Paris gets better and better

The past few days have been amazing, I feel like my time in Paris keeps getting better and better and I'm not just talking about my social calendar, it's the weather. Spring must be on its way because we are getting so much sun and daylight lasts a little longer. The Seine River has also stopped flooding and the boats have started to operate as per usual. Daytime strolls feels and looks warmer and people just seems to be happier. 

Graduation ceremony

The major highlight of all my events within the past days was the glorious day of graduation ceremony from the prestigious Sorbonne. Also known as the day where I became “the idiot who woke up late”! I’m eternally grateful for my dear friends who texted and called to wake me up. You can gather from this story that it wasn’t the first time they had to do that and this only makes me appreciate them even more. Cue group hug :)

Sorbonne’s grand amphitheatre

It was such a privilege to be allowed into the beautiful Sorbonne’s grand amphitheatre for this occasion to receive our certificates.

Lunch at Breakfast in America

After the ceremony, we head out to a celebratory lunch. We figured there had been enough French grammar drilling between all of us at the Sorbonne, it’s time for a treat, the American Diner way. Good thing we arrived just before the line gets long like the picture above.

I had fluffy pancakes with maple syrup and bottomless black coffee. The simplest thing makes me so happy and this was a particularly feel-good day.

Dinner at Candelaria

Still in the name of celebration, I went with Jackie for Mexican tacos at Candelaria. Great service, guacamole, margarita slushie and cocktails. Thank you Jackie for the drinks!

With 33 Avenue at Le Pain Quotidien

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Malou from 33 Avenue for the first time. Her blog reveals the wonderful world of travel of a married woman with child who still managed to find time holding a respectable specialized career whilst juggling everything efficiently.

Malou resides in Zurich but visits Paris with her daughter, Sophie, every chance they get. We spent a good 2-hour in the café over hot chocolates and just talking about her travelling experience during her single college days and now. I was also admiring her beautiful accessories and how she’s ever so stylish even with a toddler in tow.

Galerie Vivienne

There are a few hidden passages in Paris and Galerie Vivienne is the first one I’ve ever visited. This mosaic-floored passage felt very old world and romantic and I really love wandering in and out of all the boutiques and the vintage stores. It felt special to walk underneath the canopy-styled roofs. I can’t wait to discover the rest of Paris' hidden passages.

Valentine’s Day

My first Valentine's Day in Paris was wonderful. Even though it was a foggy and rainy day, Carin made the perfect Valentine’s date. We celebrated by indulging in our favourite dish of Les Cocottes. I must thank Carin for introducing me to all Christian Constant’s establishments which have become staples in my Paris-must and she also posted a beautiful write up and the most exquisite photographs of her date with me which you can check out right here.

Nuts about Ice Cream

After our very delicious meals, having dessert felt obligatory especially since the two of us possess deep, unfaltering love for ice-cream so we decided to head to Berthillon in Île Saint-Louis. We had a great time debating which ice-cream brand wins our votes and this involved having two more dates at Pozzetto and Häagen-Dazs (not all on the same day of course!) In saying that, my waistline is now one size wider thanks to all the ice cream I have been eating this past week.

Home make-over

I also had a chance to do a tiny home make-over to create a better study space. It was just a matter of shifting furniture and reorganising but I’m very happy with how it looks now. It’s amazing how a tiny change can do so much.

Dinner at Verjus

Home makeover felt like such a workout so I felt like I deserve a treat and headed to Verjus Wine Bar with Carin to try their butter-milk fried chicken and shoe-string fries. We were both of the same opinion of our experience here, here's the link to Carin's post to discover more about the restaurant.

Evening walk

We also decided to walk home since the weather held and the city was lit beautifully as usual. Chose a longer route by going into the Louvre, along the Seine, behind Notre Dame… Parisian nights like these are the best.

I love walking behind Notre Dame

Saturday night with the girls

Both of Milsters's sister and best friend are in town visiting so she hosted an evening out and kindly invited Carin and I to join them for cocktails at that new hip bar Little Red Door. Note: that little red door doesn’t function and it took us few minutes to figure it out and enter through the side door haha.

Then we headed to La Briciola for some good, thin-crusted pizza. I’m heading to Italy very soon and apparently these are the kinds of deliciousness I should be expecting in Italy. I am so excited already!

Good morning Eiffel

Breakfast with Edna

I also had the chance to spend a wonderful morning with Edna for breakfast in her neighbourhood where Eiffel Tower is just a block away – whoosh! – and she also took me to possibly the biggest supermarket I have seen within Paris. We spent the morning walking and eating pain au chocolat at the boulangerie and just talked about everything there is about Paris, travel and her world-wide adventures. It was great fun!

Salvador Dali at Centre de Pompidou

Okay I have to admit that I didn’t really enjoy this particular exhibition mainly because I didn’t understand Salvadore Dali’s interpretation of ‘surrealism’ but at least it got me ticking off my art-once-a-week checklist.

I also got to see the sun set view from the top floor of Centre de Pompidou and to see the sun light washes over Paris slowly was just incredible. That was the one aspect I enjoyed most from this visit.

I won another argument (in French of course)

My dear friend and I arrived 30-minutes early to our film session at the cinema and as we bought our tickets, I asked one of the staff if I was allowed to bring hot coffee from outside vendors into the cinema and she said “of course!” This was a delight as you normally wouldn't be allowed to do so in Sydney cinemas. So off we went to Starbucks and brought back a large-sized coffee. As we were about to walk into the cinema, a man (from the ticketing counter) called us over and told me (in a rude unpleasant way!) that my drink was not allowed even after I explained to him that the lady beside him said it was okay. So I walked over to the lady and asked her “Excuse me Madame. I asked you before if it was okay to bring in hot coffee from outside into the cinema and you said it was fine, but this man is telling me otherwise.” The lady agreed with me and ensured us we should just get in.

Now before you start thinking of me as an angry woman trolling through the city, I feel like living in Paris has helped me to be braver whenever I face “that-ain’t-right!” situations and expressing my thoughts in French had been very helpful. I walked away from the counter with my coffee into the cinema and watched as the two exchanged mutters on what’s okay and what’s not.

By the way we watched Les Miserables film in which I cried many times during. 

Travel plan

Now as of a few hours ago I have just booked the last bit of reservation for my February-March travel plan. I will depart Paris in a couple of days to explore Italy, French Riviera, Spain and Iceland so you will see me posting a lot of travel photographs. 

Again I must apologize for doing such a big weekly recount but thanks to Instagram and Facebook, you can find more regular updates of my daily adventures and here’s a collage of pictures from the recent days.

Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day.

My very Parisian week

The past week that just gone by had been utterly enjoyable. I really feel like Paris had been spoiling me with so many activities but left me with not much time to blog about them separately so here are the low-downs of my last 7 days which was filled with a lot of good food, meetings with amazing people, art exhibition, celebrating Chinese New Year, lots of strollings and my first French argument where I felt very French (because I spoke French haha)

Les Cocottes

Les Cocottes is my go-to place whenever I have overseas visitors and every person I've taken there, loved it. The owner, Christian Constant, owns 2 other restaurants on the same street and each of these three is just 2 doors away from the other, divided by style and price range but they are all great. The one dish that I will always recommend from Les Cocottes is the langoustine ravioli (shown in the picture below).

So when Jackie told me she's never been to Les Cocottes, I took this chance to get to know her more and learn about her journey in Paris plus it's my turn to do the ordering on her behalf. We spent the evening with great food and shared a bottle of white wine. Jackie is a current MBA student focusing on luxury brand management at the prestigious Essec Business School. She gave me a lot of insight into her study program and what it consisted of (lots hard work!) and I learnt many interesting facts about luxury brands.

Eiffel Tower

Since the restaurant is situated so close to the Eiffel Tower, it only makes it easier to give ourselves a reason to walk off dinner whilst waiting for the light show.

Van Cleef & Arpels on 22 Place Vendôme

I visited the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs. It was such a fascinating experience to see a vast collection of these coveted jewels under one roof, learning about the history of this highly influential empire and admiring (with dropped jaw) the magnificent crown of Princess Charlene of Monaco. I should let you know that I give myself a pat on the back when I do at least one art-related activity per week. The above is a photograph of Van Cleef & Arpels first store in Paris which has opened since 1906.

Lunch date with Daisy de Plume

On the one day when the sky was unbelievably blue in Paris this week, I took a nice long walk and the day got even better when it came to lunchtime as I had a date with Daisy de Plume, the founder of THATLou and the organizer of my recent treasure hunt at Musee d’Orsay. She’s just as wonderful as I once described her to be and proved by our 2-hour lunch! (We had so much to talk about that we lost track of time) You can read more about this fantastic lady here and here.

My first angry experience – in French!

I visited Darty, a store that sells general appliances, to buy a hair curling iron. I found what I wanted to buy and was ready to pay for it and leave. After repeatedly demanding to 5 different staff in 3 different floors and 30 minutes of waiting, I got really impatient. So I took the display version of the hair curler I wanted which was attached to a huge square plastic holder, brought the whole thing to the cashier and said “I want to buy this”. The manager halted me and said “you can’t do that, put it back! And you must wait!” With all my furiousness, I responded, “No! I have waited for a long time, asked a lot people and no one came! I’m not going to wait anymore and I will also not put this back!” To my surprise, the guy turned his attitude 180 degrees and became very nice and polite. He took the hair curler display from my hands, walked me to a cashier, got me to pay then served me my new, boxed hair curler appliance. I walked out thinking “that’s interesting”.  Is that how the French operate?

My exam results

So I successfully spoke my mind out in French when frustrated but when it came to exam time, I get nervous and when exam results are out, I get scared to leave my bed. But it turned out I passed yay! and this called for a little celebration with great friends.

Rice & Fish Restaurant

Yummy prawns sushi at Rice & Fish (22 Rue Greneta 75002 Paris)

Comme à Lisbonne

And these delicious Portuguese tarts from Comme à Lisbonne.

Friday night comfort food

Friday night called for comfort food and I have Jackie now on speed dial haha. We went to Bon Mua Restaurant (36 Rue de Trévise 75009 Paris), which is officially my hiding place whenever I wanted my comfort food of Vietnamese grilled pork chops. The pork chops here are on par with I find in my usual Asian hunts in Sydney. I have high expectation when it comes to pork chops so trust me when I say it’s good.

Brunch at Ladurée

I’m a major fan of French toast and really wanted to try the ones from Ladurée. I was delighted when Faye said yes to another dessert date. She’s not sick of me yet! I only have the nicest things to say about my French toast. It was fluffy, light and delicious and can see myself coming to Ladurée strictly for this specific item many times in the future. I can’t deny how pretty Ladurée is in all their presentation. Please click here to see Faye's post about our date and her thoughts on Ladurée's desserts.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Saturday Strolls

After our delicious brunch, Faye and I continued to walk along Avenue des Champs-Élysées and turned into Rue Saint Honoré. It was such a lovely day and I was really glad to have such a cool, sweet and adorable companion with me.

Roberto Cavalli and Repetto

Happy Chinese New Year

Paris doesn’t have a designated “Chinatown” like most major cities. Any district which have a grouped area of Chinese residents, supermarkets and restaurants can be classified as “Chinatown”. I chose to visit Porte d’Italie in the 13th arrondissement as it seemed to be the most recommended area to see lively festivities. It warmed me to see abundance of red lanterns and people shopping to prepare for Chinese New Year's Feasts.

Raclette, French steamboat?

My friends from church kindly invited me over for a dinner feast of Raclette, which I can only describe as French steamboat but instead of using broth and seafood, we used lots and lots of cheese and can mix and match the types of cheese and toppings. It was a lot of fun! Dessert was raclette marshmallows and chocolate. What an amazing (French) way to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Seine River

For the whole week, the water level of the Seine River had been really high. The cruise boats have stopped operating and you can't really walk alongside the river.

Okay that was a lot to recap in one week. As I said earlier, Paris had been spoiling me with the most enjoyable activities but it gives me the dilemma of not having enough time to update my blog more regularly. So here’s a collage of what I’ve been posting in my Instagram account and Facebook page from the past days. You are most welcomed to find me under “willsheloveparis” to get more regular updates.

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you will have the most enjoyable week ahead.