5 Things I Will Miss About Paris

18 September 2014 Paris, France

Autumn is starting to creep its way in; the weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing, the number of daylight hours are decreasing day by day. The arrival of autumn means my summer internship here in Paris has come to an end.

After living here for 3 months, its once again time to pack my bags and head off for the 2nd part of my Europe Adventure (otherwise known as #asiancarinaineurope on instagram haha!) - one year of exchange in London! Well, of course I get to spend 2 weeks in Singapore in between to administrative stuff. I REALLY miss the food in Singapore, and homecooked meals by my grandparents/father/other family members so i'm not complaining.

I would say living in Paris was a great experience. Would I live in Paris again in the future? Maybe not (IF I speak fluent french one day, i might consider). But given the same opportunity would I have agreed to come to Paris, DEFINITELY.

This summer internship in Paris has given me a fair share of discrimination experiences, banking issues, inefficient and incompetent delivery services, and transport issues - random breaking down of the metro during peak hours.
Nevertheless, i'm going to miss this place quite a fair bit, my lifestyle here (not going to miss work though! Working really does get quite boring. But the people in the office are quite fun, so that makes up), the food, the weather etc. 
So here are the top 5 things i'll miss about my summer internship in Paris.

CROISSANTS 
Honestly, i'm not much of a bread, pastry, or cake lover. But, Paris does bread and pastries like no other. The small bakeries that are so commonly found along the streets all sell pretty descent pastries. I wouldn't say i'm a convert, but when it comes to croissants? SOLD.
Being able to buy 1 Euro croissants from the bakery beside my apartment building, Le Grenier a Pain, has brought me so much comfort. Stressed from work? Get a croissant. Not sure what to eat? Get a croissant. Want a snack? Croissants. Even for no particular reason? Just get a croissant!

Biting into a yummy buttery flaky on the outside and soft on the inside piece of croissant for only 1 euros instantly brightens my day.
Generally you're able to get good croissants anywhere (Morning around 9 or 10am is the best time) as long as they are golden brown, warm and just out of the oven. If you're ever in Paris, get a croissant and remember to request for one just fresh out of the oven (normally they do give you the fresher ones - at least at the bakery near where i lived they did!)

P.S. They also do really good Chouquettes (my 2nd fav.)
P.S. And since we are on the topic of food, DUCK LEG CONFIT in Paris is always a good idea.



FRENCH CLASSES
There is something special about taking french classes in France. Understanding the language really helps one connect with the country and the culture so much more. Plus, the french are nicer when they see you trying to fit in! I took french evening lessons at Accord, after reading a recommendation from Paris in four months. It was probably the only school that offered french evening courses in the summer! Lessons were 2x a week 1.5 hrs each, 40euros a week (cheaper than tuition in singapore!!) And I was there for 13 weeks (sans a few classes due to weekend trips).

I've taken french classes in NTU, but nothing quite compares to french lessons here in Paris. I feel like I learn so much more. It could be because
1) The whole lesson is COMPLETELY in french, definitely a culture shock.
2) You have to ask questions in French, sometimes the teacher will make you repeat the question until you get it with the perfect sentence structure before you get an answer.
3) You go at a pace suitable for you. One level is too easy? Just move right on to the next. Very much self-monitored learning. Coming from the Singaporean education system, this is so refreshing! I found myself actually putting in much more time googling phrases, finding translations, and I had a GENUINE interest in doing homework (comparing this to my willingness to do my tutorials in university)
4) Its super interactive. We play taboo in class, we act out skits with conversations, we talk about our day etc.

I really from the bottom of my heart look forward to EVERY french lesson after work! I am most definitely not fluent in french, but I give myself a pat on the back everytime I understand a word, phrase or sentence that is being said in french. I find so much joy in getting conjugations right, I enjoy testing myself when my colleagues speak in french to see how much I understand. So much joy in self-motivated learning!

I already miss my french teachers!



ANONYMITY
For 2 months (before Jerald came) I was alone, I knew nobody, nobody knew me. Living alone means not having to account to ANYBODY, You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. And thats exactly what I did.
Self prepared meals, waking up at whatever time during the weekends (usually pretty early) not having to justify how you spent your day, not having to share the toilet with anybody else, dressing as you please, eat whatever you want (30 euro meal? Who cares, just eat lesser the next day!) sharing as little or as much information as you want about yourself, amazing new found freedom.
That being said, I don't go out partying and staying out, I pretty much just enjoy being let off the hook as generally, parisians/french don't expect me to conform to societal norms (since i'm CLEARLY a foreigner), and I don't get judged! I can behave like a tourist, or like an inhabitant, which ever is more useful to whatever situation, and people buy it! See, no need for accountability, no need to think 'what will people think of me'.



THE WEATHER
Yes. The cold schizophrenic weather in Paris! That is the thing I will be dreading when I get off the A380 at Changi Airport. The weather in Paris was such a wonderful change from the hot and humid one in Singapore. In Paris, it never got hotter than 30 degrees, temperatures could be 20°C one day and 30° the next, choosing what to wear form the limited (and uncoordinated) selection of clothes I brought with me was honestly pretty fun! Plus, the office did not have a very strict dress code for the ladies. Jeans, dresses, leggings, skirts, sweaters, coats, bomber jackets, blazers etc. it was like playing dress up every morning!

The weather also made it REALLY enjoyable to walk from one place to another. You could walk for hours and not feel sweaty and uncomfortable!

I doubt i'd be able to experience another summer in a temperate climate for a while, and that is something i'll DEFINITELY miss! Not looking forward to the cold winter months. Then again, I've never experienced anything below 10°C in my life, so that's going to be an interesting experience.



THE CULTURE & MONUMENTS
Oh Paris. The Cathedrals, the Buildings, its Architecture, the Musuems (I'm more of a fan of the exterior of the musuems than the painting inside because honestly, i'm not that well versed in fine arts, oops). From the Palaces, to the Gardens, to individual squares, this is something i'm pretty sure I wouldn't find anywhere else. Paris is INDEED gorgeous. Even the architecture of apartment buildings and boutiques are wonderful! Just google BNP Paribas or Abercrombie and Fitch building in Paris. Like I said before, I don't think Paris is romantic, but it is most DEFINITELY beautiful. Its beauty extends far beyond the Eiffel Tower. FAR FAR FAR BEYOND

Definitely going to miss roaming around aimlessly while admiring the architecture of buildings, flowers in the gardens, children playing, street musicians, horses riding by, the whole experience.
Paris is NEVER boring. There's so much to see, so many different arrondissements each with something unique to offer, I had so many places I wished I could visit but didn't have the chance to. Another reason to be back!

P.S. Even the interior deco of cafés and boutiques are fantastic. A little off point, but yes! I'll miss the beauty of this City.



I encourage everyone to visit Paris once in their lifetime. Sure the dirty streets and smelly metro stations do sometimes make it a little less charming (especially for someone coming from a place like singapore - maybe even Japan, Korea or anywhere where we are pretty used to the cleanliness of things and politeness of people), but you'll definitely fall in love with the city. Thank you Paris for being beautiful, thank you for the whole experience, thank you for the good and bad ;)

'Till we meet again,
Au Revoir.

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