The Time of Parisian Tea Time

The farmers market made another appearance today, which means delicious apple juice, an apple turnover and cherry tomatoes for breakfast. We had lecture in the Champ de Mars in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel about the cultural renaissance, as a puppy played fetch with a stick nearby.
A group decided to get an early lunch at a sandwich shop around the corner from the hotel, where Teo recommended a combo of a sandwich, dessert and drink for 7,00 euros. I had the best ham and cheese panini on a baguette, a pear tart and a soda called Oasis tropical. The panini was the best I’ve ever had – not classic American with the grill marks and flat ingredients pressed inside; instead, it’s a warmed roll with gooey cheese of the best flavor. I can’t place the taste, maybe it’s just really good mozzarella.

The goal of our afternoon was to go to Sainte Chapelle to see the stained glass windows, but after we took the metro, we saw that it was closed until 2:15 and we had class at 3. We thought we would come back and go for half an hour. A couple girls wanted to go to a stationary shop “across the street” then get in line for Sainte Chapelle, but this store ended up being a mile away across the entire neighborhood. So, we spent 30 minutes being dragged to this bookstore where they bought journals that are also sold at the Monoprix next to the hotel. And by then it was too late to see the church because a huge line already formed at Sainte Chapelle. Instead, those girls left and a couple of us broke off to just explore outside Notre Dame so the time wasn’t completely wasted. We decided not to do things in big groups anymore.

On our class walk, we explored more rues (streets). One was Hemingway’s house from the 1920s, which required an uphill trek in the sun to reach. I noticed the little shutters of his little building. I love that all the buildings in Paris are so close together, so walls touch and create weird overlaps – you could jump roof to roof I bet.

Since today’s “theme” if you will was Roman ruins, we also saw a “treat” as Teo called it – the ruins of a gladiator ring where lions used to fight. Now it’s used as a play area for children’s soccer and such.

 

Another stop was at Teo’s old apartment, when he lived here for two months one summer. The doors of Paris, let me tell you, are beautiful. Every building is practically an apartment and practically every apartment has a grand, high door. They’re blue or classic wooden or intricate iron, for example. He opened the door to his apartment and we got to walk around the courtyard – a charming and beautiful villa area that reminded me of a tropical vacation – completely silent and fragrant. The courtyards of Paris might just be my favorite element.

 

The final stop on the tour was the botanical gardens, which also host buildings that Teo said contain fossils in a history museum.

 

The grounds of the garden were gorgeous and pleasant, like walking through a Jane Austen set. I’ve talked with other students and we all agree that walking around Paris feels like walking on a movie set because the architecture is so perfect and the ground is sometimes that light sandy gravel like in Western films.

There was a nearby mosque and Teo said the adjoining café is good, so some of us stopped to have some mint tea and desserts in the afternoon. It was 6,00 euros for the best mint tea I’ve had, a pistachio turkish delight and a moon-shaped powdered sugar cookie that the employee recommended when I asked. I appreciated the atmosphere for its fairy garden meets desert vibe.

Dinner is becoming a struggle as we continually cannot decide where to go because many of the cafés have similar menu items – salad, bread items, and steaks. On the other hand, I feel bad eating any food besides Parisian food here because I should take advantage of it. But I can only eat bread for so long. One girl tried a caprese entree, and I had duck and green beans which was a much-needed break from carbohydrates.

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