My last post! I cannot believe it. As I sit here, eating chocolate for breakfast (pain choco aux amandes) I am saddened, thinking that this might be the last time that eating chocolate for breakfast is actually okay. Of course, you can do it in the States, but it's simply not half as classy (or half as well-made). Despite my initial wariness, and a really rocky first day here, and all the little bumps in the road along the way, I have been elated with my time here in Paris. Every day has brought something new, and exciting and marvelous. Paris is in my heart now, and it would take a seven nation army to keep me away for long.
Anyway, a quick spiel about my last few days here. I, of course, cannot sit still in Paris, when there's always something to be done and seen and explored. So even my last week was filled with activity. First, Thursday.
During my lunch break, I had plans to go shopping for gifts for my boss back home (Rich Rein) and for my bosses here (one more than I had originally planned on having). So I took a stroll down Boulevard St. Germain, hoping to run into a fondue store I had gone to my second week here. Apparently I went in the wrong direction, because the road stretched on forever and ever and ever until I practically passed the Louvre. I was in unknown territory, but it was quite enjoyable seeing all the high-end shops and cafes that I had yet to see. There were people shopping, eating, chatting, the sun was shining, my mood was great, I had money to spend. Good stuff.
I ran into an open market on the side of one of the streets and browsed the collection of handmade jewelry, cheap scarves, random crafts, and a very awesome soap stand. This little kiosk had a collection (a HUGE collection) of artisan soaps made in Marseilles, and you know how I can't resist things that smell good. I spent about fifteen minutes trying to decide which scented soaps to get my two bosses until finally the vendor chose for me. I believe she knows her soaps better than I do, I trusted her and paid for the two (only 6 Euros total!!) that she told me to buy. She even gave me gift wrappers! How nice. I wanted to grab three more for myself, but my suitcase is already heavy...sigh :-(
I then turned around and walked back the way I came, meaning to go back to work. But, of course, I saw an artisan chocolatier and had to go in! So I did, talked to the man working there, and he picked out a small box of assorted chocolates and gift wrapped it for me! And then...he let me try a piece of any chocolate I wanted. I chose chocolat au lait praline. Real French chocolate. MM.. I'm going to miss free chocolate.
And then I really did go back to work. But of course I peaced early (really, I'm so glad they weren't paying me) to go to Palais Garnier. Otherwise known as the Parisian Opera house. It closes at around 6 everyday, so I knew I would either have to go on a weekend or leave work early on a weekday, and well...my weekends were always full!
In any case, this place is beautiful. I guided my self through all the floors, an exhibit honoring a former contralto (with some crazy lavish opera costumes), up and down the stairs, into the hall itself...and really, the building just screams nobility from every corner. Marble and velvet and huge framed photographs and columns and sculptures and gilded corridors and beautifully ancient chandeliers...so epic. One day, I will have a box at an opera house. So very Age of Innocence. Or Anna Karenina.
So that was that and I was back in the Foyer for dinner, and a ton of packing (most of which I got done, impressively) before I found my way to the terrace for Foyer smoothie time! Pamina had signed me and her up weeks ago when we found out there would be free smoothies. Our counselor, Lucile, had a ton of fruits in huge bowls set up around two tables (as well as a few bowls of M/Ms and a ton of brownies and madeleines) and a blender that didn't initially work. It was freezing outside, but none of us really cared. We just wanted some fruity goodness.
So we each picked our own flavors, grabbed a few cups, went back for more and then Dorothee and I peaced to go take a walk (my last nighttime stroll... sigh) around the Marais and by Hotel de Ville and through Ile de la Cite, all the places I have come to love so much. It was a nice, long, relaxing (albeit chilly) walk on which we found a random fountain (they're everywhere!) and had some very nice conversation. I am, without a doubt, going to miss that girl.
Okay, on to Friday. The most eventful thing was that my co-intern, Rebecca, came back and the four of us went to lunch at a very high-end restaurant called L'Orangerie (which happened to be right next to where I live!!). We talked about the news, and the internship, and religion and food, and it was a very good meal. I got a main plate and a dessert, the former was the poisson du jour, filet du noir which is sea bass (I think?) with some really fabulous veggie puree and some kind of sauce that I would die for. The dessert was figue et mirabelle sorbet from Berthillon, served on some really nice China. Topped with a couple of berries and a leaf. Really, the French overdo it with the niceties. (They changed my silverware between the appetizer and the main dish even though I didn't eat an appetizer...)
Beatrice (my original boss, the Princeton alum) also had gifts for us both, very thin and portable and beautifully wrapped. I later opened it to find a gorgeous light pink scarf (which I am now wearing). Other than that, the day was quite uneventful. I took a lot of pictures of everyday things so I could remember them. I went to the Louvre (for the fourth and final time) to see the rest of the Egypt exhibit and as much of the French sculptures as was possible.
I then went out later for dinner with Pamina and Anne-Sophie (a French girl who lives in the Foyer) at my creperie, but we sat down and ordered. I, like an idiot, ordered la Bretonne, which is a crepe with honey, walnuts and rum that's lit on fire in front of you. The fire was cool. The rum, not so much. I have always hated alcohol, yet I keep convincing myself that one day I will like it. Nope, not true. So I let Anne-So finish the crepe.
Then Pamina and I took a walk around Le Quartier Latin, past the Pantheon, around the Sorbonne, past all the cafes and then we ate at McDonald's. All we got were fries (and really good entertainment by way of the very drunk and noisy people all around us) but this was no ordinary McDonald's. No no no. You simply don't understand. This McDonald's was CLASSY. See pictures:
And then we were cold (and tired of laughing so hard) so we called it a night and went back. On the menu for today: last touches on packing, a photography exhibit, perhaps a trip to the Luxembourg gardens, and then plane! Ahh. It went so, so fast. Sigh, life. Paris, tu etais comme un reve.