Such Sweet Nothing
Words, whispers and sighs Shrieks, sometimes
179450 Curiosities served
2012-07-03 4:28 AM
les petits choses
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It's my second last night in Paris.
Sad doesn't cover it. But it's not exactly sad either- you know?
Here's my Paris, the Paris I have come to know:
If you arrive at CDG and you take the metro to central Paris (and you should, because it's so much a part of Parisian life), you will realise that Paris smells like pee. (And yesterday, I actually saw someone doing it, a girl mind you.)
Many people cannot decide when Paris is the prettiest for them; for me, it will always be the early mornings, the dawning light in Paris. (And that last night wandering around with horrid friend.)
You can walk almost anywhere in central Paris-- and the small streets are the most wonderful. I stumbled into a cafe with a very reasonably priced cafe gourmand with macaroons today.
Second hand vintage clothing.
Gothic churches galore: the style was born here and it's everywhere, not a marvel to Parisians but worthy of awe.
Pretty boys and girls who dress well-- layers, hats, boots, accessories-- makes people watching really wonderful. People-watching is an open activity, what with how the chairs are arranged at cafes.
Here are the grocery stores: G20, Dia and Marche Franprix. Monoprix is slightly more expensive but tends to have a greater variety of things. Overall though, doesn't matter which you frequent; groceries and cooking will save a ton compared to any kind of eating out, even Asian take out food.
Chocolate-covered biscuits and coffee <3
Traffic lights: generally adhered to but not strictly. Cross when there's nothing to kill you.
Parisians brunch on Sundays; and you shouldn't pay 20 euros if there isn't bacon, sausage or eggs involved.
The typical petit dejeuner francais is a hot drink, orange juice (freshly squeezed if you go somewhere good), a crunchy, buttery croissant and bread with butter and jam. They can be as cheap as about 7 euros for the set, sur place.
No tipping, service is included in bills.
Bright red lipstick.
House music at clubs but boys who will really dance with you.
Canard confit is overrated.
Cheat the metro system, sometime.
Free public toilets that are washed after every use automatically.
The Louvre: non-French speakers should definitely get the audioguide; and certainly so if you're a student and got in for free.
Eiffel: 700 steps to the second deck. (St. Peter's in Rome is 551.)
Montmartre is wonderful for wandering. Turn out of the touristy area just outside Sacred Coeur. There are winding, rambling streets with a mix of high end boutiques, and small quirky stores selling stuff made from recycled materials, vintage stuff... This is the Paris of the movies, not the touristy part.
Walk in Paris at night, when the city is calmer and you can listen to her. (probably with a companion) (who does not get habitually get carded when he gets alcohol...)
Grocery shopping: avoid Sunday mornings. Parisians tend to do weekly grocery shopping so the lines will be very long then. At Franprix, you don't have to weigh and label your stuff beforehand but in Carrefour, you do.
Look out for roaming fresh food markets. Fantastic to wander around even if you don't buy anything-- and they're cooked food section is ideal for lazy to cook days.
"Cafe" is expresso; "cafe creme" or "cafe au lait" has milk in it.
Crepes: sucre citron and nutella banana. Don't buy from a touristy area.
Quick and cheap lunches: paninis and sandwiches. Pho at Chinatown. The Latin Quarter if you want to sit down; but don't expect quality.
What to do on a Sunday: flea markets, some cafes, all the gardens in Paris (so lovely in summer weather).
Versailles: go early. It's never too early to get there. Go early.
Laveries: abundant and easy to use for laundry. About an hour for both washing and drying. Bring soap and a big container for everything. And reading materials, and if you are lucky, an openness to conversation.
Shakespeare and Co.
Cafe de Flore over Les Deux Magots. But don't order croissants.
Push buttons or pull levers to open doors on metro trains.
I really loved living in the 2nd. But I also enjoyed the tranquility of the 13th and the 5th. Much less bustling; but you get the sense that this is how most people experience Paris, living a little off-centre, travelling to the centre. It's residential and much more peaceful.
I could go on and on.
It's now my last night in Paris. It's taken me really long to write this post. My heart is really heavy-- my luggage is a lot worse. I am also glum cause I won't be seeing my boyfriend when I get back; he's away. It'll be a relief in the sense that it's just tiring to live out of a suitcase and have no proper home, as Khairul would say. But how could all that compare to Paris...
This has really one of the best periods of my life. I have lived overseas, in a society and culture completely different from my own. I have travelled to so many awesome cities, seen so many pieces of art, architecture and beautiful scenes. I have eaten so many weird things, drank beer, wine, champagne. I have met so many people- some I've liked, some I've not. But mostly I have been drunk on life in Paris, an extremely bewitching city.
When some people leave, they say "it feels like yesterday I landed". I am thankful I don't feel that way at all. I feel like I've gone through so much. It's been way longer than a blink of an eye. It's been a long six months- joy and stress , between "God, I live in Paris!" and "I hate my life right now."
Back to reality- Year 4, thesis, graduation, a little thing called therestofmylife.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is, I came to Paris and I fell in love with it. And I'm glad I got to know the city the way a resident does. And it's one of the saddest things I have had to go through- to leave. But I have to, in a few hours. And I know I will get through it, because I basically have to. So, for the last time, bonne nuit Paris, je t'adore and au revoir.
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