In exploring a foreign country, I find it a different and more pleasurable experience when I’m able to stay with local residents so that I may be able to better observe their life and culture. And I definitely learned a lot more visiting my cousin’s family than if I stayed in a hotel.

Their apartment is just a quick walk from the Trocadero where you get the best view of the Eiffel Tower. Imagine that? Being able to go to the Trocadero anytime you want to soak in the majestic view of the Eiffel Tower! I had a wonderful time just hanging out there and sketching to my heart’s content – with the pool and its exhibition fountains providing a refreshing atmosphere! I even enjoyed watching young teenagers do stunts on their skateboards and welcomed other tourists who requested that I take their pictures.

the Eiffel Tower as seen from the Trocadero

Les Invalides as seen from the Trocadero

The photo below is one of the many views from my cousin’s apartment – all of them very interesting! I’m not sure though if I’m ever going to be used to having to ride an elevator every time I want to go in and out of the apartment. I find it very cold and impersonal – of course, one can always use the stairs, all four flights! But how can one complain when every morning, it’s very easy to just go down to your local bakery and buy fresh croissants for breakfast and then move on to the flower shop next door for some fresh flowers to help brighten the day? The post office, bank, pharmacy, and grocery store are all also just a quick walk away! How convenient!

view from my cousin's apartment

Now I’ve often wondered about city-dwellers – how inconvenient is it to buy a week’s worth of groceries? My kitchen is just a few paces away from my garage and I still find it cumbersome to unload groceries! Well I found out that in major stores in Paris, if you buy at least 50€ worth of groceries, they will deliver your goods to your place for free! Awesome!

Here are more photos, most of which were taken at Boulevard Saint-Michel in the Latin Quarter of Paris – a lively and fun place to explore! If you’re into old books, definitely check out the bouqinistes along the banks of the Seine River near Saint-Michel. One thing though that discouraged me to explore these stalls as much as I would have loved to was that most of the old books were individually plastic-wrapped – kinda impossible to flip through the pages.

Oh this is also where I went with my cousin to buy school books for her kids. It is a 15-minute drive from her apartment but it took us 30 minutes to find parking! Crazy!

I got well-acquainted with the Paris Metro during my stay. And I discovered that lots of interesting things happen in the Metro. (As I posted on Facebook one time) I took the Metro one morning, and I usually sit near the door of the train so that when it gets crowded, I can easily get out. On the next stop, two guys in grey suits carrying a small amp walked in. After striking a pose for a few seconds, they started dancing – right in front of me! I thought that was awkward. But it got worse! They started stripping – just inches away from me! They were down to their boxers when I decided to jump out on the next stop even though it wasn’t my destination yet. And what do you know? When I took the next train, two guys with the same act went in with me! That’s all I’m saying – lol!

Anyways, these photos below are of one of the metro stops in the Franklin Roosevelt station and by far the best-looking I’ve encountered – really cool! Makes you want to dance!