February 8, 2012

Day34-36 : New York in Paris

Bonjour again!

Sorry I've been quite terrible with my updates. After being sick last week and still catching up on work, plus with a big presentation in school coming up later this week, sadly I've not had much time to explore much of Paris the last couple of days :-( However, I just wanted say a quick hello again and share this wonderful map of Paris by artist Vahran Muratyan of Paris versus New York that I recently came across...

For any American transplants like me who are new to Paris and still trying to figure out the different neighborhoods (20 arrondissements in total!), I must say based on my experiences and Parisian expeditions so far this amusing map has been quite accurate so far! It's quite interesting to see how much Paris does indeed remind of New York and vice versa...

February 5, 2012

Day 33 : Il a neigé à Paris = Winter Wonderland!

Bonjour mes amis!

I am thrilled to say winter has finally arrived here in Paris! Oui, I woke up this morning and discovered to my delight that it had actually snowed last night--and by snow, I do not mean flurries, but proper snow indeed! 

Okay, for all of my midwestern friends, you'll probably think my pictures below might look a little pathetic--compared to our good ol' fashion blizzards at home, this would be classified as merely a "dusting." Nonetheless, by European standards, even a few inches managed to cause chaos in London this weekend and pretty much convinced everyone in Paris to stay inside--all the streets were practically empty! To mark this joyous event (and staying true to my midwestern roots :-p), I decided to spend my Sunday afternoon frolicking around my neighborhood and capturing my little snow globe of Paris before it all melted...

I present to you my black-and-white artsy interpretation of "Winter in Paris"... enjoy! 

Passy | 16e arrondissement

L'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

L'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

Off l'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

Off l'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

L'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

L'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

L'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

L'avenue Georges-Mandel | 16e arrondissement

Place du Trocadéro | 16e arrondissement

Tour Eiffel | 16e arrondissement

Tour Eiffel | 16e arrondissement

Palais de Chaillot | 16e arrondissement

Passy | 16e arrondissement

Passy | 16e arrondissement

Passy | 16e arrondissement

Passy | 16e arrondissement

For those of you who prefer the wonderful world of color, worry not--I have not forgotten about you! Jump ahead for your very own special virtual tour, too :-)

February 4, 2012

Day 32 : Part 2 - Out and about in Le Marais (again!)

Because I clearly loved it the first time around, I decided to spend another weekend exploring more of Le Marais! and let me just say that each time I come here, I fall more and more in love with the old charm and character of this neighborhood... Hopefully by the end of this blog post, you'll see why :-)

For your viewing pleasure, I've decided to share a few great finds from my afternoon stroll today... Of all of them, I'd have to say that, by far, my favorite highlight would have to be Place des Vosges! For my history buffs out there, you'll be intrigued to hear that this beautiful Parisian oasis happens to be the oldest planned square in Paris!

Bienvenue au Marais. Pavillon du Roi. Love the architecture. | Rue de Birague, 3e arrondissement

Place des Vosges  | 3e arrondissement

Being the nerdy little me, I've always been fascinated about hearing the stories behind people, places, and things--and so  after I came home tonight, of course, I had to give myself some fun, extra little homework to brush up on my Jeopardy trivia about this place :-) Quite an interesting story indeed--I must say reading up on its background definitely brought the beautiful old square more back to life!

Admittedly, many times at school I've been called the "Queen of All Nerds." So, rather than bore many of you with a full history lesson on what I learned about Place des Vosges today, I shall resist the temptation and leave my fellow nerds to rely on my best friend Mr. Wikipedia to educate you all. Meanwhile, without any further delay, I'll let the rest of you go on and enjoy my visual delights below :-)

Statue de Louis XIII | Place des Vosges 

Pavillon de la Reine. Il fait du soleil! | Place des Vosges 

If only it wasn't winter, I'd spend my weekends reading here... | Place des Vosges 

 Hmm, I've noticed that the French love to trim all their trees flat... | Place des Vosges 

 Maison de Victor Hugo in the far corner. | Place des Vosges 

Arcardes lining the park. Feel like I've travelled back in time... | Place des Vosges 

A few more lucky gems I came across this afternoon!

To start with, this cool concept store Merci, which my sister actually told me about a few years ago. Tucked away in a courtyard off Boulevard Beaumarchais, this lovely, quirky magasin solidaire was launched awhile back by the founders of chic children's brand Bonpoint and would be what I'd describe as the perfect one-stop shop for cool little things to make life more fun :-)

Merci  | 3e arrondissement

J'adore cette voiture rouge! | Merci

Inside you'll find a delightful selection of books, fashion, shoes, kitchen accessories, furniture, bikes, etc.--all artfully displayed to tempt even the most casual window-shopper to come in and take a peek :-) The best part about this store, though, is that 100% of profits from your purchases at Merci all go to charities! Hmm, now with a good cause like that, how can you resist indulging in some retail therapy?!

Day 32 : Part 1 - Reason No. 846 Why I love Paris!

After a week in hibernation, I finally decided to come out and play today, and let me just say what a terrific day I chose indeed! Not only was the sun shining bright with blue skies here in Paris, but I also came across this lovely surprise as I was heading into the Paris metro at Trocadéro this afternoon...

Now, when was the last time you saw a 10-piece string orchestra in the New York subway?! What makes this even more perfect is the fact they played my all-time favorite classical piece, Pachelbel's Canon. Ah, oui, it definitely feels good to be in Paris :-)

February 3, 2012

Day 25-31 : Je suis malade...

Bonjour mes amis! Oui, I'm still alive!!

So sorry I've been MIA this past week, but unfortunately I've been terribly sick :-( Silly as it might sound, I actually bit my tongue while napping last week and did not take it easy over the weekend as I should have. Ended up paying for it this week as I could no longer eat, talk... or even laugh with the excruciating pain :-( In the end, I was forced not to talk and go on a liquids-only diet, which I must say is torture here in Paris with all the delicious boulangeries and pâtisseries taunting me on every street corner! Good news, though--after two days of rest, happy to say it looks like I'm finally on my way to a speedy recovery :-)

Now that I'm starting to feel a lot better, I guess it's safe to return to the scene of the crime and share with you my little guilty pleasure last Sunday that was partially to blame for the pain I later suffered this week...

Ladurée |  Champs-Élysées, 8e arrondissement 

Yes, that's right. Ladurée. Bored out of my mind and with almost every place closed on Sunday in Paris, I couldn't think of any other place to better entertain myself than Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées :-) Admittedly, this isn't first, second, or even third time I've been here... Nevertheless, I thought I'd come back anyway and check it out again for the millionth time. Why you ask? Well, because we all know Ladurée is one of the best pâtisseries in town! and frankly, with all the yummy desserts on display, seriously, how can you ever say "No?"

Grand entrance @ Ladurée |  Champs-Élysées, 8e arrondissement

Hmm, wondering what's inside the green bag? Well, if you guessed macarons... Haha, you're wrong!

Trés jolie! | Ladurée 

I know, I know... I always come to chez Ladurée for the maracons, and I must confess that's the only thing I've tried on their menu. However, what few seem to realize (except the local Parisians themselves) is that Ladurée also makes one of the best religieuses in town! I came across this interesting fact while browsing through my foodie blogs earlier on Sunday and decided I had to taste it for myself...

January 27, 2012

Day 24 : Part Deux - Le Chateaubriand + Snails = Yummy!

After running around all day at The Happiest Place in Europe, I found myself so hungry when I got back to Paris earlier this evening that I'm certain I could have eaten a whole cow! Thankfully, Edouard, our new, très gentil Parisian friend/local tour guide had booked a table at Le Chateaubriand (11, rue de Washington, 8e arrondissement), so that he, Yasuyo, Kurt and I could all catch up and start planning our big road trip to the French countryside/South of France next month! Let me say, like last time, he once again did not let us down!!  Merci beaucoup, Edouard!

To be honest, after three bottles of wine at dinner, my memory is a little blurry from tonight... Thank goodness for the pictures below to remind us of what fun we had! Besides the entertaining charades we had at the dinner table, gastronomic highlights from tonight's feast include: 1) l'escargots (translation: snails!!); 2) cheesecake for dessert (so yummy we had to order a second one!); and 3) amazing, warm hospitality from the Le Chateaubriand staff (especially our serveuse for the evening who even gave a certain gentleman at our table a little kiss on the cheek as a thank you for his nice compliment :-p)!

Old frenchman with awesome shades? Haven't tried the food yet, but I already know I'm going to love this place... | Le Chateaubriand

 A short history lesson before dinner :-) | Le Chateaubriand 

Edouard et Kurt | Le Chateaubriand 

To be honest, can't remember exactly what this is... Edouard had ordered it for us, but it was super delicious!! | Le Chateaubriand 

L'escargots. | Le Chateaubriand 

Day 24 : Part One - The Happiest Place in... Europe---Disneyland Paris!

I'd have to say today was, by far, the most fun I've ever had since I arrived here in France!! Why you ask? Well, that's because I got to spend the entire day being a kid again at Disneyland Paris!! 

Haha! Yes, we all know I've been a Disney fanatic since I was little. Truth be told, though, it was only after I found out I'd be studying abroad in France that I really started to have my eyes set on checking this theme park out. Disneyland Paris was the second Disney resort launched outside the US, but the first to be opened and operated by Disney--which unfortunately meant a lot of hard lessons learnt by Disney during its early days... While interning with Disney last summer, I actually got the chance to hear many of these stories from other cast members, as well as the various things Disney did to improve the Park since. Living in Paris now and embracing my inner Disney nerd :-p, I knew I could not possibly leave France without seeing it all for myself. Even more so, a number of my friends in Imagineering had mentioned a lot of good things about Disneyland Paris, with some even going as far to say that it was their favorite! So again, I needed to see why...

Admittedly, at first, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find someone to make the Disney voyage with me... I had mentioned the idea to couple of my fellow Boothies, who thought it was nice but then quickly brushed the idea off. I don't blame them. At our age, I know, there's probably more exciting things to see and do in Paris... 

Thankfully, though, my french teacher asked our class last week what places we wanted to visit while we were here in Europe. Half-jokingly I mentioned Disneyland Paris, of course. Expecting the usual "Oh, how nice..." response, I was amazed when my classmate Lisa jumped on the idea! Looking back, I'm really glad she came along today! It turns out Lisa is just as big a Disney fan as me, so she didn't mind at all that I wanted to stop and take a million pictures :-) I guess, you can thank her for my extensive picture album below!

Being a kid again for a day! | Disneyland Paris   

"Parc Disneyland" - couldn't believe how many other people came out early for the opening of the park! | Disneyland Paris   

Wow! So pretty! | Disneyland Paris   

Umm yes, this entrance beats the one in California... | Disneyland Paris   

Disneyland Hotel | Disneyland Paris   

"Bienvenue." | Main Street USA, Disneyland Paris   

Wow, we're finally here! Yay! | Main Street USA, Disneyland Paris   

First Impressions: Hands down, I would have to agree with whichever Imagineer said that Disneyland Paris is the prettiest Disney park of all! I should probably mention that I haven't been to Disney World (yet), so I could be mistaken... But for now, yes, this park gets my vote for the top prize!

Rather than bore you with all the little details of my Disney day-long adventure, though, I thought I'd just quickly share with you my three favorite highlights from today: