Paris I love You but You’re Bringing Me Down

I’ve survived the greatest fear of my generation: losing an iPhone. Wednesday marked my first day of disenchantment with Paris. I woke up early to walk to Starbucks to catch up on work. The petite dejuneur at a Parisian Starbucks offers fresh squeezed orange juice, an espresso beverage of choice, and a pastry of choice, so I was set to camp out for the morning. An hour into editing, negotiating, and iMessaging later, a kid comes up from behind me and rattles paper in my face and over my laptop screen, while his sister yells at me in French.

“Go away, go away.” They left. As I turned back to return to the review I was working on, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Yes, my iPhone had left its comfortable spot on my keyboard, and was gone forever. Apparently, this paper-waving distraction is a common trick, it’s all about getting you to lose your focus, but I was not aware of this until after it happened. “Oh, the paper trick, that happens all the time!” That would have been good to know…

So Paris is not perfect. I already knew this much with their overpriced salads and stupid Metro tickets that only work when they want to, but really? My phone was taken by kids? And there’s nothing I could do about it? Paris was getting less magical by the second. Yes, it’s just a phone, and it’s easily replaceable, I’m still safe and healthy, so it’s nothing to get too upset over. But being stolen from is a pretty terrible feeling. I was taken advantage of right before my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop it. While I still feel safe in Paris, perhaps safer than in New York in many instances, there’s now this suspicion I can’t leave behind, that at any time, in any place, someone may try to take something from me, with or without my knowledge.

After the child-theft, I walked to class for a writing workshop followed a lecture by a woman who translates American books into French, including all of Mary Higgins Clark’s work. After class, we grabbed dinner at an Italian restaurant (after only a week and a half I’m easily known as the girl who eats only pasta, and I truly appreciate everyone’s effort in finding me delicious pasta-serving places) and then headed to what is becoming our regular bar, WOS, to watch the Spain vs. Italy game and mourn the loss of my iPhone.

End of blog post for Wednesday. Text me for deets, BFFS.

Shopaholic Takes Paris

Thursday morning was gorgeous! Finally nice weather in Paris! I walked to the Musée Maillol, which is not one of the more famous museums in Paris, but was highly recommended by a friend, and I completely endorse that. Artisde Maillol’s artwork and art collection is featured permanently in the upper-level galleries, and the current visiting exhibit is of Artemesia Gentileschi’s paintings, who I originally fell in love with on a trip to Italy a few years ago. In short, she’s a female Baroque painter with plenty of masterful portraits of women kicking ass. Go see it. It’s worth the 9 euros. The museum also has a beautiful tearoom and restaurant, with extremely reasonable prices for a classy afternoon meal.

A friend living here told me that sale season would soon come to Paris, and I would be overwhelmed by all the Soldes signs in windows. Overwhelmed by shopping? Moi? I’m a pretty expert shopper, but I’m going to say she was right on this one—the entire city is on sale! Where to start? Where to go? Am I getting a good deal or is this 90 euro shirt that’s half off and then 20% off still overpriced? Am I at the Forever 21 or J Crew of Paris? Why are all these colors on the same dress? I went into many, many boutiques, and left empty handed. PARIS WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? Everyone in Paris looks truly fashionable, but I’m having a hard time figuring out where they actually purchase their clothes…

Thursday evening after class we had Salon, in which writers presented their work along with other various talents. We were treated to unbelievably delicious varieties of goat cheese and cream puffs, and a bit of Paris’ magic was re-instilled in me. After Salon, I walked to Odeon to meet a high school friend for crepes, where we caught up and reminisced, all while taking in the streets of Paris.

Friday began with more crepes, and a walk to les Marais to visit the Picasso Museum, which it turns out, is under renovation. Why I never think to consult the Internet before planning my day is beyond me.

I decided just to wander, because getting lost in Paris is every American’s dream! I walked around the Orthodox neighborhood; many Parisian Jewish women look indistinguishable from hipsters: vintage peasant skirt, headscarf, oversized sweater. Is Brooklyn headed in this direction? #Assimilation.

Before crossing the river back home, I stopped into Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV), the big Parisian department store, similar to Harrod’s or Macy’s. I browsed clothing and makeup on the 0 level, and continued on up to look at everything from art supplies to window treatments to sushi and gelato. Paris is a place to be looked at and a place to be seen, but at BHV I finally felt that anonymity I love about the streets of New York. Everyone was too self-absorbed and determined in their shopping to care about what I wore or how poor my French was. Only I could feel at home in a department store. Or walking down streets where dogs think they're cats...

I headed home for a Friday night pasta dinner and met friends on the steps of the Pantheon, where local students hang out at night. At risk of sounding like an alcoholic, New York’s open container laws are making less and less sense to me. While yes, there is always potential for street-drinking to go awry, it’s so nice to share a bottle of wine with friends outdoors on a beautiful summer night, and not be forced into a sketchy bar or tiny apartment in order to socialize. In Paris, while wine is more popular than water, drinking is not about getting drunk, but much like getting coffee, about socializing while enjoying a beverage, sipping slowly and talking quickly and not worrying about where the night will end up.