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by Orchid Singson

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The 18th Arrondissement Pt. 2

September 28, 2014

I took an afternoon walk over to the Sacré-Coeur earlier today. There's always a ton of tourists around, but you can't beat the views of the city from up there. I have no idea what part of Paris I'm going to explore this week but it's nice not having everything planned out.

Here's another quick video that I shot around the neighborhood. I have to admit, I'm having a lot of fun shooting these video clips! :)

We'll Never Be Royals

September 27, 2014

Let me give you a heads up about the Palace of Versailles. If you visit, you will end up walking....A LOT.

The best thing that I did when I first arrived was rent a bicycle to explore the gardens around the Grand Canal. There's nothing more fun than hopping on a bike and racing past rows of beautiful trees on one side while staring at a gorgeous canal on the other side. After checking out a few areas, I (foolishly) decided to ride my bike all the way around the Grand Canal. By the time I completed the trip, I was exhausted! But it was so exhilarating and totally worth it!

After returning my bike, I grabbed a quick lunch and walked back up to the palace. At this point I was tired and a bit weary of all of the crowds, but then I stepped into this amazing hall (see fourth photo above) and my breath was taken away. The ceiling was completely covered in ornate paintings and there were chandeliers everywhere! A lot of the rooms were like that (i.e. breathtaking) and my photos honestly don't do the place justice. There's not much else that I can say.

Below is a quick video that I shot while I was there. Enjoy!


September 25, 2014
Here's something that I've never done before: a video! My cousin requested that I shoot some video while traveling, but since I have no editing skills whatsoever, I cheated and used Magisto. It automatically generates a video from your uploaded files haha. I haven't been recording that much, but I promise I'll do better on the next one! Enjoy! :)

Jardin du Luxembourg

September 24, 2014

The leaves are slowly starting to change colors over here and it's all so pretty! I stopped by the Luxembourg Gardens a few days ago, and the grounds are enormous! It's the perfect place to grab a sandwich and people watch, which is exactly what I did haha. There's a really cute fountain area where kids can rent small wooden boats to race. Not going to lie, I totally wanted to rent one!

I have no other news to report except for the fact that I tried a chicken ratatouille quiche for the first time ever yesterday. It felt like this.

Bridges of the Siene

September 23, 2014

I've been in Paris for exactly one week as of today! I feel like I've done so much, but there's still so much more to see! Earlier this afternoon I was walking along the Siene River when I spontaneously decided to jump onto a river boat tour. It was really informative, plus I learned a few things about all of the different bridges in Paris. PS Did you hear that city officials are taking down all of the love locks? I actually agree that the love locks are an eyesore, not to mention a structural hazard due to all of the extra weight that they add to the bridge. The article is here if anyone would like to check it out.

Ladurée on Champs Elysées

September 22, 2014

Yes, Ladurée is a bit pricey but the macarons are just as good as everyone says. Plus I wanted to be able to say that I went there at least once. I just love the pastel green fixtures outside of the shop!

Other stories from the past couple of days:

+ So I know that I'm staying in a city that's famous for its amazing cuisine, but sometimes a girl just needs some good ol' fast food. I discovered that there's actually a Chipotle (!) in Paris, and today I specifically went out to find it. A burrito costs almost twice as much here as it does in the US, but oh man was it worth it. I wonder how long it'll be before I head over to McDonald's?

+ There's a flea market in my neighborhood every Sunday and I had no idea!!! I walked outside yesterday to find the entire street blocked off and filled with crowds. I've never been so excited! And it was such a coincidence because the night before, I had been researching flea markets in Paris. Who knew that there would be one right outside of my front door? I scored these adorable mint tins for 2€!

+ My major accomplishment this weekend was figuring out how to use the French washing machine in my apartment. After trying various combinations of buttons, I finally had to resort to watching YouTube videos. My fresh laundry is all thanks to some German kid who decided to film a washing machine tutorial haha!

Le Petit Palais

September 21, 2014

So to be completely honest, I discovered the Petit Palace by accident. I was just wandering across the Pont Alexander III towards the Grand Palace, when I happened to notice another art museum right across the street (it's hard not to notice - the building is enormous!). On top of that, all of the signs said that admission was FREE! I seriously stood there in amazement once I got inside. The architecture is simply breathtaking! It's definitely a  museum that I would recommend visiting while in Paris, especially if you're on a budget.

The 18th Arrondissement

September 20, 2014

I've only been here for five days, but I already love my neighborhood! On one hand, I totally feel like a local since I live away from the center of the city where most of the main tourist sites are located. On the other hand, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is just a five-minute walk away, so if I ever want to join in with the tourists, all I have to do is head up the street!

A few other thoughts:

+ My windows face three other buildings that form a sort of enclosed courtyard. Somebody in one of the other buildings plays classical piano! Whenever he or she practices, I like to just sit back at my desk and enjoy the music. At one point earlier today, this mysterious pianist started playing theme music from Harry Potter haha!

+ A couple of days agoI discovered that there's an Asian restaurant just a few doors down from my apartment. It's currently my only source of rice (grocery shopping has been rather difficult for me). I think that the owner is starting to recognize me whenever I come in. He can't speak any English but he always bears with me when I attempt to make an order in French (ordering usually involves a lot of hand gestures haha).

+ As I'm writing this it is POURING rain outside. I'm so glad that I decided to take a day off from exploring the city! It's just movies and pajamas for me today! :)

Musée Rodin

September 19, 2014
I spent my third day in Paris exploring a couple of museums in the 7th and 8th arrondissements. My first stop was the Rodin Museum. The artwork is housed inside of a beautiful mansion! And just outside of the mansion are gardens filled with tree-lined walkways and even more sculptures. There's also a cafe located on the property, so the museum is definitely a good place to spend a couple of hours and grab lunch.

A few other stories:

+ The woman standing in front of me in the ticket line turned out to be from Seattle. At first she thought I was a Parisian and said that my English sounded really good! Ha! After talking to her for a few minutes, I found out that her daughter lives in Los Angeles, so she knew what I was talking about when I mentioned the heat wave. PS I hope all of you guys aren't melting over there!

+ I'm the pickiest eater in the world and since I still have trouble reading French labels, my go-to key word is "poulet" (chicken). As long as the food label has that word in it, I'll eat it. This came in handy at the cafe when I couldn't tell what was in any of the sandwiches.

+ I officially love riding the metro! It's so convenient to get around the city and no matter where you are, there's ALWAYS a metro stop nearby. I'm saving all of my tickets as souvenirs :)