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!
Père Lachaise, Le Marais, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Marché aux Puces à St. Ouen, Olympiades, etc..
So this is gonna be a long one because it's been almost three days since I last blogged.
So on Saturday it was really sunny outside and I decided to go to Père Lachaise cemetery. It's the largest in Paris and is home to an exhaustive list of famous actors, musicians, artists, philosphers, etc..
I actually learned that when it was first opened in 1804, it was a really unpopular place to be buried because it was considered far from the city and Roman Catholics refused to be buried in a cemetery that hadn't been blessed by the church. As a marketing ploy, administrators had the tombs of Molière and La Fontaine moved to the cemetery. After that people were climbing over each other to reserve plots.
I actually had no idea where to go walking in there, it's enormous! I didn't think to buy a map either, but from what a woman told me they were neither clear nor helpful. So I took the Metro to Père Lachaise and entered right by the metro. I ended up wandering around in there for a good three hours, but it was extremely beautiful and peaceful. I found a map on the opposite end of the cemetery and took a picture of it on my phone (smart thinking, right?) I was able to find Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, Moliere and Jim Morrison.
Here's Moliere's tomb.
Here's Jim Morrison's! I didn't expect it to be this simple, and apparently they've cleaned it up a lot. Fans were vandalizing it like crazy...but unfortunately there were barricades all around.
There was literally an entire pathway covered in these.
Edith Piaf is here! I was probably most excited to find her. Also on the tomb she's listed as Mme. Lamboukas. A woman stood there with me contemplating where that name came from.
There were maybe 30 holocaust memorials. Each one represented victims of different camps. They were really sad, and also extremely intense. This one was huge!
Okay I thought Oscar Wilde's was extremely bizarre, it was really cool to see, but to be honest it seriously pissed me off that people smothered their lips all over it. I get it, but, seriously it just kind of looks dumpy like that.
After that I took the subway to the Marais, which is the old Jewish quarter and is a really artistic neighborhood with a large gay population. I had this eclair, and everyone gives me a hard time about how weird it looks but I KID YOU NOT IT WAS DELICIOUS
If you are ever in the Marais for some reason, I don't care how long you have to wait in line...
There are a lot of places with walk up counters where you can order a falafel the size of your face. It cost 5.50 Euro which is a great deal considering a lot of meals in a café or bistro will run you 10-15. This was absolutely fantastic, but to be honest it was so big I couldn't finish it and had to discreetly through away part of it.
If I can give you one piece of advice, buy one of these and stuff it in your face.
So I bought a train ticket to Nice for this sunday, and Nice is in the south of France for those of you who don't know. It's right on the coast..
Of course I didn't pack a swimsuit, or warm weather clothes. I thought it would be so much colder here...and I thought sooo wrong.
I did find a little pop-up boutique that was selling everything for under 40 euro. The thing is though that if I gave you the name it probably wouldn't matter because it won't be there anymore by the time you visit (hence the term "pop-up.") But I got a tank top, a cute little shirt that buttons with bows in the back, and this really pretty blue and white dress!
I was really excited to find reasonable shopping. If you're looking for affordable boutiques, The Marais is NOT the place for you. Most window displays had prices listed above 100 euro. No, thank you.
I walked around my neighborhood a little that night and went to an Indian Restaurant on my host's recommendation. I ordered a mango lassie that was really tasty! One thing about restaurants in Paris, a lot of them don't seem to give you time to peruse the menu. The woman here gave me the menu and then stood there expecting my order right away. I was like, um I need to read it first..
So anyway I felt super pressured and ordered Chicken Biryani. The rice and spices and everything were really good, but the chicken was a little dry. Tasty otherwise!
Some of the storefronts here are absolutely adorable!
So on Sunday I decided to take my Japanese textbook to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and study for a little while. This park is crazy! It's got this giant manmade cliff thing in the middle that you can walk to the top of.
So I spent maybe 2 and a half hours basking in the sun there, and then headed back to my neighborhood for lunch.
I had a café frappé, which was like iced coffee with sugar and a little bit of foam.
I also had a club sandwich, which I guess means here that there's a surprise hard-boiled egg wedged between the slices. Not that I minded.
I signed up for this event on Sunday night called Franglish. It costs 8 euro if you're a student and it includes a free drink. Native French Speakers and English Speakers get partnered up and talk to each other for 7 minutes in each language. It was really fun! It got a little redundant introducing myself to every single person but everyone was really nice and patient. One guy creeped me out a little so it made my French get all garbled. Whenever I would speak, people would fangirl over the fact that I don't speak with an American accent, so of course I was bright red and embarassed from all the compliments. I actually signed up for another one on Wednesday night. Maybe I'll get paired up with a cute guy!
That's another thing I should speak on, some of the men in Paris are extremely agressive. I suppose it's flattering when they see a beautiful woman to let her know that she is so, but I think they need to learn to do it in a way that is a) less creepy and b) less forward. I was walking down the street, and a man rode by on his bike, looked at me, stopped his bike, parked his bike, and chased after me to ask me for a drink. To be honest this guy was not bad looking, but the fact that he chased me down the street made me nervously yell something about an appointment and take off running down the street. Other men have tried to talk to me, made kissing noises, and have called to me from their cars. I suppose it's not much different than in the United States, but sometimes the men here have trouble taking the hint that you. are. not. interested.
Anyway, so today I picked the worst possible day to go to the Marché aux Puces (Flea Market) at St. Ouen/Porte de Clignancourt. On the outsides there's cheaper clothing shops and as you get deeper there's vintage clothing booths, record, cd and dvd booths, fancy antique and furniture booths. I didn't even put a dent in it to be honest because as soon as I got off the subway it began to downpour. I was actually looking at the map in the subway trying to find it when a woman started asking me in french if I knew, I told her I didn't but that if we took a certain exit we could ask someone. So we kind of awkwardly walked out next to each other and then when she saw it was raining she offered to share her umbrella with me. That was such an amazing act of kindness from a total stranger and whoever you are, I'm really grateful to you for that! Anyway, we walked along together and she asked me where I was from and told me I spoke french beautifully, and we chatted about the weather for awhile. She then pointed me to a stall that sold umbrellas and I left her company and bought my own.
While I was walking through the cheaper clothing stalls, I picked up a pair of sandals (for Nice!) and a cute maxi dress. I had to awkwardly try it on in behind a curtain in the back of the stall, but I really liked it and it was only 20 euro! It's hard to see but the top white part is a lacy fabric.
I will tell you that in these cheaper stalls people are standing there trying to get you to come in and look at what they're selling, and a lot of them call out to you without seeming like they're talking to you, and then once they have your attention they'll try to start a conversation with you in order to get you into the booth. It got really tiring after awhile. I was just like, 'No, I really don't want cheap lingerie or an adidas messenger bag, sir, thanks.'
After that I took the subway to Olympiades. There's a large Asian population in that area, and I saw on the internet that there were places to buy (you guessed it) K-Pop. I was so starving by the time I got here (I hadn't eaten anything and it was almost 3) I stopped at a restaurant and ordered a bunch of food.
So there was one store that sold Music and DVDs, and another that sold KPop merchandise like t-shirts, posters, pens, sticker books, backpacks, hats. Seriously I can't wait to take my sister there. At the music store I bought the EXO-K's Growl/XOXO repackage (and got Chanyeol's photo card yesss) and a Kim Hyun Joong album for my sister. The guy there was really nice, but he said a word to me that I didn't understand (renseignements=information, for future reference) I was paying for my swag with a credit card, and he looked at me with a shocked expression and asked me in french if I was from the US. I said yes, and then he asked me if I was a French person living in the US. I laughed and said no, and he proceeded to tell me about how I spoke french so clear and that I didn't sound like an American at all. It confused him! I was so flattered. It's so humbling to hear native french speakers approve of your french, and it makes me a lot more confident to speak with them.
So I went around the corner to the other store and left with a SHINee and EXO T-Shirt. I told the woman at the counter that I would have to stop before I spent all my money and she laughed really hard at that.
So all in all it was a good day, I think my shoes are ruined from the rain and I may have a slight cold, but now I'm sitting in my room writing this and doing work for my art history class. Tomorrow I will go to Tuileries during the day and meet up with a new friend at night. I may also go to a movie tomorrow night!
Thank you for bearing with my long entries, I just have too much to say!