Paris


I’ve been dragging my feet writing this post, even though I’m excited to share my experience with you guys and answer your questions. I guess it’s because posting a Paris recap means it’s really over! I enjoyed every minute of my 10-day trip and I am so happy to be back in New York, but a little part of me is bummed that this incredible trip is over. I guess that just means I need to plan the next trip to look forward to! 😉

So many people have asked about highlights of my trip and I’m not sure what to tell them because every day was great in its own way. The weather was warm and sunny, the food was delicious, and of course I loved seeing iconic landmarks. I had been to Paris before, two years ago, so I had a good sense of what I wanted to see again and what new restaurants I wanted to try. I tried to maximize my time but also enjoy a break from fast-paced New York and live a more laid-back Parisian life, if only for a week and a half. 

I traveled with my roommate, Leah, and she found the most incredible AirBnb where we stayed. Parisian apartments tend to have charming peculiarities, and this one was no exception. The refrigerator was in an alcove down the hall instead of in the kitchen, and the door to the apartment could only be opened by pulling the door towards you and jiggling the key just so. We were also directly above several (incredible) restaurants and a bar. When the noise from the bar and restaurants finally died down at 1 or 2am, we were woken by the overwhelming smell of bread baking at 5am–not that I’m complaining. 

Speaking of food: 

Holybelly

A restaurant in Montmartre
Chez Michel


Folks and Sparrows 

Those of you who know me know how much I love trying new reataurants. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do in New York and anywhere new I go. The meal above from Chez Michel, while not the most photogenic, was one of the best I’ve had in my life. Leah and I went there on our first day immediately after dropping our bags off in the Airbnb because we were ravenous . I enjoyed it so much that I ended up returning on one of our last nights by myself. I put my phone down, drank a glass of wine, and enjoyed the most delicious steak and potatoes (pictured above) and rice pudding with homemade date and apricot preserves (not pictured because I was too busy having a transcendent experience. I never knew rice pudding could be so incredible). 

A few of my favorite places:

Sadaharu Aoki for pastries and sweets

Buvette for breakfast

Chez Michel for lunch or dinner

Folks and Sparrows for coffee (and free wifi) 

Onto the museums and sites! Some of you know I studied Media, Culture, and the Arts in college, and that’s actually why I was in Paris two years ago. Needless to say, I love art. I love museums, I love graffiti and street art, I love photography, paintings, sculptures, you name it. I also love tourist-y destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. I even love the tourist spots in New York. There’s a reason that millions of people visit them every year, and it’s because they’re incredible. I feel blessed that I can see them whenever I want! Except Times Square, which is one of Dante’s circles of hell. 

Anyway, my point here is that you probably know all of the touristy spots you have to visit–and if you don’t, feel free to ask!–but I’d like to share some of the places that you might not know about, but definitely should go to! 

Louis Vuitton Foundation



If you’ve seen my Instagram, you know how much I love this place. The architecture is incredible and it always has new and interesting art exhibits. The museum itself is like a maze that I happily wandered around in all day–I walked about 4 miles just within the museum! It’s easily accessible by train and located in a beautiful park. I can’t recommend it enough.

Montmartre 





Chances are you’ve heard of Montmartre, or at least seen pictures of the famous restaurant La Maison Rose that sits atop a hilly intersection there. So many artists lived or worked there (Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, and Matisse, just to name a few) and  Sacré-Cœur Basilica is at the very top. It’s a little bit out of the way on the outskirts of the city and requires a lot of walking, so you might be tempted to skip it. However, it’s easily one of my favorite places in Paris. I recommend going during the week, wearing good walking shoes, and grabbing a gelato cone to munch on while enjoying incredible views of the city. 

Musée de l’Orangerie



This museum is located right by the Louvre and has a ton of dreamy impressionist art. It’s small enough that you can see everything, and of course my favorite rooms have huge Monet paintings and lots of natural light. 

And a few more pictures: 


The Louvre


Notre Dame


The Eiffel Tower 


The Seine


The dreamiest facades


The Arc de Triomphe on our last night. They decided to close the stairs to the top early, for no apparent reason, and I was so disappointed but this sunset was really something else. We walked down the Champs-Élysées and shopped and then went back to our Airbnb to drink wine with some friends and it was still a great night! 

Xoxo,

– Hannah 

2015 Recap

 
The Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France

The New Year always makes me nostalgic, and usually I try to keep my sentimental feelings off social media. But if you know me in person you know that communication is my number one core value and I love giving and receiving advice. I think that each of us has a little bit of wisdom inside of us and collectively we have a wealth of knowledge and experience, but too often we’re afraid to open up and share it.

Today I’m spending the day unpacking but mostly reflecting on everything that happened in 2015, and I feel God telling me “this is the year you faced your fears.” I’m really terrified of not having control over my life and opening myself up to criticism. So I lived in Paris where I barely understood the language and forced myself to speak kindergarten-level French. I took a class on public speaking and allowed myself to be criticized and come out better and stronger. Those two things ended up being the best experiences I had this year.


I graduated college. I was really paranoid that after all this time it wouldn’t happen. It didn’t seem real. I kept checking my grades, afraid that I had missed something and would fail a class and have to go to school for another semester and everyone would know. But my GPA was the highest this semester that it has ever been in college.

My three-year, living-in-the-same-city relationship turned into a 16-hour-time-difference, 24-hour-flight-away relationship, and I’m learning how to be together but apart, alone but not lonely.


Sparrow and Lace Photography

I’ve moved apartments and places four times. I left New York. I moved in with my best friend just an hour away from my little brother and sister, so I can watch them grow and love on them. I’m pursuing real happiness, not social media likes or the “coolness” that comes from living in the coolest city in the world. And I’m still scared. But also really, really excited for what’s next.

Xoxo,

– Hannah

Summer Blues

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This week I went on a day trip to Giverny, a commune outside of Vernon that is a short train ride from Paris.  It’s best known for being the location of Monet’s home and his famous water lily pond and gardens.  If you know me at all, you’d know that I love Monet and especially his water lily paintings, so this was a place that has been on my bucket list for quite some time.

My friends and I took the train to Vernon and then planned to bike to Giverny, which is a 30-minute bike ride through the countryside.  I haven’t ridden a bike since I was probably ten years old, but they say you never forget how to ride a bike, right?

I didn’t exactly forget how to ride a bike, but I’m comically bad at it.  My main problem is that I don’t have great balance, and on top of that every bike I tried had a problem with it, which I didn’t realize because I haven’t been on a bike in ten years.  The brakes didn’t work, the gears wouldn’t shift, my feet didn’t touch the ground so if I stopped I fell over – I think you get the idea.  Luckily, I had great friends who traded bikes with me, pedaled slowly along with me, and didn’t laugh (too much) when I fell into the bushes (twice).

But the ride was absolutely beautiful, Monet’s gardens were charming, and the water lily ponds were literally picturesque.  If you plan on traveling to France, I definitely recommend  taking a trip to Giverny!

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2015-06-19 12.19.392015-06-19 14.18.51Top: Brandy Melville // Skirt: UNIQLO // Shoes: Victoria // Bag: Brooklyn Industries

xoxo,

– Hannah

Paris

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Bonjour mes amis! Many of you have been asking why I’m in Paris, for how long, and, most importantly, what I’ve been eating while I’m here.  I thought I’d write a post and update everyone on how things are.  Spoiler alert: they’re great.

I’m in Paris for a six week study abroad program with nine other students. I’m studying French Culture, Art, and Civilization, which means I’m spending most of my time at some of the best museums in the world.  I’ve only been here two weeks and I’ve already been to Notre Dame, St Denis, Chartres, Sainte-Chapelle, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musée Carnavalet, the Musée de Cluny, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and the Louvre (twice!).  I’m exhausted, but loving every minute of it!

It’s a scary thing living 3,625 miles from home.  I knew I’d be challenged to grow when I decided to take my very first flight abroad to live in a country I had never even visited.  But I’m having a great time doing things that push me out of my comfort zone.  I rode on a hot air balloon even though I’m terrified of heights.  I tried escargot.  I ordered a chocolate croissant in French even though I feel like I have a toddler’s vocabulary.  It’s scary, but it feels great.

For anyone who has been to Paris, please leave a comment or send me an email with your favorite spots to visit and must-eat pastries.  Merci in advance!

To see more pictures from my trip, follow my instagram here.

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xoxo,

– Hannah