• Medha Bhagat for POLYCHROME

Inspiring us: Paris

My first trip to Paris was initially a thought to be reckoned with. Months before my friend and I were due to fly to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the upcoming trip seemed like a distant dream. As the time approached for me to go, the anticipation was nearly overwhelming. During my time there I experienced many hardships, learned about a beautiful culture, and made new friends.

To me Paris was every bit as inspiring as I had hoped and more.

Eiffel Tower

image sources: Medha Bhagat

A new way of thinking and designing

As a Fashion Design major studying in the USA, I knew Paris would be the ideal place to further my studies since it is widely considered the center of the Fashion world. I chose to take the leap and study there the Fall semester of my Junior year because I wanted to learn about Haute Couture and expand my design skills. I attended the Paris American Academy, which is located in the 5th Arrondissement - also known as the Latin Quarter. During my time there I learned about Fashion from professors who were couturiers at famous fashion houses as well as an amazing costume designer, Anne, and a self-made fashion designer Xavier Brisoux. At the Academy I learned the foundation of knowledge that a couturier at a haute couture fashion house would know; we were taught how to sew everything by hand which included embellishments as well as full garments. I also learned to expand my mind and think outside the box in regards to my own methods for designing garments, which was an excruciating but enlightening process.

Paris American Academy

image sources: Paris American Academy

Macaroons

Food obsessed As much as it pains me to tell you this, my studies kept me working long hours and although I would have liked more time to just act like a tourist and see the sights, I spent the majority of my time at the Academy including some weekends. However, this never stopped my friend and me from going crazy over food - we were in PARIS after all! The street where we lived had many restaurants and bakeries which we passed by on our way to school. Every Monday for lunch I would go to this small pizza place where they made the best paninis I have ever had. The owner was so sweet, he would give us lollipops every time we stopped by.

If you are wondering: "what about dessert?!", this bad boy you see right here was a ginormous raspberry macaroon I had instead of a cake for my birthday. I'm going to spare you the anguish of seeing me eat this macaroon. There were two great bakeries on our street. The bakery where I got my first macaroon in France also happened to sell the best baguettes ever as well as these dark chocolate chip cookies called Les Douceurs de Port Royal.

Nutella Cappuccino in Paris YUM

The other bakery on our street was called L'epi d'Or and they sold the most amazing Nutella cappuccino - I have to say after drinking this I can't drink Starbucks cappuccinos anymore.

To my surprise there was a McDonalds near us and I was actually able to eat a proper meal there. Being a vegetarian in a general is difficult when many restaurants offer mostly meat. In America I can't order a burger in McDonalds, but in France I could and I was very happy. There are vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants in Paris but I did not happen to not go to any of them; that being said I had no problem eating pasta! Since we spent a majority of each day at the Academy, my friend and I would end up making dinner at our apartment which mostly consisted of pasta. The local markets are extremely different compared to the ones in the States, they are a lot smaller and separated by categories of fruit, veggies, meat, and cheese. There are a few stores such as Franprix and Monoprix which are similar to large markets in the States. There was also an open air market where people sold fresh produce; this is where we got all of our cheese. Outside of our busy little street we wanted to try traditional French food, but with my diet restrictions there wasn't a lot I could eat. Luckily a friend introduced us to this amazing fondue restaurant, and after having fondue I'm officially obsessed.

I hope I didn't make you too hungry because you will want to keep reading about what else I discovered in Paris...

Fashion inspired