le Jardin des Plantes. Our respective instructors had recommended this botanical garden and the nearby La Grand Mosquée de Paris to us yesterday, so we figured why not? We walked through le Jardin des Plantes first, and were surpised to find how spacious, calm, and beautifully groomed it was. With lots of paths, seating, and shade, it's the perfect place to go for a walk or run, read a book, spend time talking with a friend or lover, or just sit and reflect on life. There are also numerous facilities there, including la Ménagerie (a small zoo), and le Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle.
We took our time perusing the garden, and then we went across the street to visit La Grande Mosquée de Paris. Well, we didn't actually go through the mosque but we sat in its cafe for a while. The first floor of the mosque has an outdoor cafe and an indoor restaurant, with a room to buy pastries in between. Neither of us were hungry, so we both opted for a cup of thé à la menthe in the cafe. It was absolutely perfect! I'd never had it before so I had nothing to judge it by, but it was so much more delicious than I'd expected. Surprisingly sweet, and the mint not too strong. Perfect, as far as I'm concerned.
H decided to go home from there, but I still wanted to do something. My "host mothers" (I've come to consider M like another host mom), and the two instructors I've met at school have all insisted that the best way to get to know Paris and have great experiences in it is to just se balader.That is, to walk, go for a stroll, or wander. So I headed to Place de la Bastille and did just that. I saw la colonne de Juillet and l'Opéra Bastille of course, but then I wandered a bit and didn't find anything interesting. However, I turned down a rue Saint-Antoine and happened upon one of the most beautiful things in the world─a bookstore! This particular little yet well-stocked bookstore is called Librairie La Belle Lurette. I only went through one half of it because I came across its section of Asian literature and that was it for me, haha. But seriously, I was very impressed by the variety of written treasures that they had to offer! Before leaving I bought a copy of Une langue venue d'ailleurs by Akira Mizubayashi. It's about his experience figuring out his identity though reconciling his love for French language/culture with his attachment to his native Japanese.
So I guess my host moms and instructors were right. I tend to prefer having a plan, a schedule, structure, control, order, a reason. BUT! It turns out wandering can be rewarding too.
Bread and Butter [Paris] photos