Thursday, May 2, 2013

FunSized Frolicking: Paris Edition

Along with spending some time living in Arizona, I was also fortunate enough to live in Paris, France. It was absolutely the best five months of my life. I wish I could relive that time over and over again. Paris is my one of my favorite cities in the entire world; from the food, to the architecture, to the music and everything in between, the city exudes romance.

These are my top frolicking spots from when I was living in the City of Lights.

1- Rue Mouffetard 
    It took me four trips and finally living there to discover this hidden gem, in the old streets of the 5th (5eme) arrondissement, also known as the Latin Quarter in Paris and I lived right alongside it. Rue Mouffetard is the perfect example of what living in Paris means to me. The one thing that I really took advantage of, when I was living there, was the way the Parisians do their grocery shopping and cooking. I found it to be such an interesting process. I love the idea of going to speciality stores for each of the items that you need to buy for each day. On Rue Mouffetard, there are small open-air markets filled with fresh vegetables and fruits. Along with meat shops, fish shops, cheese shops and even chocolate shops! What I would usually do is start at the bottom of the rue and I would go up the narrow cobble stone street, walking back and forth from shop to shop, enjoying the different aromas, chatting up with the locals all while trying to plan my meal for the evening. At the top of Rue Mouffetard, you will reach Place de la Contrescarpe which is a fountain surrounded by small cafes, it's so French. So many of the young, hip, and local Parisians go there to have a glass of wine, while people watching. This is a wonderful area to spend the day if you really want to take in some French culture. Get off the metro at the Place Monge stop, if you plan it right, on certain days they have a market right there on the square above the metro for you to spend some time frolicking.

(Parisian Bread & Pastry Shop)

2- Latin Quarter & The Pantheon
     I had a new found love for the Latin Quarter, the moment I moved into my apartment and opened my bedroom's French Windows to see a stunning view of the dome of the Pantheon. When you're in the Latin Quarter, you can feel the history laying in the streets, it's all around you, more than in any other arrondissements in Paris (in my opinion). Just frolicking and getting lost in the small cobble stone streets was one of my favorite things to do, and if you do it right you may just end up starring at The Pantheon! Not to be confused with the Pantheon in Rome, both completely different in their purpose and architecture. There is so much to see and learn about when visiting the Pantheon, the art work and architecture is amazing. Throughout the Pantheon's history, it has undergone many changes in regards to its purpose. Originally a church, and then a mausoleum; it now is the final resting place to some of France's most prominent people. If you go on a nice day, you can even tour the top of the dome! I never had the chance to do that so I hope you can and report back to me on how it was!

(View of Pantheon from my Apartment Window)

3- Le Tour Eiffel
    I can't make a list of the top things to do in Paris without putting the Eiffel Tower on it, however I'm going to change it up for you a bit. Definitely wait in what will be the longest line of your life to take the elevator to the top. At least there is an elevator to take you up, unlike the L'Arc de Triomphe where you have to walk up hundreds of steps. But afterwards, have a picnic on the Champ de Mars, which is the park directly behind the Eiffel Tower. This is obviously a weather permitted frolic, but there's nothing like Paris in the springtime! Grab yourself a baguette, some fabulous French cheeses, and maybe a bottle of wine and enjoy an afternoon snack while starring up at the one of the most iconic structures in the world.

(View of Eiffel Tower from the Champ de Mars)

4- Pont Neuf    
     Something that was "Oh so French," that I really embraced doing was spending time along the banks of the Seine River. Every time my French friends wanted to meet up, we always either grabbed a bite to eat or brought a drink down to the river, watching the boats go by while enjoying the Parisian air. As you can probably tell by now most activities for me while I lived in Paris involved eating and/or drinking! (ha!- it was just too good to resist!) My favorite location along the river bank was under Pont Neuf. Pont Neuf is the first bridge to go through Île de la Cité, which is the island where you can find Notre Dame. On Pont Neuf there is a statue of Henry IV, along side of the statue are stairs that lead down to the tip of the island. If you're lucky enough to go there when there aren't many other people sitting there, sit at the very edge of the island and you can see all of Paris! If you go at night, it's even more spectacular because you can see Paris all lit up.. it is the City of Lights for a reason!

(The Seine & Top of Eiffel Tower)

5- Jardin du Luxembourg
    Continuing on the theme of the Latin Quarter, the Jardin du Luxembourg was my favorite park to frolic in while living in Paris. Whether it was soaking up some sun, catching up with friends or just studying for an exam I was able to accomplish it all in these gardens of the French Senate. There are so many different hidden gems to find in what is the second largest park in Paris. The park flourishes with beautiful flowers and statues all while the Luxembourg Palace rests in the foreground.

(Luxembourg Palace at the Jardin du Luxembourg)

These frolicking locations are very special to me because I did not discover them until I was living in Paris. I really did my best to embrace the French culture and really tried to live like a Parisian, and I believe that these locations helped me do just that! I hope you find as much joy out of these locations as I did, while finding some of your own frolicking spots!

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