I had never been one to enthusiastically celebrate Valentine’s Day, but a weekend in Paris with close friends made it difficult to not become a hopeless romantic. From fresh out-of-the-oven baguettes to perfectly balanced macaroons, I fell in lust with the glamour of France.
My friend welcomed me with croissants and the most perfect view of the Eiffel Tower at Place du Trocadero. Earlier in the week, my professor had discussed the experience of looking at a Rothko painting in regards to American Expressionism. So, when the first work I spotted at Centre Pompidou happened to be Red over Black on Red (1964), I immediately stood in front of it, mesmerized by the dynamic colors and the fact that I could view an original artwork days after learning about it. My favorite exhibit, however, was Musee de l’Orangerie, where we could sit on a bench in the center of the room and take our time to view Monet’s Waterlilies. Our museum visits continued with the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, both of which lived up to their reputations.
Resuming our appreciation for European art, we turned our attention to cathedrals. Having taken a Winter Study course on stained glassmaking, I was speechless upon entering St. Chapelle and seeing the two-storied stain glass windows. The Notre Dame Cathedral was also memorable for its gargoyles, Gothic architecture, and the panoramic view at the top. During our hike up to Sacré-Cœur where we later sheltered ourselves from the rain, we spotted Saint-Jean-de-Montemartre, a quiet but welcoming church in the quaint neighborhood Montemartre.
My experience with Paris would be incomplete without constant indulgence in delicious food. A walk around the scenic Le Marais led us to the popular L’As du Falafel for a falafel stuffed with chickpeas and eggplants in addition to my first macaroons at Pierre Hermes.I cannot recall a day where I did not dine with one or two baguettes; my friends and I even had a picnic near the Seine with baguettes in addition to olives and cheeses from the farmer’s market. Needless to say, Paris was the perfect setting for my favorite Pixar movie, Ratatouille.
Paris was inarguably beautiful, opulent, and stimulating; everywhere I turned, I was mesmerized. This was my first trip outside the Netherlands and a great start to my travels. Yet, upon my return to Amsterdam, I relaxed as I rode my bike to the Dutch Language class at dusk and enjoyed the increasingly familiar canals and cobble stone lanes.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am an art history and psychology major who decided to escape Southern California and explore the four seasons in rural Williams College. I love engaging in spontaneous adventures and finding great spots off the beaten path. I enjoy viewing and creating travel and food albums. Wish me luck in finding the perfect scarf and all the European cheeses!</span></p>