Excuse my French but I’m in France: A weekend in Paris

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First stop on the grand European city trip tour of September: Paris! Last weekend marked 2 days filled with walks down the Champs Elysées, visits to Shakespeare & Company, shopping trips to Sephora, lounging in front of the Eiffel Tower, and of course: Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On The Run tour at Stade de France, including a surprise act by Nicki Minaj. As Kanye said it best: excuse my French but I’m in France.

When you live in Belgium and Paris is only a 3-hour drive or a 1,5 hour train ride away, and on top of that it’s a classic field trip in high school, the city tends to lose its romantic charm. Once you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, and battled your way through the vast masses at the Louvre, you’re often left with nothing but memories of perpetually disgruntled French and perpetually obnoxious tourists.

But last weekend, as my 4 best girlfriends and I made our way to the City of Love, we experienced a more than pleasant Paris. Having seen all the Big and Important Landmarks, we had all the time in the world to do some cool stuff. For example, Shakespeare & Company.

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Now, I realize that as an English and French Literature graduate, it is an utter and complete outrage that I had never set foot in the infamous Nirvana of Book Nerds called Shakespeare & Company. Until last week.IMG_4111

Shakespeare & Company is the most beautiful, fascinating, and picturesque bookstore I have ever set foot in. With books stacked haphazardly 5 shelves high and its very British sales staff, the store is extremely appealing to anyone who adores books. The only drawback: books tend to be expensive. I’m talking €22,50 for a normal hardcover – but I guess this is normal for a country like France, where English language books tend to be quite rare.IMG_4114And after browsing for books, what else is there to do than make your way to the fancy Champs Elysées for some money-spending at Sephora? As Europeans, Sephora is a marvel that is rarely seen in the wild. So, when my girlfriends and I do encounter one, we go all out. I’m not kidding. We probably spent over an hour at Sephora, getting our lipstick, eyeliner, and blush done, asking for advice on BB cream and the newest types of skincare. Never set me loose in one of these stores and expect me to spend less than $80.

Just be glad I didn’t buy the €4.500 bottle of Chanel No 5.

IMG_4174After a lovely lunch with a friend of mine who now is lucky enough to live in Paris and dance for the Moulin Rouge, we made our way to our lovely hostel to get ready for the Big Event: Beyoncé and Jay Z’s concert, the last concert of their infamous On The Run tour.
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It did not disappoint. As we made our way to Stade de France, a soccer stadium where the concert would take place, we saw countless fellow concertgoers, all clad in the most fabulous outfits I’d ever laid my eyes on. Flawless crop tops, red lips that scream MURDER, fierce eyeliner, and killer heels littered the streets leading to Stade de France.
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As we were waiting for our fellow 74.996 concertgoers to fill up the stadium, we spent hours people-watching and psyching ourself for what would without a doubt be the most unforgettable concert ever.IMG_4133

A comparative study of the selfie cameras of iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 5 was made (aka a poor excuse for 4 24-year-olds taking countless selfies to perpetuate our flawless outfits and make-up) – obviously, my iPhone 4 lost.IMG_4185 IMG_4160

Now let me tell you: I’ve been to hundreds of concerts and festivals in my life. Punk rock festivals, underground concerts, pop concerts, dance concerts. This was without a doubt the most original and frankly downright best concert I’ve ever seen. And not just because Nicki Minaj made a surprise appearance during the Flawless*** remix. Or because of Yoncé’s unforgettable outfits. The whole thing was simply mind-blowing.

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The next day consisted of food, food, food. We had a 2,5 hour-long brunch at a little bakery in Montmartre, where we devoured countless plates of hash browns (how very un-French), pastries, crêpes, croissants, eggs, and salmon. Then, feeling the pressure of being a tourist in France, we decided on a walk through Montmartre, that ended at the ever so beautiful Sacré Coeur church.IMG_4165

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Of course, after a 15 minute walk and a 2,5 hour brunch, some sitting and hanging around and looking fabulous was in order.

To be fair, we looked like very cool Europeans sitting on the steps in front of that bigass church.

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We decided to take a quick joyride on the Champs Elysées and the infamous and incredibly chaotic roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe as we blasted Jay Z’s Tom Ford from our car. It was all great fun.IMG_4173To end a perfectly relaxed weekend abroad, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower without GPS (“Do you see it yet?” “I think we’re getting close.” “There it is!”). We planted our tired asses on the ground and lounged between the tourists and Parisians, who were – how very cliché – drinking wine and eating cheese. 
IMG_4177Another quick dinner of hamburgers, nachos and lots of laughs, and it was already time to once again say goodbye to this beautiful yet chaotic and slightly smelly city. Greeted by a beautiful sunset, we dragged our tired and Sephora-laden asses to the Gare du Nord to speed back to our real Belgian lives, our brains still flooded with memories of Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Nicki Minaj.
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