more,  the Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs exhibition. Lastly, I decided to head over to the Marais and search for a crêperie so I could eat my first crepe in Paris.

It took quite a few hours to find the perfect crêperie if you can believe it. And just 30 minutes before my reservation I went to the ATM only to find out that I wasn’t able to withdraw money from my account. I can’t tell you the reason at the moment as I haven’t a clue why but I know that it isn’t my fault and that someone in their bureau made the mistake of freezing (?) my account.

Luckily I was with a friend who spotted me some cash so I was still able to enjoy one of the best crepes I’ve ever had (the one it rivals is a crepe i had on one of my last days in New York).

Hopefully next time I write I will not only have good news but more interesting stories to tell. For now, I’m trying to see howI can spread 5 euros to last me nine months.

à bientôt

S

My Past Few Days in Photo

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It wasn’t mine!

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La Grande Mosquée de Paris

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A fountain tucked away from a sidewalk in the Marais

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Jardin du Luxembourg; my usual spot for lunch

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Fashion Night Out, Paris, 2012

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Versailles

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The Spectacle of the Great Water Jets, at Versailles. This was one of many of the smaller fountains at Versailles that were concealed inside the maze.

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La Basilique du Sacre Coeur where I attended mass for the first time in ages.

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Yesterday was the first time i came so close to the Tour Eiffel

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Every hour, on the hour, Gustave Eiffel rolls over in his grave.

Chez Moi

I have finally finished my first week of orientation- which is just a mixture of classes of French history, politics, grammar, university life and French culture. It’s actually been very interesting and informative (I had no idea that ami(e) was only used for very close friends), but the days have been pretty long. With the limited time I had during the week, I’ll write about one part I know well but that I haven’t yet touched:

Chez “moi” and my host family.

My host family is really just ma mère d’accueil who has an apartment on the 3rd floor (that’s the 4th floor in a building in the U.S.) in the 4 ème arrondissement, close to la Seine, le Marais neighborhood and la Bastille. My host mother has traveled a lot and to many places around the world, which explains why her eclectic apartment is full of authentic souvenirs and antiques from magnets to blankets to photographs to other little artifacts. My room looks very vanilla in comparison but suits me well. I have a tv and large French style window and all those other things you would expect to find in a bedroom. My window looks out and down into the courtyard and across into the windows of my neighbors on the others side of the apartment. At night I try to see if there are any lights on or anything interesting happening, but so far it’s been disappointing. One last thing I will say on the topic of my window and room is that I detest how, on certain mornings, I can hear the cooing of pigeons and the flapping of their dirty wings.

view from my window

Personally, I think living with a host family is an excellent way to acclimate yourself to living in Paris and French culture. Not only can my host mother answer my questions about how to use a Velib or suggest a restaurant to go to, but I also think it helps to have conversations with someone who is not your French professor. It took me a while to comprehend my host mother. Even to this day I don’t always understand her. With my professors I have no problem. The difference here is that she, like every French speaker, uses slang (argot) and is speaking “real” French. Professors, I think, are more likely to annunciate and speak more clearly, just as you would speak more clearly if you were giving an oral presentation in class than if you were hanging out with your friends. And this subtle different of accent, pronunciation and vocabulary make all the difference for someone like me who has never really spoken casually with a native French speaker.

Another bonus is that my host has an interesting and extensive group of friends. She’s also someone who enjoys cooking and has made some pretty great dinners. I got to meet some of her friends and family one night when we had picnic dinner along a canal just a block away from the apartment. I think I really lucked out in this regard because, since it’s very untrue that all French families serve delicious and well-made dinners, there are some students who have to sit down to dinner every night and eat a ill prepared or boring dish with their host families.

Not I! I’ve also gotten the chance to eat some things I’ve never had before like shrimp served in their full glory (head, eyeballs, antennas), veal, fillet de sol with the bones, camembert, brie cheese (well I have eaten brie from Trader Joe’s which was imported from France and let me say, not a big difference), melon and jambon, sterilized milk (what even ?), full fat yogurt (mon dieu!) and lamb (which was the first time I ate in since I can remember and I hope I won’t encounter it again anytime soon).

A sticker on the door leading into the kitchen at my host’s house.

It’s only been a week that I’ve been living here but I am starting to feel more and more comfortable and at home. I have established routines like: waking up and walking 45 minutes to class. It sometimes amazes me that I get to pass all these significant or beautiful sights/sites just as a part of my walk home (and other times I am speeding past them because I’m so cold all I can think about is getting inside and getting warm. Yes, it’s been in the 60s in the last week of August).

On my way to class I get to walk across the Seine. On my favorite route I take the pont des Arts and pass the Notre Dame. In the afternoon I can’t help but feel superior, proud and a bit Parisienne when I get to pass all the tourists stopping on the bridge to make out and listen to the street-musicians or taking photographs of themselves eating ice cream in the Ile de Saint Louis. My inner dialogue says Yes, you’re on vacation but you’re also in my way. I live here and I’m just trying to get home. But in reality I enjoy every second of it.

Pont des Arts and la Notre Dame

My neighborhood, which has been compared to NYC’s West Village, is nothing like NYC’s West Village. I guess people make the comparison because there are cafes, boutiques and gay residents/culture (of which I haven’t noticed because I still haven’t reached the point where I can distinguish a heterosexual Frenchman from a homosexual Frenchman). My neighborhood (or what I consider it to be), le Marais, has a bunch a small streets, some are so small the sidewalk barely fits on person. In this neighborhood I get to profite from a metro stop close to chez moi, the good cafes and restaurants that are near by, a boulangerie right next door and, like I already mentioned, being a short walk away from Ile Saint Louis and the Notre Dame which is extraordinary both during the day and at night.

xx

Stacey

Paris, you’re so vain

Two days spent in Paris do not make for an accurate reading of how I will be treated and what I can expect when interacting with les Parisiens. First, It’s only been two days. Second, I’ve been staying in hotels and a touristy area where you wouldn’t expect to get a taste of what Paris is really like. But I have been to the grocery store, bought a sanduiche at a boulangerie and ate at a Thai food restaurant all without issues. I actually really prefer the way workers treat you here- they don’t hover and aren’t overly attentive[read: Annoying See: Employees of Abercrombie, Starbucks, and most order-to-go places].

And that’s great news for me as I’m someone who takes 10 minutes to pick out a piece of fruit or decide on what type of tea to order. Here, the workers greet you courteously with a “bonjour” without a fake smile and just wait for you to approach them to ask them questions or to order. At first I felt like the two workers behind the counter would get annoyed at me as I did laps around the bakery trying to see what I would like best and spend my money on. But they just carried on a conversation amongst themselves until I went up to them to order. If I was in NYC, I would have a worker who continues to look up at me in anticipation and  asking me if I’m ready, even when I’m not holding up a line. Du calme!

But one thing I will say is that Parisians are so vain.

How else can you explain all the mirrors around the city? They’re everywhere- built into the interior design of stores or mounted in the oddest places. So far, in just two days I noticed that the chain  grocery store Monoprix (or was it Fanprix? I don’t remember) has rectangular mirrors on the sides of those cement columns all around the store. I could understand in the hair accessory aisle or beauty aisle, but why would anyone need a mirror in the soap or canned food isle other than to make sure that they’re just as beautiful as they remembered when they checked themselves out in the yogurt aisle.

I also found a large rectangular mirror on the side of a stone building and, most abundantly, on the wall adjacent to each customer’s table at a sandwich shop.

I don’t know how else to explain this phenomenon other than to guess that Parisian culture is very concerned with looking just so that they need these mirrors available at all times . God forbid the wind, rain or any other everyday force shifts a lock of hair three centimeters out of its proper place.

Speaking of another sense: In the French language, there is a very poetic way of describing the scent of perfume one leaves behind as they walk past you. It’s le sillage de parfum or “trail of perfume”. This phrase that I thought I would never really use has come to my mind several times while in Paris because everyone just smells so good!

And not in that [American] way of dousing yourself in perfume so that everyone knows that you’re wearing a $75 dollar perfume, but in a way that you only recognize it because they breezed past you and the scent perfume doesn’t have to  compete with as much air pollution as in NYC. And I am super appreciative of this as smelling something pleasant always has a way of boosting my mood ever so slightly. I’m sure there will be moments when I’m on the metro and I want to change cars because so-and-so smells offensive. But as of now I’m pretty sure we can dispel that other horrible and antiquated rumor about the French…

Je suis à Paris.

My first day in Paris felt like a dream.

Pars is definitely wonderful, interesting, beautiful and there is so much to be explored. But arriving when I haven’t slept in more than 24 hours (and then forced to wait from 8am to 2pm to check into my hotel room where I could finally sleep), it was hard to believe that I was IN PARIS and that tomorrow and the next day and the next 9 months I would still be here. Also, being here by myself with no one to talk to in English or even have a long conversation in French, made it feel like this all could be taken away from me as if by waking up from a dream.

This could be a very long post if I tried to describe my day so I’ll write some of the things I saw, felt or experienced and maybe I’ll expand on them later in a future post.

1. After claiming my baggage all I had to do was make my way outside to board my bus. No passport check? Nope, that was done in Iceland so I don’t get to have a cool stamp from France.. I might have been able to ask them to stamp it just for fun but I didn’t even see a desk where I could ask that. (And how does one say “ink stamp” in French? And how would you explain why you would want this without sounding suspicious? By the way the verb “to stamp” with ink is tamponner. Kind of glad I didn’t know that and try to use it.)

2. To get from CDG airport to the center of Paris you have to pass some ugly (sorry France) neighborhoods  to get to  where I would be staying, Gare Montparnasse. For a while on the bus I was getting quite nervous as I though “What is Paris isn’t as beautiful as I thought? What if it’s ugly and boring? How can I spend a year in a boring city that falls extremely short in comparison to NYC?”

3. Paris is great. I’ve only been in one neighborhood but it really impressed me. And so have the people. Of course I’ve only been here one day and have yet to interact with too many people, but as of right now I cannot tell you that “the French are so rude”.  However failure to disprove this renders the hypothesis ambiguous.

4. One thing I just cannot get over and wish I had photographic evidence happened this afternoon while I was walking down a petite little street in the 14eme. I was looking to get something to eat and thought I would enter (or think about returning to) this little boulangerie/patisserie that had a blue-painted store front. As I walked closer and got a view of their store window I noticed a teenaged boy cleaning the glass of the door and next to that was a display of colorful macarons above baskets of other pastries in the window. At first I thought I was seeing something.. or maybe they decorated the macarons or burnt them?… No, those most be flies on their macarons.. I mean, that happens from time to time somethimes you can’t help…NO, DEAR GOD THOSE ARE ROACHES CLIMBING ON THE MACARONS AND THAT IS ROACHES AS IN MORE THAN ONE. WHY IS THAT BOY NOT DOIN ANYTHING OR TOSSING THEM INTO THE STREET.

I die. I didn’t want to slander this patisserie by writing this and ruining their reputation (although they only have 2 reviews on yelp) but what I’m writing is the truth so…. I wouldn’t go to La Fournee Augustine in Montparnasse if your looking for a tasty treaty.

5. I don’t think that’s very representative of Paris though. I’ve been comparing it to New York City as I walk around and I feel like there are so many more restaurants here. There are less patisseries and boulangeries than I would have thought there would be, but then again this neighborhood might not be known for that since it’s full of a lot of hotels and may not be very residential. I did however have dinner (toute seule) at a Thai restaurant near my hotel. I got to eat à la terrasse and had a filling meal for 15,30 euros.

6. I also haven’t seen much litter nor pigeons (but quite a few dead ones on the road. Have they not yet evolved to be as adept at dodging cars as their NYC counterparts?).

7.a. Paris cross walks will need a little time to get used to me. Not only are many in the middle of the street  and criss cross, but also  the red standing man that signals “do not walk” does not blink to warn you that you’re time is running out. It just goes from green to red. I haven’t yet found out what happens if you haven’t made it to the other side when the walk signal turns red. I assume you would get automatically hit as Parisians do not slow down or wait for anyone.

7.b. Also there are a few crosswalks where the cars don’t have a light but are supposed to stop for you (I’m guessing as I haven’t actually seen the front of the sign myself). What you don’t know is that cars don’t just stop for you if they see you waiting on the edge of the sidewalk looking eager to cross. You just have to look forward and starting walking, hoping that they are upright citizens and paying attention to you as you speed up, slow down,speed up slow down your way across the road. Hopefully I won’t end up like the pigeons.

I think that should be it for today. It’s not an amazingly interesting post but just a few things I thought I’d jot down before I forgot.