Last tango with Paris

Dear Paris,

You and I have had some great times. Times I’ll cherish forever.

Like that time we went to Chantilly

And that time we ate nutella sushi

And that time we went to Giverny

And that time I fell asleep at the museum.

And that time we watched the fireworks on Bastille Day

And the time we took a weekend trip to Barcelona

And that time we went up to the top of the Eiffel tower at midnight.

Remember all those times? Yeah, they were really great and I’ll never forget them. But Paris? I really think it’s time for me to see other places now. I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves, this was really just a summer fling. Maybe it will work out again in the future– if we’re meant to be together, we’ll be together. But for now, I need some space. It’s not you, it’s me, I promise. You’ll find someone new to be the sunshine of your days, even though she probably won’t be as pretty as me, 0r as nice as me, or as good at french as me. But don’t worry, you’ll be okay.

Love always, and best of luck,

Mary

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The Princess Guide

The (Not for) tourist’s guide to Paris:

1) Buy a map. But don’t use it in public.

2) Don’t worry about getting lost. You’ll figure it out eventually, and even if you don’t you’ll learn more about Paris that way anyway.

3) Always go in churches. They’re always cold in a city with little air conditioning.

4) Go to Angelina for the hot chocolate, Mariage Freres for tea (and snoodiness), and Laduree for an expensive coffee. Then go pick a random unknown restaurant and eat some real food. It doesn’t matter where, they’re all good.

5) Eat a street crepe, both savory (try the egg-chicken) and sweet.

6) Go up the eiffel tower, but only late at night when it’s lit up. Every half hour it will sparkle, and the city is more beautiful at night.

7) If you can get in, go to a fireman’s ball.

8) Be there for bastille day and see the fireworks

9) Have a picnic. anywhere. Luxembourg gardens, champ de mars, place de vosges, next to the Seine.

10) Take advantage of good cheap wine in the supermarkets.

11) Explore the Marais. Eat at Crepes Suzette. Or the Culinary Institute.

12) Go to le Gay Choc and L’As du Falafel

13) Gelato Alberto

14) Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée Carnavalet, Musée d’Orsay, Le Petit Palais. Forget the Louvre.

15) Try the macarons at Pierre Hermé or Dalloyau.

16) Go to Galleries Lafayette and Printemps, see the inside of the Opera Garnier.

17) Walk around north of the Louvre and Opera. Window shop the great fashion houses. Walk through the Galleries and Passages. Feel/pretend you are rich.

18) Walk everywhere. Eat well. Take care of your skin. That is how to be french.

19) Spend an evening in Bercy. Visit Chinatown and the National Library. The less traveled areas of Paris.

20) Remember it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, only who you are with and how much you laugh.

xox,

Mary

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Lost for Translation

I add pictures of bastille day. Photo credits Galaxy Cho and Mary Delsener.

Pony-tailed horsemen ride the champs-elysées, with the man we all decided was Ralph from The Sound of Music.

Intimidating planes make the french flag during the flyby.

Fireworks light up around the sparkling eiffel tower.

just some highlights,

xox,

Mary

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An American (breakfast) in Paris

The time here has absolutely flown. I’m sort of nostalgic already for Paris and speaking french, for walking everywhere and laughing at silly parisians, for sitting in starbucks or reid hall working and reading books, for having the ability to skip down windy streets and to museums at my leisure. I’ll definitely miss it, but I’m also excited to come home and spend time with my fam & friendz at the beach, mountain house, and h-town.

Speaking of, this morning I went to Breakfast in American. Love. Also, I’ve concluded that americans are by far the best at breakfast. As me and a friend eavesdropped over delicious omelettes, we sat at diner stools and drank bottomless mugs o’ joe. The waitresses were american, spoke perf english, and were FRIENDLY (omg. friendly wait staff in paris? gasp.) The menu had an all egg-white and a substitute yogurt for hashbrowns option, and I could order these things without being shunned. Also, whole wheat toast that we got to toast at our table and other english speaking patrons round out the bill. Love. legit. Egg white veggie omelet + yogurt with friendly waiters at diner stools > croissants and dumb baguettes with mean waiters and fancy tablecloths any day. wooo. america ftw!

xox,
Mary

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(Near the) Moulin Rouge

Today I took my last final, aka the program is over(!?), and had a celebratory/ sad goodbye paris dinner (even though I secretly have 5 days left). We ate dinner at the strangest place. It was a fondue place in montmartre that serves one fixe-prix menu and that’s it. You get a place of “appetizers” aka tiny slices of “chorizo” and cubes of cheese, a choice of meat or cheese fondu, and a baby bottle full of wine. Yes, you heard correctly, a baby bottle. The place was so tiny that we had to climb OVER the table to get to the other side. No, that is not a figure of speech. We climbed OVER the table, with the two waitors standing by to help. Um, it was cute. I uh, never ever want to go there again. To round out this goodbye paris night we went to the top (well, as high as we could go late at night) of the eiffel tower. It was so pretty. Only the monuments and big churches really light up so it was like little glowing spots all across the city. Yay and then we came home. Tomorrow we are eating brunch at “Breakfast in America,” an “american” diner in france, before some of my friends leave for the airport. oooh la la. hahaha I can’t wait to see how the french do american breakfast. Then I am off to see everything in paris that I haven’t seen yet before I leave… maybe i should make a schedule… ?

xox,

Mary

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Finding Nouveau

Okay.

So you can laugh at me all you want for saying this, but it is true whether you like it or not. I am actually the best explorer that ever lived. Like, actually. In Barcelona, we didn’t need maps. Why? Because my intuitive, psychic-almost, sense of direction led us directly to where we were supposed to be. errrr time. This intuition naturally leads me to the coolest places and best establishments, as you have clearly seen in all of my pictures and posts and such.

One such place is the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore. It is an english language bookstore nestled on a tiny backstreet behind St.Paul’s church (my fav. church in Paris. that’s a big statement btw. there are a lot of churches, and i think i’ve been in them all.). And it is full of books… in english. When I say full, I mean the shelves, ten rows thick, are full all the way to the ceiling, and there are also piles of books on tables and the floor if need be. Half of the store is literature, the other half history/sociology/anthropology/linguistics/self help. and then the extra 10% (because there’s always >100 % duh.) is children’s books. The lady who runs the store is a little (read: very) eccentric, which is clearly right up my ally, and she is, of course, an american. There is also an english speaking store-hand constantly in the store with her, rearranging the multitudinous piles of books in some haphazard sort of system. They converse in english, and I get to ask questions in english, and talk to them about books. When french people come in they are all confused because there is so much english. And then the eccentric owner speaks to them in a french that has a wonderful, non-obnoxious, american accent, and i don’t feel so bad about my french. Then i buy a book, which i promptly devour on the steps of the church or along the nearby canal or in a little café with a cappuccino. I luf it.

Being at the end of my stay here (5 days left!), I’ve been getting quite reflective about the study-abroad experience. I honestly believe that, just like everyone tells you, it really is life changing. At the end of two months, I finally feel like I understand this crazy country and language. Having the confidence to communicate in your own language is one thing, but finding that confidence in another is an entirely different and very special, hard to find thing. I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to try. I feel like this is just the beginning of more adventures and explorations to come.

Not all those who wander are lost

Love,
the best explorer errr,

Mary

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Best in Feu.

Back in the days of Nappy-o (my pet name for Napoleon… don’t worry about it.), the French army technique was to have more troops than everybody else and win by sheer force. This worked for dear naps; he won, a lot. And then he didn’t. And then France stopped winning for a very very very long time. I have now discovered why. The energy they could have been investing in foreign endeavours was instead spent on Bastille day celebrations.

This morning, before the entire city became a lake, I witnessed a 30minute fly by air show, with red white and blue trails that formed the french flag. Additionally, the ENTIRE Champs-Elysees was lined with different army men that gradually began to process, oh, and I saw Nicolas Sarkozy, nbd. But that’s nothing compared to the fireworks I just witnessed. Set off against the backdrop of the eiffel tower, the French resurrected their former glory by releasing more fireworks than any one else for a full half hour. I’m actually surprised the sky didn’t explode, it was so covered in lights. Anyway, France wins. That’s it.

It also took us an hour to find a metro home because all those in the near vicinity of the fireworks were closed (yeah, okay france, that makes sense…?) and when we finally found an open one, it was legitimately FULL of people (and pushy safety men that wouldn’t let us sit down?). So yes, that is Bastille Day. More people, fireworks, planes, troops, everything than anywhere else. This was so not the Hockessin fourth of july parade.

Home in 7!

xox,
Mary

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