Independence Day 2015 was definitely one for the books. While my friends and family back home were enjoying hamburgers and fireworks, I was enjoying one of the most beautiful places France has to offer. Although I was told beforehand to prepare myself for the overwhelming beauty and ornateness of Versailles, I was still left speechless even just seeing the front entrance.
The audio tour and process of visiting the chateau reminded me of visiting the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. However, this particular structure was that on steroids. No detail was left untouched and no decoration was too lavish. Experiencing places like this can really make you wonder about the people behind it all. What’s equally interesting is the amount of people who come from all over the world to visit this baroque symbol of wealth and extravagance.
I was mostly excited to see the gardens because of its importance to urban planning. Not only was this type of garden revolutionary for its time, but we can still see some of the same elements in cities today. I found the correlation to Kevin Lynch’s five elements of an environment particularly interesting. Paths, edges, nodes, and landmarks are all prevalent within the garden. Entering the grounds of Versailles is like entering a mini city.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m in love with Paris. I don’t know how our long distance relationship is going to work or when we are going to see each other again, but I think it’s going to work out.
This is what I love and will miss about Paris
- the wide Haussmannian boulevards with terminating vistas
- catching glimpses of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre-Cœur
- all of the beautiful parks
- the public transportation, but espicallly the RER B, which I spent so much time on
- the food (if anyone tries to tell you that being a vegetarian in Paris is hard, they are lying to you)
- the Seine
- riding the 6 and going through Vavin (which is pronounced like ‘va-va’)
- the breathtaking art museums
- listening to the French speak English, which they are terrible at
- picnicking in one of the beautiful parks
- did I mention the food?
- being able to navigate the maze that is Les Halles
- walking everywhere and feeling safe while doing so
- the uniform sandstone buildings
- getting lost and stumbling across something beautiful
- or getting lost and then discovering that you know exactly where you are
I think what really made Paris special and what I miss the most were all of my amazing classmates, my professor, and all the friends that I made. If it were not for them, I don’t think that I would have had such a phenomenal time.
Personally, my trip back home does not mean relaxing by the pool but, going back to my internship and part-time job. My part-time job is at Chili’s near an amusement park close to my hometown and not the most relaxing place to work on the weekends. Being surrounded by okay food, impatient customers and smelling like fajita makes me miss Paris and its food culture.
In America, restaurant goers want everything fast. They want to be seated immediately, have their drinks brought to the table promptly and their food out with no time at all. There is no time to relax during that period or even have a decent conversation with the people you are dining with. Unlike Americans, Parisians took their time with serving food and eating their food. They do not need their waiter every time their water ran out because there was a carafe of it on the table. Parisians also do not eat one huge plate of food for dinner but a three course meal. When I was in Paris eating a meal was a ritual not a race. I wish Americans adopted this idea that a meal is a time to spend with others and taste delicious food.
Another component of the Paris food culture I miss is the food itself. As a girl who diligently watches Top Chef, I was overjoyed to see and taste all the delicious food in Paris. There I decided not to shy away from any food and try everything from raw beef, the smelliest of cheeses and even snails. By trying a variety of foods, I found out that snails just taste like the butter and garlic they are cooked in (Who does not like garlic and butter?) and that I like salmon tartare better than beef tartare. All of the food I ate in Paris was delicious and I already miss those flavors. Bread and pastries will never be the same for me ever again. If America embraces Parisian food culture, we all would be more relaxed and living a higher quality of life.
I found this article to be so interesting! I guess it looks like Paris (kinda…), but it certainly doesn’t feel like Paris! The windows are not casement and the Luxembourg garden fountain looks nothing like the real one. This place just looks run down and depressing. The idea is neat, but this concept is a mega fail! What does everyone else think?
On my last night in Paris, a guy asked me what my favorite place in Paris was and at the time I couldn’t give him an answer. For the record, his favorite place is the Opéra Garnier, which is an excellent choice.
I have been mulling over this question for almost a week now and I think I have finally made up my mind. Of course, I am incredibly indecisive so I have two favorite places.
One of them is the top of the Sacré-Cœur. From up here you have all of Paris at your feet and it is absolutely breathtaking. From up here you can point out the golden dome of Invalides, the inside out Pompidou, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, the massive length of the Louve, and of course, no view of Paris would be complete without the Eiffel Tower.
My other favorite place in Paris are the gardens at the Musée Rodin. Of all the gardens that I saw in Paris, these were the most beautiful. The gardens feel so peaceful and quiet even though it’s right in the middle of Paris. I also think that the gardens perfectly complement Rodin’s work.
Rico, I doubt you will ever see this, but this is my answer to your question.