this is how paris began

*It was grey and rainy that weekend, and after seven hours of transit, I took a hot shower under blindingly florescent lights at a hostel in seedy Gare Du Nord and went to bed with my hair soaking wet.

*The next morning I woke up and went downstairs to the hostel's continental breakfast. I drank some Earl Grey tea, had more bites of butter than I had bites of a croissant, sampled two different types of Camembert cheese and then I set off to wander through Paris. My first stop was Maison de Victor Hugo on the edge of Place des Vosges. I had read that Place des Vosges was a vibrant and lovely place for relaxing and sitting and chatting, but at 10 in the morning, it was absolutely desolate. The maison was still closed when I arrived, so I walked over to Pierre Hermes, bought a chocolate-hazelnut macaron, and ate it in two bites. Every girl I know croons and fawns over macarons, and I felt compelled to eat one only because everyone else said so. I hated it. It was cloyingly sweet and I left Pierre Hermes with a horrible stomachache.

*The morning was not terribly eventful. There was a fire drill at Maison de Victor Hugo and an entire elementary school class of kids had to be evacuated. Later I walked around the Marais district looking at pretty things I could not afford, then found this book with my name on it at a gallery bookshop, which was probably the most serendipitous moment of the morning. Even the Louvre proved to be exhausting. In spite of its acclaim or perhaps because of it, it was more a menagerie of tourists than an artistic haven. I walked around half-heartedly, and after running through a couple halls - as a perfunctory measure - I left.


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