For my senior spring break I was so excited to be able to visit to Paris and London. I didn’t study abroad while in school like most of my friends did but I have to been to Paris over a dozen times because, fortunately, my mother’s side of the family lives there. Growing up we would travel to Europe as often as we could to see family though I really can only remember the most recent times we’ve been. I have never ventured to Paris on my own until this trip so spending a few days with family before my mom arrived for our mother-daughter adventures was just what I needed after a busy first half of spring semester.
Although I tend to love the touristy things every time I visit (see above) – the Eiffel Tower, Pont des Arts, the Louvre, Notre Dame, steak frites – there’s nothing like spending time at my grandmother’s house in the suburbs of Paris (La Celle Saint Cloud and Garches). I have so many memories like going to the local bakery, sitting in her attic/painting study looking through her art work and drinking more wine and champagne than either of us should. These special memories are what makes Paris feel so warm and welcoming, despite being from a different country.
On the other hand, I don’t speak the language – though I can gargle my Rs like a pro – aside from my favorite word “boulangerie” which is French for “bakery” (obviously). Boo-lawn-jarrrr-ay aka the best place to find yourself in Paris. So while I don’t exactly speak French, I can completely understand what is going on around me – especially when it is me being spoken about. The downside is that I have never been able to respond. For example when I hear: “Regarde cette fille américaine qui mange un pain au chocolat comme si c’était son dernier repas” (Watch that America girl eat a chocolate croissaint as if it is the last meal) – I wish I could say something like “Et merde je mange un pain au chocolat, je suis à Paris!” (No sh*t I’m eating a chocolate croissant, I’m in Paris!) but Google translate takes a little bit too long on an international data cellular plan.
Here are a few photos from my time in the city:
Aside from some new French words to add to my vocabulary, a couple things I learned/re-learned about Paris on this trip:
– you’d be surprised at how well you can get by with speaking English aka pointing to things on a menu and hoping you get them (though I wish I knew French)
– portions are way smaller aka the right size (except the pictured steak frites); I didn’t once leave a restaurant hungry or too full
– I should have packed my running sneakers, no matter how cute my new Zara boots are
– Americans prioritize breakfast way too much; a piece of baguette and an espresso will do just fine, merci beaucoup!
– the Eiffel Tower is just as gorgeous the 1st, 5th, or 12th time you see it
More photos of my time in the ‘burbs and the French coast can be checked out on my Instagram account @zoegillespie!