I’ve been in Paris for two whole days, preparing for the start of the Harvard Summer in Paris program, and am ready to fill everyone in about my trip! Yesterday was, how do you say, long. After the uneventful plane ride, during which I missed dinner but woke up 4 hours later for breakfast (you can’t trick me, Corsair), I decided it would be best to take a cab. I exchanged my money, hopped in a Peugeot cab with “Grenade” by Bruno Mars bumping on the radio, and peaced out of Orly, heading to Paris. I glimpsed the Tour D’Eiffel on my right, in between some graffitied concrete dividers, and 35€ later, I was at Rue de Printemps, valise in hand.
I met up with a neighbor of my host family, and he crammed me into the elevator, pressed 5, and up I went. Dominique, my host mom, met me at the door, as did Jiyae, another student in my program. They led me to my room, which Dominique explained as being mine only for this week, because two other girls (whom I have yet to see) are living in the other room across the hall, and when they leave I’ll be taking over their room with a German girl, apparently. However, I have fallen in love with this room (my single), and will be sad to leave.
After I put down my luggage, Jiyae and I walked over to Phonestore/house/something, a tiny tabac, and asked for Farid. He sold Jiyae a phone, but didn’t have the one I wanted, so I told him I’d go to Orange (the bigger store) to buy my mobile. He quickly phoned a friend and said it’d arrive by dix-sept heures (5 pm), and I waved him goodbye, excited to find the phone that I desired. (Cheap, keyboard, conversation-based texting.) We went back to the apartment, Jiyae went to sleep, and I connected to the internet in order to tell everyone I was safe and to find Mandi, my lovely friend who is working in a Neuro lab this summer. We decided on meeting at the Tuileries because it was a nice day, and I hopped on the métro, got off at l’Opéra, and proceeded to literally walk in a circle for 10-odd minutes until I finally found Rue de Paix, the last road around Place d’Opéra which I’d checked.
Rue de Paix wasn’t exactly as peaceful as its name suggests, and as I weaved my way through the throngs of tourists and locals, high-fashion names such as Dior and Chanel jumped out at me. A couple buzzed their way into a secure jeweler’s, which had the most beautiful display of watches and necklaces I’d ever seen. I walked past a store devoted solely to polo wear, with a saddle slung atop the dressing room and white jeans galore. Shortly, I was at Les Jardins, and passed through a carnival (see the photos) in order to get to the Obelisk at the entrance, where I said I’d meet Mandi. I spotted her from afar, we laughed, and then walked over to a bench behind a statue of a curvaceous lady. We talked for a while, and I ate some of Mandi’s delicious sandwich and drank the RedBull that she had so kindly thought to bring me (I’d probably be really awful company without it). After we toured the garden a bit, we walked around Place D’Opéra and were awestruck by the crazy shops again. We then made our way to the Seine and sat down, only to be swarmed by these odd girls who said they were from the Blind and Deaf department; it’s a weird, common scam where they get you to donate money and sign their petition. Deciding it was best to leave, we walked back to Place D’Opéra, decided to go to my house, and took the 3 back to Villiers, one of my Métro stops.
It was around 5 when Mandi and I got back, and so we walked to Phonehouse/store/truc (truc=thingy), waited in line, and eventually I bought my phone! YAY. Luckily, as we waited, we were savoring the delicious pastries from the Patisserie across the way, me a Paris-Brest (not too sweet, super creamy, and full of almond paste) and Mandi a crème brulée…or two, as it turned out to be. Later, I introduced Mandi to Dominique (who has a cat!) and we met up with Jiyae and went out to dinner at this incredible Lebanese place near St. Germain. I had the most tendre poulet that I have ever eaten, died a little bit of salt-shock, and had my iPhone stolen as a joke by the waiter…oops. (He gave it back.) Jiyae said goodbye, needing sleep, and we parted ways. We cruised around for a bit on the quest for Wifi, and found it hours later, at a Starbucks. I then contacted Anneli and Anna, my two other Harvard friends who are in Paris, and we met up at Pont St. Louis, the bridge in between the two islands in the center of Paris. It was lovely seeing them, and we walked around to Nôtre Dame, watched a fire-poi dancer, and pushed our way through the fourth quarter. As it was getting rather late, we said bonne nuit and took our trains into the night. When I returned, sleep came easily, golden buildings still etched beneath my eyelids.
That’s all for now…the internet is slow and I can’t put up any more photos.
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