The jet lag hasn’t left me yet, but I think it will soon. I’ve been a bit too exhausted to post anything, so I’ll give you some first impressions of daily life in Paris, plus some of our scheduled and non-scheduled excursions.
IES gave us a ton of breakfast vouchers for La Porte Didot, a cafe on the corner of Didot and Boulevarde Brune, just a few blocks away from our apartments. Cafe au lait, OJ, a croissant, and two slices of baguette bread with butter and apricot (sometimes strawberry) jam. Délicieux? Bien sûr! Bon santé? Pas du tout!
We got a few orientation sessions on living in Paris: how avoid the bands of little kids pit pocketing in the busy metro stations, how to ignore strangers and anyone in an elevator, how to say “bonjour!” and “merci, bonne journée” upon entering and exiting a shop, and how to never expect quick service on the terrace café (where you’re not supposed to talk to your neighbor but look out at the street). What’s ironic to me is that even though the French have strict policies on not socializing with people they don’t know, they show an enormous amount of PDA in public. Professor “Tommy K” (as we now affectionately call him) said that this disconnect between American and French decorum might stem from linguistics. The French do not have a word for “awkward.” But come on. I think they might be kidding themselves. I know I can’t not smile at people I pass on the street- especially the most adorable little French children!
IES also treated us to a boat tour on the Seine. Monument after museum after insanely-crafted apartment houses after sculpture after bridge after garden after institution after restaurants… So so much.
In the heart of the city, we were overwhelmed with where we should go once the bateau let us off and our wonderful IES coordinator, Kelsy, let us free for the first time since we arrived.
Being Americans, students from a university in Indiana, this “trendy” French restaurant called “Indiana Café” was easily our first go-to restaurant. “Indiana” had a range of Tex-Mex options like enchiladas and tacos, Thai food like noodle salad, Louisiana spicy crevettes, and burgers. Amuhrican? Oh yeah. Indiana? Not exactly the “central” melting-pot of the country (and the world?) that the French think it is. Also, not sure that associating Indians with Indiana would be my first instinct. But, now that I think about it, is that where the state’s name originates? We may not know how to be French… but the French don’t know how to be American.
As we walked back to our apartments, we sort of stumbled along the quais. Dusk seems to be my favorite time in Paris, even though it doesn’t happen until after 9 pm. Sunset on the Seine… what a gift.