Chez Hanna

Turn down Rue des Rosiers, a cobblestone street in the Marais and you will find yourself in a falafel paradise. Resist the temptations of the men that act as falafel “dealers,” who promise you that their falafel is “the best” and find yourself at the end of the road, in front of Chez Hanna. Congratulations, you resisted the smells of all the other falafel joints to find yourself here, a true culinary gem. The roasted and toasted eggplant on top of the falafel is worth the trip itself. Ask for sauce “picante” to spice things up. If you don’t have enough time to sit down, you are also able to order outside for “emporter.” I, however recommend taking the time to sit and indulge. 

Person I would take as my date: A fellow admirer of Middle Eastern cuisine

18eme + Montmartre

Spring was in the Parisian air. This made it the perfect morning to visit Montmartre, a hilly, lively neighborhood that sits as if a castle, above Paris. The church, Sacre Coeur rests on the outskirts of the city limits of Paris, looking over the skyline. It’s almost as if it is watching over all of Paris and its people. 

imageA lovely goat cheese saladimageLook familiar, Dad?imageOur sweet Parisian roomimageAmazing boulangerie for breakfastimageStreets of Montmartre image

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imageClimbing up the many steps to reach the Basilica 

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imageCan’t help but think of my mom (ZUT)image

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imageThe Moulin Rougeimage

Happy Dimanche!

Saint-Germain-des-Pres

I’ve been hiding something from you. Paris isn’t just my city. I also share the love for all things Parisian with my longtime dear friend, Hayley. She just so happens to be here for her spring break. As she sleeps off her jet lag, I wanted to share some photos from our walk around the charming Latin Quarter this morning. PS. The Latin Quarter was given it’s name because it is the neighborhood where the Sorbonne is. Back in the day, everyone in this area spoke Latin! Happy Saturday. 

imageCroque Madame

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imageGirlies in Paris

My messy sock bun

Our sweet hotel

“Get lost and enter”

Over a glass of red wine and rabbit pâté, a distant Parisian cousin told me his best bit of advice, “The best thing to do in Paris is walk around, get lost, and enter.” Wednesdays are my free days, so I took this advice and ran with it. 

My walking shoes

To a certain extent, I have been getting “lost” for the past week. I made a pact to myself, partly because spring break is coming up (which involves lying on the beach in Spain + Portugal), partly because I am trying to be frugal and waiting to buy a month long metro pass on the 1st, but mostly, because I wanted to see Paris by foot. 

Street Art

Getting lost today consisted of walking across two arrondissements and finding myself in front of Musée de Cluny, a medieval museum. I get free admission, because my VISA grants me a temporary membership of the European Union. Life size chess board outside the museum 

The one and only Adam

After my time in museum, I wandered over to Luxembourg Gardens. Before entering the cast iron gates, I plugged my headphones in and listened to this song. I suddenly became completely overwhelmed and emotional. It wasn’t a particularly beautiful day, but life just felt so beautiful in that moment. The pigeons were humming, the small children were playing tag, and through the fog couples, young and old were holding hands. I don’t know what it was but, It was touching and brought a few tears to my eyes. 

I then began my walk home, passing the landmark that daily reminds me I’m a few blocks away. 

Lion that seperates this crazy intersection

Just as I was brainstorming plans for when I got home, I came across the Catacombs. The catacombs are a series of tunnels rooted deep beneath Paris. Hundreds of years ago, when urban planners needed to make more space in Paris- they decided to un-burry everyone in the cemeteries and put them underground. So, I walked alone, hundreds of feet below Paris in this limestone grave yard. 

They happened to be under the street I live on…

17eme

It was a snowy and cold weekend in Paris. This opened the door for different activities around the city (laying low inside included). And of course, the snow made Paris seem severely romantic. 

This of course made me think of my parents 

I had the pleasure of spending my weekend with a good friend visiting from her University in Florence. It was her first time in Paris, and I loved seeing her eyes sparkle as she saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time and her tendency to order a “pain au chocolat” at every patisserie. 

My friend, Carly, is a breakfast person. I researched to find a great place and throughout my research I came across a general idea- Paris isn’t big on breakfast. Of course, there were still a few options that could blow places at home out of the water. 

We ended taking a nice stroll to a café on Victor Hugo. It was marvelous.

Quiche Loraine Chocolate + Orange croissant with fresh squeezed orange juice

Avenue Victor Hugo 


The hotel that we stayed at was a chic boutique hotel. I felt like I was on vacation from a vacation! It was so posh-and perfect for the girls weekend that we had. 

One of everything left in the boulongerie + king size bed

Chic lobby

Open window bubble bath while the snow came through the window

That night we decided to go to a Michelin rated restaurant. Little to my knowledge, Paris has over 1,000 Michelin rated restaurants. We ended up choosing a Thai restaurant in the Marais neighborhood. The highlight of our meal was dessert: coconut sticky rice and the freshest mango we had both ever tasted. 

Michelin rating next to amazing smelling mangos EggrollsTom Kha Gai

Yellow curry


Overall, I’d have to say it was a fabulous and successful girls weekend. 

Ile de la Cite

Today was a bizarre day. It is the one day of the week that I don’t have classes. I took the metro to Cité and went off by myself to explore. 

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I found myself in line at the Notre Dame. Notre Dame is celebrating its 850 birthday this year. I ended up attending a French mass, sitting front and center in the amazing cathedral. 

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After, it was about time for lunch. I walked to the closest brasserie and was blessed with the gift of a window seat. I ordered a salad and coffee and sat for a few hours looking out the window-people watching overlooking Point Neuf. 

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It was then time to meet up with my study abroad program for admission to Saint Chapelle and the Conciergerie. Saint Chapelle was built to hold the Crown of Thorns, which are now in the Notre Dame and displayed on certain holidays. Saint Chapelle is like a life sized jewelry box with its jaw dropping stain glass windows. Interesting fact, the only way stained glass can be cut is with diamonds.

imageSaint Chapelle

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imageFleurs de Lise wallpaper

imageGothic ceilings    

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imageFirst painting on a wall (fresco) in France 

imageCreepy staircase to get to the top to see stain glass 

imageFloor to ceiling stained glass

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imageLittle details: door lock

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imageBeautiful flooring

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Then I visited the Conciergerie. Palace turned prison, this gothic building was where Marie Antoinette lived her last days. There was also a special art exhibit of castles used in fairy tales. 

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imageMarie Antoinette’s cell before she went to the guillotine 

Unfortunately, my day ended not so pleasantly. My metro station for school was skipped, as I looked out the window and witnessed a body on the ground with a dozen officers surrounding it. Quite chilling to see. 

Une bonne journée

At this point in my semester abroad, a certain someone, namely my Gramps, is wondering about my studies. So, I would like to address them. I am only taking two classes. Not as easy as it sounds. My French class is for three hours a day, four times a week. I have only had two classes thus far, but I think that I have already learned a lot and refreshed on some French skills that were buried deep inside my hippocampus.

My professor, is a bubbly French woman who taught in Orange County, California prior to teaching at the Catholic University. The most interesting part of my classes are my classmates. Maybe I should have known, but my class consists of students from all over the world, at all different ages and points in their life. There are approximately 5 Americans, 10 Asians, 3 Germans, 3 Russians, 1 Macedonian, 1 Polish, and 1 Ukranian. Some are married, some have children, some are engaged, and some are students. For this reason, the class is a complete French immersion experience. This is the first French class I have taken where the teacher can’t break out in English to explain a concept; it has been difficult, yet somehow helpful to learn in french. I have also very much enjoyed hearing the different accents. Europeans have the easiest time mimicking the French tongue, where Asians have the hardest time. It has been a very dynamic learning experience.

imageWhere I have found myself before classimageMoss covered bench at the fountainimageNot quite sure who this is, nonetheless beautiful

After class, I ran to the local boulongerie to pick up a baguette for a picnic with my friends. I had an idea, once a week, my friends each pick up a different item (red wine, baguette, cheese and meat) and meet at a different spot in Paris. Today, it was the Eiffel Tower. It somehow took me an hour to meet up with my friends due to issues with the metro (I ended up taking a legit train), but it was so worth it.

imageFirst purchased baguette-succesfully ordered in French imageThe adventures of my baguette et moi on the trainimageA fine spot to picnic

After our lovely rendez-vous under Le Tour Eiffel, a brilliant idea inspired us to walk along the Seine in search for Berthillion, the best ice cream in Paris. It was a beautiful day in Paris, and nothing could stop us from finding the ice cream. We passed all of Paris’ architectural beauties, standing tall and strong as they have for centuries. Along the way, we stopped to give our picnic leftovers to the homeless, peered into bookstalls and enjoyed the small yet meaningful rays of sunshine.
imageOne of Paris’ lovely bridgesimage

imageThe lock bridge: go with your lover and throw key in water to symbolize eternal bond of love
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imageBook carts along the Seine

imageThe cat postcards especially spoke to me

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imageFeeding the pigeons

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I know this is a day I will always remember, then again I think most in Paris are unforgettable. After walking through Île de la Cité and finding our way to L’Île-Saint-Denis, we finally came upon the famous Berthillion. We came to find out that it was closed on Tuesdays. That was ok, not only because the walk was worth it, but because every restaurant on the island seemed to serve the Berthillion ice cream, and our waiter told us the line is normally monstrous. And I can assure you, i’ll be back to wait in that to get the original.

imageFermezimageBefore: Carmel-salé et figue (Salted carmel and fig)

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Now, I have some planning to do. My friends and I met up and discussed our travel plans for the rest of the semester. I am very excited for all my adventures to come!
imagePlanning our travels
image…while enjoying Nutella (Converse are très chic in Paris)

Chez Jaafar

There is nothing better than having a go-to spot. It is safe to say that I have already found that in Paris. Conveniently located near the Sorbonne, Chez Jaafar pulls you in with a “Couscous” sign and an authentic feel. I have been in Paris for less than five days, and have already returned twice.
The couscous comes out family style, for everyone in your party who orders a couscous meal. A couscous meal also comes with a warm broth of various vegetables. The vegetables keep coming too. They are so good that I finished one bowl and they brought another round. The biggest thing to address at this restaurant are the bold and delicious flavors offered in their plates. 
This flavorful jar contains their house-made spices for your couscous. It is actually incredible. They bring it out with the baguette and I can’t help but put it on that! The friendly owner came over and asked my table if we were from Casablanca, because of the way that we ate it with bread! 
This is definitely my go-to place in Paris. I will become a familiar face for the friendly owners! 

http://www.restaurantjaafar.com/Chez_Jaafar/Accueil.html

Person I would take on a date: My study abroad amis! 

7eme + 8eme

Playing tourist for the day is always fun for me. I think it is an important part of remembering things that draw you and others to your neighborhood. I played this in Paris, which is the most fun type of tourist to be. 

My girlfriends and I met at the Champs-Elysees and from there—went on an adventure. This area is obviously very touristy, and I heard a familiar tongue (English). While the stores aren’t as glamorous as I remember, I enjoyed going to a few classics.

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imageMercedes show room that my friend Ross would adore

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Ok, so really the only shop that I bought anything in, was in fact Ladurée, a macaroon boutique. I had a rose petal flavored one, and it was to die for. After indulging, we walked to the end of the Champs where we took an underground tunnel to the Arc de Triomphe.

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I am sure you can guess what comes after that! It was off to La Tour Eiffel. 

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It’s fun to play tourist for the day when you’re in Paris.