I had two more major projects and a last class before the end of my last day in Paris. I had about an hour and half’s worth of sleep to start off my day. Needless to say, I was exhausted, but it did mean that when I woke up, I had my bags packed, my presentation done, and a paper 2/3 finished, so I was very happy I did that.
I ran out to the boulangerie and picked up a last pain au chocolat for breakfast, and it was probably the most disappointingly flat pastry I have had this entire year. What was great about this, however, was that this meant I could appreciate all the fantastic pastry I’ve had all year long, so despite it not being delicious, it still made me proud of my progress :)
I went to my last class: Myth of Paris. We presented our papers about how our experience this semester had distanced us or brought us closer to our myth of Paris (the stylized version we see in movies versus the actual experience of living here). We actually had a very mixed bag of responses: about half the class said they kept their semester as pristine as possible so as not to shatter their myth, whereas others were saying their myth changed to fit the new Paris they had discovered from living here. I said my myth of Paris has evolved to include not only the Paris I discovered when I was ten but also the Paris I have been discovering all semester. My professor said my text was very literary and that it could have appeared in the book we had read out loud (which is incredible because until this year, every teacher has complained my writing as been too general, literal, and structured, I was so pleased!)!
Alex and I went out for lunch, picking up a panini from a local place (I got a nutella and banana panini because I could) and heading back to the gloriously Spring-ified Reid Hall to eat them and chat about the end of Paris. It was very nice and lovely.
We then both headed upstairs to the computer lab since I still had to finish the rest of my paper before I had to hand it in later in the afternoon. Finally, after two hours, I was DONE WITH MY CLASSES AND ASSIGNMENTS FOR MY JUNIOR YEAR!!! It felt amazing. I left in a rush to get outside in the sunshine.
The rest of the day was kinda of an accidental review of all of my favorite sites in Paris. Unfortunately, I did not think about reaching into my purse and taking out my camera in the heat, so there are no pictures, but here’s how it went as briefly as I possibly can:
I wanted to walk as much as possible, despite the heat, and I needed to get to Ladurée to pick up a gift for my sister (I needed to wait until the last day so that the macarons would still be fresh when I gave them to her). I originally thought that I would be able to find the Ladurée on rue de Bonaparte, but apparently I just can’t seem to find that store anymore since we found it originally back in August. On my way, I ran into the Jardin de Luxembourg, Pierre Hermé, and Eglise St. Sulpice.
I figured since I was relatively close, I would pop by the Bon Marché, thinking I would go back to Coutume Café and pick up another iced coffee on this incredibly hot day, but I didn’t end up making it that far because I remembered that the Bac à Glace is closer (and it seemed more like a day for ice cream than iced coffee anyway :P). I got a cone of the apricot ginger ice cream, and happily hopped on the metro.
From there, I decided the best thing to do was make my way out to the Champs Elysée where I was sure there was a Ladurée (plus it would be fun for Iz to say I got it for her there). This meant that I got to not only walk down this famous street but also see the Arc de Triomphe, walk to the Place de la Concorde, and eye the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre.
After that crazy adventure, I came back to my host family’s apartment and continued packing, preparing to bring a huge stack of books to David who had kindly offered to figure out how tot send them home to me! It was an AMAZING favor, because honestly this stack of books would have weighed me down and probably not fit anyway.
I rode over to their apartment to say goodbye to the whole family, which meant that I got to ride on the metro that shows the Eiffel Tower in all it’s glory. It was such a good combination of seeing people I love and seeing the monument I will sorely miss.
I hurried out after that to my favorite creperie to meet up with some of my favorite people for one of most perfect evenings I’ve had this whole semester. I met up with Emily, Margaret, Eleanor, Jody, and Hadley at Little Breizh. The waitress remembered me from the many times I’ve been there this year, and only talked to us in French. It ended up that we were split up into two tables, four at one, two at the other. Emily and I ended up having an incredible bonding session, naming all of our favorite moments from the entire year. It was amazing. And the food was, as usual, completely incredible.
After dinner, all six of us decided we would walk down rue de Dauphine (where I had stayed in August (coming full circle)) to the Seine and the Pont Neuf. Looking out over my favorite bridge, you can see both Ile St. Louis, Ile de la Cité, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. Also the bridge itself in just incredibly beautiful.
We decided to head down to the edge of the Seine where everyone was hanging out and enjoying the warm night. We just sat along the edge of the Seine, watching the boats go by (one of them carrying a band), and talking about how amazing Paris is.
After we were sufficiently less than full, we walked past Notre Dame, across Emily’s favorite bridge, and onto Ile St. Louis to head to get the last Berthillon. Of course, these flavors included caramel au beurre salé (the best flavor in the world), and we all stood in front of Notre Dame and eyed the Eiffel Tower in the distance, taking in the night (for me, one last time) before heading home. I came back home and sat at my computer, looking through my pictures, and cried. Very briefly, but still it happened.
What an unbelievable way to end an amazing 280 days in France.