So you made it to Paris, and you crossed off every number on your “Touristy To Do List” from hiking to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to eating an overpriced lunch at Les Deux Magots. Now what? Let me tell you, after almost a year in Paris, there is much more to see, do, and explore than the classic go to locations on every travel guide… and what makes my list that much better… is I actually do this weekly. My week in the life of a student is the perfect way to mix exploring the arrondissements while doing your readings, writing papers or studying for upcoming exams.
For starters… in Paris, the week doesn’t start on a Sunday.. but rather on a Monday, so lets pretend thats how the calendar works and start there as well. Mondays are the best day to ease back into your weekly schedule. I usually wake up early, grab my books and laptop, and head to my Les Anemones. And while this is super far from my humble studio located right next to Passy, Les Anemones serves up the cheapest petit dejeuner I have found to date in Paris. For only 7 euros you can get any coffee, a glass of orange juice, a croissant and a tartine, meaning I start my Monday full and caffeinated. After basically inhaling the fresh bread smothered in French butter and jam, I pull out my laptop and take in the inspiration while getting comfy sitting under the cafes canopy. By three in the afternoon, I’ve usually gotten through a ton of work and head over to school to print a few things, while stopping at my local Marché later on in the evening to take advantage of the discounts on fruits and veggies.
On Tuesdays, I find myself heading to school early in the morning for class, but I find this nice, as I finish around 1:00 pm and get to enjoy my lunch in any of the locations around school like Tuileries Garden, on the steps of the Opera house, on a stripped cylinder at the Palais Royal, or under the umbrellas at the Village Royal. There are plenty of places around school to grab lunch: from Pret for a toastie, to Joy for a Bahn Mi Bowl, to Hokkaido for some fried rice to go. By 2:00 pm, I’m doing readings wherever it is I have chosen to eat lunch that day before heading to an after school job I acquired teaching English to elementary schoolers.
Wednesdays are usually hard, I mean who enjoys the middle of the week? At first I didn’t, but on Wednesdays my classes start at 4:30 pm, meaning the world is my oyster all morning. Instead of finding a coffee shop, I usually head over to La Felicità, a HUGE italian food court made under well known Paris based food group Big Mamma. This food court has everything Italian : pizza, pasta, antipasti, aperol, coffees, gelato, wines, beers, and all the parmesan cheese you could dream of. While the first floor is huge, the food court has a small second level occupied by some book shelves. What people don’t usually see however, is the chairs, tables and outlets just behind the bookshelves, making this location the best for posting up all day long and being productive. Hungry for a breakfast Bomba? Head down the 10 stairs to the food court. Oh… is it lunch already? Head over to the authentic wood burning oven for a pizza. Need to satisfy your craving to smoke? Not a problem, the outside patio is 20 steps away from the stacks you’re sitting behind. Not to mention, after one meal here, I find myself full enough to sit through my 4:30-7:00 pm class feeling fully energized.
Thursdays are like any other Thursday, the build-up to Friday. I like to take this day to truly make sure I’ve completed all the work for the week. I’ll get up early, eat some breakfast and go to the MAD Library or INHA library, where I’ll sit all day working until class at 4:30. I like to think of the week as work, if I work everyday from 9-5, I can relax once I’m home and over the weekend. Which is the best way to concur your studies.
If you follow my “treat school like your job” advice, by Friday, you’ll have nothing but free time! From Friday to Sunday I sleep in, and head out for the first time all week without my laptop or any school readings but instead my joy reading books like Hemingway’s A Movable Feast. I’ll explore new areas of Paris like the thrift and antique markets of the 19th, or go for picnics with friends in Buttes Chaumont. I’ll go check out new art exhibits or sift through museums I’ve never even stepped foot in before. I’ll spend my evenings enjoying the many happy hours that happen at brasseries around Paris before going for a nice rooftop cocktail at Le Perchoir Marais.
And after a busy week of working hard, I’ll treat myself to a night out at any of the fine establishments in Paris from Le Rouge to Carmen, Boum Boum to Rosa Bonheur sur Seine, and everything in between.
Who said mixing studies and travel was hard? I have it down to a science.