Sunday, March 19, 2017

Leah takes Lille // Vacay in Versailles

It's spring break y'all!! The Paud split up to take on different parts of Europe (or stay in Paris) and me and two other girls in the program took a little day trip to Lille. I got to take the train (possibly the highlight of the day??) which was a lot of fun. It was super fast and we got to Lille in about an hour.

Our first stop was to find something to eat and we walked through Vieux Lille or Old Lille on our way to find food.

I Lille-y loved Old Lille!

We had plenty of options for lunch (all of which involved burgers ... is this a Lille delicacy?) and we decided on a cute little American-themed diner.

We split these two burgers because we avo-couldn't decide on just one!

Then, we walked (and took loads of photos) of the cute little Lille-ian houses and their cute colors! It was no Madrid, but lovely nonetheless.

It felt like something out of a fairy tale!

Our destination was the zoo, but we walked through the park and found that it was closed until April! I was really looking forward to the zoo, but the weather was beautiful so we walked around the park a bit more (saw lots of dogs!) and then walked back to Vieux Lille.

The most we saw for animals were these ducks in the pond and some dogs on the rue 

Une petite promenade in a petit parc !

We stopped for a coffee and I ordered an espresso with whipped cream - my new drink of choice? Pourquoi pas, peut-être! (Why not, maybe!)

We flâner-ed (strolled, aka my new favorite french verb) in the rues until we came to Aux Merveilleux - a pastry shop I found while researching things to do in Lille. Their specialty are these meringue-type pastries that are so light and delicious!

So light and airy! I already want more(engue) 

We popped by another Notre-Dame cathedral (this is number 4 folks!) and then did a little shopping.

I think I'm officially out of cathedral puns .. (Notre) Damn it! 

We ended our little day in Lille with a mojito from a mojito bar (I found one with passion fruit so I was v contente). We sat on the steps in the center of town and listened to a band play some songs before hopping back on the train to Paris.

Can never say mojit-no to a mojito! 

That night was also Mojito Night at the Mazet (a bar) so I met the other Paud members (and the bf of one who lived on my floor freshman year - reunion!) at the bar for a mojito ... or two before heading back home for a much-needed sleep! (even a day trip is tiring!!)


Friday was a relaxing morning, lounging around until I called my sister at around 2 on my walk. After, I heard back from my friend and we were all set to have an afternoon picnic, or pique nique!

I wish I could take every call on a bridge in Paris!

We got our baguettes and cheeses and wines and strawberries and eclaires (phew!) and set out for a cute park in the north end of Paris.

Picnic perfection in a pic

Let me tell you it was perfection! I couldn't have asked for a nicer afternoon with good food and good friends! I'm so ready for the nice spring weather in Paris so we can have picnics all the time.

That night was St. Patricks day, so naturally, we had to celebrate - and found a place that put green dye in the drinks. The night ended with a crêpe in the rain (as it should!)

Excuse the blurry photo - but not to worry, it was green cider! 


Saturday, my friend and I took another little trip to Versailles! Sadly it was a little gray and cloudy, but we still had a blast. We took so many pictures in the castle and in the gardens and did a speedy walkthrough of the castle - note there are a ton of crowded tours on Saturday afternoons!

King Louis XVI really liked his gold 

Hall of mirrors - a girl needs to be able to check her 'do every moment of the day! 

A giant garden is going to def be on my bucket-list when I buy my future castle!

Dinner was ramen with my friend and then grabbed some drinks at our go to bar - Everest! (5 euro cocktails - what more could you ask for?!) Grabbed a street crepe and then headed out to Bastille for a little night on the town!

We raved about this ramen 

Nutella and Ore-oh no! What am I going to do when crepes aren't on every block?

Sunday is going to be a chill day I think, I am going to take a little walk to scope out the fam's Air BnB area and maybe go to a café to do some work. This weekend in Paris was a little cloudy and drizzly, but I wouldn't have it any other way - the true Parisian lifestyle.

Gotta rest up this week before the fam hits Paris on Thursday and then I quickly jet off to Florence for a much-needed Batch weekend ! <3


Monday, March 13, 2017

Vamos a Madrid!

What better way to celebrate Midterms being over than a trip to Spain! And let me tell you - midterms are hard enough without the added bonus of the exams and papers being in French. So Thursday after our last class, we set out on our petit voyage (little journey) just to get to the airport. I took 2 metros and then met up with everyone to take the RER (which is basically a bigger metro that also goes to the suburbs of Paris). Our friend picked up dinner for us - always down for Rice Noodle! We classily ate our noodles on the train and then buzzed through security at Charles de Gualle. 

last sunset in Paris for a few days!

The flight was super quick and before we knew it we were in Spain! We checked into our Air BnB (thanks to our friend's friends who is in Spain for the year and is fluent - no habla espagnol! Then we cracked open the bottle of wine our Air BnB hosts left and went out! I also successfully ordered a vodka-cranberry at the club (vodka arrandaño - in case anyone is wondering) which was the highlight of my night. 

The next morning we woke up to beautiful Madrid sunlight on our balcony! The weather was perfect for our weekend - 77 degrees on Friday! My friend who is studying abroad in Madrid from Skidmore came and met us at the apartment and then we were off into the city. 

our balcony was maybe one of my favorite parts of the trip!

Our first stop (after breakfast, of course!) was El Retiro which is a beautiful garden. It was so beautiful with the pond in the middle and everyone enjoying the nice weather. We laid in the grass for a little while we waited for our friend's friend to come meet us. 

blue sky, blue water, what more could we ask for?

Spring has sprung in Spain!

The nice thing about Madrid (or at least where our Air BnB was) is that everything was no more than a 25 minute walk from each other! What better way to see the city and soak in the Spanish sun? We walked to lunch which was paella! We also got sangria like real Spaniards and it is on my list of drinks I could chug all day, not to get drunk, but because it was so delicious! 

(sadly not pictured, the sangria)

Nex stop was a street with lots of shops and stores on it - just like Rue de Rivioli in Paris! So we stopped for a quick shopping break (your resident blogger found some jeans to replace the ripped ones!). Then we had another nice little 20-minute walk to the Palazzo Royal - or Spain's royal palace. 

Feeling like a princess in every country ... 

We got there just as the sun was setting so after another petite repose (little rest) in the sun, we snapped some pictures of the sunset. 

Spain knows how to set the sun!

The palace is right near my friend's homestay so she took us to a little churro stand by the Metro station by her house!

low quality pic of some high quality churros

We Metro-ed home and stopped at a little grocery store for supplies for a little dinner and drinks. The plan was to find supplies to make our own mojitos but we couldn't find either limes or mint ... We tackled our microwave/oven combo (kind of - I really just think we ended up microwaving the pizza) and then got ready to go out!

enjoy this picture of a puerto because I forgot to take pictures when we went out ... who am I?

We went to a cool club (with more sangria) and danced the night away ... literally because it was 5 am before we were home and in bed! Everything in Madrid happens 2 hours later, waking up, lunch, going out ...

The next morning, after sleeping in, we rallied and went to Prado - a museum. Sadly, pictures were not allowed (a Spanish museum guard came and yelled at me) but I did manage to snap one picture! 

illegal photo!!

Lunch was tacos at this little taco restaurant - it was 4 pm and we were starving. But it was most definitely worth the wait! Delicious mini tacos, a quesadilla, and a margarita mañacuya (passionfruit margarita?! si!!) was just what we needed. 

will never say tac-no!

After lunch, we walked through Puerto del Sol -another plaza. [side note - a huge Davy Jones character ran at us and grabbed my shoulder, so lots of screaming ensued...I was not a fan!!] 

Then we walked through Plaza Mayor - another famous plaza (sensing a theme here?) 

I'm a ma(y)jor fan of the plazas

Our next stop was the Mercado San Miguel - a food market. It was fun to walk around and see all the different food (and take pictures obviously)!

I didn't have a mojito all weekend, but I did snap a pic of some

My friend studying abroad had told us about brownies she ate before, so we set off in search of the brownies, definitely enjoying our walk on the way! The Spanish calles (or rues) (or streets) are so cute! 

After a struggle at the brownie bakery, (the woman taking orders kept skipping me!) we took our brownie and free slice of cake and sat on a bench to rest and eat. 

I wish i had a picture of the brownie/cake but we devoured them entirely too quickly sadly.

My two freshman year roommates are also studying abroad in Madrid so after an all-day planning group text, we met up for tacos and margaritas! (and yes, I went back to the taco place again - pourquoi pas?/pourque no?) (and no, both margaritas were not for me)

 the only man i need in my life is mañacuya

That night we went out to another club and ran into a bunch of other Skid Kids which was fun to see familiar faces! 

Sunday, we checked out of our Air BnB and then walked around El Rastro which is an outdoor market. Lunch was a quick stop in a recommended restaurant and then we took the Madrid train to the airport terminal bus to the plane to the Beauvais bus to the metro back home! So much transportation! 

not entirely sure what this delish sandwich was, but i loved every bite

Madrid was amazing - my words and pictures definitely don't even begin to cover it! The weather was definitely a huge plus and I can't wait for it to warm up in Paris now! The nice thing is, everytime we travel, I get a little bit more excited to come back to Paris - it's comforting but also scary to think that in less than 2 months I will leave for the last time! :( But that's a job for future Leah to deal with ... 


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Nothing could Rouen our day!

Knock on some wood ... (Je touche du bois) but I want to say the bad luck has (finally) run out! I did some deep thinking and I believe it began Thursday when we left coats and scarves at the club, therefore I was thinking Thursday things might turn around ... and I really think they did!

We rendez-vous-ed for dinner (the 24 hour time still gets me, I thought I had 2 more hours to lounge) and went to a sushi place suggested by one of the professors of the program. It was v good and there was a petit chien dans un sac - a little dog in a bag. 

best customer in the restaurant

these were the ke-bomb, especially because I don't say si to sushi

Then we were craving something sweet, as we often do in Paris and after a frightening trip to the ATM (flashback to the card being eaten, and it was taking a wicked long time to read the card a second time) we made it to our Monoprix préferé. There was nothing that special about the evening but there were lots of laugh with good friends - very much needed before the Paud split again for the weekend, some jetted off to Prague and the rest held down the fort here. 

The next morning. je me suis reveillée très tôt, I woke up very early. We had to be at the bus at 8 for our excursion to Rouen, but I wasn't complaining because this little Parisian used to be obsessed (might still be?) with Joan of Arc! Plus, whenever I wake up wicked early here, I can still text my friends and family back in the states which was an incentive. 

Rouen was so cool! Our first stop was an giant (empty) water tower that was transformed into a 3D panorama picture of Rouen in Gothic times. The lights and sounds make it seems like time is really passing so it felt like we spent 3 days in that water tower. 

the computer rendition of the cathedral of 15th century Rouen from the top of the platform in the empty water tower (phew!)

Next nous avons fait une petite promenade au centre-ville de Rouen, we went on a little walk to "downtown" Rouen to check it out during out temps libre and also find something to eat! We walked on the little cobblestone streets and it really felt like something out of Beauty and the Beast. We also saw le Gros Horlage or the Big Clock that Rouen is famous for. 

Rouen is always on time

Lunch was a croque monsieur et une café noisette which hit the spot and my craving for a croque. 

little town, it's a quiet village. everyday like the one before ... 

After lunch, we walked around some more and took a bunch of pictures (and in the process I was frantically deleting old pictures and apps to free up storage - it's a constant struggle folks, and happens every trip). Then we found l'Église de Sainte Jeanne d'Arc or Joan of Arc's Church - obviously not her own church when she was alive (the theme of this trip was ... et il n'existe encore or it doesn't exist today). It was cool to see a modern church and also see the spot where she was burned at the stake (or at least the sign that told us). 

burn baby burn .... :O

what a hip, new church!

Then we ran across town (which took us a grand total of 5 minutes) to .... another cathedral! But first was a visit to a bizarre museum, history tour of the life and death of Joan of Arc - so again, no complaints over here (except it was quite long and also v strange). Lots of pics, including me posing in front of literally every Joan of Arc statue I saw. 

I really should consider a career in modeling ... after all it is Fashion Week over here!

Then we popped in the cathedral for a second and I could have sworn we were back in Reims, because they literally looked the same. 

Reims, dat you?

We wandered around town a little more, back on our favorite road which we probably walked back and forth on like 8 times (honestly an underestimate). 

We were basically locals on this one rue

Met up with the petite partie of the Paud who didn't do Rouen for some pizza - another recommendation from a professor. The profs are doing well with the food recommendations ... sadly not with the excessive amount of work right before Midterms (next week!!!) 

Quatre (4) Fromages? Quatre reasons to say OUI!

Could never be truf-full of this pizza!

Saturday was another rainy day in Paris, so we made a plan to go to a coffee shop and get some work done (it's almost mid-terms y'all!) 

Our next stop was Musée de Picasso becuase it's free for students in the European Union - which we are now #thanksIES. We snuck out of the rain and saw some cool art for a little bit and as a surprise, ran into the my friend at Skidmore's host brother's friend! It's really a small world ... 

très célèbre - very famous

Pablo Picass-go!

Dinner was Indian - there's a first time for everything and it was delish to say the least. 

Indi-In love with this meal

After dinner we met up with a few more people to go to The Frog and The Underground which is a very cool bar in the Opéra district. It was a little pricey but the drinks were amazing and the music was cool! (Your fave Parisian blogger even ordered a beer cocktail with grapefruit (pamplemousse) and raspberry (framboise) juice things and vodka!) 

(Beer? who even am I?)

Of course the night wouldn't be complete without a little something to spice it up, so while I was trying to move my stool out of the way for some people to get by, I got my finger caught in between  the stool and its legs and then sat down - squishing my finger! I threw out some French curse words like a true Parisian and then immediately stuck it in my drink (Hey, Creative Thought Matters #CTM amirite Skid Kids?) 

It was a little swollen and bruised but no night here is fully complete without a little something sweet, so we set off in search of crêpes. Let me tell you, it's hard to be grumpy when you are eating a crêpe on the streets of Paris. Plus, aren't you supposed to apply heat after ice? ;) 

Anyways, my friends set off très tôt (very early) this morning to retrieve the new iPhone - fresh from the USA to replace the one that was lost/stolen. Things are looking up over here in rainy Paris before we head into Midterms...

Bises ! 


Oh la vache! - Holy cow! Oh la vache! Nous avons eu une semaine très interessante! Holy Cow! We've had a very interesting week. 

blindé - crowded

bobo - bourgéois-bohème, or literally bougie/fancy 

mal à l'aise- awkward