places

a (broke) american in paris

Is there any place quite as idealistic as Paris? I grew up believing it was the chicest place on earth–convinced the poodles grew cotton candy colored fur and everyone wore fabulous clothing (guess I watched Madeline a few too many times). And while there were many well-dressed Parisians, I didn’t catch a glimpse of any pastel pink pups. More so than other places I’ve traveled this semester, Paris felt very temporary. It didn’t feel like a place you could make a home, and it seemed to me that it would be difficult to assimilate into French culture. People say the Dutch are rude, but I couldn’t wait to get back to Amsterdam after my brief weekend.

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That considered, Paris is full of amazing things. There’s art everywhere, stunning buildings, and crepe stands on every corner. It’s literally a tourists dream, and there was WAY too much to even attempt to do in just one weekend. I’m on a tight budget, so I did what I could to see the things I’d always wanted to while spending as few euros as possible.

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Day 1. Arrived at lunchtime and ate bread and cheese ($5) while strolling along the Champs-Élysées. Visited Notre-Dame (free). Climbed to Sacre Coeur (free) and refueled with a $3 Nutella crepe because ~when in Paris~. Strolled down a flower market, posed for pictures in front of Moulin Rouge (another film that can be blamed for my disillusionment). Visited the Louvre after 6pm when it’s free for under-26 guests, and I saw the legendary Mona Lisa.

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how (not to) assimilate into french culture 101

Day 2. Kinder buenos for breakfast set me back $2, and then the day was spent at Versailles. We tried desperately to convince the ticket desk to let us in for free (there wasn’t even a student discount!) but were unsuccessful and forked over €15…I’d say it was worth it. Luckily, for 3/4 of the days we were here, public transport was free! I don’t speak French so I’m not sure what the reason was, but I’m definitely not complaining.

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the hall of mirrors had me feelin like marie antoinette

Also on this day I walked 13 miles, so the gnocchi I had for dinner (€10+complimentary Pinot Grigio) was devoured without a guilty conscience. We frolicked around the Eiffel Tower after dark, watching it sparkle in awe. Before going to Paris, I thought that the Eiffel Tower was way too hyped up and overdone, when, in fact, it was stunning. It was amazing that something so industrial was so beautiful. Definitely a great spot to pop champagne.

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Day 3. Went to a Flea Market that was super hyped up, but it was really just a less aggressive version of Canal Street. Two new pairs of shoes for less than $20 made me a happy girl, though. Afterwards, we made our way to Pont Neuf and browsed the book and souvenir stands, and I splurged for some Babar the Elephant paraphernalia. My roomie and I put a lock on the Love Lock Bridge, reassuring the lady who took the photo below that we’re friends, not lovers.

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Day 4. The morning before my train left, we went for brunch and crepes and leisurely enjoyed the sunshine.

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pont neuf

When I pictured myself in Paris, I imagined I would sit in a cafe drinking black coffee and smoking a cigarette, perhaps while wearing a beret. While none of those things happened, I still loved my time in the city of light. There are many more things I would love to do in Paris, and I will definitely be back someday, hopefully when my checking account balance is a little less depressing.

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sacre coeur, or the day i climbed a hill in heels

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2 thoughts on “a (broke) american in paris

  1. Pingback: pin-spiration: wanderlust | new york is my boyfriend

  2. Pingback: paris | new york is my boyfriend

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