And Then My Dad Touched a Millet... / by Nadia Fallahi

Paris is one of my most favorite cities.  While abroad, I am mainly trying to go to places I have not been to before, but I knew that I would be paying Paris yet another visit.  Daniel and I were planning to go (like every other person) as it was Valentine’s Day.  Long story short, my dad had some days off and wanted to come visit Nima and me in London, but because I could not cancel my trip, he and Nima ended up joining us in Paris.

Between my excitement to travel back to the City of Love and finally get the see my dad (aka Baba), I think I got a little over zealous.  I was messing up all over the place — putting me and Daniel at a very fraud hotel, putting my dad and brother at a completely different hotel on the other side of the city, scheduling the wrong flight home, got fined on the metro, etc. etc. etc.  However, the weekend ended up being great.  I think because I have been to Paris a few times and know what to do, we were really able to knock out a lot of the city.  

We saw soooooooo much amazing art, walked around everywhere, attended at PSG game and got to see my friend Maya from school!  Daniel and I also got to see the Yeezy Season 3 screening on the Champs-Élysées (more to come on this below).  Minus all my mishaps, it was such a fun weekend, even if I was crying on my Uber back to my flat in London because my driver kept screaming at me.

Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote was one of the happiest accidents that has ever happened to me.  On the BAIT trip in high school, we thought the restaurant looked cute, as the waitresses were dressed like French maids, so we decided to stop in for lunch.  Little did I know, Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote is a Paris staple and home to the most delicious steak frites you will ever have in you life.

The restaurant has a couple locations in Paris, but I have only ever been to the one in Saint-Germain Dupree.  They have no menu — you get a small salad as a starter (which is iceberg lettuce with walnuts, tossed in a mustard dressing) and then you tell them whether you like you steak rare, medium or well done.  They bring out (unlimited) steak and fries doused in an amazing mustard sauce (also do not eat the break until you get the steak frites because it is so delicious to dip in the mustard sauce).  It sounds so basic and whatever, but anyone who has been to Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote will tell you that you have not done Paris until you have been here. 

 

 

Café Marly

This was a little spot near our (relocated) hotel.  It has a huge outdoor seating arrangement that looks out into the Louvre courtyard (like where the glass pyramids are).  The concierge in our hotel recommended Café Marly for a nice, quick dinner that was close to our hotel.  

The food was pretty good, but expensive considering how tiny the portions were.  Nima and I both split dim sum (only five little dumplings), and each ordered scallops (five small ones, probably the diameter of a 50₵ coin) with a side of basmati rice.  As someone who loves scallops, I was very disappointed with the size, but the scallops were still very delicious.

 

 

Derrière

My friend from home, Kelsey, insisted that I must go to Derrière while in Paris.  Since I knew that the spot would be harder to get into than say Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote, I decided to make a lunch reservation so we could go before the PSG game.  (It is also a short walk from the Pompidou, so it is good to do these together — that is what we did).  The restaurant is called Derrière because it is located in the back of a building through a little courtyard/atrium area.  Once we entered, the whole place felt right out of the 1960s.  From the music, lighting fixtures, motley seating arrangements, quirky trinkets, etc., every part of the restaurant fit this cohesion that was stunning.  I was instantly in love, and so was my dad, who was trying to bargain with the staff to let him buy off this Porsche model car from a display case.

The menu set up so interesting. They list the item with a small definition underneath, like a little dictionary or glossary, and then the accompanying ingredients in the dish underneath.  We split the beef carpaccio, which was so tasty.  Nima got steak with mashed potatoes, Daniel and I got this delicious gnocchi in a pumpkin sauce, and Baba got this like little beef cheek pot roast which was fracking unreal.  The beef was so juicy and flavorful, the sauce perfectly complimenting it.  I was so impressed with everything, and I am so glad I convinced the boys to go.  TYVM, Kels!!!

Also, definitely check out the upstairs and see if you can find the secret room. ;)

 

LIFESTYLE

Yeezy Season 3 Screening

(This is not something you can do anytime you go to Paris, but keep on the lookout next time Kanye puts something out.)  

Sooooooooo to anyone who has been living under a rock, Kanye put out his new album and premiered the album and his new collection for Yeezy Season 3 at a huge show at MSG last week.  In addition, they showed the show on a live stream at theaters all over the world (kinda like a bigger version of what he did with the “New Slaves” video).  I happened to be on his website when he announced the MSG show, just to see if there was any other information, and luckily saw that you could buy tickets for theaters.  Daniel and I got them for Paris at a theater on the Champs.

So, Daniel and I, in our all camel-colored outfits, headed to the Champs at a huge theater, along with our 300 closest Parisian friends.  The show was incredible, and I thought the album was so so so so so good, so much better than Yeezus. The collection had pieces that I loved more than others, but the Kardashian clan looked BOMB, and I died over Naomi Campbell and Young Thug (who also dropped a new track after the show when they passed the aux) being in the show.  I love that Ye is an artist in every sense of the word (even if he’s been going a little cray on Twitter recently) and how into his craft and creations he is.  Like, every time they would cut to him and his squad, they were all BUMPING, and that energy was so infectious.  The album is superb, Adidas is killing it with these collections, and I cannot wait to download this damn video game he made. 

 

Paris Saint-Germain Football Match

Paris Saint-Germain is the European club team for Paris (duh).  We went to a game against literally I have no idea, but it was still fun to do.  The stadium is (of course) in the boonies of Paris, so we ended up Ubering there (but metro’ed back).  I really only knew of PSG because I follow Kevin Trapp, their bae AF goalie, on Instagram.

Soccer/football is such a big part of European culture, so I would recommend going to some sort of game(s) if studying abroad out here.  Even if you do not have any interest in the teams, it is so great to go an experience the game and see why Europeans are so passionate about their teams.

 

Sacre Coeur

You must go here when visiting Paris because not only is the church incredible, but the hill it sits on in Montmatre gives you some of the best views in Paris.  I have actually never been inside Sacre Coeur, but I have visited it three times.  Every time, it is just as amazing as the last.  You can climb the Sacre Coeur, which is like a billion and one steps to the top, so I can only imagine how amazing the city must look from there.  You can walk up and down the steps on the hill to the different levels where there are street performers, musicians and vendors (just do not sign anything that people are trying to shove in your face).  

Daniel and I went during the midday, and it was not very packed at all (but I also think that is due to the fact that it is winter and cold outside).  I had only ever been to Paris in the summer, so it was fun to see Sacre Coeur when there is not a million and one people out there.  In the summer during the daytime, they have those guys who climb that light poles and juggle soccer balls.  I also love going at sunset because the whole vibe of the city changes and the skies are stunning, kind of like Magic Hour at Coachella.

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is easily one of the most recognizable sights Paris.  Sitting in the middle of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc is huge and so intricately constructed.  I had never been to the Arc itself — only just up the road across and taken photos.  Nima, Daniel and I decided to go over and get tickets (free for students in the EU!) and climb them stairs (and get that cake up).  We got our tickets, realized that it was almost 300 stairs, saw how long the line is and decided not to go up.

Obviously, this is something I would really enjoy doing, but maybe just not when it is freezing and raining and I am wearing heeled boots.  The views from the top are amazing, I am sure, so I think it is definitely worth the experience.

 

Tour Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most beautiful and complex structures my young self did ever lay eyes on.  Every time I have been to Paris, I have always been sure to make it over there, yet I have only gone up once.  Again, I would have tried to go up this weekend since Baba and Nima seemed down to, but it was freezing and pouring rain, so that was a no go.  

The Eiffel Tower is so much fun to visit, even if you are not going up to the top.  It is right on the Seine and close to a bunch of other great spots.  I do think, however, it is the most amazing at night time in the summer when it is al lit up.  When I visited over this last summer, I went to the Tower twice at night.  The second time was soooooooooooooo much fun.  There were like 50 or so people out on the lawns, socializing and dancing, drinking wine and just having a good time.  It was definitely one of those moments I will keep with me forever.

 

 

 

Sainte-Chapelle

Believe it or not, Nima was the one who really wanted to go here. So, Nima, Baba and I went on Sunday morning to check it out.  The chapel was a lot smaller than I had expected, but that does not mean it was any less stunning.  You enter on a bottom floor, which is this sort of arched chamber area that is so beautifully decorated. My dad was really into looking at all the souvenirs and books for whatever reason, so Nima and I decided to head up.

The main floor of Sainte-Chapelle is impecable.  I loved how every single inch of the chapel was intricately designed and decorated — you could tell that so much time and detail went into ever aspect.  The chapel was a private chapel commissioned by Louis IX, dating back to Gothic times.  Anyways, Sainte-Chapelle is incredible and most known for its stained glass windows.  Nima was even telling me that he wanted to build a house with similar windows…  Sainte-Chapelle is very much worth a visit.

 

Notre Dame

Yet another church (and Gothic!), the Notre Dame is so well known for its design and being a land-marker in Paris.  I love visiting the Notre Dame because it is so grandiose and incredible (and free).  However, this was the first time that I visited and I felt uneasy about my experience.  Still, the cathedral is massive and has so many different complex elements that make it famous.  From the flying buttresses to giant rose windows to the gold detailing inside, there is just a ton to see.

I am not Catholic, but I think it is cool to visit Notre Dame during a service.  You can still go in and walk around the sides and not partake in the service, but it is cool to see it go on while visiting.  I visited over the summer and on my last trip to Paris before that too.  Make sure to light a candle when you visit cause that is an awesome feeling.

 

 

Palais Royal

I do not know much about Palais Royal, but I do know that is very close to the Louvre.  I know that is also means “Royal Palace” and housed a bunch of important French leaders for decades.  The area is very cute and there are little shops and restaurants.  Most people go there to see the Les Deux Plateaux (aka those black and creme striped columns), but it also has an amazing garden area with these spectacular trees and a bunch of cool outdoor installations.  I wish I had more to say, but if you are near the Louvre, head on over a couple blocks to get those pics in.

 

Musée national Picasso-Paris

On our first day in Paris, Daniel was not feeling too hot, so I was trying to convince him to at least do Sacre Coeur and one other activity with me before we could go home and nap prior to the Yeezy screening.  When looking on the map, I noticed the Picasso Museum and instantly grew interested.  We headed over and quickly went through the gallery (well, just quicker than other galleries we have been to recently).

The collection was incredible!  There were just so many pieces, but I also loved seeing his writing and letters, articles about him and other little trinkets and artifacts.  I must say that I am glad he was such a hoarder because it really enhanced the visit.  I loved seeing his different styles and media, as well as how much his work changed over his career.  Of course my favorite piece was the one that Beyonce broke the internet with — but in my defense, I did not realize that was the work until a few days after returning to London and coming across the photo on Tumblr.  The space itself was so pretty, and I am so glad that I could convince Daniel to venture out there with me.

 

Musée d’Orsay

Trying to get the the Musée d’Orsay has been one of the biggest struggles.  On my second visit to Paris (shoutouts to BAIT), a bunch of strikes were going on, so each day we would try at different galleries or museums, only to see that some would be closed.  The Musée d’Orsay was, of course, one of those which was closed when we were to visit.  The last time I came to Paris, we kind of ran out of time, and I do not think my friends would have been down. SO, I had to make sure to go on this visit. 

Musée d’Orsay is situated in an old train station, which makes the space much more grandiose and brings in a ton of natural light.  I love how there are so many different levels within the gallery, making it fun to get through.  The collection at Musée d’Orsay is fantastic, and I am so ecstatic that I finally got to visit.  I got to see so many paintings (like Manet’s Olympia) and incredible sculptures that I learned about in high school.  I love being able to see these pieces in real life, and I think I freak out as much as I would if I saw some kind of celeb I loved in person.  Anyways, Musée d’Orsay should be a priority in Paris (it’s also free!), and definitely DO NOT try to touch ANY of the works like my dad did with a Millet…(luckily there was glass on the painting)

 

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is one of the most famous art galleries and recognizable buildings in the world, mainly due to its glass pyramids.  I have been to the Louvre twice, but I would love to visit inside again.  We just ran out of time this visit, but I will make it back one day!  The collection is massive and stunning, but they also feature a bunch of different temporary exhibits, all equally as exciting.

Most people, like me on my last two visits, go during the daytime to take pictures in the courtyard.  I love walking around the area and going towards the Tuileries.  Obviously, it is a lot nicer on a sunny summer day, but what can you do.  We made sure to get over there to get some pictures (even if it was a block away from where we were staying), but I had never been there before at night.  I loved being able to see the Louvre pyramids all lit up, making a whole different experience.  Visit during both times, and if you are desperate for Wifi, you definitely gotta hit up that Apple Store downstairs. 

 

Centre Georges Pompidou

I feel like the Pompidou is one of Paris’s coolest spots.  Not many people even know what it is, so I tell them that it is kind of Paris’s version of the MoMa or LACMA.  I went to the Pompidou on BAIT and LOOOOOOVED IT!!!  The space is freaking unreal(!!!!) and the collection is equally superb.  You go in and go up these sets of escalators which are incased in this clear glass (which used to play this chanting monks piece), so as you make your way up, your view of Paris gets even more spectacular.  I think Sacre Coeur and the Pompidou have the two best views in Paris, hands down (unless you can get into the Euler Hermes building cause their view is just as great).  

The Pompidou has a couple permanent collections and a few temporary ones (which you have to pay extra to get into).  Still, everything that is free (for students) is fun to walk through and get to see.  I loved seeing the Barnet Newman's, Josef Albers' and Henri Matisse’s most, but there were still a ton of other things that I found myself gawking over.  Unfortunately, we got a late start to the day and had to wait in this long ass line to get in (which we later realized we could have cut) and had to speed through so not to be late for our lunch reservation for Derrière.  I could spend days in the Pompidou, so I really hope that I get to return back.

 

Matcha Had Me...wishing I could stay in Paris for days but really glad I got to see my dad so he could bring me lavoshak.