Good Times / Tourism / Travel

All quiet on the Paris front.

It’s kind of bizarre to realize HOW quickly my time here in Paris is flying by. It seemed pretty much unending when I first moved here, like I had a millennia to do and see things, especially with two week breaks popping up all over the place. But the reality is that we’re now halfway through February, team, and as I approach my 2nd to last break I’m starting to realize that there is just all too much I want to do and see before I leave France, though most of it is definitely outside Paris at this point.

A few flowers being sold in Le Marais.

A few flowers being sold in Le Marais.

(Note: This post is speckled with unrelated photos just to give you something to look at. 🙂 )

I spent this last week extremely quietly-of the 4 classes I was supposed to have, two were cancelled so I only ended up teaching once Monday and once Friday. I spent the time in between with friends, at Crossfit, reading, and in my most beloved warm bed. Wednesday/Thursday was a particularly lovely time, as several of my friends and I wanted to get together before we all shot off in different directions for break. So we had a lovely long night out at an Italian restaurant and a nearby bar chatting away and having a fabulous time, and then we (or rather, a few of us since some had work Thursday) headed back to one person’s apartment to continue the fun. In the morning I made the world’s most amazing cheese and lardon (ham bits) scrambled eggs. I also ate most of said scrambled eggs. REGRET NOTHING. Ahem. Anyway, we then spent the following day being pretty much obscenely lazy watching various tv programs and movies, and eventually I rolled home.

The construction continues to slowly climb up the dome of the Pantheon...I can no longer see the actual building under all the scaffolding.

The construction (room view) continues to slowly climb up the dome of the Pantheon…I can no longer see the actual building under all the scaffolding.

Friday was equally calm with just the one class, I went easy on them with a Valentine’s Day theme since they had literally just taken an exam before I got there. We had a good discussion about relationships and dating, they did a crossword puzzle, and we were in the midst of hangman with new dating vocabulary when it was time for class to end. I spent my afternoon with my language exchange partner (my landlady’s daughter) and we talked for a good two hours or so about a variety of subjects, it was quite pleasant and I went home a happy camper.

Today was again quiet, but it should be the last/second to last day as such for a while. On Monday I will be receiving a visit from a friend of mine from college who is studying abroad in London this year. She and I actually met in a French class (her skills in that department are FAR superior to mine so I doubt I’ll need to be helping her at all while she’s here) and I’m really excited to see her, she’s just a lovely person and we’re going to have a fun four days knocking out as much of Paris as we can for her since she’s got a time limit.

Seen on a door walking through the area of Le Marais. Classic.

Seen on a door walking through the area of Le Marais. Classic.

Then, next Friday, I leave Paris (whooooohooo!) for some new adventures in the Pyrénées. I’ll start off with a few days in Toulouse (La Ville Rose) just exploring the city (possibly visiting Carcassonne nearby as well if I have the time), adjusting to the southern French accent, and probably enjoying being in a new place. Then I will head further south to a smaller town called Foix where I will be based for explorations of the Ariege area of the Pyrénées. I don’t think this is the MOST well known part of the mountains, but the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Ariégeoises looked absolutely beautiful in photos so I really wanted to go hiking there. The plan is to couchsurf (already in contact with someone in Foix, waiting to hear back from a couple in Toulouse) to save money. Foix supposedly is a medieval-remnants town that still has a lovely castle, so I’ll probably poke around a bit there, spend a couple of days hiking (I was worried it might be impossible because…you know…winter is not the best season for hiking, but apparently it’s been fairly mild so far, although I imagine pictures may show a lot of grey, dull, rainy skies.) and I also want to try to go to some caves fairly nearby with the help of a train/bus called La Grotte de Niaux which houses some Neolithic cave paintings, which I would LOVE to see.

So those are the loose plans. I’m always up for some variation to said plans if I find a particularly interesting adventure in wait, but in general I just really felt like I wanted to get out into the mountains and nature (I have literally gone to sleep for the past two weeks listening to nature sounds on Spotify playlists, I think I’m desperate to get out of the city) and see what France had to offer in that department. There are tons of other places I want to go, but not all seem like they would be great during winter so I’ll have to wait for my next opportunity.

La Place des Vosges--lovely little square surrounded by modern art shops, peaceful enough to pop in for a walk.

La Place des Vosges–lovely little square surrounded by modern art shops, peaceful enough to pop in for a walk.

Well, this is all I’ve got for now. Hope everyone had a happy Valentine’s day (bought myself a jar of Nutella and watched Shrek 2 in French, hollaaaaaa) and is enjoying the weekend! If anyone has suggestions for my upcoming trips I would definitely appreciate them!

-B

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