Monday, March 30, 2009

Hola Paris

This past weekend my friend Susan, who is studying in Barcelona, came to Paris and visited me! It was great to see her, especially since I visited her in Barcelona several weeks ago and it was nice for her to be in my city this time around. We did some of the usual touristy things, except that for my Oenology class I had to go...and thus she came the Salon de Vignerons de Paris. This is a yearly event at a convention centre where vinyards from every region of France come into Paris for 4 days and the public pays 5Euro to come in, walk around, taste whatever they want....and then hopefully buy. It was quite a sight to see. People came in with literally wheely suitcases, searching for their favorite vinnificateur from Bourgogne who makes the worlds BEST...obviously. People were clearly hoarding up for was out of control. It was also a great way for me to practice my French....and learn some more about wine. I talked to about five or 6 different booths, and especially enjoyed 2 of them. I met a younger guy who invited me to come grape pick over the summer (I respectfully declined....but that would have been cool) and a woman who bought her vinyard off of her father and now runs it....pretty rare in the wine industry. 

After the wine expo I took Susan to do some more touristy things....and then we did some local food shopping by me. Again, this is my favorite activity....stopped by my local poissonerie and got fish from my two favorite men there.....went to this little frommagerie owned by the cutest elderly couple some wine.....and then made dinner in my apartment. The night after we went out to dinner with 2 of my roommates to Brasserie Balzar in the Latin Quarter....really good food, and hilarious service. I think my hand was kissed 5 times....why not? 

In the evening we decided that we needed to see the Pitt/Nova game at a bar. We had watched the Pitt/Xavier game live on my computer....but decided to be a bit more social this time around. So, a bunch of us went to "The Great Canadian Bar" in the latin quarter and watched the game with many other eager Americans. Since we lost...I will leave it at that. Sad day...but Hail to Pitt anyway! 

Thats all for now....going to Amsterdam Friday morning so stay tuned. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

International Fun & Sight Seeking & Seeing

Bonjour a tous.....

Lots to update on. A few days ago my roommate Liz and I decided to take advantage of this great city that we live after class we walked around the Tuileries (really pretty garden area across from the Louvre) and went to Musee l'Orangerie-saw Monet water lillies and other art as well. Then we walked towards Opera Garnier (which we will be going to in May to see a ballet! Very excited about that...) and along the way I stopped and bought some really amazing chocolates. 

Last weekend however, I went with a large group of people on my program to Strasbourg (France). It was literally out of Disney's Beauty & The Beast. Very quaint....very German (obviously....its been German proper several times...Franco/Prussian War, etc) and overall it was cool to see. We did a walking tour with our amazing tour guide, Pierre-Jean. We started talking about dogs...and he has a pug named Prozac. That may sum up the experience. Anyway, as most cities in France have one...we saw the Notre Dame de Strasbourg. It houses a giant clock that, and forgive me because I was not paying attention to the tourguide at this part, is somehow connected to Easter....and the solar system....or something. Not sure--but it was very impressive! At night we went to this very Alsacian restaurant called Le Gruber and had wine, tarte flambe, chicken with German style noodle french frie things, and creme brule. Everyone had the same meal, provided by was pretty nice! Then we called it a night at our hostel, Ciarus....which was also very nice, except that the beds looked like a jungle gym or McDonalds play place. That is the only way to properly describe it. 

Sunday morning we woke and got back on the bus....and went to Germany! Strasbourg is on the border basically, so it was less than a 2 hour drive. We started in Schwartzwald (I am probably spelling this incorrectly) or, the Black Forrest....and spent some time at the Titisee Lake. Everyone had fun with that name...we're a mature group. It was very storybook-esque, and I really felt like I was in Germany...even though we were extremely close to the French border. We got a very German lunch....and went to a coo-coo clock shop....and I may have bought one for myself! Hope my roommates next year do not mind.....

After the Lake we went to a small town called Freiburg. Nothing to report. It is REALLY small and wasn't really worth going to. Although, I did have a rather delicious ice cream sundae. Right......

After this we went back to France, just south of Strasbourg to a city called Colmar. We went to the Paul Beuscher winery and sampled some Alsacian wine--that was cool. It was especially interesting since I am taking this Oenology course....and as we were being told the process of making their sparkling wine....I really understood what he was saying! It was great. 

This week has been a continuation of midterms and boring-ness. However, last night my roommates Liz and Elysha and I decided to blow off some steam (you know...our lives are just very stressful here in Paris) so we met up with friends at this nightclub called Le Duplex. It is located right off the Champs Elysees....literally next to the Arc de Triomphe. It was SO fun...and we actually ran into a French friend, who has other french friends, so we met lots of people. Good times. There are two different sides to the club, and one is the Salsa/Latin side....spent a lot of time funny. 

I'm off to class for the day. Hope everyone is well. I think about everyone/Pitt/home all the time....and leaving Paris is going to be so bittersweet. I don't want to leave....but I am excited to come back and see everyone! If any Chi Omegas are reading this: GOOD LUCK at Greek Sing Friday! I know we'll win! Kick those ZBT boys into shape if need my parents: Skype session later this week? Great. Grand. 

Peace and love! BISOUS! 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mom came to Paris....

So....Wednesday-Sunday Hilary Bayer came to Paris to visit me. It was SO nice to see her (I know she is reading this--but seriously--it was) and I played tourguide and showed her around the city. 

We did the Latin Quarter, Musee d'Orsay, the Marais/Pompidou, walked from the Champs Elysees to the Tour Eiffel, went to Fauchon and had a great little pastry, did a little shopping (very little-we were well behaved).....and ate some really great food. Speaking of, we went to Brasserie Bofinger (at the suggestion of my Uncle) which was really a great dinner, and the brasserie is really pretty--we sat under their art-nouveau stained glass dome....and had a great time. Near the end of our meal 3 men sat down at the table next to us, one of them being JEAN PAUL GAUTIER! We were trying pretty hard to not freak out--but it was so cool. Fashion Week had just he obviously had just come from one of the last shows. It was really cool. We sat so close I could have touched him had I extended my arm out. So, yeah, my Mom and I had dessert with Jean Paul Gautier.......kind of. 

Unfortunately Saturday morning I woke up really sick with a Hil girl was on her own and we didn't get to go up to Montmartre. However....this ended up being great--because she explored Rue Mouffetard on her own and had a really great day. I met up with her later--and she clearly did well on her own, not being able to speak any French and everything. I guess its pretty helpful that about everyone here speaks English in addition to French.....

So, I was sad to see my Mom go--but happy that she came. I'm gearing up for tests, papers, powerpoint presentations, and midterms over the next 2 weeks-so this post will have to hold you over for awhile. I sad. 

peace and love.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Playing Catch up.....

So....the internet in my apartment has been out for 4 days-and I feel really disconnected from the world. Isn't that sad?

Any hoot...lots to share. This past Wednesday my roommates and I went out to a really fun nightclub, and then had a really funny cab ride home in which our cab driver told us a story of how he tried to marry an American woman so he could stay and live in the states...and she was from Lafayette Hill, PA. Weird.......

Friday was a great day too. I went to Luxembourg Gardens with my roommate Jessie and we got a little sun. Of course, it's still very we tanned with coats and gloves on. But still, it was pretty out and it was nice to just sit under sunshine. After a bit of that (and some massive crepe official favorite food) we went to Le Pantheon and saw some dead people. Actually, I thought it was one of the most amazing buildings I have terms of architecture. Really incredible vaulting and coffered ceilings and all kinds of cool stuff. Also, I got to see Voltaire....sort of.....I thoought it was pretty cool.

After a little morning in the Latin Quarter I hiked back to the Marais, to my school CEA, for a wine and cheese tasting that I had signed up for. About 15 students came, and it was great. We sampled 7 different cheeses....and I loved them all...including Roquefort-stinky, but yummy. We also sampled some Bourgogne, Bordeaux, and a Loire Valley wine. Between this and my oenology class....I'm starting to get a good feel for the different wines and I really enjoy it. So, they ended the wine and cheese tasting but a bunch of us decided to stay...and continue to eat and drink. I might have taken some cheese to go in my purse...maybe......

After this a few of us went to a happy hour in the Marais at a place called Spaghetti Bar. The interior decor is really cool....and for a mere 3Euro you get a beer or mojito and then all you can eat pizza, olives, and salad. Pretty good deal! It was fun--and the food was really good. My life seems to revolve around food here...BIGGG surprise.......

Saturday CEA took us on a trip to the city Reims in the Champagne region. This was a really nice change of pace. We got up early and departed at 8:30AM for a two hour journey. In Reims we went to the Notre Dame there...which is gorgeous...and saw the stained glass window that Chagall did in the 70's. It's really beautiful. After a few of us went to lunch at a cafe in Reims...and had some pretty great food. We walked around and saw the city a bit...and it was sort of quaint but had a lot going on. It was cool to see. After this we got back on the bus and went to the GH Mumm factory to get a tour of their facility and then taste their champagne. This was only a little disapointing since my oenology professor had thought, and then told us, that we would actually see the press machines and all the real action--but we were really taken on more of a Disney-world-esque tour of Champagne-land...and didn't see that much action at all. It was ok though...because at the end we each got a glass to drink, and it was really good. Mostly everyone bought a bottle...including myself...which I plan to break open when my mom gets here!!!

Thats about it.....peace and love.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a la mode....

Today was a beautiful day in Paris. I am starting to think the weather is permanently becoming gorgeous....and I am totally ok with that.

Instead of meeting as a regularly class today, my Haute Couture course met up at Musee de la Mode (A fashion history museum) to see this great exhibit on crinolines of the 1850's and 60's. This is exactly what we're studying right it was great to see real pieces. The gowns were just really amazing....the craftsmenship is so beautiful, and the dresses were HUGE with the tiniest waists I have ever seen. I'm convinved women just did not eat in the 1860's....not possible with corsets laced that tight. But any was a beautiful exhibit and made what is usually a rather dullllllll class really interesting and cool. They had jewelry, bonnets, shoes, and all other kinds of little pieces that were cool to see. 

After class my roommate Jessie and I went to the Latin Quarter, my new favorite place on earth, and wandered around. There is this little street full of amazing creperies, and I had my first ever savory crepe. Usually I opt for nutella/banana.....but today I decided to be wild. I had a pretty fantastic chicken/tomato/olive/mushroom crepe--and I plan to take my mom there for the same thing next week! So...we wandered around and people watched, did some window shopping (or real shopping.....) and got to practice plenty of french with the store owners. I actually went into a dressing room to try a shirt on, and when I came out two other french girls were standing in front of the mirror wearing the same shirt. It was pretty funny--and the store owner thought it was....the funniest thing in the world.

Thats about it for this day in the life.......working on planning my Greece itinerary for April, and all booked up and going to Amsterdam April 3rd....but I probably already said that.

Peace and love!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm 21

Bonjour et bonjour

Lots to share on this post......this past week went by very quickly. I came back from Belfast and then jumped right back into my classes and life here. Earlier in the week I met and had lunch with Audrey, a friend of my uncles. She is lovely....and we had a really good lunch! It's nice to communicate more and more with Parisians......I get pretty used to my bubble of American students sometimes. 

This weekend was also the most beautiful, WARM weekend I have had yet! Paris looked gorgeous...and my roommate Elysha and I walked around the latin quarter and sat in Luxembourg Gardens for awhile. It is SO ridiculously picturesque there, and I am going to go back on a Saturday morning and sketch. I also decided I want to be 5 years old again, so I can buy a boat and race it in the fountain area with the other adorable children. 

And.......I turned 21 this weekend! The novelty of being able to drink had already worn off a bit, but hey...why not have a reason to celebrate??? It was a very fun time. My friends and I went to dinner at this great Cuban restaurant (out of this world tapas and paella first official legal drink being a mojito) and then later went to a fun bar we like, Iguana, in the Bastille. Every weekend we seem to end up in the's just so fun and lively, there is always something to do, and I think it lacks a lot of the pretension that so many clubs and bars have in other areas. I will leave it at that.......but yes, I had a very fun birthday! I'm pretty exhausted and need a few days worth of recovery...

Stay tuned. Peace and love.