“We’re Always Going to Remember Being 21 in Paris” (part 1)

March 5, 2010

It’s been our dream since sophomore year of high school-Lauren and me, in Paris, together, during our junior year of college. We realized that dream last week, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

I picked Lauren up at the airport on Saturday morning-I was over an hour late due to problems with the RER (railway), which ruined my plans of waiting for her, but it worked out. I had given her my French phone number “just in case” and she bought a magazine so that she would have change to use a payphone-it wasn’t the greeting I had imagined but none of it mattered when we finally found each other!

Afternoon sun in Montmartre

We spent the afternoon wandering around Montmartre (where she was staying), drinking coffee, and just catching up. That night we both decided, spontaneously, to have a celebratory dinner at a French café on my street. I had a kir (the less glamorous version of a kir royale,  just white wine instead of champagne) and Lauren had a glass of “the best” red wine on the menu. We spent over two hours with our wine, our salads-niçoise and chêvre chaud-and tea and hot chocolate. It was so French, so delicious, and so much fun!

Sunday Madame invited Lauren to lunch. We couldn’t stop eating the tomato tart, potatoes, butter-covered fish, salad, bread and cheese, and deliciously gooey chocolate cake with the chocolate chip cookies Lauren brought from the states. It was a flurry of French language and customs (peeling the skin off of your potatoes with a fork and knife), but Lauren kept up with it all really well, as I knew she would. After lunch we walked all over my favorite parts of Paris. I took her by the Sweet Briar building, the Sorbonne’s Art History building, and the Place de la Sorbonne, where I have my English Literature class. We wandered to Shakespeare & Company, and then had ice cream from Berthillon. Lauren reacted as I knew she would to the salted butter caramel; “this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten”.

Lauren in Shakespeare & Co.

Monday we had a perfect Parisian day. We started with a photography exhibit at the Hôtel de Ville focused on shots of Paris by the photographer Izis. Paris really hasn’t changed very much since the 50’s and 60’s, but the black and white photographs seemed so glamorous! We had the best falafel in Paris for lunch; L’as du Falafel is cheap, fast, and absolutely amazing. We shared one of their giant messy sandwiches while walking through the Marais skinny streets in search of patches of sunlight.

This pose is one reason Lauren and I are friends 🙂

After our hands were clean we went searching for the famous Marché aux Puces (flea market) of Paris. It took a few minutes to find, but meandering through tiny streets and shops full of everything from old clothing and porcelain to someone’s ancient monogrammed silver and even vintage Chanel, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent jewelry (!!!) was an excellent way to spend the afternoon. The shopkeepers were chatting in little groups and eating lunch-complete with wine, bread, and cheese-on little folding tables in patches of sunlight. If I ever do get an apartment in Paris the flea market is the first place I am going! The things aren’t inexpensive, but there are so many treasures hidden in back corners…

Keys anyone?

Grandma has an antique store named after her in Paris!

A more exotic alternative to pheasants

Gram would love all the porcelain figurines!

We didn’t buy anything this time. But we weren’t too sad. We had a dinner at our friend Nick’s to look forward to! Nick made us honey balsamic salmon that was incredible, and we ate baguette with goat cheese and drank wine out of old jam jars. We finished the meal with madeleines dipped in a homemade butterscotch sauce, and Nick and Lauren even did some swing dancing in the kitchen!

Nick, his friend Zeina, and Lauren with our amazing dinner

We laughed so hard, and ate so much…Lauren was right. Being 21 and in Paris is the best! And the week just kept getting better…a très bientôt!

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