Tag Archives: chocolat chaud

an afternoon on the tuileries

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I recently spent a spare (and unusually sunny) afternoon wandering through and around the lovely Jardin des Tuileries, nestled in between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, which marks the beginning the Champs Elysées, which stretches, famously and beautifully, to the Arc de Triomphe. So I was basically right in the middle of one of the most visited, most beautiful, most well-known areas of the city, and it was delightful.

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The park’s looking lovely this type of year, which just a few lingering brightly colored leaves silhouetted against skies that are usually a wintery dove grey, but on this particular Friday, managed to retain some vestige of that summertime blue I miss so much.

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A ferris wheel is all set up as part of the small Christmas market at one end of the park, ready to offer anyone willing to fork over the ten euro fee what I’m sure are stunning views of the city.

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The shops on Rue de Rivoli, which runs along the non-Seine side of the park, are beautifully adorned for the holiday season.

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The hot chocolate and the Mont-Blanc pastry I enjoyed n at Angelina were divinely decadent, much like the building in which they were served.

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I visited L’Orangerie, where Monet’s wall-sized murals left me feeling serene and full of awe. (I had to borrow some photographic evidence.)

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And as I made my way home, the sunset over the city was positively breathtaking (and amusingly patriotic, for both of my most beloved countries).

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I’m feeling pretty blissfully lucky these days, and equal parts thrilled and devastated that I’m going home so soon. I seem to fall more and more in love with Paris every day.

Berlin

So, remember when I promised that I would be caught up on all my intended posts before I left to travel last Friday?

I might have broken my promise, a little bit.

Despite my best efforts, I didn’t quite make it to this post: Berlin!

I went to Berlin the weekend of November 18th, and it was actually a very special trip because I went alone. I know. It was sort of a stressful decision to make. Okay, it was a really stressful decision to make.

Traveling somewhere alone was actually an idea I had stored in the back of my mind for something I would do abroad if I magically became very cool and independent. There was a kind of allure to the idea…it just seemed like something that a real, grown-up, mature, fearless (a.k.a. not me) person would do. But, instead of spontaneously booking the tickets and eagerly anticipating the weekend, I went back and forth for days trying to decide if I was making a horrible decision, if I would be bored and lonely, if I would be taken the moment I landed in the airport and my parents would spend the rest of their lives wondering what happened to me on my way to Berlin. I turned it into a huge deal, but encouraged by tales of how cool Berlin was and reassurance from friends and family that I might just be mature and street-smart enough to pull the whole thing off, I booked the flight and hotel…two days before I was supposed to be leaving. And then I cried. Really, though.

Anyway, you’ll be glad to know that I’m 100% thrilled to have made the decision I did! And that I obviously was not kidnapped or murdered in a dark German alley. There were definitely moments when I wished I had someone to talk to (or, more often, someone to make decisions for me), but it was a really great trip. And perhaps most importantly, I returned to France feeling that much more confident in my ability to eventually become a real, grown-up, mature, fearless person. Someday.

Berlin began with yet another sign that, as much as I love the places I’ve been able to travel to this semester, I really did make the right choice when I decided to study abroad in Paris. As I walked from the airport to the metro, I passed a whole row of advertisements for the European budget airline Easyjet. Each ad was for a different city and basically had an orange (the company’s color) object that was representative of that city. Brussels had an orange chocolate bar. London had an orange tea pot. You get the idea. I wondered what Paris’s would be and kept my eye out for it…and finally, after passing what felt like dozens of other cities, the last one was my temporary home sweet home.

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It’s a dog. A white, super girly dog. Even though it’s big, and not a Bichon, and much more devotedly groomed than my little ragamuffins ever will be, it just confirmed that, yes, I do belong in Paris. Good decision-making, me one year ago.

But anyway! I got into Berlin at night, so I just checked into my hotel, watched a movie, and crashed. And yes, I stayed in a real hotel…it seemed a little bit safer than a hostel. So I guess that makes me a little less daring and adventurous. But it was really, truly wonderful to be able to sleep in a nice bed, work out in a gym for the first time since August, shower in a bathroom I don’t have to share with a million other people, and even order room service. After months of hostels and the smallest dorm room ever, I felt like royalty.

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So, seeing as I was alone, my Berlin weekend looked sort of similar from day to day and was heavy on the sightseeing. I always woke up later than I intended to, went to a Starbucks (I pre-mapped them before showing up in Berlin, I know, I know) for breakfast and then saw sight after sight until it got dark, at which point I’d go back to my hotel and take advantage of the workout room. Working out in shorts and a running top again was awesome. I was not made to handle cold weather.

One of my first major stops was the Pergamon Museum, which was awesome. Basically, Germany went to other countries, snagged some really incredible, often really large things, and reconstructed them inside this museum. Things like, you know, the Ishtar Gate. And the Pergamon Altar. Small, insignificant…you know.

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Really, these things were so monstrous, there’s no way to fit them into a single picture without the use of a helicopter and an impressive lens.

I also went to the Berlin Cathedral, which was beautiful and impressive.

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I was sort of miffed because you had to pay four euros to get in, which is soooo un-churchlike and I personally don’t think Jesus would approve, but then there ended up being a teeny little gallery/museum inside–and, more importantly, you could climb to the top and have access to some pretty impressive views of Berlin. So obviously that was going to happen! And I got over my irritation with the whole four euro thing.

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Possibly the most well-known place I visited was the famous Brandenberg Gate. In the words of Let’s Go Europe, the best travel guide ever, “Friederich Wilhelm II built the gate as a symbol of military victory, but Germans these days prefer to shy away from that designation, you know, because of WWI and, uh, WWII.” So there’s some semi-humorous background for you.

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And here’s a semi-humorous photo of me cheesing with some faux German/American soldiers.

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Aux armes, citoyens!

There were two potential correct languages (slash national anthems…) I could have gone with there, and I still got it wrong. Oh, France, what have you done to me?

As cool as the real Brandenberg Gate was, I liked this one better.

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MAYBE BECAUSE IT’S MADE OF PURE CHOCOLATE.

I saw this total gem at Fassbender and Rausch Chocolatiers, a famous chocolate shop that also boasts chocolate replicas of the Titantic, the Berliner Dom, a volcano, and other large, impressive things. The place was enormous, and it would have been extremely out of character if I hadn’t picked up a few little gifts for certain chocolate-lovers back home (just a warning, Crevasses, you might end up with chocolate from every country I’ve visited). And of course, a little treat for myself.

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(To be honest, that was not mine. I got some much fancier and more decadent truffle thing obviously, but I forgot to take a picture. So instead you get to see the cute little Berlin bear they threw in for free. Because they totally loved me and sensed my German ancestry.)

A trip to Berlin wouldn’t be complete without spotting some remnants of the Berlin Wall…which was definitely cool, but you know, it was before my time. It’s like the difference between seeing a WWII memorial and a 9/11 memorial. We’ve been talking about this sort of thing a lot in my artsy farsty classes…so you know…sometimes I go to school. There’s your proof.

Seriously, though, I wish I’d made it to the East Side Gallery, where there’s some pretty impressive street art displayed on remnants of the wall…but alas, I didn’t. Next time!

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One of the most moving things I saw was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, located just down the street from the Brandenberg Gate. The structure was incredibly somber, and it was actually a little bit frightening and disorienting to walk through the blocks. They were taller than me in the middle of the memorial, and it’s impossible to see other people walking around them until you literally run into each other. So, you know, creates a little bit of a jumpy atmosphere. The children flying over your head as they jump from block to block really add the excitement.

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I also visited the Topography of Terror Museum, which details the rise and fall of the Nazi Party, and where I took one picture…of the most frighteningly Aryan family EVER.

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And the DDR Museum, where I also only took one picture.

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Come on, it’s pretty funny. Also, as you might notice, while I thought the museums overall were really well done, the translation was not always excellent. Not a problem or annoying or anything, it’s just kind of interesting to notice where and when that happens in Europe.

One of the things that was interesting but sort of sad about Berlin was that there almost seemed to be this air of necessary atonement in some these museums and memorials. When I went to Normandy in early November, I remember talking with my friends about how in the south, decades after the Civil Rights movement and even longer since the abolition of slavery–both events that I and my peers were in no way involved in–you still have to be really careful when you talk about “southern pride”. It’s necessary to be specific about what that pride stems from. I can’t help but wonder how young people in Germany feel about the events of WWII, and how long it will take before the horrific events of WWII truly feel like a horrific part of the past than something haunting the present. For all of us, really. I mean, I’m sure no Germans are ashamed or upset to be German–I’m not ashamed or upset to have been raised in the South, after all–it doesn’t have to define the country the way it once did. It’s just interesting to think about.

On a lighter note, I spent some time doing less formal sightseeing–primarily wandering around Berlin’s famously plentiful flea markets and the Christmas markets that were being set up around the city. These were some of my favorite things I did–I didn’t even buy anything, it’s just so fun to wander! And even more fun when you’re sipping on mulled wine. 🙂

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Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the bretzels. Which, in full disclosure, I began using as meal replacements at some point during the weekend. So much carby goodness.

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Berlin was a really cool city that somehow felt very different from most other cities I’ve visited this semester. I really am so glad that I did a trip alone, but someday I’d like to go back with friends…specifically so that I can explore the Berlin nightlife scene, which I hear is really cool. Above all, considering that I made it back in one piece and, as far as I know, without any creepy stalkers in tow, I’d say the trip was a success. I’d do it again!

Barcelona

My trip started bright and early on the morning of Friday, October 21. I was up at six to take the metro to the starting point for an hour-long shuttle that then took me to the way out of the way Beauvais (Ryanair, y’all) airport. By noon, I had landed in Barcelona and met up with my friend Nicole!

The first afternoon it was just the two of us while we waited on everyone else. (I’m just way above having class on Friday, what can I say….) After a delicious lunch at a cool, very modern-feeling burger place (mmmveggieburger) called Kiosko, we wandered down to the beach, through a park, and then around the Gothic Quarter, where our hotel was.

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I would like to eat this again, right now.

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Someday, I’ll stay at this hotel and laugh about my hostel days.

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fall, love

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favorite european fountain thus far

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Barcelona’s Arc de Triomphe: the Arc de Triomf. Yup, kid you not.

That night, our friend Amanda arrived! We all went out to dinner at this funky atmospheric restaurant. I split risotto and an awesome salad with Amanda, but I didn’t take a picture because these were the early days of the trip when I was young and foolish. It was great, but we were tired. Exhausted. Early night.

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The next day involved lots of wandering and sight-seeing. The day started like all my days start in my dreams:

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Doubling fisting Starbucks and a cup of fresh mango from this cute little market we wandered through. Well, I guess it’s not technically double fisting, because as you can see in this picture, yes, my hands are giant and my fingers are weirdly long and thus I am able to hold both cups in one hand. I fondly describe my fingers as “piano fingers”. Most of my friends fondly describe them as Salad Fingers. Okay, fine.

From there, we walked over to La Rambla, the famous pedestrian thoroughfare in Old Barcelona. We made a beeline straight for this place:

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Here is where I died of happiness. This place is right up there with the Harrods Food Halls and the Kensington Whole Foods. It’s the largest open-air market in Spain, and it was absolutely incredible. It took a lot of a restraint not to buy…everything. I’m going to let the pictures do the talking, because honestly my mind sort of glazed over with happy memories when I started remembering this place.

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Second double fisting of the day: Sangria and fresh fruit juice. Yes, it was noon. No, I’m not kidding.

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If you can’t tell, I went pretty snap happy. My friend Nicole pointed out that even though there are lots of incredible markets in France, none of them come close to being anywhere near as colorful as this one. It was a feast for the eyes…and a feast in the traditional sense. We loved it so much that after we tore ourselves away to go meet our friend Heather, we came right back.

Once we left for good, the four of us walked all the way down La Rambla towards the water. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and we had so much fun wandering around. And goofing around.

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We walked around looking at the boats for a bit before we all decided we needed a break and sat down on the edge of a dock. We probably spent an hour or so just sitting there, looking at the boats, chatting, and trying to come to terms with the amazing fact that somehow the four of us had managed to reunite…in Spain. We were in Spain? We couldn’t get over it.

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Butttt we were still in the mood to do some more sitting around and gabbing after that, so we just changed locations. We wanted to go to the beach anyway, so walked up to one of the many restaurants located right in the sand and enjoyed some drinks and hummus. It was heaven…so relaxing, so beautiful, so nice to be with these amazing friends I hadn’t seen in way too long.

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I’m just now realizing how done-in we apparently were on this particular afternoon (I’m pretty sure we were all coming right off of a week of midterms), because after our little aperitif, we went back to the hostel for a power nap. I’m not usually much of a napper, but I was OUT. I woke up feeling fresh and ready to enjoy the most amazing dinner EVER…

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At this brightly colored little gem of a place. It’s called Juicy Jones and it was VEGAN…apparently I’m making this whole vegan restaurant thing a little bit of a theme when I’m traveling. I didn’t take pictures, but we shared the yummiest tofu and peanut sauce appetizer, and then for dinner I ate a delightfully fresh salad, some sort of pasta bake, and apple crisp. It was quite the spread, and I was in heaven.

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Happy faces! (Except I don’t think Nicole was nuts about the place. I wish I had a euro for every time she asked “what do they have if they don’t have meat or cheese?” The girl’s lactose intolerant and probably eats more cheese in a day than I do in a week. Respect.)

Our night also included an awesome bar that’s housed in the horror wing of the wax museum. It was like a different world in there. For any Chattanoogans reading, imagine the Yellow Deli, but creepy (in a horror way, not a cult way). My pictures all came out blurry, but I’ll share anyway.

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It was awesome. We closed down the bar. Which is less impressive than it sounds considering the relatively early closing time. But the atmosphere was so fun here and we had the best time chatting while we sipped on giant goblets of sangria. And then the funniest thing of my life happened on my way out…but I fear the story would be lost in translation. Or it’s maybe one of those things only the four of us think is funny. Then why mention it, you ask? Because someday when I’m eighty and I re-read this blog post, I want to remember that. That’s why. I took a video of Amanda telling the story (she tells it best) so that senile me really can’t forget anything.

Sunday started with a run that was supposed to be a casual four or five mile leisurely jog by the beach. But, me being me, I got lost. After a truly hilarious series of events that included me being directed to the starting line for a race occurring that morning and endless sprinting through small Barcelona side streets, I finally made it back to the hotel, nine or ten miles later, exhausted, dehydrated (I brought no water, oops), and just in time to take the world’s fastest shower, gulp down some cereal, and make it the the hostel lobby in time to join in on the free Gaudi walking tour the hostel was offering.

I’m SO glad I miraculously found my way back in time, because the tour was great. Our guide was hilarious and managed to teach us everything about…everything, from Gaudi to what paella should look like to what she’s naming her new puppy to tales of her ex-boyfriend drama. Honestly, I didn’t know that a guided tour would be my thing, but I’m really glad we did this. I think running around the city just to see the Gaudi stuff and then, you know, snap a few pictures and leave wouldn’t have felt nearly as cool. In fact, I might have downright disliked it. But doing it this way was great!

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We finished the tour at the impressive Sagrada Familia (above), which sounds like it will be finished…never. I mean maybe my great-great-great grandchildren will take a field trip on their school rocketbus to go see the finished product, but even that seems ambitious. Still, even unfinished, the cathedral was beautiful and impressive and utterly unique. However, when my mind wanders back to this part of the tour, two things come to mind…

1.

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Look at that smug chihuahua in his doggles, just chilling outside of Sagrada Familia…he’s cooler than all of us, and he knows it.

2.

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Okay, so you probably can’t see the actual baby, but you might be able to make out the nativity scene over the main door. Well. Well. There’s a baby in that nativity scene, obviously. I guess Gaudi was having trouble making a realistic baby on his own, so his totally normal solution? He stole a dead baby from the hospital.

GASP.

I’m still disturbed. I don’t like to think about it. I probably shouldn’t have told you that. I’m just trying to get this image out of my mind by sharing it with the world wide web.

Anyway. Moving on. By the time the tour was done, we were starrrvvviinngg (me in particular after my unexpected long-distance sprint session this morning…oh goodness). We had a pact to hold out for Italian food until we got to Italy…but yeah, we rescinded on that one and went to the yummiest Italian place. Unfortunately, I have no pictures. I don’t know who I was in Barcelona. Just wait until I get to my Italy posts.

Once we finished lunch, we decided to see some Gaudi sights that weren’t included on the tour and took the metro to Park Guell. Lots of trekking up San Francisco-esque hills and one Chupa Chup later…

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Side Story: I learned about Chupa Chups on my tour, too! Apparently the Chupa Chups creator have a patent on the concept of lollipops on a stick. Or did. So every time anyone, anywhere, puts candy on a stick, they have to pay up to Chupa Chups & Co. Insanity.

We ended up with all of Barcelona laid out in front of us, and y’all know I love my views. Probably has something to do with all my past lives as royalty, ruling over kingdoms, view from the top, you know…yeah.

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To be totally honest, I love you, Barcelona, but compared to most of the European views I’ve seen, this one was sort of a yawn. God, I’m a spoiled brat. Ugh, can someone please replace this foul heap of concrete with a French Riviera scene? No, seriously, I’m being really unfair to poor Barcelona. The view was fine. Fine! Just…fine.

The real highlight of the park was my Chupa Chup.

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Just kidding. The real highlight of the park was hiding in a cave when the rain came. Yup, that happened.

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Just kidding. The real highlight of the park was me freaking out at the top of this weird little tower structure and climbing down on all fours. Yup, that also happened. It wasn’t my fault…no one was there to remind me that I hate heights. Heather was smarter…she got halfway up and declared that she “just didn’t want to go there.” I didn’t take a picture because I guess it’s not really a memory I’m all that keen to relive, but here’s the cross at the top of said structure. YEAH, IT LOOKS OMINOUS FOR A REASON, PEOPLE.

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Okay, I’m done. (I know, thank God, right?) Here was the actual highlight of the park.

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Just look at all that Gaudi gorgeousness!

Also, can someone tell me if this was featured on an episode of America’s Next Top Model? Because I swear it was. You’re not allowed to judge me because I’m not sure, so it’s only 99% embarrassing that I’m asking as opposed to 100% embarrassing.

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Didn’t they use that as a runway or something? My sister will totally know.

Here’s my attempt at being America’s Next Top Model…

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That’s me, totally pulling off the oh-so-chic drowned rat/wet hair/goofy smile look. Just hanging out in a little nook in the wall. Fierce. I’m doing something weird and hunchy with my shoulders, though, so I think that gets me extra points.

After our park trip, I enjoyed this beautiful snackfeast…

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Churros and chocolate! That hot chocolate was amaaazzzing. Second only to Angelina. Ooh, and maybe that hot chocolate I had in Venice.

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Flashback…you’ll always have my heart.

Dinner that night was at a place called Sandwich and Friends. There are several of them around Barcelona, and it seemed very…LA-ish, almost? (Los Angeles. Not Louisiana. Pfft, I wish.) One of the cool and unexpected things about Barcelona was that all of the restaurants were very trendy and modern feeling in different ways. It almost felt American, really. They all seemed designed with a particular “feel” in mind, and they all seemed like they were built (or at least redesigned) in the last decade or so. This is completely different from France, where 90% of the restaurants all have very similar but utterly charming and lovely French vibes. A Parisian cafe is fairly indistinguishable from any other Parisian cafe, in my humble opinion. I love that, because that means that all Parisian cafes feel equally wonderful and authentic, but there is a little part of me that misses the variety you find in American restaurants. In fact, even just generally speaking, Barcelona is far and away the most American-esque city I’ve visited thus far in Europe. It didn’t feel nearly as Spanish as I expected it to. (I probably sound really American saying that, but oh well…I mean, I am American, no point hiding it.) I think this would have disappointed me a little if I had crossed the Atlantic with the sole intention of visiting Barcelona, but for a brief weekend trip smack-dab in the middle of a very European semester, it was the perfect little Euro-flavored taste of home! I really loved it. The city is young and modern and funky and cool…I would go back and do it all over again. The one bad thing is that I learned they outlawed bull fighting in Barcelona…and if I go back to Spain, I’m seeing a bullfight.

recent eats

I’m overdue for a post, so I was going to just do kind of a general thing talking about cool things I’ve done recently. But then I started going through my pictures, and I realized all I really want to tell you about are the amazing things I’ve eaten recently. (I know, you’re shocked.) Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about some of the non-foodie things I’ve done in Paris…but for now, here’s food to drool over.

Berthillon

Last Saturday (September 10) was awesome. It dawned warm, sunny, and beautiful, and I was loving life despite the fact that the entire right side of my body felt like it had been hit by a car, thanks to a full-force collision with a cobblestone road I’d experienced the night before. Oops. There’s not a lot to say.

Anyway, the day was great. My friends needed art supplies for their classes, so I headed out with them to pick some up. This was nice because I got to wander around a new part of the city (and, for that matter, see the inside of an authentic Parisian art shop–’twas impressive). It got sort of hot, but the walk was very pretty. We got to walk across the Seine, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever.

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But what I really need to tell you about it is ice cream. More specifically, the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Our walk took us here…

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Berthillon. Home of the world’s most perfect ice cream. People, I’m not even an ice cream fan. I mean, I’ll eat it. But I’ll almost always choose some other sugary treat first. Even when things are served a la mode, I skip the ice cream. It’s just not my thing.

All of that changed last Saturday. Ladies, and gentlemen, meet my perfect little cup of icy goodness.

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Chocolate and salted caramel…of course. The best part is that this picture makes the scoops look bigger than they were…they were really about the size of golf balls. That’s perfect for me. I love my dairy, but dairy does not always love me back. (I know, you can only imagine how well the French take this.) So by the time I had finished my two scoops, I was perfectly content. More than content. I was over the moon. Berthillon is very famous, but it more than lives up to the hype. If you’re ever in Paris, go here.

L’As du Fallafel

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Here’s another place that’s hyped about and has absolutely earned it. I don’t have any story to go with this one. I’ll just give you the facts, which speak for themselves.

1. It only costs five euros.

2. It’s the best falafel I’ve ever had. Ever.

3. I’ve been there twice in one week.

4. It’s in the Marais, which is the Jewish district of Paris, but is also apparently a very popular place among the gay men of Paris. (A little bit of challah and a little bit of fabulous? You knew I was going to love it.) Not to mention it’s adorable, with the narrow cobblestone streets I love (when I’m not falling into them) and tons of charming little shops and restaurants.

5. The first time I went there, I’d just run 10 miles. I could still barely finish the giant falafel special.

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HOLY DELICIOUSNESS.

Aux Merveilleux de Fred

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Aux Merveilleux de Fred is an adorable patisserie in a mostly residential area in the 15e arrondissement. The shop is gorgeous and sells the normal array of breads and croissants and such, but they’re best known for their meringue, which comes as absolutely no surprise.

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To make their most famous treat, they roll balls of meringue in flavored whipped cream (either coffee, white chocolate, or chocolate), and then dust it with crystallized coffee, white chocolate shavings, or chocolate shavings. The result is quite possibly my favorite sweet treat I’ve had in Paris so far. I got l’impensable, or the coffee flavor. Of course.

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I don’t know what to say. It was heaven. I’m pretty weirdly obsessed with meringue anyway, but this took it to a whole new level. And despite the large size and decadent look, it wasn’t too rich, thanks to the airy whipped cream and perfectly light meringue. It was very sweet, but I think the coffee flavor helped keep it from being too tooth-achingly sugary. The adorable box it came in scores the place some major points as well.

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I’ll be back.

Chocolat Chaud from Pâtisserie Viennoise

Paris is pretty much the place to be for hot chocolate. Each cafe and patisserie seems determined to outdo the next in their quest to create the perfect cup of rich, sweet chocolat. Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to a winter of finding the very best one. So far, I’ve found a very authentic option at the Pâtisserie Viennoise on Rue Ecole de Médecine in the 6th arrondissement.

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I know, the to-go cup (a concept the Parisians really aren’t interested in getting behind) doesn’t exactly showcase this thing at it’s aesthetic best. But that almost suits it. This was a no-frills hot chocolate from a no-frills shop. The whipped cream was exactly that–whipped cream. I don’t know that it had any sugar in it. But it was pretty awesomely decadent, especially when it started to mix with the hot chocolate, which was the hot chocolate for any dark chocolate enthusiasts out there. I tend to prefer my chocolate almost bitter, and this was almost too much for me. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t.) I asked for it sweetened, and it still tasted like VERY dark chocolate. It was incredible, and I’d recommend it to anyone who can’t stand milk chocolate. (Don’t worry, I can.) I’m really glad I got to try it, because while I probably prefer the standard melted candy bar Parisian fare, this was unique and incredibly delicious. You could tell it was the real thing. The pastries all over the tiny and adorable shop didn’t look too shabby, either.

Flan from L’Autre Boulange

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My friend Emily lives near this boulangerie and was raving about their pastries, so we went in there the other morning hoping for a standard flaky croissant or perfectly sweet brioche. As I was picking out my breakfast, though, a man in line told me that I needed to try the flan. “It’s the most famous in Paris,” he reassured me. This made sense, because there was a display case spanning an entire wall of the place dedicated exclusively to flan. Of course, after that, I had to have some. (I’m guessing I’ll only live in Paris once in my life, so I think it’s appropriate to have flan for breakfast every now and then.)

The verdict? It was delicious. I don’t really know much about flan, but this almost tasted like…fancy vanilla pudding in tart form. I love vanilla pudding (weird, I know), so I loved this. I’m no expert, but I’d believe that it IS the most famous in Paris!

Sadly, these treats are the exception, not the rule. Food is EXPENSIVE here, so the average day looks something like yogurt for breakfast, a grocery-store made salad for lunch, and soup or microwaved eggs (I’m not even kidding, they taste like sponges) for dinner. 90% of the time, I’m eating like any other college student who has no access to a kitchen (breaks my heart). But the rest of the time, I remember I’m in Paris and that I’ll hate myself forever if I leave one single gastronomy stone unturned.

Aaannddd, to finish things off, here’s my dinner from the past two nights.

P9171446

Because sometimes all you need is a baguette, cheese, and chocolate. Not to mention some wine that went unpictured. 🙂

I promise I’ll come back tomorrow and talk about something besides food. Au revoir!