I'm Olivia. I'm a perpetually hungry redheaded girl from New York. I eat, sleep and breathe Korean pop music. I speak French and am studying Korean language and business in school. This fall, I'm setting forth on an exciting and terrifying (seriously I'm so nervous I might pee) solo journey across Europe. Hopefully this experience is full of bright, fun, and exciting as well as ridiculously stupid experiences that I can share with you!
Eiffel Tower, Tuileries, Place de l'Opéra, making new friends, and more!
Okay, so it took me a second to remember what I actually did since my last post...I think 2 days is too much time to let go by, I start to forget!
So on Tuesday I decided to go to the Jardin de Tuileries, a public garden bookended by the Louvre and and the Place de la Concorde. It's located in the 1st arrondissement and was constructed by Catherine de Medicis in 1564. It became public after the end of the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette, during her imprisonment, was allowed to traverse these gardens in the days preceding her execution.
This park was immense, but it wasn't overwhelming at all. I've been to the gardens at Versailles, and those stretch on for god knows how long. One could spend 2 hours there easily and still not discover everything.
When I left my apartment I stopped at a store and bought a salmon and cream cheese sandwich and a coffee to go. The place I bought it from is starting to be one of my go-to places for food on the go. It's called Chez Jean, and It's probably a chain because they sell magazines and groceries in there too, but the sandwiches, baked goods, and coffee are really tasty and affordable! This sandwich was maybe 3-4 euro. Anyway, the coffee almost spilled all over my hand on the way to the subway, but oh my god the sandwich was so tasty!!! I stopped at a bench in the gardens to eat.
So I have a couple more creepy men stories (one of which will come later).
I was sitting in the subway station waiting for the train and there were two empty chairs to my left, one to my right. A group of three youngish guys sat on either side of me. I was just minding my own business, drinking my coffee, listening to music, when one of the guys turns to me and starts telling me how charming I am. I don't answer, instead I chug my coffee, shake it, shrug and make a face as if to say "welp.." and get up to throw it away. If you have a beverage with you and need to nonchalantly escape creepy men, this is a good plan.
Okay so anyway, I got to the gardens. At first it was really sunny and kind of warm, and then it got really grey and windy like it would rain. I walked all up and around the gardens from end to end and took pictures along the way..
BUT LET ME SAY ONE THING FIRST....
WHAT. THE. HELL. WAS THIS GOAT DOING HERE.
He was the only goat in the whole park, just chilling, casually munching on the grass. Not that I wasn't overjoyed to see this goat (I love goats to be honest) but I was slightly confused and flabbergasted by this animal's presence. if someone knows and can explain to me the purpose of this lone goat I'd really appreciate it.
The flowers were so beautiful! Everything was really green and in bloom despite the fact that it's been almost winter temperatures here the past couple days..
I'm sorry I'm no good at providing back story for these pictures other than oooooh more flowers, so pretty!!
The gardens are planned out totally symetrically, even the trees' leaves were cut to rectangular masses so that they'd all be uniform shapes.
I brought my textbooks with me and sat next to this fountain and studied for about an hour, but then it got too cold and I needed to get up and walk around.
There's the Louvre...it's really too big -_-
This is in front of the Musée d'Orangerie, which was closed when I went! I didn't think to look on the website when they'd be open. They're open every day except Tuesday for future reference!
This is the exit near Place de la Concorde. I saw the Eiffel Tower in the distance and decided to walk over to it. It's about a mile away but very easy to walk to!
Also, if you're planning to come to Paris, a really great app to have for your iPhone is called OffMaps. It costs 99 cents but it gives you two free city map downloads. It works OFFLINE. You don't need WiFi, 3G, 4G, whatever. All you have to do is plug in the address and it'll show you the best way to get there! It's helped me a lot here.
So I walked to the Eiffel tower and along the Seine for a little bit.
The Eiffel Tower is always really breathtaking in person, but be prepared for (you guessed it) pickpockets and general harassment!!
Women with clipboards will approach you asking if you speak English. SAY NO and keep walking.
I also wish it would have been more of a sunny day outside. Also I do suggest trying to go up in the top of the Tower at least once. It didn't seem entirely crowded. (but it is was Tuesday in September this might be off-season for traveling) I went to the top when I was in Paris in high school, and I may have almost shit my pants on the way up but the view was absolutely amazing.
But I will probably never do it again.
So after that I had plans to meet a friend that my friend from home introduced me to. I took the metro to Duroc and waited there about a half an hour not entirely sure if I was at the right place. (Neither of us were able to contact each other through a cell phone while out and about) She showed up a little after her class got out and I was relieved I was in the right place. We went to an adorable little boulangerie run by a really sweet woman. I was so hungry I got a Quiche Lorraine, which has cheese, bacon, and ham in it, and a tartelette aux pommes, or apple tarte. They were so delicious I could not even deal with it.
This is the Quiche.
This is the tarte.
So after that we took the metro to Chatelet and walked to Place St. Michel in the Latin Quarter. She had to go to a bookstore and use some store credit. The book store is called Gilbert&Jeune and there's like 6 different stores in that area depending on what type of book you're looking for. We walked along the Seine and looked at some of the bookselling carts. They were neat to look at, but a lot of the stuff was very expensive.
She also told me about a really good walk-up creperie in the area and we walked there and I ordered one with strawberry jam. Okay, this was actually very flattering but the man making the crepe poured the batter on the pan (? i don't know what a crepe making instrument is called) and then went to go put the contents of the crepe in there, and then looked at me and said, I'm sorry I forgot what you ordered. You're so pretty I completely forgot when I looked at you. To be honest that was seriously adorable. I feel like there's a way to be flattering thats not creepy. Like this was okay because a) he didn't try to touch me and b) he wasn't trying to get me to go anywhere with him. So we talked for a little bit and I told him I was from America and he said he couldn't hear my accent at all. So I left with my crêpe while blushing profusely and proceeded to eat it in about 3 bites. I said goodbye to my friend and then went back to my apartment.
The next day I didn't really have much of a plan. I wanted to go to the Floral Gardens in the Bois de Vincennes on the outside of the city but it was so cold and slightly rainy that I decided to just walk around Paris some more.
I stopped at Chez Jean for coffee and breakfast and I FOUND A DONUT WITH APPLES INSIDE
I almost died right there. I've been craving donuts for awhile. It's called a mascotte aux pommes.
I took the metro to the old Opera House and walked around there. There are a lot of expensive shops and galleries, but some had really cool window displays!
I also think I stumbled upon an area where there was a slightly large Japanese population, because there was a string of Japanese restaurants, travel agencies, and A BOOKSTORE.
This place was so cool I want to take my sister back there. I snuck a picture of the magazine rack because I wasn't sure if I could take photos.
I think the store was called Junkudo. I spoke a little Japanese with the woman there, and she gave me a frequent buyer card. Even if I'll never be back there again, I really like collecting little cards and brochures of the places I've been. Maybe I should
scrapbook! (Nah, keeping this blog is effort enough.)
I also bought this little pug manga for 9 euro, but it was so adorable I couldn't resist.
I also got this shirt on sale, because it was super cute and the English made me laugh really hard (except internally, because I was alone in the store.)
I'm wearing it right now actually!
So I went to another Franglish event, and those are seriously really fun if you get a chance to be in Paris, Nice, London, Lyon, or Cambridge. They have French/Spanish exchanges too if that's what you're interested in! I was much more relaxed at this one and ended up staying after for a drink with a girl from England! Didn't get paired up with any cuties again -_-. but some very sweet people!
So today was another low key day. I had plans to meet up with that same friend from before (hi Katelyn!) for Lunch. I wanted to go to a Brazilian restaurant, but it wasn't open. Luckily the Indian restaurant I went to before was open right across the street, so we went there.
I had fish curry and she had vegetable Biriani. There was even fruit in the curry. It was fantastic! I also ordered a grapefruit strawberry juice. They have a whole menu of homemade fruit juices there. The place is called Paris Feni if you ever want to check it out!
I think it's probably better to go for lunch, it was 10 times better than the dinner I had there the other day!
There was also a boulangerie around the corner and we both got caramel eclairs. They were so tasty, and probably cost about 2 Euro 70 centimes. Not bad!
Yes, eclairs have a funny shape, I know. Doesn't detract from their heavenly deliciousness.
So anyway we walked around a little bit and made plans to meet up again tomorrow to go see where Edith Piaf was supposedly born under a lamp post! I'm happy to have made a friend here, it's good to have someone to hang out with!
Oh I almost forgot my other creepy man story! (I'm full of them, aren't I?)
So I was walking to meet my friend, and all of a sudden I felt an arm around my shoulder. For some reason the thought that I might know this person occurred to me, but I turned quickly to come into contact with (you guessed it again) a creepy bald guy in a jogging suit. I threw my hands up and yelled for him not to touch me in French, and he held on for a couple seconds asking me why not, and I just kept yelling and eventually he walked away. I'm getting real tired of your shit, creepy bald frenchmen.
Some people will say that them harrassing you depends on what you're wearing at the time, but it's time for my feminist rant.
1) DON'T EVER THINK THAT THE WAY YOU'RE DRESSED JUSTIFIES A MAN MAKING YOU UNCOMFORTABLE OR PUTTING HIS HANDS ON YOU
2) I HAD ON A SWEATER AND JEANS. A SWEATER. AND JEANS.
Seriously, men sometimes.
Anyway, I only have two more days in Paris, and I'm starting to get a little excited to leave. I've done a lot here, and I'm starting to feel like it's time to move on!