One year ago today I was just a normal college student: I watched a lot of Netflix, went out with my friends, and procrastinated on all of my essays. Oh, except I lived in Paris, France. The four months I spent studying abroad in Paris were filled with amazing food, gorgeous European sights, and so many new experiences. Since I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately about my French memories, I decided to do a throwback post about my favorite moments!
I always imagined that when I went to Paris and finally saw the Eiffel Tower, I would be underwhelmed. I mean, it’s just a big hunk of metal that even Parisians are ambivalent about. But when that Tower bursts into millions of sparkles every hour, it is one of the most beautiful and magical sights in the world. Add a colorful sunset and you’ve got the perfect picture.
Even during the day, the Eiffel Tower makes the perfect backdrop for a picnic in the park. When I first arrived in late August, the weather was still warm and fresh produce like these plump purple figs were all over the outdoor markets. I recommend stopping by the Marché d’Aligre in the 12th arrondissement for an array of local produce, plus tons of fresh French cheese to choose from! There is nothing better than picking up a warm baguette and a block of cheese and just going to town.
One of my absolute favorite places in the city is the Bois de Vincennes, a park just on the outer edge of Paris. Being from LA, I’ve never lived near a park this big and this green! It has multiple walking/running trails and a large lake where you can rent rowboats. It’s the perfect place to take a stroll through nature or run off that entire block of cheese you just ate (tru story).
Ooh la la. I took this picture from the top of the Eiffel Tower (and by “top” I mean the 2nd floor because I was too scared to go higher) and it so accurately captures the gorgeous architecture of Paris. The creamy beiges and greys of the buildings with pops of luxurious gold can be seen in 360 degrees when you go to the top. Is it overpriced and are the lines long? Uh, yeah, but most tourist attractions are. But if you’re in the city for a while and have the time to kill – go for it!
When I snapped this delightful tea party pic at Ladurée I actually thought that I had taken the best picture of my entire life. There is just something about those pastel macarons and classy-as-hell tea pots and cups that makes me go all heart-eyes emoji. The macarons here are as delicious as they are expensive: light and crispy on the outside and served slightly chilled. My favorites were the rose and salted caramel (duh) flavors. Pair with rose tea or delectably thick hot chocolate and you’re in for a gourmet treat.
If you’re more into éclairs, don’t worry boo cuz I got you. Check out L’Éclair de Génie in the 4th arrondissement for some of the most amazing and unique desserts you’ll find in Paris. They are pricey (4-5 euros each), but they’re world-renowned and absolutely stunning! This place combines a classic French pastry with modern gastronomy and creates a beautiful and delicious dessert. I tried the caramel beurre salé (salted caramel – is anyone surprised at this point?) and citron yuzu (self explanatory, yeah?). Definitely worth the money!
My favorite place in the entire city lies on the top of a hill on the edge of Paris: Montmartre. It’s sort of the hipster part of Paris, if you couldn’t tell by the bearded street performers. Montmartre is home to different thrift shops, modern cafés, and winding staircases that lead to an amazing view by the famous Sacré-Cœur. I spent a lot of days wandering these streets, listening to street music and sipping café crèmes.
Pause Café was a hip & trendy restaurant near my apartment where my friends and I would always go to hang out. No matter what time, it’s always full of locals eating and drinking and talking it up. My go-to dish was this duck parmentier (shredded duck and creamy mashed potatoes) but the veggie lasagna and salmon tartare are also tasty. The famous Bastille is only a few blocks from this spot, so you can head off after dinner for more drinks or just a walk around the landmark!
I actually do have a few pictures of me mixed in with my hundreds of touristy pics! Shakespeare & Co is a must-see if you’re a book nerd like me, even just to glimpse the cozy, vintage interior. Luckily for me, last year they held monthly Shakespeare readings complete with wine and mini quiche. It was a great way to meet other ex-pats and get drunk (classily) while reenacting classic plays.
I had never ever had falafel before, but my apartment was just a metro stop away from the Marais (the Jewish quarter) so I had to try the famous L’as du Fallafel. Holy shit, guys. This stuff is amazing. The falafel balls are made right in front of you, so they’re so soft and fluffy on the inside – no dry crumblies here. It’s chock full of a mix of veggies and of course a delicious tahini sauce. Definitely order it to go, since it’s WAY cheaper (most places in Paris are like that) and eat it as you walk through the Marais and browse the shops.
Dis is me (left) with some of my besties while I showed them the sights!
Living in Paris was one of the most incredible and life-changing experiences of my life and I absolutely suggest you work/study abroad if you’re able to. Paris will forever be one of my favorite cities in the world and I’m counting down the days until I can go back! I hope you loved this little throwback and if you’re going/have gone to Paris and have more suggestions/requests leave a comment below!