J'taime Paris :)
Trip Start Jan 24, 2010
28Trip End May 10, 2010
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It was an early morning for us all. Breakfast at the pension in Prague at 6:30 and left by 7am… we were dragging. Took the metro to the bus and then the bus to the airport. I had this slight worry that my bag would be too heavy, but thankfully they didn't check the weight when I got my boarding pass (10 kg is the max). We finally board the plane and I pass out. A couple hours later we have landed and we’re finally in France! :) Not yet to Paris, because we have to take an hour bus ride… hop on the metro, and then we’re there. The hostel was a little far from the center city, but it was okay because we could get almost anywhere with their super convenient metro lines. I love public transit. The hostel we stayed at was pretty unwelcoming and rather an awkward place. It was so weird because you weren’t allowed to be in your rooms from 11am- 4pm. Totally lame. I thought maybe the reason was because they did some major cleaning in those times… no. The sheets would just be stuffed under the comforter and all our stuff would be thrown into one corner. It was quite annoying. Sometimes there would be random odd smells in our room or throughout the hallway… who knows what that was all about.
So when we put all our stuff down in our rooms everyone from fashion studio walked to a nearby sidewalk café and ate outside. Nina later met us there so she could hurry us up. We sat in the shade, so it was a bit cold. I got some French coffee to warm me up, boy it sure was strong haha. Also let me go ahead and mention the major convenience that Teen speaks fluent French, she also used to live in Paris for like a year so she got to show me around to all the hot spots. There wasn’t a moment that I walked away wondering what someone said… I’d just ask Teen! My high school French was extremely rusty, so she was much help. After lunch we all went to Fashion Tradeshows! My first tradeshow, this was so exciting. We got in as 'buyers’ and not guests, it was really an amazing opportunity. I met some pretty spectacular people and designers. Teen told everyone we were freelance stylists from New York haha. I mean she’s a little more legit than me; she could at least give them her website (www.christinesciortino.com... Check it out!). Anyways it was really neat. We even had champagne with a British designer, her clothes were amazing- Beija was the name of her line. I’ve noticed that the length in dresses are dropping, big shoulders are definitely coming back, and stiffer lace… not the stretchy, skanky lace that people used to wear. It was really interesting; I saw a lot of mixing of fabrics too… like lace or chiffon with leather or fur. Lots of heavy fabrics mixed with thin, light fabrics- I love it. Also florals, lots of florals. I wish I could have taken photos at the show to capture the true beauty of every single designer’s line. For the most part there weren’t many couture lines, but I did grab some inspiration from one of them for my costume design. Teen and I stayed longer in the apparel tradeshow, so we could experience all these amazing things… and I’m sure glad we did. After the apparel tradeshow, we moved on to the accessories, shoes, bags, and ect showroom. This one felt more like shopping and not having to watch how you carry yourself… it was a little more laid back because accessories is not the main focus of my major. I did get a lot of ideas and insight for headpieces and hats at this show though.
After the shows it was dark out and walked to go see the arc and then the Eiffel Tower by night. On the way to the Eiffel Tower Teen and I took a detour to visit her old apartment. It was in the cutest neighborhood, fairly classy too. We took some photos and then she saw her old landlord peering off the balcony above… she was totally siked out because she hadn’t seen him in so long. Then she went on to tell me the story about how her landlords were trying to get her set up with their son… Teen referred to him as ‘Salad Fingers’. Like that creepy video online haha. Anyways that was entertaining… we then moved on to meet everyone at the Eiffel Tower. It was breathtaking; the lights overlooking the town were so amazing at night. At this very moment is when it hit me… I’m in Paris! This really topped it off with cherries and lots of sprinkles. After, we stopped at Teen’s favorite crepe stand… I got churros :) Gosh those crepe stands are the best, I sure miss them. Then we walked back to the hostel, got ready and went to the Latin Quarter for dinner and drinks. It was pretty late at this point so we just chose a restaurant beside the bar we wanted to go to. Teen and I split two dishes- cheese ravioli and pesto pasta… it was to die for. Oh dear, it was definitely the best food I’ve had in a while. It was such a nice surprise. After we waited in line at Chez Georges (bar) for everrrrr. It was Teen’s favorite bar and she really wanted to show me, but after standing in the cold for so long we decided to just move on. As we were in line we met a few French folks. First, the people in front of us started talking to us… well in French, so really Teen was the only one talking haha. They didn’t speak English very well… Teen would try and translate here and there. However, I could pick out a few things I remembered from high school. He was picking on Teen for her fur vest (poor animals) because he happened to be one of the few advocates against using animal fur in Paris. I agreed with him… haha I love you Teen. Then some other French Italian guys came up in line behind, chatted a little… some English here and there haha. The one dude got Teen’s facebook info haha… and moved on. After the other guy found out Teen was Sicilian this fear overcame his face… haha he knew not to mess with Sicilians ;) Haha it was quite humorous. As they left some other girls came in line and asked us about the bar situation. They happened to be from Sweden, and that’s where I’m going with Carly and Jen on Spring Break! It was pretty exciting to say I was going to Stockholm next week. Ah so then we finally decided to ditch Chez Georges and head back home, as the line never seemed to be moving. Bueno bars and Orangina seemed to be our calling in the metro station. We bought them back and ate them in the hall of our random hostel so we didn’t wake Gina.
So this was supposed to be another day that were going to more tradeshows, but to our surpise it was changed to "shopping"… what the heck dude. Nina changes it to SHOPPING when we can go to other awesome places like historic museums, fashion tradeshows, see cites of the city… and tons of other stuff! Don’t get me wrong, I looooove shopping… but when I’m in Paris for only a weekend I want to see more than department stores and stuff I can buy in the U.S. It was ridiculous, so we were just basically on our own. Teen, Gina, and I wore our berets today, it was fun and we got so many compliments. Teen, Gina, and I went to the Perfume Museum… ohhhh it was fuming with beautiful smells and antique spray bottles. Oh how I love learning about old customs. Like these things called ‘beauty makes’, they were like little dots that you stuck to your skin. You placed them in various spots on your face to mean different things… like that you are single and looking for action, sassy, intelligent, ect. The guide had us match the smells of the perfume with the plant they came from; I got them all correct except one. Ha it was pretty neat. We also got to sample smell every single perfume sent that they had, it was intense. My nose survived. After the perfume museum we walked to the Opera house and took photos. We didn’t go inside because we didn’t feel like paying… the outside architecture was quite astute though. Pigeons hanging on every ledge and sculpture. Then it was time to meet up with everyone else and get some food. Teen and I got money out of the bank-o-mat for the first time while were in Paris… we were proud of this. We found a little place to eat as we walked out of the metro. At some point between the metro and going inside the diner someone had stolen Teen’s wallet! She realized it when she went to pay for her food. It was horrible, she looked everywhere and realized someone must of either unzipped her bag and got it out or she left it open. She is always so careful with stuff like that, but maybe because she used to live in Paris she felt a little more comfortable. Regardless, there are crooks everywhere and I hate that it had to happen to there. On a good note, she still had her passport! She had to call her parents and cancel all her cards… it was a really stressful day for her. After eating we walked to the Palladium and Teen reported her robbery to the police with Anael, Anael’s mom, and Nina. While they did that Gina and I walked around to some local shops, got some souvenirs, and really ghetto postcards. When we met up with everyone we finally got to hang out with the photography students. Fashion and Photography were the only studios that went to Paris, so it was fun hanging out with them. We walked to Sainte-Chapelle and there on the steps a man was playing his guitar and singing. He attracted a huge crowd of people, he was speaking/singing English, so it was mostly tourist. He was on these huge steps where everyone was sitting and it looked out to the whole city of Paris. This skyline of the town was the perfect setting. That night it was just Teen, Gina, and I that tagged along with the photo kids and I’m so glad we did. We made reservations to eat at this fondue restaurant. As we waited we went to a small shop and I bought this super warm scarf. I kind of look like an alpaca when I’m wearing it though, but I love it. The fondue restaurant was amazingggg and we drank wine out of baby bottles!! The place was super pack as soon as they opened up, tables were smashed together and in order to sit in the booth seat on the wall you had to climb over the tables! The food was delicious, as it was mostly cheese and bread haha. We did have a fruit desert and some other things that balanced it out just a little. A little drama went down at dinner, but it eventually got all straightened out thankfully haha. You’ll have that with girls… they are bitches. After dinner we walked back to the steps of Sainte-Chapelle and looked out at the gorgeous night lights gleaming on the city. Even with the extreme cold people still wanted ice cream haha, so everyone got gelato and they were merry. By the end of the night everyone was so exhausted from the day we just walked back to the hostel. We ended up passing out by midnight… crazy. Those Parisian nights will get ya.
Today we thought we would get to go to tradeshows, but noooooo of course Nina has other plans for us. When we were walking to the metro there was a huge marathon going on outside! It was awesome, they went so far- I got a ton of photos. We did walk to Notre Dame Cathedral which was pretty cool. To my surprise they allowed tourists to go in while mass was in session, it seemed a little odd. Even though the whole thing was in French and I didn’t know what was going on, it was indeed breathtaking, it gave me goose bumps. Everyone was flashing their cameras so inconsiderately; I only took a few photos because I felt so disrespectful. It was extremely odd, but beautiful none the less. After Nina tried to show us some other historic places but she didn’t know exactly where she was going and it definitely wasn’t fun anymore. We walked so far in the freezing wind just to find out that we had walked the totally wrong way. We were near one of Teen’s favorite neighborhoods (The Marais), so before we turned back we asked if we could break off from the group and venture out on our own. I’m so glad we did this because this was the Jewish Quarter where the best bake shops, vintage stores, and parks were. Teen fit right in because she wrapped her scarf around her head for warmth and claimed that she looked like she was wearing a babushka. The Jewish Quarter is where I had my first real crepe by a little local man. He owned this small crepe shop, it was so adorable, and you could tell how much he loved his job and meeting new people. I had a Nutella and banana crepe, ohhhh it was soooo tastey!!! Next, we hit up the best vintage shop in town that Teen had been telling me about for so long- ‘Vintage Desir’. Ahhh I got some good finds. Three dresses- one black and white poka dot with a wrap skirt, one with pastel floral, and one that was black and white with a frilly skirt and various fabric designs. I also got a sleeveless, low cut jumpsuit type thing… the fabric is tribal-ish and super comfy. I can’t wait to put outfits together with it. Lastly, I got two hats! A green oversized knitted one and a dark red, small formed hat with a feather on the side. All this stuff for only 45 Euros, it was a steal :) I wish they had these kind of vintage/thrift shops in Prague. The guy running the place was constantly on edge because he was watching for shoplifting. The place is really small, it’s hard to get around, very crowded, and stuff is everywhere… so I can see how it would be easy for someone to still stuff. After we went to a Jewish Pastry shop and I got baklava. I love baklava, and this stuff put every other kind I’ve had to shame. Good stuff. We walked to Place des Vosges (park) and ate our yummy baked goods. One important thing to remember is- DON’T FEED THE PIEGONS! Haha I was soooo tempted and then Teen informed me that they would swarm me. Well I dropped a little baklava… moments later here come the damn pigeons. Great, now we’re the weird pigeon ladies… we quickly evacuate. A man that was sitting at the next bench moved to the one we were at (with all the pigeons!)… I guess he wanted to be the weird pigeon man… “BIRD MAN!” hahaha, I love it.
Next we moved on to the Eiffel Tower, I’m so thankful that we got to see it during the day… because it’s important to see it in all its glory- both day AND night. We took some photos and hung out on a bench to try and soak up some of the sun’s rays. It was some nice down time, hanging out by the Eiffel Tower. So throughout the trip I took photos of random Parisians if they had snazzy, weird, or interesting threads on. If they saw me pointing the camera at them I would just look past them like I was taking a photo of something behind them haha. Well while we were sitting on this bench I say to Teen- look at that majorly Italian guy. He had so much gel in his hair I could see my reflection. Anyways I took a photo of him; except he totally saw me and since I had my sunglasses on I couldn’t play it off. Oh well, no big he’ll go away, right?- No. Haha a few moments later he asks Teen to take a photo of him with his phone in front of the Eiffel Tower. After he asks her name, then he proceeds in breaking out family photos and going on about how his sister’s name is Christine too. So then he asks what her religion is, as he is also Catholic. He makes this connection and from this point he seems to follow us around everywhere. Also, let me add that he spoke French and only knew a few words in English, so Teen had to translate the whole time. Anyways his name was Marco. It was really funny and a little awkward when he bought us little Eiffel Tower keychains haha… oh Marco. We finally decide to leave and then I spot a sign that says ‘Wi-Fi’! Ahh free wi-fi at the Eiffel Tower, this is too good to be true. So I HAVE to get on my iPod and check out facebook for a few minutes haha… it was great. Then we took some photos by this huge thing with the word ‘peace’ written all over it and it tons of different languages. It was so cool, some of the writing was on glass, so the shadows looked really neat. He is still following us around at this point, even when we go down to the metro. Teen keeps asking him what stop he was at, but couldn’t figure out a good way to ask him in French because of the translation. We ended up getting on the wrong metro and he followed us. Long story short, he finally goes a different way and we were off. So Teen and I go back to the hostel and take a short nap. We were exhausted and super lazy. For dinner we ate at this restaurant across the street from our hostel, so it wasn’t too far away. I wish we discovered this place earlier in the trip because it was soooo neat inside. The furniture was vintage, the atmosphere was rustic and laid-back, and the staff was pretty nice. The walls were covered in randomness and the music fit the mood perfectly. I had this really good specialty French break with cheese, mushrooms, and spinach and a side salad. I started with this amazing white hot chocolate (boy I love white chocolate) and then ended with a yummy cup of white French wine. I really wanted red wine, but I believe there was some miscommunication when I ordered it, oh well it was still goooood. At the end we ran into Heidi, little Christine, Kendall, and Drew… they were at the restaurant the whole time and we didn’t even know it. So little Christine and Drew stayed and hung out with us a little longer. After we were tired and just decided to go back to the hostel and pass out… plus we had to wake up super early in the morning to get on the plane. Gosh it smelled sooooo bad in our room, our creepy hostel was lame.