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Monday, August 1, 2011

I Ate Escargot, and I Liked It: the Paris Weekend (1)

Four little words, one beautiful phrase: A weekend in Paris.

All I can say is, I'm thankful I've been to Paris before, in November 2008, because this weekend was a crazy whirlwind of trains, metro stations, lines, food, and maps. In short, it's a good thing I've been to Paris already. There was so much I saw, but still, I didn't see everything. Yeah, traveling is like that.

Our itinerary for Friday was to take the 5:25 AM Eurostar to Paris to see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, a city tour of Paris on a hop-on, hop-off bus (aka "enormous tourist bus"), a boat cruise on the Seine, seeing Notre Dame, and dinner. We had two short hours for the Louvre, took a group photo in front of the tower, stayed on the bus for an hour or so, and had peach champagne on the Seine ride. Touring Notre Dame didn't happen due to our dinner reservation. The line was tremendous, anyway.

My absolute favorite part of the whirlwind Friday was our dinner. It was in a interesting little area of Paris, near a bunch of comic shops and bakeries selling enormous pieces of meringue, and the experience was absolutely fantastic. The meal had already been paid for from the tuition bill, so we had more options on what to order. I had escargot, chicken in wine sauce, roasted potatoes, broccoli, baguettes, apple tart, and the tastiest champagne I've ever had. I don't even like champagne, but the rosé changed my mind. Escargot was better than the first time I tried it. Also, I've recently learned to appreciate mussels, and the two taste similar. Garlic butter always helps.

What made this meal so interesting were the guitarist and accordion players who came around, waggled their eyebrows at you, made sounds, snuck up on you, and played everything from French music to La Bamba. They were a combination of French charm and creeptastic.  However, they turned the atmosphere of the cozy restaurant turned into a party, with music, singing, clapping, dancing and the rest of the restaurants' patrons smiling and enjoying themselves. As the wine flowed, our group of students began to enjoy themselves a little too much...but everyone made it to our hotel, the Campanille near the Place de la Bastille, safely. A nice hotel, by the way. 95 euros a night for two twin beds, nice bathroom, and it was a typical cute European room, everything a little smaller. My roommate Angela was sick with a cold, so she appreciated the tea maker. I just really liked having a non-lumpy bed.

Saturday-Monday posts coming right up.

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