Before I begin, I just want to thank everyone who has been reading my blog. Whether there’s only one of you or a hundred of you, your support means all the world to me. With that said, welcome to my fifth blog post!
Now, I know I’m a little behind. With my first few days of class and jet-lag, I’ve taken some time off just to figure out my routine, but now, I am back!
So, let’s begin with catching up on Monday.
My day began with a simple, but lovely breakfast: dark chocolate granola cereal and green tea (not mixed together). Then, I started my 50-minute-by-metro journey to my first day of class.
The metro system in Paris is, as you would expect, extremely busy in the morning. Everyone has a so-called “infinitive objective,” whether it’s something to do, someone to see, or somewhere to go to. I had gotten rather used to this busy atmosphere in the past couple of days, but nothing could have prepared me for Saint-Lazare.
It was as if I had been dragged into a rushing river.
Although I was only at Saint-Lazare for a couple of minutes to switch metro lines, those few moments were some of the most intense that I’d experienced in Paris so far. Upon stepping off my train, I was immediately hit by the sheer magnitude of the thousands of bodies pouring, flooding, and squeezing through gates, entrances, and trains. Every breath was a little quicker, every step a little more urgent. Every action was a balance of advancing yourself and avoiding collision with another. No one dared to stand in one place for too long.
Out of curiosity, I entered “Saint-Lazare” into Google after getting to class. I would soon find out that I had just survived the chaos that is the second-busiest metro station in all of Paris. That Monday, I had a place in its “275,000 people per day” statistic.
After class, I headed to a boulangerie to get some baguettes to split with my classmates for lunch. Guess how much we paid for two baguettes the lengths of our arms?
Yes, you read that correctly, so all you bread-lovers out there, what are you waiting for? Start planning a trip to Paris now! I guarantee that it will be worth it.
In the midst of looking for a park to eat these baguettes in, we somehow stumbled upon the beautiful, ceramic fresco La Porte de Sèvres, a vestige of the 1900 World Fair.
Sometimes the most beautiful things really are the unexpected ones.
For the afternoon, our professors had invited our class to the fancy Closerie des Lilas for drinks. To get there, I decided to walk through Le Jardin du Luxembourg instead of taking the metro.
I definitely made the right decision.
Upon stepping into the garden, I was instantly transported to a different world, one that is equally vivid in color as the city of Paris, but more tranquil and delicate. Dolce was one of many words that came to my mind.
In the center of the garden was a large fountain surrounded by countless children, each showing off their toys, which ranged from random trees twigs to beautiful toy boats. The air was simultaneously filled with the jarring high-pitched shrieks of babies and the twinkling giggles of toddlers, wiggling their fingers in the water.
If the garden itself was not impressive enough, the French sealed the deal with the magnificent Palais du Luxembourg, the home of Le Sénat.
I felt so content and at peace in the gardens. Cheesy as it may sound, the breeze in the gardens seemed a little bit sweeter and softer.
Amazing, isn’t it, how one place can make you feel so many different things?
I left the Jardin du Luxembourg soon after and continued to make my way to the Closerie. Lovely fountains and buildings surrounded me at all times.
After walking for about fifteen minutes, I made it to the Closerie des Lilas, a famous and luxurious bar, café, and restaurant in Paris, most known for its sparkling night-life in the 1920s/30s and being the rendezvous spot for many notable artists and writers.
It’s said that Hemingway wrote much of his The Sun Also Rises at the Closerie. Fitzgerald supposedly read his manuscript of The Great Gatsby to Hemingway at this same place.
As we were being taken to our table, I glanced to the right, towards the bar.
There, a little bit to the left of the center, was Hemingway’s plaque, pinpointing his place at the Closerie.
I wonder what he liked to drink.
Inside the Closerie des Lilas, it was dimly lit. Everyone was covered in a red tint from the lights, and colorful posters of feisty-looking people peered over the tables.
(Side note: those cheekbones though!)
I, along with many others, ordered the popular French cocktail – a traditional kir.
Usually drunk as an apéritif (a pre-meal drink), a traditional kir is filled 1/5 of the way with crème de cassis (blackcurrant) and then topped with white wine. I’m not a huge fan of alcohol, but I have to admit it was pretty darn tasty. The sweetness was just right.
With a showering of “Santé!”, our celebration of the success of our first day of class in Paris began.
And so my day ended with the remnant excitement due to baguettes, the memory of flowers and gardens, and a kir in a my hand.