A Weekend in Paris, 15-17th September

Thought I would post some photos from my weekend trip to Paris. Prior to this visit, I had always thought that the city was overrated but I have to say that I was completely won over this time by the beautiful architecture, picturesque gardens, good food, unparalleled pastries, and continental charm. To be fair Paris had perfect weather on its side so that helped too!

WS and I took the Eurostar from London Paddington into Gare du Nord — and such an easy, relaxing journey that was; none of that airport and flying faff! We stayed with my good friend from university, LJ, who was a great host and guide for us… I enjoyed some very yummy meals and well-planned day itineraries! She introduced us to a magnificent flavour combination — salted butter and caramel. We had crepes with LJ and her bf on the first night, and for dessert each of us got a salted butter and caramel with cream crepe, which might have been the best thing I have eaten and will eat this month. The following day, I even had a salted butter and caramel macaron, and I don’t even like macarons! Oh and don’t get me started on the French pastries… I don’t think Sainsburys pain au chocolats will ever be the same again!

So it was quite a chilled out weekend of sightseeing, eating, and catching up with LJ, with whom I haven’t spent very, if any, time since we graduated from Brown in 2010. I also spent a very enjoyable morning in a local supermarket looking for snacks and goodies to bring back home/for the office. Ended up getting some chocolate covered madeleines, mustard-flavoured crisps, white wine, and creme brulee chocolates. Love hanging out in supermarkets in foreign countries!

Also, one of the things I noticed about Paris, and Parisians in general, was the sense of effortless elegance. I don’t know how they do it, but everyone seemed completely at ease and stylish without pretence. (Perhaps I was made more aware of this because of my ‘foreign-ness’ but there is something to be said about the way continental Europeans carry themselves with a more relaxed air than do their British counterparts.) People take their time with their meals. They sip coffee and wine at lunch hours, or should I say, at all hours :P. And they’re not so rushed when walking. Once I stepped back into Paddington station on Monday evening on our way back, my footsteps accelerated without me knowing it, people were rushing to get somewhere, and we had to keep walking fast to avoid getting trampled… same old same old London story. Whereas in Paris, I noticed when walking on the streets that when I walked slowly, the pedestrians behind me didn’t get impatient and try to walk around me, which people living in England would’ve done straight away. Instead, they just carried on walking right behind us, and I would hear them chatter away with their companions and never try to ‘overtake’ me. This cultural difference really struck me, as I’ve always lived in cities where people are rushing to get to places. Sigh, well a holiday is a holiday, and now it’s back to reality… (but I’m not complaining though, Oxford is a nice place to live).

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