It is hard to believe that my first full week in Paris has come to an end. I am at a loss of words for how much beauty I have experienced in just 7 days. My week has consisted of nothing but good company, getting lost, testing new limits, indulging in good food, and having my mind blown.
Every morning my wonderful roommates and I walk out of our quaint flat in the 14h district wondering where we should explore next. The options are endless. Our first stop is inevitably the boulangerie around the corner. No, they don't sell bologna (my first thought). They sell the most incredible macaroons, baguettes, the best eclairs in Paris, and fresh croissants. The smell coming from the boulangerie every morning is one I cannot put into words. It is impossible to not have your mouth water as you walk by.
Our next stop is the metro. We almost always boast about feeling like locals with our monthly metro passes. What a great buy! Unlimited stops for a whole month and it only cost 70 euros. Thanks mom and dad :) Day 1 in Paris started the only way the French would expect it to start. After settling into our new home, we took our lack of French and knowledge of the area to the streets. After aimlessly walking for a few minutes, we stumbled upon a little cafe. Our meal turned into a french lesson from the owner himself. Our night ended at a small bar in the Saint Germain des Pres district with a few bottles of wine and good company. One morning we woke up early, fighting an up-hill battle with our jet lag. We ventured to the Jardin du Luxembourg for a picnic sampling authentic wine and cheeses from various regions of France.
This past week we also had the pleasure of going on a walking tour of Montmartre. We met our tour guide in front of the Moulin Rouge, only the most scandalous club in all of Paris. After giving us the history of how the Moulin Rouge came to be, he led us up the hill, through the famous district of Montmartre giving us historical background, myths, and stories of the area. As if we weren't sweating enough when we got to the top, we decided to climb all 300 steps of the Sacre Coeur. The hike starts with a walk through the church itself then leads to the very top of the chapel with an astounding view of Paris for miles. It the distance you can see the Louvre, Grand Palais and of course the Eiffel Tower. It was well worth the panting of our breath and the sweat dripping from our faces.
After a few days of exploring Paris it was time to start school orientation. It is crazy to think that orientation week came and went just like that. We spent our days touring the beautiful "campus," meeting some pretty cool people, drinking wine and eating cheese (of course), sitting on the Seine after sunset, enjoying free cheeseburgers and beer at a boat party and having lunch on the Eiffel Tower lawn. Who would've thought school orientation could be so eventful?
One night our student leader brought us to this incredible Italian restaurant for authentic pizza and topped it off with deep fried pizza crust with a Nutella drizzle. I died.... After dinner we danced on the steps of the Les Grands Boulevard Opera, then roamed through the Louvre taking in every bit of beauty the museum provides.
It has only been a week here and I have already fallen head over heels in love with this city. I cannot wait to see what the next fifteen weeks have in store for me. Paris, I may never leave. -Shayna Honorat