Blog Post #5 – La Crême de Paris

“Une crêpe sucrée avec une boule de vanille si vous plait!” This is the opener at my favorite Creperie in Paris. Adorned with white tile and pink neon, La Crême de Paris might not be a staple of the Parisian diet, but it absolutely is a favorite of mine! 

Why do I mention this creperie? This restaurant has been a reflection of the cultural growth I have sustained as a Parisian. I first visited this mythical restaurant at midnight on Fête de la Musique in 2022. I was still studying as a part of the Paris Program, and my friends and I were looking for a sweet treat after a long night of music and dancing. We walked into the warm lights of the beautiful creperie and were immediately stunned. The food was delicious and the service was good, yet I was still nervous to have these French interactions. I could not speak French as well as I can now, and I was surrounded by this assumption that all Parisians must think I am dumb. With this came a need to prove I belong. I held on to the belief that Paris was a rude city. I felt I did not belong and that I had to adopt an abrasiveness to fit in. I left Paris that summer believing it had toughened me. I had to constantly be aware of pickpockets, who are everywhere. Nobody wants to speak to me in French because my French was not worthy. I left loving the city, but only in the times, I felt I belonged.

Fast forward one year exactly. I am in the exact same place, it is midnight on Fête de la Musique in 2023. “Une crêpe sucrée avec une boule de vanille si vous plait!” The whole scene is the same, but I am not. I took this internship worrying that I would be walking in circles. Why would I go to the same place to do the same things two years in a row? Writing this in my last few days has made me realize why. I needed to understand that French rudeness is not all that rude, it is direct. I needed to understand that if I put the effort into speaking French, it will leave a positive impression nonetheless. I had to grow to understand that not everybody is a pickpocket. I grew to know that I do belong. I am never going to be center stage in Paris, but I play a role here too. Maybe it was the change in the neighborhood I had this year or the improvement in my ability with the language, but I know for certain I had set a goal to control only what I can, which is me. It did not always work. There were days that I did not understand why I could not fit in more or why I could not understand better, but by controlling what I could, I felt I belonged. Tonight I had one of my last desserts in Paris at La Crême de Paris. There I was, at the same table as the first time I was there a year ago. How far I have come. Paris can not always be sweet like a crêpe, but by worrying just about my actions, I treated every moment like the crême de la crême!