Paris: My General Impressions

A statue of Joan of Arc
This summer, I went to Europe and visited three cities in three countries: Paris, France; Cologne, Germany; and Brugge, Belgium). I saw a plethora of interesting sights, encountered many nice people, and made several memories. I am going to recount all of my experiences here on my blog, starting with Paris as I spent most of my time there.

I have to say, I'm an extremely lucky person. During my first year in Taiwan, I met my friend Sica from France through a message board about living in Taiwan. She happened to be interning in the French department at the same school I attend. From day one we hit it off nicely, and I promised I'd visit her in France. After working hard and saving up, I was glad to have the opportunity to take the trip. Staying with a friend was not only nice for my wallet but soothing for my heart as I was comfortable the entire time and could follow someone who knows Paris like the back of their hand.

June 2014

June 2001

My first trip to Paris was in 2001 when I was 11. It was a funny trip as my dad I had only three days there and no plans or contacts. We had no clue where to go, what to see, where to eat, etc. Therefore, the highlight of our trip was seeing the Eiffel Tower and riding on a crappy tour bus. I remember I enjoyed it though as it was one of the legs of my first trip overseas (London, England and Lagos, Nigeria were the other stops on the trip). Naturally though, this year's return trip to Paris was significantly better. Seeing the city with adult eyes was markedly different in a positive way.

Nonetheless, part of me is still somewhat childlike, especially when it comes to food. My friends know I'm a big foodie who likes to try anything and everything. As I was staying with my friend, I had a great balance between home-cooked meals and restaurant food. Eating a variety of cuisines (e.g., French, Lebanese, Japanese) was both enjoyable and eye-opening.

A bowl of beefsteak tomatoes (coeur de boeuf) at Sica's house.
They taste sweet.
Sica is an awesome hostess;
she made wonderful breakfasts for me everyday.
This canele is from Baillardran, a famous shop in Bordeaux.
Our friend brought them up to Paris.
Homemade crapes.
I was spoiled!
A French style crape with ham, cheese, spinach, and egg,
I did a spot of cooking myself in France when I made this
cheese and smoked salmon bagel sandwich from scratch (including the bagel)!
Sica's mother bought me this cute little soccer player pastry
right before I left.
I had tea and delicious cookies
(including amazing macarons from Dalloyauin Sica's father's garden. 
This man is making falafels at the famous L'as du Fallafel in the Marais area.
He uses a special tool to shape them.
And voila! A hearty falafel sandwich that will fill you for hours.
Pies and a chocolate cake at Marche des Enfants Rouges,
a well-known outdoor market with several food stalls.
Lebanese food at the market.
More Lebanese food.
It was delectable! 
I ate this shrimp, chicken, and vegetable udon at Aki Restaurant
in the Japanese quarter of town. It was amazing!
My friend had okonomiyaki at Aki which came
on a personal hotplate.
Wasabi-flavored seaweed in a Japanese supermarket. 
They also had curry with anime characters on the boxes.
Of course, I did more than eat in Paris. I saw a lot of the famous sites, walked around, and did some shopping. As someone who loves to create, one of my favorite places in Paris was the Anvers area where fabric is sold cheaply. There were several stores which sold jersey for as little at 5 euros for 3 meters which is a great deal!

Huge bolts of fabric.
I liked the colors and feel of this Nigerian ankara.
This fabric made me laugh.
It says 男愛女 (nan ai nu) which means man loves woman
(or I suppose it could also be men love women). 
Tons of ribbon.
The perfect fabric to make pillows or blankets.
Strolling around Paris alone will award one with interesting sights:

Mona Lisa street art done by Invader.
You can see his work all over Paris, it's fun to look for. 
One of the entrances to the
Palaise Royal/Musee de Louvre metro station.
A government building. 
Place Colette...kinda sounds like Nicolette, right?
The Place Vendome Column
Of course, I had to walk by the Moulin Rouge!
The windmill is the original one from 1889.
The Arc de Triomphe, it's huge in person! 
A military academy school.
I genuinely enjoyed my time in Paris, especially because I had the honor of spending it with a good friends; I always had great company. Paris can be somewhat intimidating and fast-paced, so I think the perfect option is not to do it alone. I think, whether your buddy is a local or fellow foreigner, it's probably easier and more exciting to explore the city with a companion. 

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