Monday, 29 March 2010

Paris, Ma Chérie!

Bonjour ma famille et mes amis!

Paris: City of Light, love, and my 26th Birthday!

at 6:10 am on March 20, 2010, My friend Yara and I were taking off from Edinburgh Airport, whizzing our way south to Paris for a lovely 4 day vacation. I'm lucky that my birthday falls right at the end of Yara's courses, before she has to start manic studying for her 8 law school exams. I'm also lucky that I have a friend/roommate who is up for the adventure!
Yara and I and the famous tower
Me, Carine, Yara and Roy at my birthday dinner at "Le Loup Blanc" (the white wolf)

We stayed with a longtime friend of Yara named Carine, who is a Lebanese transplant to Paris. And as I soon found out, there are a LOT of Lebanese transplants in Paris...Because Lebanon was a French Mandate for years, there is a strong French influence in Lebanon, including the schools, architecture, place names, and food. And until recently Lebanese were easily able to get French passports when they moved to France. So I actually spent my entire vacation with a group of Lebanese. They were all lovely, very nice and accomodating to the tourists, and spoke perfect English (thank goodness as my French has definitely fallen to the wayside) along with French and Arabic. When they fell into speaking either of those languages, I was able to let my mind and eyes wander, seeing things and noticing parts of the people and places around me that I usually would have missed. So overall it didn't bother me if I had no idea what they were talking about, I was able to get lost in my own little bit of Paris, which is a pretty cool place to be. And It turned out that this allowed me to take some really amazing photos, which I'm glad for, since I rarely focus on the artful composition of pictures, preferring to fill my pics with the people I want to be in each one.
Some of the Lebanese: Yara, Cyrille, Carine, Roy

Paris is a very flat city, with a hill in the north east in the region called Montmartre being the only uphill walking we did. And it was worth the walk! At the top sits the famous Sacre-Coeur Basilica, one of the most breathtaking buildings I have ever seen.
Sacre-Coeur Basilica
Paris is a large city, but you can literally just walk in any direction and see interesting things, both the "tourist attractions" and the more off the track, real places that a bit of willingness to get lost leads you too. This was how Yara and I found a great little shop for breakfast in the Latin Quarter that served crépes filled with cheese, ham, and an egg, The Hôtel de Ville, a hidden gated park, and a shop where I found a beautiful present for my wonderful mom.

This being my second trip to Paris, and Yara's first, we definitely made our way through the entire city. The Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Notre Dame, The Louvre, Moulin Rouge, Sacre-Coeur, along with a picnic in a park, an hour and a half wait for the best food ever at a locals-only restaurant, and coffee at the café from the movie Amélie.
Photobucket Inside the entrance to the Louvre
Photobucket View from the Parc des Tuileries
Photobucket Outside the Café from Amélie.
Photobucket The street I want to live on: The street of Bakers!

It was an amazing trip, and I'm so glad I was able to go! It enhanced my memories from my last trip to Paris with my Grandma in 2002, and gave me some amazing memories to build onto my mental picture of Paris with. Sleep deprivation in a bar in the 3rd arrondissement, walking in the rain through the Parc du Champs de Mars, learning random words in Arabic, eating the best Camembert in the world, and singing silly songs on the metro.
Happy Birthday to Me!

I'll write more when I have more interesting shenanigans from life in Scotland. For now, you may have realised that yes, I did get my visa (and passport back) to stay here for two more years. Luckily, or else I would have had to hitchhike to Paris! Work is a tad up in the air, but more on that next time...

Lots of love and Bisous! (kisses)