Since last year I spent Spring Break exploring Boston and Baker Library, this year I decided to visit my good friends Sylvain and Colette in Paris, France. After an overnight flight, Sylvain picked me up at the airport and took me to his flat. We stopped on the way to pick up the first of many pastries I would eat in the days to come.
I spent my first 4 hours in Paris sleeping off the jet lag and lack of sleep from the overnight flight. Then Colette met me at the closest Metro stop and we walked in the drizzle down to Le Siene river and over to one of the islands in the middle. We had a tea to warm up in the St. German area before returning to meet Sylvain at his apartment. The three of us went to a restaurant serving food characteristic of Leon, which is the area of France Colette is from. After a nice three course French meal I was ready to go back and sleep for the night.
Sunday morning I met up with Colette and her friend Remi for a jog around one of the large parks in Western Paris. We met at the Metro stop right by the Eiffel Tower. After lunch we met up again and toured the Rodin museum, afterwards stopping at a bakery owned by Colette’s friend for some macaroons (not the french spelling). Sunday evening I went with Sylvain to the Le Train Bleu, Gare de Lyon train station restaurant for a glass of wine. We went from there to a Middle Eastern restaurant.
The next day I decided to take a walk around the city. I started from a Metro stop near the Louvre and walked around the courtyards there then up to the Arc de Trimphe, an arc that is one of many landmarks in Paris often seen in movies. From there I caught the Metro to Montmartre, an area that both Sylvain and Corinne had recommended as one of their favorite parts of Paris. I walked up the hill to the Sacré Cœur and then just around all the shops and had lunch in an off-the-beaten-path restaurant.
Montmartre is famous for painters, artists, and the adjacent red light district and sex shops, so after lunch I wandered around that area a little bit. Next it was time to meet Sylvain at the opera. I decided to sell the tickets since Yoojin wasn’t there to accompany me and joined Sylvain for a surprise birthday party for his friend.
On Tuesday I went to Colette and Remi’s lab and after searching Wikipedia to read about all the places I had been visiting went out for another walk around that section of the city. We went to lunch at a nice café and then to get tea at a mosque. From there it was on to get what Sylvain says is the best ice cream in the city. Next we went to Notre Dame and from there past Sorbonne and the Pantheon. Finally we stopped at a bar near their lab for a glass of wine and I went back to Sylvain’s apartment to make dinner and rest a bit.
Wednesday I took the train to visit Kevin Boudreau at HEC. He's a friend from my department at MIT and we had a nice chat about research and his life in France. He drove me to Versailles to the Château de Versailles and I walked around there for a couple of hours. They were cleaning the outside so it looked nice, but lots of scaffolding. Then I walked around Versailles a bit and sampled some of the pastries there before heading on the train back to Paris for a very nice dinner at Colette's apartment with a couple of her friends. As you can see from the photos, she has an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower. In addition to the food, wine and cheese, we also got to sample some strong liquor that her grandparents made.
Thursday Colette's friend Alexi gave me a tour of some areas of Paris I hadn't visited yet including the Modern Art Museum. We had some crepes and apple cider, spotted a famous French actor and then I headed to Sylvain's office to meet up with him for dinner. His brother met up with us and we walked up to the park in Belleville. Sylvain organized a very nice dinner with several of his friends, Corinne, and Colette. It was a nice last evening in Paris before I caught a flight back Friday morning.
Photos are here.
I didn't take too many since Flickr has a nice collection of Paris photos already.