L'as du Falafel and Giverny

Though my weekends are jam-packed with adventures around Europe (London last weekend and Florence in a few hours!), I have learned that taking advantage of every free moment during the weekday afternoons is the real way to see Paris. From the 4th district of Marais and a duck confit dinner at Le Petit Vendôme in the 2nd, to Versailles and Giverny, it's clear that we're doing our best to soak up every single minute.

Our Monday afternoon was spent wandering in the Marais neighborhood of Paris, which I had learned was the known Jewish quarter in the city. Left and right were kosher bakeries, orthodox boys and constant reminders of Israeli culture and my Jewish heritage. Memphis or Austin do not suggest any Jewish iconic symbols as you walk down those cities' streets, but something in the Marais neighborhood just made me feel like home.

Alas, we stopped at the famous L'As du Falafel. Boy, was that falafel sandwich freakin' good. And freakin' messy. Even David Lebovitz claims that “…you can’t come to Paris and not have a fallafel at L’As du Fallafel. It just isn’t done.” I really loved the combination of ingredients: a warm pita, spread of hummus, vegetable salad with cabbage and 8-9 steaming hot falafel balls. Talk about a bang for your buck, considering I only paid 7 euros for the most monstrous portion.
Yes, all four of us cleaned our plates.
On Tuesday, I entered the closest thing to heaven I had seen in a while. Literally. Giverny, a tiny town about 45 minutes outside of metropolitan Paris, holds the famed Impressionist painter Monet's home and gardens. We toured his chateau, gardens and water lily pad area in complete awe and amazement.

Words and pictures do not come close to describing the beauty of this paradise! Hannah and I wished we could stay at one of the many adorable bed & breakfasts and cottages in the surrounding area of the town. Or just live on the gardens' grounds. That would be pretty ideal, too.
Our last escapade of our three weekdays in Paris (on top of morning classes!) was Versailles. Oh, to be Marie Antoinette. She built an opera house simply because she loved the Opera and wanted to invite girlfriends over? Psh, in my dreams! 
The landscaping was unreal and went on for miles and miles. Madison, Hannah and I roamed the grounds aimlessly for hours...until we hit a rainstorm! We took shelter in Marie's estate until the "train" transportation arrived and took us back to the main building without getting us too soaked.

After touring the main chateau, the three of us stumbled upon Angelina, whose hot chocolate was on my list. I had no idea that a location existed at Versailles, but we jumped on the opportunity.
With a high of 85, we were hot...and drained. So when I saw that iced chocolate existed, I freaked. Three of those arrived at our table immediately, along with a vanilla bourbon millefeuille and berry almond torte. That torte could have easily been the most expensive dessert I have purchased, since it was the size of my small palm; but guys, it's worth it.

Cheers to another sweet week in Paris and an unforgettable weekend in Florence!