So last week was a pretty busy one!
For the first four days we had beautiful weather again, meaning lunchtimes picnics outside on the grass and at the arch, and summer dresses…bliss!
One evening after work I found the most amazing crisps in Marks & Spencer. Living in a foyer but despite having my own kitchen, I have no oven. Wandering through the crisps aisle in M&S I spotted a not-so regular flavour: buttered baked potato. I wondered whether they would really taste like it or not, but, oh my goodness, they taste exactly like a buttery jacket potato! I recommend them to anyone abroad with no oven who is missing baked potatoes!
Thursday after work I went to something the French call an “after work”…they don’t mince their words here. It was an event in a bar near Bastille, and I went with some friends to celebrate our friend’s last night in Paris – he has already finished placement year! We paid 13€ online to get a ticket which included entry, a sandwich and seven drinks between 7pm and 9pm. A bargain if you ask me! I got there just before 8pm meaning I had to drink all 7 in an hour or risk wasting money…not likely (wasting money that is!)! It was a great evening, especially since we got to see The Supermen Lovers live who were actually really good. I enjoyed it a lot!
Here is a video of the song Starlight, one of their more famous songs:
On Friday I went home to tidy a little bit before my friend Barbara came to visit from England for the weekend. She got in pretty late, but I had planned a late-night picnic for us at the Eiffel Tower so we headed straight over there after she got in and we enjoyed prosecco in pink paper cups and sausage rolls on the Champs de Mars. Unfortunately the lights on the tower were turned off at 1am, and it started to rain a little bit, but we still had a nice time! It was a bit of an adventure getting home after the Metro stopped, but we made it in the end, tired and wet from the rain.
The next day we got up and headed out around noon. First stop, Arc de Triomphe, where the tricolore has been hung and flowers laid for the unknown soldier. We then walked down the Champs Élysées, stopping in Mac and Sephora to honour a friend who wanted to come the same weekend but unfortunately couldn’t. We walked down past Grand Palais and to Concorde, and then decided to go to a famous tea house that one of my students told me about.
Angelina is a very famous tea house in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. It was established in 1903 and is best known for its hot chocolate “l’africain”. It was pretty fancy and we had to queue for 10-15 minutes or so, but when we got inside it was very grand and the service was very good. We were seated and quickly had our order taken. I had the signature hot chocolate and a fraisier and Barbara had a coffee and some fancy chocolate dessert. They were great! It was a little pricey, but you pay for the experience as well as the food and drink, so we were OK with that.
After our posh pit-stop we went to the Jardin de Tuileries and found some seats by the pond closest to the Louvre. We stayed there for a while watching the ducks, but it started to rain quite badly so we walked up to the Louvre and went into the gift shop to escape the rain and also because Babs likes gift shops. It was here that I made possibly my best purchase in Paris so far – a 2m x 1m cartoon map of Paris…that you can colour in! It is the best thing ever and I love it so much. Needless to say it’s going to take a lot of time!
After the rain stopped and we entertained ourself in the shop, we walked along the Seine to cross at the Pont des Arts and then go up to Place Saint-Michel to find some food. We went to my favourite street with all the cheap bistros and had a cheap but nice meal. Our friend joined us and had a glass of wine while we ate, and we made plans to go to hers and then go out that evening.
Later, we went back to my flat and got ready to go to Sally’s place, and on the way to Sally.s we bought some drinks. We met up with some other friends and around midnight we all went out to Bastille to find a bar. It was a good night! A little crowded and more club-y than I was expecting, but I still enjoyed myself. We stopped in a restaurant for our post-night out food and then headed our separate ways to find night buses (or in some people’s case, another bar!). Unfortunately living on the other side of the city to Bastille means a long journey home, made even longer when you get the bus in the wrong direction…which we did. We eventually decided to just wait until the Metro started up, and got home around 6am.
Because of our late night we didn’t wake up until quite late on Sunday, but we eventually got ourselves out of bed and went to find some food. The weather was really bad, which was a shame, but we still went for a little walk to get food, and then came over to La Défense so Barbara could see where I am working. Afterwards, we were both feeling the effects of our late night, so I bought some colouring pencils and we went back to do some colouring on my new poster. It was nice to spend the evening relaxing with a friend I had’t seen in a long time.
The next morning we woke up early to take Babs to the train station to get the RER to the airport. I said goodbye to her for the next five months – the next time we will see each other will be at the start of our final year at Aston! Scary and exciting!
All in all it was a fab weekend, if pretty tiring, and we now have some good memories together in Paris. I’m looking forward to the next person who will visit me, but not until after I have visited my friend John in Spain, who visited me while I was living in Sevilla last year!
Until next time,