I arrived in paris and took the train to Gare du Nord where it was only 1 block to my hostel. The area was very diverse, in fact, the first thing I ate when I got there was sushi from a Japanese place. I walked around a bit more and despite not feeling hungry, I sat outside and people watched as I ordered some more food. I thought I was just ordering 3 small sides, but they came out pretty large. I ended up getting a side of green beans, avocado with horse radish vinegar (a whole avocado, but the dressing was SO good I ate it all) and fries (can I call them french fries?). The waitress kind of looked at me funny, but to be fair, I did eat most of it!
I didn’t get much sleep the night before, so I went back to my hostel and was in bed by 9:00pm. At 9:30pm, three people came in and turned on the lights and started chatting. I let it go until 10pm, when I asked them to turn off the lights. Its the first time I’ve ever had to do that.. They were all pretty young though and maybe just didn’t know any better? However, at 11pm when I was finally asleep, it happened again! I opened up my curtain and asked her to turn them off as well. Come on people! It’s a VERY bright overhead light in my defense.
On Wednesday I woke up early, had breakfast at the hostel and then decided to walk to Montmatre. It was beautiful to walk through the garden and see the sun rising. I had been here once before, but it was in the dreary fall. It’s different traveling to a place that you’ve already been, because I don’t feel as much pressure to do touristy things! However, I did them all very quickly last time I was here, and I really don’t remember much of it besides Notre Dame and Versailles. It was about 6 years ago? So, I decided to walk to Arc de Triomph…it was a very far walk. I passed through large crowds of people headed to work. I stopped for a coffee and macaroon to watch them all pass by. I admit, in my outfit (jean skirt and sandals..not flip flops though thank goodness), I felt a little out of place next to every dressed so sharply for work. I was almost to the Arc when the temperature dropped suddenly, it felt like 50 now. I was freezing, but also glad that I had an excuse to change clothes. I took the metro back to change.
Once dressed better, I went to a hair salon, called Monssieurs-Madame where I would be getting a much needed hair cut. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the pictures on Google, but I was relieved when I arrived that it looked legitimate. I was greeted with an espresso and chocolate and my hair dresser was awesome. He was fun to chat with and while he was going a little more chop crazy on my hair than I typically prefer, the end result looked great, and I did need more than just a trim anyways. Feeling fabulous, I started to stroll (strut) back towards my hostel.
I was loving the area that I was passing through, it was very hip and local feeling. There were a lot of people out and about and it was very clean and ‘neighborhood-y’ feeling. I came across a Fromagerie and stopped in. I was initially overwhelmed by the stink, but then my mouth started to water. I couldn’t decide what cheese I wanted so I ended up just getting one that was unique. I picked a cheese that was covered in edible flowers! I also ordered it in French as I’m getting more comfortable trying to use it. I know what sort of things they say when you come into a place now. For example, in a restaurant they’ll ask you if you’re here ‘pour manger’ (for eating).
Fresh cheese in hand (more like old, not fresh) I next was in search for a baguette. I found a place that sold mini ones (which was not hard to find). Only one more thing was needed, a small bottle of wine. I couldn’t find a small one with a twist off so I bought a tequila flavored beer instead. I went and found a bench to sit on and enjoyed my spread as I made some calls back home.
I ventured out again for dinner had discovered one of the best meals I’ve had on my entire trip. I actually didn’t like the food that much the last time I was in Paris interestingly enough (either my preferences expanded or I went to better places this time). The place was called Chez Casimir and it seemed like it was popular, but not with tourists so I sat down. I quickly discovered the menu, which was written on a chalkboard, was all in French. I managed to read my way through it and ordered asparagus soup, steak and potatoes and a lemon cake for dessert. There was actually a third course, a plate of cheeses, but I skipped it. Many of the dishes were shared amongst tables, so you take what you will eat and then they pass it along. Seems like a good way to avoid waste, although I don’t know how sanitary it is. The dinner was drawn out so I was freezing by the time it ended (I stupidly wore sandals again.. no one wears sandals here). However, the food was so good that I barely noticed.