For my 21st birthday, I got Paris. I could not have asked for anything more, as it was an amazing weekend spent with friends and with Paris. I got so many gifts, and I'm so so grateful! I will recap for you some of my favorite birthday gifts:
My girlfriends from school in Paris planned out an awesome way to ring in my birthday - sitting under the Eiffel Tower eating macarons ( a Parisian specialty), chocolate, and drinking champagne. As you can see, they even bought me a crown! It was the coolest feeling to see the lightshow start at the moment my birthday began - at midnight. We had a great time, and they really made it a great way to start of my birthday!
Another one of my favorite birthday presents was the arrival of my friend Mary! After my last weekend in Lyon, she visited me this weekend for the big day. It was her first time in Paris, so that gave us all the more reason to get out and explore the city. We walked all the way from the Louvre, through the Tuileries, up the Champs-Elysées, and up the Arc the Triomphe. We got out workout for the day, so we spent lunch time in the Luxembourg Gardens. Mary just kept saying, "I can't believe you live here!" Well, I guess I can't either. On Saturday, we spent time touring the vintage shops of Le Marais and la Place des Vosges. It was so fun to have a friend stay with my host family and see my life here. I can't wait to have more guests!
For my birthday, I got quite possibly the most gorgeous day in Paris. The weather was absolutely perfect, the sun was shining, and everything just seemed to be swell. It was a day when I kept having to pinch myself, and realize that this really was real life. I don't know if my amazement and wonder of Paris will ever cease. There's something new to discover every day, and my birthday was one of the best days to do it. Thanks, Paris!
One of the most fun things we did on my birthday was a spontaneous stop into the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. It's the largest compilation of English books outside of an English-speaking country, and the character seeps through every nook and cranny of the place. There are books covering every inch of the store; you can use an old-fashioned typewriter to post messages (see wall behind us in the photo); you can play their vintage piano, or you can just lounge in hidden chairs throughout the store and read for hours. We had a great time taking photos and looking around. I'm definitely going to have to go back.
Above: Drew (my American housemate), Toupie (the dog), Docteur, Madame, and moi
I am so fortunate to have an entirely generous host family during my time in Paris. They cooked me a delicious birthday feast, and even surprised me with a necklace for a gift (the one I'm wearing in the picture)! We ate a delicious dinner, and Madame even made me a cake - I got to blow out the candles and everything. It was really great because I felt like I was at home, and they really made my night special.
After dinner, the girls and I hit the town for a typical 21st birthday night out! Here we are at a bar called Footsies. It's a stock market bar - which means that every 200 seconds, the prices of the drinks change depending on what is in highest demand. It's so fun! The earlier you go, the cheaper the drinks are. I had my fair share of red wine, because it was the cheapest, bien sur. Afterwards we went out and danced the night away at a very European Techno club. It was such a fun night, and I am so glad I had so many people with me to make it wonderful!
For a great birthday I have to thank my family, my great friends, my host family, and of course, Paris.