The Time We Danced in a Fire Station

I started this morning off right with a croissant and pear juice that tasted thick like liquefied pieces of fruit.

In the morning, our long walk took us to the outskirts of Paris – much different from the rest of the city in that it is more diverse, has higher buildings and frankly is not as nice. It looks like the outskirts of any other city with little hints of Paris. However, we stopped at a park with mural art and Teo said this is the best view of Paris because you can see all the monuments – though it seemed too far away to me.


It was a strange neighborhood and smelled pretty bad. The buildings were also higher than the six-story limit in central Paris, so it didn’t have the same quaint appeal. Eventually we strolled down a few residential alleys that were very small and charming with flowers all around.

(An aristocat… kidding)

For lunch, we had brought sandwiches (rustic ham and cheese for me) to eat in a huge park with tall trees and a stone structure in the center. However, The Butte Chaumont Park was hilly and muddy, so I actually slipped and got mud all over my leggings and some on my skirt. It was kind of miserable sitting in the wet grass on a hill, but I guess it’s a good thing that one of my worst moments in Paris was just getting a little dirty.

At the end of our walk, I went back to the hotel to change and got dessert at a bakery across from our hotel with a lime green storefront. The tricolore is a tiered chocolate cream dessert (with white, milk and dark chocolate) with a single raspberry on top that gave it so much flavor (I wish there were more framboises).

I had an early dinner at the café in the movie Amelie, which we’d passed by in a previous walk. Two girls came along to Cafe des Deux Moulins – it was really cool because the inside looks exactly like the set of the film, except now there are Amelie posters inside and pesky film fanatics eating.

Eventually we felt awkward because we could tell it was a touristy place – what do you call it, like a cliche faux café like we were on a movie set. The menus were in English, no customers were really French,and we could just tell it wasn’t a real French café. On the plus side, they did have frog legs on the menu, which is something I’ve wanted to try here! With so little time left in the program, I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to try them, so I was overjoyed. I ordered them with French onion soup for my dinner – can you tell it’s a tourist spot yet?

One person was wearing an LA baseball hat, one person was holding a selfie stick… it was bad for us Parisians. I did enjoy the frog legs – they did indeed taste like chicken as I’d been told. It was super difficult for me to get the meat off them, though, because they were like 70% tiny bones. The onion soup tasted alright, but I could tell it wasn’t authentic French because the cheese wasn’t as messy and over-the-top as it’s supposed to be. The bread was somehow simultaneously chewy and soggy and impossible to cut with a spoon.
Like I said, kind of a fake French café but still decent. Bucket list: check.

Since tonight is the day before Bastille Day, there are “balls” at the fire stations, where the firemen and other public officers raise money for charity apparently by throwing a dance in their station down our street. Literally everyone in the entire neighborhood went from grandparents to kids, from 9 pm to 4 am. We went from like 11 pm to about 2 am and I was exhausted, but it was really fun to see all the French people celebrating their national holiday like our 4th of July.

The line was so long for people to get inside to the courtyard. There were booths for food and drinks, and a concert-like stage with a DJ and colored lights. Almost everyone was speaking French, so we knew it was actually something that local people did. The firemen and officers were working by collecting money and checking bags – it was a really cool cultural experience to see this community dance party with people of all ages.

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