The fact that I had both Monday and Thursday off last week, along with the unseasonably warm weather, made me feel like my life was one extended weekend with a few days of work mixed in for variety. I wish I had more weeks like that! On Thursday (the beginning of my three-out-of-four-day weekend), I started my day at a Starbucks with Danlu, where I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I am only halfway through but I am really enjoying this book so far; I often find myself frustrated by my introverted tenancies, but Cain presents all kinds of research showing the benefits of introversion – in school, business, and in relationships – as well as the ways that our personalities are shaped as much by our genes as our childhood experiences and upbringing. Once I finish reading it I will have to write a more complete review for anyone who is interested!
After being suitably intellectual for a few hours we then took the bus (such a nice change from the metro!) to meet one of Danlu’s friends from the OECD for lunch, and afterwards we walked to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (where I saw the Barbie exhibition a few weeks ago). This time we went through almost the entire museum – which includes nine floors of furniture, jewelry, lamps, cutlery, and other home goods – starting with their new exhibition, Fashion Forward, which encapsulates 300 years of French fashion in several dozen gorgeous dresses (and some very pretty men’s clothing too!) I wish I had brought my proper camera that day, but here’s a small glimpse of the action:
Fair warning: anyone who decides to visit me in the next few months will probably be dragged to this exhibition by me haha! After making an exhaustive study of the rest of the museum, Danlu and I lounged in the sun with thousands of other people at the nearby Jardin des Tuileries, which was incredibly relaxing. And of course, this was inevitably followed by some ice cream for dessert! These past few days really have felt like summer vacation, it’s making me so excited for my first real summer in Paris!
Friday I went back to UNESCO, but even this day had a summer-like vibe; we got pizza to-go for lunch and ate it in UNESCO’s Japanese garden, then drank some wine along the Seine later that evening (I also brought ice cream for everyone, because I have an addiction haha…)
On Saturday Danlu and I were back at Starbucks (this time I edited part of my friend Sofia’s brillant dissertation on international water cooperation in Lima!) although I left much earlier than she did to do some shopping. And when I got back home to Cite U I took a nice walk around the Parc Montsouris with my friend Kwame.
I decided to use this opportunity to practice my very amateur flower photography:
On Sunday I woke up with an intense craving for a grilled cheese sandwich, which happens fairly often, but this time it was so strong that I immediately Googled “grilled cheese Paris” and found The Grilled Cheese Factory near Bastille. I knew I just had to go their for lunch, so as soon as I had showered I got myself on the metro and headed forth!
Walking inside The Grilled Cheese Factory was absolutely heavenly (I swear I’m not being paid to say these things lol, I just really love grilled cheese). I patiently waited for my “fabrication authentique”, which had mozzarella and cheddar, although they also make versions with veggies and macaroni and cheese. Then I took my blessed sandwich – wrapped appropriately like a present – to the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, for eating.
Honestly it was one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had, I think they must have used two pounds of butter to make it! Although I was mostly consumed with eating, I also couldn’t help but notice how lovely the Place des Vosges was looking, and with the 80+ degree weather I felt like I was truly living the American-in-Paris dream (which equals greasy American food + beautiful Parisian scenery).
I decided to walk off my sandwich with a nice walk through the Marais, which is always buzzing on Sundays but that day especially so. Most of the shops were open and everywhere there were artists, street performers and people eating falafel – so my kind of place!
After my walk I met up with Danlu and we went once again to Parc Montsouris to eat hot dogs and fawn over all the cute babies and dogs assembled there. It was the best ending possible to a perfect summer weekend in May!