Paris for me is the marriage of century old and shiny new. The spacious city centre and the narrow winding roads and spiral staircases. The heritage of the dead and the vibrating and pulsing life on the streets.
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Paris. No other city captivates me in the same way Paris does. I've always felt that you need to actually live in a city for a month or two before you truly understand the way things work. Paris is more cafes and pretty corners to me than tourist attractions and macarons. I'll always value the calm corners of the Marais above the Champs Elyseè. Then there are those things that started to infinitely annoy me about Paris, late night eating made complicated or impossible, people judging you for imperfect French or the lack of culinary variety at reasonable price points. And yet, Paris still manages to draw you in, slowly but surely attaining your love if you weren't already convinced at first sight.
Revisiting Paris after attending culinary school there last summer somehow felt different. I'd already seen all the places on my list and allowed my feet to remember which streets led to which bakery and my mind to aimlessly wander past memories at every street corner (This also included forcing myself to wake up at 6 am to see the Trocadero and Montmartre while void of tourist minus the lone Asian guy taking selfies with a camera on a tripod). Seeing as I hoarded all these images until now, I'll be dedicating this week to Paris here on the blog with a detailed shortlist and a list of hidden gems to follow in the coming days.
Before we discuss the beauty of the Versailles Gardens, let me just start out this post by saying that no person in their right mind should visit Versailles in the dead heat of summer.
Have you ever wanted to have lunch in an enchanted forrest? The thought has certainly crossed my mind more than once, along with a deep desire to play a grand piano in the middle of a meadow… but that's a completely different story. Point being, Ralph's in Paris is probably my very favorite restaurant ever.
I'm just going to go ahead and say it: Paris has more museums than one could ever cover in a life time. That being said, it's hard to choose favorites and before this trip to Paris I always named Musee d'Orsay as my absolute favorite, because of it's vast collection of impressionist art, which happen to be my favorite. Now I can say that I have two new, less known favorites: Musee Rodin and Musee Nissim de Camondo
I was so happy to have little pockets of my New York life with familiar faces towards the end of my course in Paris and when Vanessa came to visit me in Paris for the day, we went to the Royal Monceau Raffles Hotel to have tea in their charming courtyard. They have a selection of Pierre Herme pastries (Pierre Herme actually runs the restaurant as I found out later) and warm scones with clotted cream and passion fruit raspberry jam (seriously, who could say no to that?) and fruit salads with rose petals, not to mention gorgeous tea cups. Perhaps summer finally arrived in Paris too?
HolyBelly is a simple cafe near Canal St Martin with a homey atmosphere and run by Australians. Interestingly enough, everyone near me eating at the cafe was also Australian, so it must be a good place...