Four years ago, I spent a magical summer in Paris, capturing memories in a long-forgotten blog. Every Thursday, I’ll post my favorite entries from that blog. This is reprinted from 7-7-10.
Today, I decided to be brave and face the Parisian subway by myself sans guide book. Bad idea. After looking dumbfounded at a subway map for a good ten minutes (and missing two trains in the mean time), it took me two stops to realize that I was going in the opposite direction of where I needed to go.
I find getting lost in Paris is quite charming and romantic (well, getting lost in central Paris, I can see the red light district being not as welcoming..) but getting lost on the metro is another thing. As new as I am to France, I want to at least be able to navigate the metro.
A Note to Parisian Men:
I understand that hooting and cat calls may be appropriate in your culture, but I would appreciate if you did not holler at me as I walked through my quartier every morning. Perhaps, it is because you see that I’m not a ‘vraie Parisienne’, but in that cause, it would be even worse. Part of me wishes I could holler back and tell you what’s what, but my French is not that good (yet). In the mean time, I just don’t understand what your expectations are. I mean, girls do not just leap off the streets into the arms of random strangers who tell them they’re cute (at least I think so.. oh god, please let that be true). But then again, I guess Parisian men are living up to their well.. expectations..
A Note about Parisian Men:
I think I found my little piece of paradise in Paris today. Les Marais. I went in with no expectations and I think that was the way to go. Walking out of the metro, I was amazed to find that this is where all the gorgeous men of Paris had been hiding. Stylish, gorgeous, and brooding. … And gay. Better luck next time. Les Marais (which used to house the Jewish district as is punctuated by a plethora of Orthodox Jews and Kosher boulangeries) is now the gay/artsy/chinese area. Sort of like Chelsea meets Chinatown meets East Village, with a sprinkling of Park avenue.
Besides the narrow streets paved with stone and the wide terraces teeming with greenery, Les Marais is also famous for two things in particular: falafel and ice cream. As a matter of fact, I had both there. L’as du Falafel, a falafel restaurant is said to be known worldwide and five euro gets you a pita stuffed to the brim with Cabbage, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Cabbage, Tzatziki sauce, falafel, and spicy sauce. YUM.
I heard the bagels of Les Marais are supposed to be good too.
Sangria and French Basements
The night ended at a small bar in the Odeon district. Because there was no room in the actual bar we went to the basement. And by basement, it was more of a french dungeon. The descent was almost straight down down a winding stone stair case. The room, laid in brick, smelled earthy. The homemade sangria was ladled out of a wooden barrel in the dimly lit room. There, among the small glass verres de sangria, I think i’ve finally found my joie de vivre.