Intimate gathering of a few very close friends.
Happy New Year Paris! This flashback is a very fun memory. My friend Ted, (bottom left of the photo) invited us ALL to his apartment for drinks, snacks and a good time before we head to the Eifel Tour for the countdown. As you can see his apartment was about 11 or 12 feet only. There’s actually a shower door hidden in the picture. Anyway we had a great time at Ted’s and then took the 5 minute walk to the Eifel Tour. We (yankees especially) were waiting for some type of countdown. There wasn’t one so we counted down at least 3 times according to different watches before it actually happened.
The tour lit up and everyone was sprayed with champagne! It was really fun! Best Paris New Year’s ever! 😀
Me and some of my closest Paris friends. New Year’s 2011
Paris in the Spring is beautiful, enchanting and a little crowded. Fortunately, there is a great solution if you are looking for a break from tourists or the bustle of city life. Getaway for the day and take a trip to the Champagne region of France! There are many quaint and beautiful towns to visit there.
Champagne houses offer tours for individuals and groups that can include Champagne tastings. During my trip I visited two champagne houses. The first was the house of Mumm. This champagne is relatively well-known. The tour guide was friendly and answered all of our questions. We were shown a film and then taken downstairs into the cellar to see the vats and old equipment and machines used for producing and bottling the champagne.
Following Mumm, we ate lunch at Le Cheval Blanc (The White Horse). The three course meal was delicious and the presentation was superb! We began with bread, cheese puffs, and champagne bien sur (of course)! The first course was jambon (ham) with spinach, walnuts and cheese.
For the main course I had the steak. Everyone was served red wine with the meal. The fruit tart for dessert was almost too pretty to eat!
We left there satisfied and en route to the next champagne house, Acueil. This one was more of a “Mom and Pop” champagne house and it was an even better experience.
Even though we had a translator because we could not understand all of the French, the proprietor made us feel welcomed. We toured the facilities, were given a lesson explaining how other companies buy grapes from him.
Finally came the champagne tasting. He and his wife even had a snack to go along with the champagnes. After tasting two champagnes, he insisted that we try the rose. We said, “Well, if you insist.”
Visit Reims and the Champagne region of France. You will enjoy the character and hospitality of the locals. Also, when in Champagne, drink champagne!
Day 126 of life a la France.
I feel like a tourist that has just been here for a really long time. I wouldn’t even consider myself a foreigner yet. Though I am beginning to imagine life as a foreigner is going to be a difficult one!
I’m still having a tough time ordering food in restaurants and boulangeries. When I try to speak French I’m sure it sounds awful, but you gotta start somewhere.
Since my last post there have been a few (mostly American) holidays that have passed. For Thanksgiving, I spent the entire day, literally from 10:00 am – midnight at my school library. I did leave for a lunch break though. I spent Christmas in Germany with some American friends. (I am thankful for them and their fried food!) I spent New Year’s Eve at parties and under the Eiffel Tower.
We did not want to go to the Eiffel Tower. We compared it to being in Times Square, NYC to watch the ball drop. It just sounded like a tourist nightmare. We managed to squeeze about 20 people into a 10 or 11 meter apartment to begin the festivities. There was more drinks there than any of us needed, but there was also food. Real food: pasta salad, baguettes, cheese, olives, pepperoni, and baked chicken!
We left there about 11:15 and took a short walk to the Eiffel Tour. It was not as bad as we expected. There were thousands of people there, but it was bearable and we had a good time. There was no countdown but when the tower illuminated with its sparkly lights, everyone cheered, hugged, kissed, and were treated to champagne showers. It was definitely a moment none of us will ever forget; our 1st New Year’s at the Eiffel Tower.
So the journey of a young lady from New Jersey trying to blend into Paris continues. I have no idea what will happen next but whatever it is I will be sure to share it with you!
Decorations on the Champs Elysees Christmas Market
Look, a real breakfast!
Does anyone else love to eat? I do! I am greedy and prefer three meals a day with snacks in between. The secret to French skinniness is that they eat smaller portions, the food is expensive AND, they don’t have real breakfast here!
If you read my earlier post, French Culture Shock, you know I have touched on this shocking subject before. For breakfast we Americans like eggs, grits, bacon/sausage, homefries, pancakes/French toast, etc. In France breakfast is a croissant and a coffee or hot chocolate. A tasty snack, but where’s the beef??
Don’t panic yet. I have great news. There is a diner (yes a genuine diner) that serves American breakfast in Paris. The restaurant is aptly named, Breakfast In America. Being a Jersey girl, I know what a diner should be. Our state has more than anyone can count. I was skeptical going in thinking, this is not going to be good and its probably not a real diner.
I was pleasantly surprised! I ordered fried eggs, bacon, pancakes, and home fries. Best 11 Euro I have spent in a long time! I sat at the bar. There was old American music playing. Waitresses yelled out “Order up.” I felt like I was back at home.
The food was delicious. As my belt tightened I thought, “Am I getting full?” I ate real bacon! The pancakes were soft and cooked perfectly. Today was the first time I had seen an egg cooked in a restaurant. They usually eat the raw atop beef tartar (yuck).
For all you other homesick Americans in Paris or in France craving a real breakfast make your way to Breakfast In America. They are open every day and brunch is served all day on Sundays. The service was good and the food was great. I will be back on Tuesday. It’s not a special occasion or lunch date, just Tuesday.
– Happy eating : )
My birthday and celebration in Paris turned out great!
Because my birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, I had to celebrate it the weekend before. This past Saturday night we began the festivities. We started off with the housewarming/birthday party at my house. (It’s French so when I say my house I mean my 18 meter apartment.)
It was great. We had lots of champagne, rum, vodka, wine, and one of the boys bought whiskey. Yes we keep it classy. There was also fruit, cheese, vegetables, and baguettes bien sur (of course)!
There was about 13 of us in the apartment getting drunk and having a good time when my landlord rang the doorbell. I tried to look as sober as possible and took my birthday tiara off. My landlord spoke the whole time in French and was fussing. I apologized and told her we were a bout to leave anyway to go out.
We left en route to the Gibus Club at metro stop Republique. I was told this was a good club in Paris with American music. Ladies were free before 1:00am so we made it in.
The music and atmosphere at the club were good. Besides, I had been drinking champagne all night. I ordered a malibu and pineapple at the bar and a vodka tonic for one of the guys. My drink was really good. I had a great time at the club.
Today, my actual birthday, I had a night class. When class was over we made a group trip to Pizza Hut where the pies are buy one get one free on Tuesdays. That’s right I had Pizza Hut in Paris. Don’t judge me. lol
Pizza Hut is one of the few restaurants that stays open late night in that area. My friend and I had the Lousiane and the Supreme. Delicious.
Back in my apartment and I have enjoyed my French, Parisian birthday.
Today marks my 5 week countdown.
I will leave for Paris, France to begin my new life there as a graduate student! I am super excited and cannot wait. I love France and mostly everything French.
Now I must continue to prepare my life for my departure. I have bills to resolve, a car, an apartment, and clothes everywhere!
I don’t know where to begin today. Wish me luck 🙂