Paris: montmartre

It's hard to believe that this is just the first leg of the bulk of our travels. A year and a half ago when we first met in the halls of the second floor University Heights dorm, we never would have thought that we would be waking up in Paris together. For Onni, Adam, and I, navigating its short, windy streets, heading to the local patisserie every morning to indulge in croissant aux amandes, and many slices of quiche lorraine, sharing bottles of red wine on the Seine, and staring up at the Tour Eiffel at 10:30pm, bright and sparkling like the biggest Christmas Tree that ever existed, these are all shared moments that in essence have become normal for us. Years of travel from my grandparents in the Dordogne of France up to London to see my aunt and uncle, and pit stopping in Paris, have provided me a familiarity with and nostalgic sentiment from this French capital city. Still it felt bright, shinny, new, and full of possibility to be there again with two people I would be undoubtedly proud to call some of the best friends I have ever made. Discovering it again together in a new way, through the eyes of my grown up self, I experienced a new city. I have a feeling this will not be the first time I experience such a change in perception along my travels, and I am looking forward to it; to be able to share places I hold close to my heart, for their deep connection to family, childhood, and adventure, with people who are relatively new in my life but sure to stay for a long, long time. 

We tackled Paris with full hearted determination. Waking up at 8 every morning to rigorously plan as best we could what we would do every day, attempting to fit in everything we collectively wanted to accomplish in the four days we had. Of course most of our planning fell through in the end, due to not looking closely enough at listed opening hours, and being over come by unexpected bouts of sunshine and warm weather. But we did manage to see most of what we wanted to, with Adam's Fitbit reading about 10 miles worth of walking each day. Despite the fact that we even had a day of what we called "questionable, unsuccessful decisions", involving traveling to a closed Versailles palace and ending up playing rounds of hide and go seek in the gardens, missing our lunch plans, Onni getting stuck in the subway doors, and us paying probably too much money on a crappy dinner at a tourist trap cafe after not eating nearly all day. Despite all of this I probably wouldn't change a thing.

It is undeniable that most of my intentions going into this Paris trip involved food. I hold no shame towards my complete and all consuming obsession with patisserie. The aesthetic and craving satisfaction I get from walking into a bakery or patisserie and seeing all the neatly arranged pastries, cakes, and breads, assembled, decorated, and baked to perfection, surprises me more and more as my relationship with baking grows. Being able to share this love of a perfectly piped, iced and filled eclair or the many fluffy, buttery layers of a sweet palmier, is the best part of my love of food. Our pastry selections included chocolate and coffee eclairs, paris breast, mille feuille, and a huge selection of macaroons. We went to Shakespeare and Co. where I bought a book on the art of making eclairs. Crispy pate a choux, light and sweet creme patisserie, and a layer of chocolate fondant icing. I can't wait to try my hand at some french classics. For some information on where to wine and dine and stuff your face with magical creations of butter, sugar, and flour etc, look below. 

For a meal:

Le 404 - located in Le Marais, probably the best Moroccan food outside of Morocco... probably.
Mercí - also in Le Marais, this multi tiered concept store features a cafe, restaurant, used book cafe, clothing, and household goods store, and more. Mercí has more to offer than just food, but lunching on their salads, charcuterie, and medley of freshly baked deserts, before venturing into their various other venues. 
Cosi - this sandwich shop is located in St Germaine area and offers a large selection of affordable sandwiches.

For the sweet tooth:

Pain Pain - colorful, affordable, and delicious patisserie located in Montmartre. We went here nearly every single day for breakfast, so it is safe to say it was a favorite. 
Le Grenier a Pain - an award winning bakery in the heart of Montmartre. We went to this bakery for bread, pastries, and sandwiches. Affordable and delicious. 

To drink:

Etiquette Wines - wine shop located across from the Notre Dame, they sell organic, sulfate free wines. We went in to buy the cheapest bottles they had, knowing nothing about the shop, and not intending to stay for the hour that that we did after purchasing the wines, listening to the shop keeper tell us all about the secret to life and happiness (i.e. wine).