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Last November, me and my family ebmarked in a short trip to Paris for my birthday. We left Friday night and returned Monday night.

 

I'd planned the whole trip in my head for the month prior, from what I'd wear, to what I'd eat and the pictures I wanted to take. Obviously, most things didn't go as I expected, something that paradoxically I was already expecting. However there was one thing I wasn't going to give up on: to have a deliciously parisien croissant on my birthday. And so on Monday, we left our picturesque apartment (one of the things that was just like I wanted it to be!) in the morning, in search of the best croissants in town. I had noted down a few of the most famous ones, but as we were heading to Le Marais the options were narrowed down to two: Miss Manon and Pôilane. We found the first one in the blink of an eye, only to find it closed... We carried on looking for the latter with me starting to get a bit unmotivated, but cheered by the cozy and comforting environment of the neighbourhood (a must visit if you're planning to go to Paris!). Unfortunately, it turned out Pôilane was also closed on Mondays. At this point I was sure my croissant endeavor had just blatantly failed (you must understand I am deeply emotional about croissants). It was a few corners ahead we finally found an open bistro, Le Voltigeur. As we approached it, I took a fast glance inside to find a table full of out-of-the-oven croissants just by the door. It was love at first sight, although only just the beginning. 

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We sat on a table by the window and asked for three croissants and a pain au chocolat for my dad. By the counter, crates of fruit had me ordering an orange juice as well. My sister opted to have her croissant with jam--not homemade, but just as delicious. If you haven't introduced Bonne Maman products to your life, you have been missing out! And as for the star of the show--the croissant--it was probably the best I had in my entire life and trust me, I'm a PhD when it comes to those. It was just and flaky and buttery as it's supposed to be, yet light and overall as yummy as it gets.

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But the irony is that I unintentionally ended up in a classic parisien café just like the ones I pictured in my daydreaming before the trip. The kind with stacks of books and smart looking people, big windows and sits outside with blankets for you to wrap in as you enjoy and take in Paris in all its glory. It's funny that while I was looking for acclaimed, fancy cafés that would be far from my imagination I ended up finding exactly what I was looking for, away from the tourist hustle and bustle and the overpriced goods. The lesson to take from here is: more than travelling, we should do some exploring. Forget the maps and the guides, trust our gut and just be in those places, going wherever they take us. I think that's the best way to truly know someplace new.

 

I doubt either Miss Manon or Pôilane can possibly have a croissant better than that one, but I will not mind testing it out so long as it means another trip to Paris ;)

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