Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mini-update #1: Paros vs Paris

Ahoy there! I've swapped Paris for Paros, an island in the Cyclades in Greece. The weather has been completely beautiful, I can't believe it's still raining in Paris (or indeed, anywhere in the world!) I spent most of today lying under a palm leaf umbrella with the agean sea lapping at my toes, and my plans for tomorrow are very similar, although I think I may mix it up with a bit of strolling along the beach and perhaps a spot or two of sitting on a balcony sipping cocktails. Life is awful, truly. More + pics soon!

Alice x

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Conflicting emotions

The art of travel, originally uploaded by CromagnondePeyrignac.

Well my suitcase is packed, my apartment is clean and by this time tomorrow I'll be in Barcelona. I'm a little bit sad, actually, but I'm trying not to let it get to me - there are so many adventures ahead! I'm going to miss this little apartment though, with its big windows and proximity to the boulangerie. I can't believe this year has gone by so fast.

There's only one surefire way I know to shake myself out of this melancholy mood - talking about travelling! Lucky I've got lots of adventures ahead of me this month.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Barcelona with a friend for the weekend, where we plan to spend the whole time lying on the beach drinking cocktails and eating paella.

Then next week, I'm off to Greece. I'm planning on doing a bit of tripping around the Cyclades, definitely stopping off in Santorini, plus maybe a few other islands.

I'm going to swing by Athens for a few days (and check out the just-opened archeological museum) before heading back to Paris for one last final fling with the ville lumiere. I won't have my apartment anymore, so I'll be kipping on a friend's couch, and I have a feeling there will be lots of cheese and wine involved.

After my farewell to Paris I'll be jumping on the Eurostar and heading over to jolly England for a week or so to catch up with some friends and rellies. I've already booked tickets to the Globe and a ballet, plus I'm planning on lots of devonshire tea (for lunch) and fish & chips (for tea)!

Finally, 25 days from now, I will be boarding the new Airbus 380, destination: Melbourne. (I'm a bit scared, actually - how can something that big float up in the air?) I'm sad that this year has almost come to an end, but happy to be going home, and excited about the next few weeks.

Stay tuned!

Alice x

Monday, June 22, 2009

The rain in spain stays mainly in the plain

I've had a crazy day. I've been trying to simultaneously pack up my whole apartment, study for my final exam (which I had today - yippee!), write two papers, plan my trip to Greece and organise the food for a dinner party I'm throwing tomorrow. Not to mention mentally preparing myself for the idea that, as of friday, I will no longer live in Paris. Eek!

All of which is to say, I'm completely run off my feet, so if I disappear from the blogosphere for awhile don't despair: I wont have fallen off the face of the earth (I'll be running much too fast for that). I'll definitely be back at least once more before friday, to fill you in on my travel plans for the next month. For now, here's a picture of my feet. Just because.


Alice x

Friday, June 19, 2009

Crêpes, icecream and a sunset - what more could you want?

The rue st andre-des-arts in the 6éme is packed with all sorts of restaurants, but for some reason I only ever go there for crêpes. So when I was in the area last night catching up with friends for the last time before I leave Paris (sad!) it was only natural that we stopped in at one of the tiny little hole-in-the-wall crêperies for a bite to eat.

IMG_3807 IMG_3802

Crêpes are pretty high on my list of must-eats while in Paris. They originate from Brittany, in the north of France, and traditionally contain just one or two ingredients, although most crêperies these days offer gourmet-style crêpes that contain everything from fetta to pine-nuts. The best place for crêperies in Paris is in the 15éme arrondisment, near the Gare Montparnasse, where immigrants from Brittany used to arrive and set up shop. Nowadays there are also takeaway crêpe stalls all over the city, which are especially good for late-night nutella crêpes on the way home from a night out (though true crêpe connoisseurs would probably be shocked at such an idea).

crepes on st andre des arts

Despite their less authentic location, however, the crêperies in the 6éme offer an equally delicious (and reasonably cheap) taste of Brittany. Not being one to mess with a classic, I went with the basic egg-and-cheese galette, while my dining companions were a bit more adventurous, as you can see!

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After dinner we grabbed some ice-cream from Amorino (the best icecream in Paris, in my entirely biased opinion. If you go there, be sure to try the 'inimitable' flavour - it's like heaven in a cup) and went for a stroll along the banks of the Seine while we waited for the sun to set.


There's not many places that can hold a candle to a view like that!

Happy weekending :)

Alice x

P.S. If you're in Paris and on a budget, most of the crêperies on st-andre-des-arts have lunch-time deals where you can get a savoury galette, a desert crepe and drink for about 10 euros: a great way to experience parisian dining without the dinner-time price tag :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Art is all around (this is Paris)

I came home yesterday to discover that my courtyard had been temporarily transformed into an art gallery:

courtyard gallery

There's a children's drawing atelier that operates out of our basement and I can only assume that this was their end-of-semester exhibition, though the drawings are astonishingly good quality for children - I wish I could draw half as well!

For a few hours there was a constant buzz of activity outside my windows, as people streamed in our front gate to gaze at the lovely works - I managed to snap this shot at a relatively quiet moment (I was too afraid to take photos earlier on, as my camera is quite noisy and french mothers terrify me!) After awhile I went out for dinner, and when I came home it was all gone and silence had returned, with only this photo to prove that I hadn't imagined the whole thing.

Only in Paris.

Alice x

P.S. If you click on the photo it will take you to the full size file, so that you can see the drawings close-up. Some of those kids are incredibly talented - I wonder if I've unwittingly captured the first exhibition of the next Picasso?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last bunch of Sunday fleurs

Last Sunday Fleurs
I splurged a little on the weekend and bought this bunch of peonies from the fancy florist up the road (instead of my normal cheap bulk flower shop). I rationalised it by telling myself that they were the last bunch of flowers that I would buy in Paris, so I could afford to spend a bit more than usual. And they're beautiful, right? 

Eight days to go. 

Alice x 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saturday Night Fever in Paris

Strolling down by the Jardin de Plantes on Saturday night I stumbled upon the most happening spot in Paris - this little paved area on the banks of the Seine, where possibly the most atmospheric ballroom dance class ever was taking place.

Ballroom dancing by the Seine

Tinkly music was drifting on the breeze and the couples were waltzing and twirling like pros, while boats cruised by and the sun set over the Notre Dame in the distance.

Sunset over Notre Dame

Sometimes Paris is so amazing I almost can't stand it.

Alice x


You're probably wondering where all my polaroids have gone. Well, disaster struck this weekend. As I was putting my camera in my bag to take it on a bit of an outing to the park, I dropped it on the floor, and a bit broke off, and now it doesn't work! Very sad. I had hoped that I'd be able to do some kind of DIY repair-job, but no such luck. So my idea of daily-polaroids to record my last days in Paris is no more. Here's the very last photo I took with my dearly departed camera before its sad demise: 

Last class at Sciences Po

It's of the classroom where on friday I had my very last class at Sciences Po. Hurrah! Just the horrid exams to go now, of course. 

Alice x 

P.S. I just realised, since all the polaroid film in the world is expiring in September, this might be the last polaroid I take EVER. Sad thoughts :(

Friday, June 12, 2009

Two more days slip by...

I've still been sticking to my plan to take a polaroid a day to record my last 20 days in Paris. (16 days to go!) 

Paris Polaroid #3

Wednesday's polaroid is of my metro stop at Saint-Germain de Prés. The guy in the bike rode through the shot at the last minute, but it's really a good example of the constantly bustling nature of the quartier. Just opposite this metro station is the Place Sartre-Beauvoir and the famous café, Les Deux Magots, where they used to go to write their books and wax lyrical about the nature of the universe. I've only been there once - it's completely lovely but a hot chocolate costs 7 euros! No wonder Sartre & Beauvoir eventually moved down the street to Café Flore

Paris Polaroid #4

Yesterday's photo is of dinner-time last night at L'As  du Falafel in the Marais: they have the best falafels in Paris (and possibly even the world). Words can not express how delicious they are. My mouth is watering right now. 

Alice x 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eighteen days and counting

I've pretty much been inside all day, as it's been kinda rainy and I've had masses of work to do. So today's polaroid doesn't show much about Paris, though I suppose it could go under the sub-heading  of 'my parisian life'? 


Anyway, this is a little corner of my little apartment. I would say it's a corner of my bedroom, but it's pretty hard to distinguish between the bedroom, lounge room and kitchen around here. I don't mind, though. Actually, I kind of love it. 

Why is it that you only realise how much you love something when you're about to leave it? 

Alice x 

P.S. Incase you were wondering, those books you can see on the bedside table are Alice Munroe's "hateship, friendship, courtship, loveship, marriage", Louis de Bernières "The troublesome offspring of Cardinal Guzman" and an awful book about Napoleon that I put there just incase I felt like learning something before I went to sleep. Bet you can guess how often that happens! 

Monday, June 8, 2009

I have 19 days...

...left in Paris. 

I can't believe it. This year has just flown by. Even though I can now order a croissant without fear and give people directions to the nearest metro without giving myself a headache, I sometimes feel as though I'm still newly arrived off the plane, just finding my feet in this strange new world. 

I'm not sure that I'm ready to leave Paris. I'm trying not to think about it. 

Instead, I have many a plan for my last 19 days. Visits to Laduree, and Angelina's, and Les deux magots. Picnics by the Seine. One last glance round the d'Orsay. 

And to document it all: two new packs of polaroid film. Which gives me 20 photos. Or, one for every day left. 

So here's today's Paris Daily Polaroid: the view from my kitchen window this morning (see my potted geranium?) I'm going to miss this apartment! 

Paris Polaroid #1

Alice x 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

world environment day revisited...

Here's a few pics from the World Environment Day event on the Champs de Mars last night. It was so lovely sitting on our picnic blanket, eating popcorn (we were at the cinema) and waiting for the sun to go down so the movie could start. 


I was amazed how many people showed up! We were there quite early so we had a pretty prime spot near the screens - but I wonder how much those people up the back there could actually see? 


In any case it was a lovely way to spend a friday evening, under the sparkling eiffel tower - and an added bonus that we were supporting world environment day, too! :) 

Alice x 

P.S. The film ("Home") was really great, with amazing cinematography. If you haven't seen it yet you definitely should, it's available to view for free on the website

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy World Environment Day

I'm just emerging out of my study-induced hibernation to wish you all a very happy World Environment Day! It's lovely and sunny in Paris today and I'm feeling particularly fond of mother nature. 

Originally uploaded by Eric Lafforgue

According to the United Nations Environment Program, the aim of World Environment Day is to "stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and action". One of the best ways you can help raise awareness today is to attend one of the events organized in your local area and lend your physical support to your local environmental charities. People equal power! Check out the UNEP website for info on what's happening in your neighbourhood.

Personally, I'm heading down to the Champs de Mars tonight to catch the premiere of Yann Arthus-Bertrand's film HOME (which serves a slightly selfish double-purpose, actually, as I get to have a picnic under the eiffel tower and support world environment day at the same time!) It's screening simultaneously in Paris, New York, Barcelona, Bristol & Cancun, so if you're in any of those cities go here to find out all about it. For those of you not lucky enough to be near a venue that's screening the film tonight, it can also be viewed (for free!) at the website. So grab some buddies and some popcorn, and help raise environmental awareness!

Happy tree-planting,
Alice x

P.S. You can follow the UNEP on twitter - they will plant 1 tree for every follower so head over there and follow them now!