I’m In My Element

For our fourth day in Paris I finally got to visit Verlet café, the oldest coffee shop in the city. This is where the famous Coco Chanel used to go to, and the shop is known for its rare Indonesian coffee. According to my professor, a cup of this espresso would be triple the price in the United States, but in Paris it’s only three euros. The coffee beans used for this drink are actually collected after cats poop them out because they can’t digest them. I wanted to be adventurous and try this rare coffee, regardless of the nasty story behind it. It tasted slightly sweeter than regular espressos. I normally never go for espressos, since I love sweet and sugary iced coffees, but new things are always worth trying.

Nguyen, Dana; Paris, France - I'm In My Element, Fresh ham, salad and fruit from Porte de Clignancourt

Fresh ham, salad and fruit from Porte de Clignancourt

After visiting the coffee shop we went shopping at a flea market called the Porte de Clignancourt. I’m so glad my professor took us here because we would have never discovered it otherwise. Flea markets like these are located in the more ghetto areas of Paris, so it’s definitely far from being a tourist attraction. However, once you walk past these areas you’ll enter a world full of the finest vintage and antique treasures. Within this flea market are numerous vintage costume and furniture stores that many people from the fashion industry visit. Here, they search for inspirations or props and costumes for movies. This was basically like heaven for me because I grew up on thrift shopping and love searching through piles and racks of old rubbish for cheap but high quality products. This was a place where we were supposed to bargain so we got a lot of really good deals. I actually bought a vintage paisley Vogue tie for my boyfriend at five euros and a vintage fashion illustration for my best friend at twelve euros. Inside the flea market we even saw a mini fashion exhibit filled with the most beautiful lingerie displays. Pink, red, white and black lacey and sheer pieces were hung in different romantic settings. For lunch I had a really good arugula, mozzarella and tomato salad. It also came with fresh melon and cold soup, which was so refreshing. Overall, I loved this flea market so much, and wished I had more time to explore it. Five hours is definitely not sufficient, and I think next time I’ll need the entire day.

To end my long and adventurous day, one of my friends and I visited the Eiffel Tower and then we went back to the hotel to grab dinner. I ended up getting a meal plan at a local café near our hotel. This café has a wide range of the most delicious desserts and pastries, and it’s actually the place where the girls and I ended up eating breakfast at every morning. For dinner I had a sandwich, a passion fruit and raspberry tart and some peach iced tea for less than eight euros. As a result, the day couldn’t have possibly been any better.

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