Well, I just had my first full weekend in France, and it was a good one.
Honestly, while I do love my job as an au pair, a full week of childcare leaves me in pretty desperate need for some me time, so when one of my newfound au pair friends suggested that we go around Paris together on Saturday, I was beyond ready. I’d been in Paris for a short while earlier in the week, but hadn’t really gotten to do much due to a tight schedule and long commutes.
Anyway, I spent the entirety of Saturday in Paris, wandering around aimlessly, as I’m wont to do, and trying to knock down as many touristy Paris milestones as was humanly possible. With my giant-ass camera and the week’s pay in my pocket, I took the 9 AM train out to Paris and found myself waiting for my friend right by one of the first landmarks–the Arc de Triomphe.
Even though it was still pretty early in the morning, a good number of tourists were already running around and snapping pictures, getting a head start on the day. Good for them! I threw my sense of shame to the wind and went right ahead and joined them, even standing in the middle of the road to get a perfectly placed shot of the Arc. Worth it? Maybe.
Shortly after, I was able to meet up with my guide for the day, and we made our way over to the Eiffel Tower, with a few detours along the way. One of our missions for the day was to find a good cup of boba in the city, since we’re both Californians and need a healthy dose of the stuff in our bloodstreams.
Despite the fact that I’ve been here for a week now, I hadn’t gotten the chance to go see it up close and personal yet, although the view from the distance as I come in from my train is always a treat.
I’m sure this has been said a thousand times before by a thousand other tourists, but there is something genuinely magical about seeing a monument that iconic in person, and even as I look back at these pictures [aka real-life evidence] of myself standing in front of it, it’s almost hard for me to believe that I was actually there.
We spent a fair amount of the day just walking around, with sort of an idea of where we were going, but no real plans or time table to speak of. I was, however, excited to try my first Ladurée macaron, and got rose and tonka, eventually discovering that the latter was some sort of bean. Both were delicious!
After taking our little Ladurée bags to go, we wandered over towards an Angelina, which is a café/restaurant with several locations here in France. It’s definitely very expensive, but I was told that the chocolat chaud was a must, so I ordered myself a cup.
The chocolat chaud, as it turns out, is pretty much just melted chocolate bars in a cup. It is intensely rich and filling and actually unsettled my stomach for a bit, so while I’m pretty sure I’d be ok with never trying it again, it was definitely one for the books.
More walking, this time in the general direction of a place that Google had said was a good spot for boba in Paris. Zen Zoo is a Taiwanese restaurant/café with a very authentic feel, and the boba was delicious, so if you find yourself craving something refreshing while in Paris, check it out! [The dim sum also smelled amazing, by the way.]
Paris always seems to have something green going on, and there are more flower shops in the streets than I’ve seen in my life. From what I’ve been able to gather, the culture of simply giving flowers and bouquets to people you love is still strong here, which I love. Even the tiniest terrace spaces seem to have a miniature garden in the works, and finding little shops like this is common.
There was some trouble at Notre Dame a few days before our visit, but other than the massive line of tourists waiting to get inside, the area felt peaceful. The church is massive and beautiful and totally picturesque, and there’s
A couple minutes away from Notre Dame is Shakespeare and Company, an English language bookstore with a fantastic selection. I brought a couple of silly little books along with me when I left California, but now I know exactly where to go when I need my book fix! There’s even a little café right next to it, in case you want to take a break and sip some coffee while you’re reading.
Our dinner spot was a place that had been recommended by a friend – Le Café des Chats. We were mostly looking for decent burgers, but there was also a family of cats residing in the restaurant, hence the name! A couple more au pairs from our agency had dropped by to join us for a meal and drinks, and it was a lovely and relaxing way to finish up the day.
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