A Broader Perspective: The City of Light


A Broader Perspective: The City of Light


Obviously, there was no way I could study abroad in France and not take at least one trip to Paris. Although, after the incredibly shocking and terrifying attacks on November 13th, the tone of my early December trip was somewhat changed.

You can imagine Paris would be one of the most bustling areas in the world around Christmastime, but when my friends and I arrived, the streets certainly felt emptier than usual. Despite this somberness, it’s nearly impossible to detract from the beauty of this timeless city. There’s something about Paris that transports you to a different world. Its atmosphere somehow has the ability to make the iconic feel personal, as you walk among grand yet recognizable sites.

One of the most memorable moments for me was trying to navigate our way to the Eiffel Tower. Fresh off the train, we headed in what we hoped was the right direction. We crossed street after street, not entirely sure of our way. It seemed we might have strayed from the path until suddenly, we turned a corner, and there it was. There was no mistaking that we’d found the right spot, as the glorious tower greeted us from across the green. Naturally, a photo shoot followed, and I didn’t even mind feeling like a classic tourist among the other couples there trying to get the perfect selfie. Even though it was my second time at Le Tour Eiffel, I still got butterflies in my stomach standing in front of it.

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In addition to its sites, Paris is a huge center for cultural activities. My travel buddies and I had specifically gone on the trip to see La Bayadère by the Paris Opera Ballet. Unfortunately, the performance took place in the newer Opera Bastille Theater, which is much less resplendent than the company’s alternate venue, the Palais Garnier. However, I still enjoyed the world class dancing of the Paris Opera’s members and was truly blown away by their brilliant technique. If you’re a fan of dance, this is definitely something you won’t want to miss. Although, if (when?) I return to Paris in the future, I would certainly aim to be at the Palais Garnier.

Another thing I won’t pass up the next time I’m in Paris is the restaurant Le Soufflé. While many other cities I visited while abroad impressed me with their outdoor markets, the sit-down places really had my heart in Paris. Le Soufflé offered a three-course lunch menu, complete with a glass of wine, salad, a savory entrée soufflé, and a sweet soufflé to finish. I opted for red wine to pair with my “Henry IV” Soufflé, which consisted of a rich chicken and mushroom sauce over a warm cheese soufflé. During the meal, I had a flashback to my AP European History teacher telling our class that Henry IV proclaimed he would put “a chicken in every pot” of each French home. The cleverness of the name only added to the delicious flavor of my entrée. For dessert, everyone at the table opted for a chocolate and pear soufflé, which came with extra melted chocolate on the side to pour at our own discretion. The texture and sweetness of this last course was absolutely on point. At the end of the lunch, we were breathless from all the food, but extremely satisfied. I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone traveling to Paris.


There are also plenty of other foods to enjoy in the city. While not typically French, L’As du Fallafel offered some of the freshest falafel I’ve tasted. The chickpea fritters came out so piping hot that I nearly scorched my mouth, but because of the delicious flavor, I hardly minded. If you’re looking for classics, there are plenty of options too. Our last meal at the restaurant A la Biche au Bois consisted of escargot—snails in a pesto, butter sauce—and Coq au Vin—a hearty chicken stew. This very French dinner was the perfect way to end the trip.

I hardly feel like Paris needs recommendation as a travel destination, but in case anybody is on the fence about it, I have one word of advice: Go!

Nicole Luo

Photo(s) Courtesy of: Nicole Luo


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