Thursday, September 30, 2010

Arguably the oldest house in Paris

...or so I was told. It's in a very cool area near Strasbourg St. Denis in the 10th. I made a new friend who lives over there. We had lunch at an excellent Vietnamese place nearby. Then I headed back to school to take care of some things, and found out which French class I was placed in. I'm in advanced!Afterwards, I headed back over to my favorite spot in the city, the Luxembourg gardens. On the way I bought a religieuse. This is my friend's favorite French pastry, and since she should know--she's a pastry chef--I figured I should sample one without delay. It's kind of like a mini cream puff stacked on top of a bigger cream puff, and supposedly it resembles a nun.It was heavenly. This is where I sat and ate it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Le parc des buttes chaumont

I took a stroll through this park in the 19th arrondissement on a gray day to check out the man-made waterfall and lake. Apparently there are free tai chi classes here every morning. It definitely had a weird, gothic, not-very-French feeling. I much prefer the stately, elegant Luxembourg gardens!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The most adorable restaurant in Paris

At least I think least from the outside! I walk past it three times a week going to church choir rehearsal, handbell choir rehearsal, and the Sunday morning service at the American church in Paris. Maybe one of these days I'll actually stop and have a meal there.

Sunlight and stone

I can't stop taking pictures of buildings. I just love them...I love the way the light plays on the beautiful gray stone of the regal apartment buildings with their lacy iron balconies.The hotel de ville, just before sunset

Sunday, September 26, 2010


This post cannot possibly begin to do justice to the pastries that abound in this city. It also only represents a fraction of the pastries that I have tried already in my ten days here. It's going to have to be the first of many installments.Here we have my new favorite pastry, the pain suisse. It has replaced pain au chocolat as my go-to bakery item. The layers of pastry are more densely layered; it's less flaky and airy, chewier. The chocolate is spread throughout in small chunks rather than one narrow bar in the center. And there is a small amount of some creamy, cheesy golden filling. Sometimes it's sprinkled with powdered sugar as well. These are the macaroons that look so delectable and pretty. I haven't had any yet. They're expensive! And tiny. But one of these days...
Cornet aux amandes, from a bakery in the Marais. Chewy and super sweet, drenched with honey, nutty and crispy at the same time. I also got some halva, the very sweet confection made from pistachios. It was crumbly and moist and far better than the halva that I have eaten in the US, but still doesn't compare with the homemade version that my Syrian host-mother in Paris used to make 15 years ago (and probably still does.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Parc Monceau and the 8ème arrondissement

After some errands in the 8th arrondissement, I went to the parc Monceau and sat in the sun, watching people strolling by, munching on sandwiches and smoking. The man sitting next to me was studying the score of the Brahms German requiem while he ate his lunch...something I have yet to see in the US except for on a college campus.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Un bel appartement

My all-consuming, 3-day-long (it felt like 3 weeks!) hunt for an apartment ended with me landing here:This is my building.This is what I see when I walk out my front door into the courtyard.And this is my little room (not so little, by Paris standards!)There is also a tiny bathroom, a decent sized living room and a small kitchen which I share with my flatmate. All in all, I feel lucky to have found something so comfortable!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Streets of Paris

After registering for my course, I spent this day wandering over the cobblestone streets, trying to get familiar with the neighborhood where my classes will take place and surreptitiously snapping photos (but trying hard not to look like a tourist.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Les jardins de Luxembourg

My first day in Paris. I take the bus and then the train from Bagneux, a little town in the suburbs, into the city and emerge from the Metro at Luxembourg. I don't even pause to get my bearings, but immediately head into the gardens. Never mind the crowds of tourists and Parisians on their lunch breaks--it is an oasis of calm. The grounds are vast...there's plenty of room for everyone. I sit on a bench, breathe deeply and take it all in.