Salut from Paris!! I’m writing, tired and sticky, from the top floor of Oh mon cake!, which beckoned us in partly for its beautiful cake displays, partly for its cute english attempts (Whoppies?) and partly for the free wifi, a rare find even in Pareee.
The rest of my travel day went smoothly. If anyone needs to travel to Paris from LA ever (or even from Tahiti, if you’re that lucky), I highly recommend Air Tahiti Nui. Their festive tropical atmosphere really made all my travel dreams come true.
10 hours and 30 minutes after leaving LA, we landed in Paris. Picture me thusly: three bags totaling about 80 pounds in weight, clothes I’d been wearing for nearly 24 hours, my face a sweaty mess from running around the airport, navigating the Paris metro trying to get to Rue du Louvre. New things I noticed: there aren’t elevators in most stations. There are lots of stairs. There are also crabby people trying to get places who don’t like being blocked by someone clumsily trying to drag their bag up the lots of stairs. Needless to say, I arrived at the hostel really ready for a shower and a hug from my best friend…enter Caro!!
Caro and I met in Paris for study abroad and are regularly confused for sisters so sometimes we pretend we are twins. Even the front desk person at the hostel thought we looked alike…when I arrived, he told me that my sister had just come in and told me to tell him to wait for me there. Turns out she actually told him to tell me to find her in the café next door…oops. But I ended up getting into the room for a much-needed shower and getting a hug from her after!
Night 1 was crêpes at La Crêperie St. Honoré. Oh how I missed cidre and galettes! And this girl.
That was about all we had energy for, as I was totally fatigue-drunk (a condition in which one feels all the symptoms of drunkenness due to not sleeping for more than 24 hours). So we met our hostel roommate and turned in.
Day 2 in Paris, and our only full day together, dawned drizzly (familiar…). Breakfast at the hostel was great, and I remembered that they drink coffee from bowls and have awesome bread.
In typical Caro & Anne fashion, we bought a bottle of champagne and a carton of OJ and some yogurts and picnicked in the Tuileries.
My logistical and linguistic successes of today were: acquiring my train ticket, young person discount card included, and a phone! Caro and I love the question “what is your address?” which we get asked all the time by people doing official things for us, as neither of us has one. But at least now we have phone numbers! We are real people!
The biggest success of the day, though, was Caro’s perfect (comme d’hab) brunch choice. A buffet of appetizers, a reasonably priced bottle of wine, mussels and duck for the main dish, and another buffet of dessert makes for a three-hour feast of champions.
Food culture in France is my favorite. A four-course meal that takes three hours to finish makes conversation and relaxation the focus of mealtime! I am also such a fan of the perfectly sized portions and home-cooked (by a great chef) taste of the food, and service that doesn’t rush you. As these things I love about this place are coming back to me, I’m also realizing that this really does feel like home. It’s nothing like the overwhelming newness that it was when I first arrived over a year ago for my study abroad semester. And I’m so grateful that I get to feel that way about Paris.
I am also excited for my next steps: tomorrow, I take the train to meet two teachers from my school who are kindly fetching me from the station, and I get to settle in to a temporary home as I begin the search for my own accommodations!
But this weekend, I was reunited with my twin and my second home city, in one fell swoop. And I could not be happier that my year in France began this way.