July 29th, 2009 29th


General Updates

It might seem that I have lost the spark for translating my thoughts into blog posts as of late. While it is true that It has been difficult to find the motivation to dedicate the time to do so as oppose to any other activity, my passion and observation has only gotten more intensive over time. I thought it would be a good idea to fill everyone in with the general updates so that we’re all on the same page.

The end of the Parisian dream

Sad but true story. I head back to the City Victorious on August 9th, for good. The thought of parting is so sad that I prefer not to discuss it much. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to returning to my nest – there have been one too many experiences that I have had to handle single-handedly, and it’s comforting to know that I will make the trip back to the motherland shortly

French classes and language

My last French class was after the first week of July. After that, due to travel plans and the likes, I took time off. Seeing that there was little time left and a lot to get done and see, I have decided not to enroll in further courses. Having said that, I am proud to say that my French is at a developed stage. I have no problems communicating in general. And while I cannot have profound friendships exclusively in the language of romance, I maintain acquaintances and everyday friendship in French. I was confident that I would be able to improve, but I was hopeful I’d reach fluency. Unfortunately, I’m nowhere near fluent, but as a good enough stage to build on in the future.

Visits and trips

Both my sisters Nora and Nevine came to the second capital of love for a week, before all three of us took the Eurostar to London to spend five days with Amr. It was refreshing to have a family reunion, and as always, a whole lot of fun. It was very interesting to try to present the city to my sisters. We grew in the same place back home, and everyone has grown in his or her own way. Apparently, areas like Barbes are not as appealing to everyone as they are to me!

London was cool as well. It’s great when you visit a town such as London with tourism the last thing on your mind. Because you begin to use it as a means to an end, a different perspective than what we’re used to as foreigners in any given country.

Following the family reunion, I made a much-awaited trip to Madrid. I could proudly declare that it was a huge success, in every single way. I was very clear on what it is I was looking for in that trip, it was by no means a regular visit. I saw most of the people I wanted to see, I visited all of the areas that have huge sentimental significance for me, and got to carry out all the activities I was optimistically hoping for.

New website

As many of you know, I have launched a revamp of my website and portfolio at http://www.tarekshalaby.com/ after weeks of non-stop work. The most difficult aspect of building a new website is not so much the initial phase as it is the maintenance. In order to drive traffic, gain credibility, and be exposed to potential clients, I have had to be extremely active, and that is precisely what I have been doing. Between the constant design and technology blog posts, the accompanying tweets, and the design and development enhancements, I’ve been dedicating overwhelming amounts of time.

The good news is that all of the hard work paid off. I had signed up to be featured in CSS galleries (websites that display the best websites across the internet for people to see as example of exceptional design and development) and got featured. In fact, at the time of writing, tarekshalaby.com has been featured in 18 CSS galleries, including big guns such as CSS Mania and CSS Drive. I’m obviously very proud of the achievement, and I hope it helps me become an exclusively freelance web designer.

The everyday life

Generally speaking, especially with the projects and the new website, I have been spending the majority of the days at home working, and the evenings/nights in the streets of Paris. In fact, I have not rejected a single plan of any outing. I make sure I take full advantage of the city, no matter the cost. Therefore, whenever there is a chance to meet and do any activity, I always took part. In many cases, going back home at the early hours of the following day.

I think it’s been great, although it has somewhat changed the second half of the experience as more of a vacation with a part-time job. Fine by me, my priority is to learn the language, and become as familiar as possible with the city.

The final days

I’ll be sure to do some of the activities that I never got around to doing before I take off. I also plan to be making some blog posts before time is up, as much as possible. Whenever a dream is coming to an end, it’s hard to remember just how lucky you are for achieving it. I know in my mind that I shouldn’t be depressed that I’m leaving, but try telling that to my heart. C’est la vie

June 26th, 2009 26th


Amreeka With Dahshan: A Must-See

A couple of days ago I went with my Egyptian friend Mohamed el Dahshan to see a Palestinian movie about a mom and her son migrating to the United States. It would be very difficult for me to justly portray Amreeka so that you can get a good idea of what it’s about, but it’s suffice to say that you absolutely have to watch it. I was really amazed by it, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. Director Cherien Dabis & Co put forward a movie so realistic, that it is very difficult to remember that you’re sitting in a movie theater watching a screening.

Amreeka, The MovieThe movie starts in the West Bank where a Christian family is going through the daily hell of the occupied territories, until they receive the immigration letter that allowed them to move to the US. That’s when it takes you through the period of settling in with their extended family, and taking in the huge cultural gap between the two countries. The movie is mainly in Arabic, although I would say a good third of it is in English (sometimes even mixing the two – which made it much closer to reality). So watch it in its original version with subtitles (many movie theaters here, and throughout Europe, dub the movies, and that would take away the beauty of it).

Many movies fail to capture the differences of opinions within Arabs and Palestinians regarding the Israeli occupation. In fact, there is a significant crowd who’d advocate that the Palestinians abroad have pretty much the same mentality. Well, one of the strongest aspect of this film in particular, is the fact that you have a wide range of Palestinians, each with their own influences and thought processes. While they are all unanimously against the Israeli occupation (as is the entire world, except for the US), and they equally enjoy Arab food, there are quite a few significant differences between them.

I leave you with that. The best way to learn more about the movie is to actually watch it. Since we went on a Tuesday night, the tickets for students are at 5 Euros and change (compare with standard 10 Euro fee), and Dahshan was kind enough to invite me, since I’m kind of stripped on cash right now!

I wish everyone can see it so we can talk about it. The conversation that followed with Dahshan was very intriguing, but I think that would’ve been the case anyway, because he’s quite the intellectual, intelligent guy.

June 19th, 2009 19th


History In The Making


I’m left speechless as I attempt to re-live Egypt’s historical victory against World Champions Italy in the Confederations Cup last night. Following a quality performance against Brazil in the first match, the Pharaohs took African football to the next level, becoming the first ever side from the black continent to beat the Azurri. And what a victory it was!

Egypt vs Italy

I witnessed history being re-written at a bar near Place Monge with Alberts, Jose (pronounced: err-kho-thei) and Rocio. What a night! I had picked up Jose and Rocio from the airport yesterday morning, they’re here from the weekend, visiting from Utrera (an authentic, ancient town near Sevilla). They showed immediate interest in watching the spectacle. While Alberts thought it was a good opportunity to pay me back for all of the Barca games that I had watched with him and the Catalans!

I was the only Egyptian at the bar, as you might’ve imagined. In fact, I was the only one closely following the game (and not really hiding my emotions), proudly boasting my Egyptian national team jersey with the six stars, representing the number of times we have been crowned African champions. My new Egyptian friend, Mohamed el Dahshan, who I met through Paris-Blog-activist Ruth Pimentel, tagged along as well (although a few minutes AFTER the game was over). Immediately after, I took off to the other airport, Charles de Gualle, to meet my originally Valenciano but realistically Egyptian friend Toni Bolinches, who’s also here for the weekend.

The funny part was while I was on the way to pick up El Bolinches. The RER made stops that weren’t schedule, until they decided that the train is not going any further, and that everyone has to get off and catch the bus. I’m not sure how they justified it to themselves, but there weren’t any French complaining. Instead of taking me 40 mins to get there, I arrived to a stranded Bolinches in over an hour and a half. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I were trying to catch a flight.

Anyway, as I was about to get on the bus, one of the station organizers, standing at the entrance to the bus, said “Essalamu 3aleiko” (after noticing that I had the Egyptian shirt on), and so I jumped at the opportunity to express my joy, and went on in Arabic about our historical victory against the world champions. He said that he had watched the match as well, and was extremely happy for us. But then he dared to make the blasphemous move of saying “But against Alegria, you can’t win. You can’t beat us”.

Immediately after, there was a sudden silence as my ear-to-ear smile instantly changed to a serious frown. It was a look of a gangster who is about to pull up a gun and shoot the guy’s brains out. The poor Algerian’s face was converted to a look of fear and deep concern. His jaw dropped, his eyes wide-open, and his head slowly but surely turning away in an attempt to save his life. My hungry face was literally 10 centimeters from his, as he started to feel my fuming body heat. Seconds later, we both burst out loud into outrageous, obnoxious, Arab-style laughter and gave each other a symbolic fair-play hug that sent peace and love vibrations to the entire region.

I was still laughing by myself on the bus. And then I started getting into the vicous cycle of calculating how Egypt can make it to the World Cup, and that was sad. Regardless, a revolutionary win, an incredible achievement. Mabrouk to the seven thousand years of Egyptian civilization.

June 16th, 2009 16th


Les Beaux Gosses With Alberts

Today I went to see my first French movie at the cinema. On Mondays and Tuesdays, Mk2 (a chain of cinemas found everywhere) have a special offer where if your under 26, you get to see a movie for 3.90 Euros! Compare to the regular 10-Euro fare, and you’d understand where the excitement is coming from.

My friend Alberto Estrada, from Barcelona, had called me up so that I can help him look at laptops and what not. As a good Egyptian, I got to the store where we were going to meet at 20:07. Besides the fact that we had arranged to meet at 19:00, and thus I was over an hour late, the store Surcouf shuts at 20:00. So wasn’t the most efficient of evenings, but that OK. We went for amazing Lebanese food instead, and Alberts (that’s what I call him – to me it sounds very Catalan to say it that way, but to them I just sound stupid) did something a true Catalan would NEVER do and actually paid for dinner. So I would like to take the opportunity via my personal Paris blog to express my official appreciation to the Catalan people for being able to produce at least one person who goes against the stereo-type! (For those of you who aren’t aware of the stereo-types out there, Catalans are known, and proven, to be some of the most stingy people around). Seriously, though, having amazing Lebanese food, paid for by Alberts, definitely made my day.

Les Beaux GossesBack to today’s movie. We saw an American-Pie-style film taking place at a high school in France. The idea is to get some laughs out of it, and that we did. There were obviously a lot of things that I couldn’t really follow (lots of slang and speedy talk), but I’m glad to have been able to hang on to the huge majority of events.

It’s incredibly funny, and shockingly disgusting at the same time. French cinema, you see, doesn’t care too much about revealing scenes that no one finds attractive, and many find offending, even. However, having said that, it gave the movie an interesting twist.

The main character is basically the typical loser who’s horrible with girls and is far from motivated. Surrounding him, were many characters that brought interesting twists to the story. Like his mother, for example, who enjoys involving herself in everything her son does, and his friends at school, who make him seem more or less normal.

It’s a clever comedy that’s very entertaining until the last 20 minutes or so, when they run out of ideas for ending the movie properly. Still, though, it’s definitely worth the trip (even if it weren’t for 3.90!).

So on a night when I was supposed to help my friend with his new laptop investment, I got a free Lebanese dinner, and saw a French comedy at the Mk2. Not bad, eh?

June 15th, 2009 15th


Back On Track?

Not quite…but getting there, that much is true.

It’s hard to find the motivation to write when everything suddenly becomes insignificant. It’s tough to look up, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or even occupy yourself with other things. But there’s no other way out, this is the only route.

I’ll take this opportunity to give you all a quick update on what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks. Well, the whether has been miserable. We get some nice and much-needed sunshine every once in a while, but frequently enough, I feel a bit confused as to why London has been unanimously voted as the city with the the saddest whether. I think the French capital should claim a bit of the fame, but that’s not very important as far as my experience is concerned.

In my French class I’ve been bumped a level (ie a month’s worth of classes) because my current level was canceled and the teacher thought I’m better off going to the level above. It’s good and bad. I mean, it’s finally refreshing to be in a classroom with people who can express themselves well, but I feel I’ve been jumping too many levels for my own good. My language base is nowhere near top notch, so I’m going to have to find the motivation to go over the basics on my own sometime soon. Today was my first day in B2, and the instructor, Lucie Marquer, has left an incredible impression – I’m really excited about the class. It’s come at a good time, as I had been losing motivation for learning the language as of late.

I had signed off the two big projects I carried with me from Egypt, and have been working on some freelancing with a couple of European clients. Things are pleasing in general, my only concern is that I do not have enough projects to guarantee me the income I need to survive till next month. But it somehow seems to work every time, so I’m not too worried.

For the last month or so, I have been working intensively on my new personal website www.tarekshalaby.com. I guess for me, designing is an effective approach to releasing stress and lots of negative emotions stored inside me, and I’m actually quite happy with the outcome. The website is complete, and you can see it, but I won’t be publicly announcing it and try to steer traffic towards it until a couple of days from now. It’s always good to be in private beta for a short while, just to make sure everything goes smoothly and according to plan. I’m hopeful my new website will help generate the necessary income I need for the coming period.

I also got some injuries, which led me to pay a visit to the doctor, but that’s a whole story on its own that merits a dedicated post. The bottom line is that I’m not screwed, but I’m not doing so well either. But I’m going to have to wait till I’m back in Egypt to get proper treatment.

I’ve also reached some conclusions regarding friendships with Europeans (especially people from the North), albeit not so positive ones. But I just realize how living in Cairo made me forget how many “friends” are like in the West. Thank God I’m going back home within a couple of months. I would never be able to live in the West indefinitely. Although you can always find the right people, I guess, no matter where you are.

VISITS! Definitely gave me a boost. Ruth Pimentel and Dani Ortiz were in Paris for eight days – had a blast. I’ve added the photos they sent me to the photo gallery page so that you can check them out. Also TONES, officially names Tony Haddad, was in the second capital of Love for about four days, and I think I’ve laughed more than during my entire stay! This kid never fails to overwhelm you, in every way! If laughter is the best cure, then Tones merits a PhD!

So this is the post that will hopefully act as a catalyst to get me back to writing regularly. Bare in mind that I wish to do the same with my new personal website, only focusing on design and technology. So I might be a bit like dust in the wind right now, waiting to see where events take me, but soon enough, I’ll be back in the driving seat.

May 28th, 2009 28th


Fluctuat Nec Mergitur

“Tossed by the waves, but does not sink”

That’s the rough translation of the motto of Paris. On a historical level, the city slogan bares a lot of meanings. Its roots go back to the Roman times when the river Seine was home to prosperous commerce and trade that took place in the heart of the French capital. On a personal level, the significance goes way deeper that I would ever be able to communicate through a blog post.

It’s been three weeks since I have translated my thoughts into digital ink to be displayed for the world wide web to access, three weeks. Losing such a vital aspect of myself is no cup of tea, and attempting to share the pain with the hope of an accurate depiction is unjust. They say you never truly appreciate something until you lose it, and in many cases that is spot on, but not this time around. They also say that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger…Well, we’ll just have to hope that this is true, because if it’s not, than the logic of this world has completely lost me.

Depression, loneliness, fear, and restlessness, are nothing but words that we human beings have invented as part of a language that is used to make others understand our situation. The idea is to be able to communicate to another human-being how you feel, and what it’s like. If you pause to think about it for second, you’d instantaneously realize that the actual thought of transporting feelings via a combination of predefined sounds is absurd. If we don’t have a clue how feelings work, how on Earth do we expect others to share them with us? We are so limited by our language, that we have given up on properly communicating, and are settling for the general categorization of situations.

When you wake up every morning with a physical pain in your chest, no one feels it with you. When you feel you have no motivation to get up and join the evolutionary chain of production, no one stays back with you. When you get sudden attacks of intensive sadness out of the blue, there’s no one to blame, nor witnesses to confirm. Whatever you do, whatever happens to you, no one will ever come close to re-living the same experience. So what do we do, as animals looking to become the fittest for survival? We use a stock of words available for free, group them together, and toss them to our closest people. And what do they do? Well, their situation isn’t an easy one. On the one hand, they clearly understand that it is something they would’nt want to experience. On the other, they realize that it’s an experience they need to share. So the easy way out, is to approach it from a personal point of view, and compare it with previous experiences that were very similar. While that sounds like the logical solution, no one has the slightest of clues as to how each person has his or her own feelings. But we are so narrow-minded and focused on moving on, that we settle for the least.

To say that the past few weeks have been the most difficult of my life would be a simple way of describing a complicated era. When you’re sick, you do everything you can to improve. When you’re REALLY sick, and there’s nothing that can be done, you sit back and closely follow the progress until you’re up and running again. In which case, the slightest of improvements works as a catalyst to elongate the patience, which in turn is required for the process to be complete.

In my current situation, none of the above apply. You think you feel better one day, only to find out a little later that you’re worthless. You start enjoying life, only to wake up with physical and mental pains enough to end the day before it starts. You witness a bit of improvement, but enough damage afterwards to take you to a worse point than when you started. There’s no pattern, and there’s no use looking for one. You don’t know how long it’ll last, nor what it is you can do to help. You know nothing, and you’re only as good as what you know.

Despite the seemingly impossible obstacle, I’ve come out a lottery-winner with a family’s solid backing, and friends to make the happiest of people seriously jealous. Very few people on this planet have what I have, and it’s times like this when you realize that even though you’re not as strong as you had previously taken for granted, you have the people to get you through it. It’s not the end of the world, not even close, and while my friends and family are around, I’m not planning on giving up anytime soon.

I came to Paris to live a dream, and I might have bitten off more than I can chew. Nevertheless, it is here, in Paris, that I have reached a record low point, but it is also here, in Paris, where I will pick myself up, and experience the bonheur. This city will be the transition, the pivotal point the swings all the way down, only to come back up again – and to a higher point than before. It’s the stage where the act will take place, and where the performance will be boosted by the crowd. In a way, I’m in a unique situation that will allow me to experience an authentic, intensive, and rewarding Paris. It is a crucial part of my life, and where else can you present such an exceptional spectacle than the second city of love?

I’m tossed, bullied and constantly threatened by the waves, that much is true. But one thing’s for sure, and it’s that my boat will not sink.

May 9th, 2009 09th


Paris The Small City

When you think of Paris, one of the first things that comes to mind isĀ  “metropolitan area”. No one doubts the size of the French capital, it’s got to be one of the biggest cities in Europe, and probably one of the biggest cities in the entire world.

Surprisingly, though, if you take into consideration the entire urban area surrounding the city, the total population is around 10 million habitants. That would not even place it in the top 20 cities world-wide. Moreover, if you look count what is the “city” without the suburbs, then the total population is a mare 2.1 million! That means there are more people in my part of Cairo, the all of main Paris combined. Shocking, huh?

When people refer to the city Paris, they tend to be talking about the 20 arrondissements:


That cover the entire area inside the surrounding ring road, also known as the peripherique.

Despite it’s relatively small size and belittled population, the more time you spend here, the bigger it seems. I went out for a walk earlier today, and started heading in different directions in an attempt to cover new areas that I hadn’t previously visited. I’ve been thinking about this topic recently, and today’s walk made me confirm my theory: Paris seems like a gigantic city because practically EVERYWHERE you go, you’ll find shops, restaurants, bars, supermarkets, bus stops, metro stations, benches with people sitting on them, creperies, fast food chains, and the list goes on. That’s what makes this place so special, anywhere you chose to go, you’re in for an adventure, you will be embarking on a journey to a beautiful lively area with endless possibilities.

I’ve lived my whole life in Cairo, and have become intolerant to small cities and towns. In fact, any place with less than a million habitants is too small for me to spend a long time at. But that is always based on the assumption that the interesting part is only a small portion of the overall size of the city. Cairo, for me, is the best city in the world, but the majority of the city does not offer anything of special interest to any visitor. But since it’s gigantic, there are several areas one can visit.

Madrid is another example. With a population around 5 million, the Spanish capital seems a lot smaller than Paris, even though it’s twice its size. That’s because, as beautiful as it may be, the area where you can spend time in Madrid are probably in the region of 30% of the overall size of the city (a percentage that I would say is considerably high). Otherwise you’re in residential areas, boring neighborhoods, quiet streets, etc.

Here’s the map of Madrid with the same om level and image size of that of Paris. Even though with Paris we could see the entire city and beyond, with Madrid, there’s a significant portion that you can’t see at all.


Paris, on the other hand, is completely different. I would say that based on my short time here, close to 90% of the area inside the peripherique would be considered as nice areas to walk around, eat, have a drink, or just sit on a bench and observe. It’s rare to come across areas that don’t offer anything of interest. In fact, that is yet to happen to me (bare in mind, however, that nothing would scare me here. If anything, people might be scared of me – I’m the young Arab male).

When you take a path, a part of you feels guilty for leaving out the other, because it’s at least as beautiful as the current one. You never feel comfortable enough to claim that you know a certain area, because there’s got to be a few blocks knocked off your radar, and that would potentially mean intriguing hotspots that are left undiscovered.

That’s the beauty of this place. That’s the real magic of Paris.

May 9th, 2009 09th


French TV: First Impression

I have a nice setup in my room here in Paris. My roommate Saam is away for a couple of weeks, so I’ve taken the router into my room and have everything connected here.

So first of all, there’s the N9uf ADSL router bringing high-speed internet. Then I have 3 ethernet cables coming out of it: one for the Mac Mini (I can do wifi, but it’s a lot faster with the cable, when this should NOT be the case), another for the Iomega multimedia HD hard drive (1 TB), where I have all of the entertainment and backup stored (whenever I download anything, I move it to the hard disk via the network), and finally, the TV box provided by N9uf that brings a whole range of channels.

The TV box is connected to my 22″ LCD via an HDMI cable, because, believe it or not, there are a number of channels that are broadcasted in HD! Then I have regular speakers connected via a Y cable to get the sound out of the computer and the TV box at the same time.

So if you haven’t noticed, I’m very excited about the setup, but I’m equally excited about getting to now French TV. I’ve been flipping through the channels lately, and I’m generally not a TV guy at all, so everything to me seems to be happening really fast, and nothing really gets my attention. But for the sake of learning the language, I try to follow the programs and pick up on the tone of voice and context.

From what I’ve seen, the French seem to really enjoy game shows, I’ve seen a dozen already! That’s good because a lot of them are based on general knowledge questions. So not only do I get to learn the language, but I also get to learn about interesting facts of life.

LOTS of commercials, or as they introduce them, PUB. I’ve noticed many of the commercials are selling cream and beauty products, what’s up with that? And even though they stuff quite a number of commercials repeatedly, they announce them right before starting, and right after they’re over.

I’ve personally been enjoying the “boring” documentaries. Programs talking about “Seafood in Japan”, or “Life in Brazil” are ideal for me. Firstly, they seem to be targeting the elders, because they talk rather slow and the shots are all calm, so it allows me to follow. Secondly, I find these kind of topics a lot more interesting than all the other junk on TV. Most importantly, you can join in half way through the documentary and not worry too much, as oppose to your average daily program that has you completely lost if you’re not paying attention from the first minute.

It’s rather gloomy outside, so today might be a good chance for me to take the learning “inside”.

May 6th, 2009 06th


Exiting the Metrpolitain

There’s a lot of things that can be said about living in Paris, and there are quite a few people that have illustrated the glamor of this city over the years. There’s also no doubt that the metro is vital aspect in the Parisian culture. Entering the underground is accessing a world of its own, with its history and charm. That one thing I noticed recently, however, is that the best part of the metro is not going in, it’s actually exiting the Metropolitain.

It’s something that’s very difficult to describe. And no matter how good someone is at any given language, I would like to think that coming out of the metro in Paris is something that can only be lived and experienced. It’s this amazing rush that seems to comes out of nowhere and hits you: you’re in Paris, and this is beautiful. You’re probably still daydreaming about whatever it is you starting thinking about when you entered (and in many cases, triggered by something you’ve seen during your travel), but the moment your back at the street, it all just disappears to make way for a much bigger sensation.

The architecture of the buildings, the lights of the shops, the cafes with terraces, the people walking by….it is all condensed in an instant, and it’s over-whelming. It’s what makes this city enchanting, charming, and attractive in every way. It’s something that only the people here could understand, and the people on the outside are missing out on. It’s magical and could make your day.

Perhaps it’s one of those things that you get used to, or lose interest in over time, but I feel warm knowing that everyone who’s passed through the second city of love, has shared this experience with me.

May 6th, 2009 06th


Mes Que Un Club

Tonight was a crazy night. Those of you who follow the beautiful game will understand exactly what I mean. In the return leg of the semi final of the Champions League, FC Barcelona had traveled to London and managed to score a last-gasp goal to book their place in the final against Manchester United in Rome. There’s so much to talk about, it’s ridiculous, but I guess it’s better to leave that for another time.


The fun part of it, for a neutral like myself that doesn’t really support either team, was that I was surrounded by a large group of Catalans at a bar in Mouffetard. It’s always a lot of fun to be amidst a group of Catalan-speaking football fanatics. And with the way the match ended, the entire bar and neighborhood went WILD. Even though the main idea of living in a city like Paris is to meet and get to know Parisians, it’s still rather entertaining to spend time with a group of people like that. After the game, we all went to another nearby bar for some drinks before I headed back home.

Another striking feature of tonight was getting to know a new area of Paris: Mouffetard and Place Monge – REALLY cool area. There are cobble-stoned narrow streets with bars and restaurant left and right. More importantly, and rather surprisingly, they are (relatively) cheap, which in turn draws a lot of the university crowd, making it an even more interesting area. It’s the kind of zone that surprises you, because you realize what this city is truly capable of. There’s so much to live here, it’s over-whelming.

In an earlier post, I talked about Bip Bip Pizza, who earned my acknowledgment as the best creperie in town. While I stand by my word, I must say that he’s facing tough competition from AUP’TIT GREC. This place is famous and has people lining up to pick up crepes. Don’t bother with the sweet crepes, they’re just as good as in most other places. What makes this place special, are the salee crepes, offering various ingredients including Feta cheese, Mozzarella, and mushrooms. All crepes come accompanied by free onions, tomatoes and lettuce, converting the crepe into a full meal. To top it all off, they’re rather reasonably prices, so it’s definitely something you wouldn’t want to miss.


So I think everyone should visit the aera at one point, and pick up a egg and cheeses crepe, for example, from AUP’TIT Grec. To get there, just catch line 9 to Place Monge, walk one block down until you cross Rue du Mouffetard. Enjoy!