IN PARIS WITH YOU

Last weekend I visited one of my best friends in Paris, where she is now living and working for the second half of her year abroad. I think it’s pretty self-evident that my experience in Paris would have been far different and let’s face it, so much better had our terms in Paris coincided. One of the main problems that I faced in Paris was loneliness, making friends and even having enough confidence to leave my room some days. I can say without a doubt that having the bubbly, sociable butterfly that is Roz Farr there with me would have fixed all of these troubles and Paris would have been much more successful for me in different ways than it perhaps was. Anyway, enough of that and let’s get onto my little weekend break and how Paris compares as a tourist to as a demi-resident / billy-no-mates who can’t afford anything after a weekly shop and a takeout coffee nor can they really communicate very well with anybody, not that there’s anybody to communicate with etc, etc.

10 / 3 / 2018

So here’s a little about my cheeky weekend away in the city of lurrve with my best mate. I arrived at 15.30 on Saturday 10th March after a 6 hour Flixbus from Lyon. After a little miscommunication, we were finally reunited (hurrah!) and headed straight to take some cute pics on the most instagrammable street I’ve ever seen in my life, Rue Crémieux.

IMG_8503
Roz @ Rue Crémieux
IMG_8519
Dream Home

This was swiftly followed by a quick stop at the Bastille en route to a pre-dinner freshen up. We had already chosen our supper destination based on Trip Advisor reviews and mouth-watering instragrams under #eastmamma and #bigmammagroup. Nothing was exaggerated, the truffle pasta was indeed to die for and we shared a lovely bottle of wine. Get there early, especially if you’re headed there on a Saturday like us because you will have to queue to be seated or even to be put on the bookings for later that evening.

3
Roz w/ food & wine @ East Mamma

 

4
Me w/ wine @ East Mamma
Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 21.56.47
LA PÂTE À LA TRUFFE  @ EAST MAMMA

11 / 3 / 2018

We used Sunday as our main tourist-y day and set out to see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, perfect photo opportunities on a sunny day (it’s got to be done) and the Parc du Champ-de-Mars being an ideal lunch spot for a little Sunday picnic.

IMG_8548
Roz & Tour Eiffel
IMG_8549
The 80s called and they’d like my denim suit back. Tant pis!
IMG_8560
Very happy Roz w/ picnic
IMG_8580
Me w/ picnic

Our picnic spot was also the sight of my first ever real-life encounter with the well known, French cliché “c’est la vie”, though it was under slightly different circumstances than one might expect. The gentleman’s dog had decided that our picnic spot was better suited as his toilet.

IMG_8584
Roz w/ Arc de Triomphe
IMG_8619
Me @ Arc de Triomphe
IMG_8595
And again.
IMG_8611
Roz @ Arc de Triomphe 2.0
28945819_1805968022780806_1582462604_o
Looking like a Cool Coffee Mom

We spent the early evening at a café listening to some very cool jazz and got Chinese food a little later on (an experience in itself), before heading back to bed and booking a holiday to Palermo with our dear friend Emma! Although I’m  feeling that holiday hangover / weekend blues on this Tuesday evening before an early start tomorrow, I had an absolute blast this weekend AND my dad is visiting me this week! We’re even off to Geneva on Saturday, so deffo stay tuned for that – I hear it’s great.

Advertisements

TWENTY-ONE

Twenty-one kind of hit me harder than any age thus far. It’s the first time when at midnight I actually felt a little different. I suppose there is so much build-up to it. Sometimes regarded as the final truly celebratory and exciting birthday. The ultimate rite of passage in western society. But frankly, today at 21 all you can look forward to is drinking and gambling on that American road trip you probably won’t be able to afford until well into your 30s. “Having the key to the door” simply has no modern day relevance. You’ve had the key to your parents door for years and the prospect of having keys to your own home are rapidly declining and metaphorically speaking, you’re still pretty shit at adult-ing, am I right?

 But anyway, enough of that doom and gloom. My birthday weekend was simply great. My best friend and fellow birthday girl joined me here in Paris to celebrate in style! She won’t mind me saying this but I have usually just joined in on her celebrations, not having really organised anything for my own birthday since my 18th, a big meal out and then joining Hol in Manchester for my first legal night out! My 19th was again spent boogying in Manchester and last year I turned 20 at her fabulous 21st birthday party. So this year, she decided to visit me in Paris and I am so super glad that she did coz we had a blast, thank you again (and thank you so so much for my necklace, I haven’t yet taken it off).

 

10/11/2017 – France vs. Pays de Galles

Yeah, we went to a football match at the Stade de France. Ended up sitting on the French side, among die-hard not very fun fans. Oh, and Wales lost. An experience nonetheless.

 

11/12/2017 – Etre Moderne : Le MoMa à Paris @ Fondation Louis Vuitton

IMG_8003

All autumnal from the terrace.

Etre Moderne at Fondation Louis Vuitton was simply incredible. I would totally recommend a visit if you’re around Paris before it’s all shipped back across the pond. Make a day of it though because it is massive and jam-packed full of art. Spread across 4 floors and 4 different time periods, there really is something for everybody. We spent a good 3 – 4 hours in here and didn’t even make it to the basement. Food options however, poor at best.

IMG_8020Art > Grammar

IMG_8033Ronan Ondak. Measuring the Universe. 2007. Mine and Holly’s heights marked in there by a grumpy Frenchman, somewhere among all of the other average height visitors.

IMG_8044IMG_8043Bruce Nauman. Human/Need/Desire. 1983.

IMG_8059And of course, Andy Warhol. Campbell’s Soup Cans. 1962.

 

11/12/2017 cont. – Dressed up for Le Perchoir Marais and a boogie.

I had wanted to toast turning 21 at midnight at Le Perchoir Marais as it’s a rooftop bar in Paris with a beaut view. Even on a rainy, wintery November night. So, that’s what we did! We queued a little but made it in for 11.30pm, in time to purchase a bottle of champers and head to the skyline in time for the clock striking 12. I will be the first to admit, the rest of the night wasn’t quite as sophisticated. Next up was cheap pizza and disco-dancing into the early hours. Get you a girl who can do both.

 

All dolled up . . . and yes, there’s a reason that there are only two photos. Let’s say the rest didn’t make the cut.

 

12/11/2017 – Irving Penn @ Le Grand Palais

Sunday was for breakfast in bed and an ever-so-slightly hungover museum visit. Despite the long queue in hideous weather, our visit to the Irving Penn exhibition itself was great. The progression of his photography, career and life were presented super effectively through the space and obviously there were tonnes of iconic shots, which was rad.

23633173_10210655793012706_531188281_o

23633310_10210655792972705_252209017_o

Picasso by Penn. 1957.

23698751_10210655792732699_2017943975_o

This poppy here struck a chord on my first Remembrance Sunday away from home.

23714912_10210655794052732_299345184_o

What’s a celebration without messing around in a Photo Booth?

23633355_10210655792772700_109909851_o

Only took me exactly 21 years on the planet / 2 months and 9 days living in Paris to get this classic tourist shot. More pics over on my Instagram 💁🏻

WHEN MUM CAME TO VISIT

I’m a little behind on blog post plans due to my 21st birthday (belated, celebratory post coming soon), attempts at studying and working towards my TEFL (also to be discussed soon), and general laziness in all honesty. So let’s throw it back to the beginning of the month . . .

After a lovely and much needed break at home, mum flew back with me to Paris. I had been desperate to visit Versailles, so used this as the perfect opportunity to drag somebody along with me (she was more than compliant really). However, Versailles is more of a full-day / Saturday outing so on the afternoon and evening of our arrival we had a wander, and some food and wine . . . naturally. When in Rome and whatnot.

3/11/2017: MONTMARTRE WANDER & DINNER @ AMÉLIE CAFÉ

Montmartre has now twice been my go-to tourist spot to take my visitors here in Paris. We got off the métro at Pigalle, had a quick look at the Moulin Rouge and headed up to the Sacré-Cœur (mum loves a church / cathedral on holiday, it’s a well known family fact). After looking around for somewhere to eat, I suggested we check out the Amélie café as another hint that mum should watch one of my favourite films / at least one of my many viewing suggestions. We headed there and had a cheese board, chips and wine along to some lovely unexpected live music.

IMG_6642

Moulin Rouge

IMG_6641

Mumma @ Café de 2 Moulins

4/11/2017: CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES

IMG_7798

IMG_7833

Versailles was incredible. To the extent in some rooms that I really was speechless. No photo will do justice to just how absolutely huge and totally grand the Château de Versailles truly is. It’s bloody massive. Having recently rewatched the first series of the BBC’s “Versailles” and binge-watched the second, I was pining to see where all that drama, those sordid tales and the infamous wild soirées of Louis XIV went down, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Let’s allow the snaps to do the talking.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 19.52.22

La chapelle royale / The absolutely magnificent Royal Chapel

IMG_7858

IMG_7861

IMG_6777

La Galerie des Glaces / The Hall of Mirrors

IMG_6694

Le Grand Appartement du roi / The King’s Appartments

IMG_7892

IMG_7897

The Gardens

IMG_7867

Getting those IGs ft. new The Great Frog rings, Vans from my besties and nails a lot fresher than they are now.

IMG_7992

Mum looking all windswept and interesting (hope you had a great time visiting me!!)

 

STUDENT NIGHT OUT: Cardiff VS. Paris

Hourra! c’est le weekend!

I think that if any Cardiff University student is doing uni right, even if they don’t want to admit it and somewhat without their noticing, they themselves have become a connoisseur of a night out Cardiff-style. However, the same cannot be said for my partying habits in France thus far. I have been “out out” a grand total of twice. So, perhaps I am under qualified, even completely unqualified to type about the differences of a Cardiff student night out vs. a Paris student night out, but here goes regardless. These are five things I did note.

ONE: Girls aren’t pally in the loo. As with all the other points about to be made, I learnt this one from experience. Drunken compliments aren’t readily accepted, there are no drunken compliments to be received and there are certainly no toilet selfie / group shot opportunities to be taken advantage of as there are in the bathrooms of Blighty.

TWO: Every night out, even as a non-smoker, consists of several trips to the smoking area, especially in the Cardiff SU. Whether it’s to find old friends, make new ones, for the half-fresh air or the scheduled regroup and gal chat, there will be trips to “smokers”. Fumoirs (or smoking rooms) make this trip smelly, suffocating and aren’t even all that sociable.

THREE: Cardiff is cheap as Chip Alley. You will realise this more than you ever have and more than you ever will again as a student in Paris, day and night. In all fairness, this probably hasn’t been helped by the pre-drinking sessions held in bars, rather than in somebody’s grimy living room.

FOUR: Drunk food sucks. Who wants a bloody crêpe for the journey home? Not me that’s for sure. Anybody who knows me, also knows that I’m all about the cheesy chips (cheese and onion pasty and pickled onion are favourable add-ons, though not necessary. Miss u Abdul, c u next week).

FIVE: Speaking of the journey home, it’s a trek and a half for me from the centre of Paris at nighttime. So, not only is there no nipping past Family Fish Bar on the way back from the SU, there’s no “nipping” anywhere.

SIX: A club pic is a club pic. . .

22770777_1514494675266180_346558237837642731_oYOLO (lash) @ Cardiff University Students’ Union

21768799_1654657731275242_6435886014820733356_oKiss My Erasmus @ Café Oz Chatelet

BOIS de BOULOGNE: Ladies of the Day

Call me naïve, a country bumpkin. Call me what you will. But until today, prostitution was an almost abstract idea. A practice confined to BBC Three documentaries, the windows of Amsterdam and 19th century French literature. One is never really exposed to much of the sex industry in the sleepy border villages of home. When I say “never really” I mean not, and when I say “not much of” I mean none at all.

I like to think I’m fairly street smart even savvy (notwithstanding innate irrational fears and barely leaving my room after dark) but I was shocked. Completely stunned in fact. In my defence, it was hardly a subtle realisation or first encounter. It was more of a bare arse cheeked, perspex pleaser heeled and suspendered kind of realisation or first encounter. You know the sort?Two of the first three Google reviews on the Bois de Boulogne mention what a great place it is for the whole family to hang out in so again, in all fairness, I feel like I was right to be a little taken aback by the roadside “butt naked” lady of the . . . absolute broad daylight. A couple of further sightings of scantily-clad ladies, multiple parked-up white vans and a quick Google search of “Bois de Boulogne prostitutes” later and I was ever so slightly less in the dark about what on earth was going on around me. Vice was quick to inform in the following article, boldly titled in true Vice style but insightful, “Paris’ Prostitutes and Their Fabulous Trucks” (https://www.vice.com/prostitutes-trucks-bois-de-boulogne) that the park, steeped rich in a history of sex work was well known to Parisians as a modern day, ongoing “red light district”, unlit. I guess I’m not quite there on the Parisienne front, nor will I probably ever be. Having read a Zola and being halfway through Bel-Ami, both of which are social criticisms aligning social downfall with sex and littered with references to the Bois de Boulogne, I feel rather silly and a little as though it was a glaringly obvious fact, in hindsight. It’s a wonderful thing.

It all seemed such a bizarre juxtaposition. Old couples on afternoon strolls, dog walkers, and young picnicking families against a background of not only beautiful, historic woodland but also sex workers, working out of parked vans in the early afternoon. Despite France having passed a law in April of last year in an attempt to push for an end to prostitution and fight against human trafficking, and public solicitation having been outlawed since 2003, the roadside business went somewhat unnoticed by the old couples, dog walkers and young families and only really seemed daunting and bizarre to me, the bumpkin Brit abroad. Perhaps this non-reaction completely vouches for the age-old concept that the French are the most sexually liberal Europeans and have vastly different social constructs entirely when it comes to sex. On the other hand, maybe it only goes as far as to prove that I am naïve and not even a tiny bit street smart nor savvy.

Of course, the entire social and ethical issue of prostitution and sex trafficking is absolutely infinite, often so gravely serious and dangerous, that I by no means think this post does any more than scratch at the surface. However, today’s outing and experience really did get me thinking and even interested in looking much further into the subject of the “world’s oldest profession”, its history and modern day manifestations. So much so in fact that it may become the subject of my first “Year Abroad Project” to send back to Cardiff. If my plan is deemed academic enough, I think I could make it work.

 

MARVELS of MONTMARTRE: Amélie, Dalí & Artist’s Square

Being here two weeks in advance of my classes has had its tribulations.  However, it has also given me plenty of free time to do some exploring. As a hardcore fan of the film Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, Montmartre seemed like a natural and obvious place to begin. The endless steps were most definitely rewarded by the spectacular view from the Sacré-Cœur and my fangirl moment outside the Café des 2 Moulins.

7/9/2017 / Amélie Sites

IMG_7403Sacré-Cœur

IMG_7385Misty Parisien Cityscape

IMG_7423Spot the moulin!

IMG_7446Café des 2 Moulins, where Amélie works!

IMG_7448Le Moulin Rouge

 

12/9/2017 / Espace Dalí

Espace Dalí was also on my week “To Do” list. An interest (and to some extent a confusion) in Dalí and the surreal was sparked back in my French Cinema module at Cardiff last year upon watching Un Chien Andalou, a surrealist short film by Dalí and Buñel – definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it! The exhibition is kind of small but in the same way it’s intimate, thus allowing you to get around everything on offer super easily, sculpture and painting alike.

IMG_4722

« Le surrealisme, c’est moi! »

IMG_4731

« L’éternal féminin rend l’homme semblable à un crétin »

 

Artist’s Square

My visit to, and through, Artist’s Square was less orchestrated and was more of a visit en route. I was mesmerised by the artists at work and spent a good half hour walking up and down the line of portrait works, watching. I had absolutely no intention of being painted myself until I was called over by one of the men who didn’t have any work on offer, wanting to paint me “for fun” and not obliging to buy anything. Of course, not having any other plans, I thought why not? I ended up buying the painting.

IMG_4740

IMG_4749

In all honesty, the lower half of my face is a little off but I do like it as a painting nonetheless. It also means I’ve got a great little artsy souvenir of my first week in Paris, and my first week as an Erasmus student, forevermore!

YEAR ABROAD : UPON ARRIVAL À PARIS

As a Modern Foreign Languages student, my degree involves an Erasmus year abroad study or work placement in this, my third year. I have just arrived in Paris and quite frankly, that’s both so very exciting and absolutely terrifying all at the same time. Until very recently my year abroad has seemed like a distant, abstract idea. It has done for years.

But now it’s here and let’s face it, shit got real.

When I started the application process from Cardiff earlier this year, I felt a shift in my apprehension surrounding the move. I had been utterly petrified for months, but it started to seem a bit silly fearing something that I’d not only signed myself up for but something that is ultimately, by all accounts, set to be the best year of my life. However, in all honesty this positivity didn’t last for long and I dreaded it again all summer long.

Over the course of last Autumn semester we had several presentations on the subject of our year abroad from financing to destination choices and I subsequently sent in my preference form for approval and consideration. My first choice had been Lyon, my second was Paris and my third, Belgium. I had chosen to study. After all, the rest of my life is for proper work, eh? After a meeting regarding my choices, I was placed in Paris for the Autumn semester (September – December 2017) and Lyon for the Spring semester (January – May 2018). Although I only study one language and should therefore only have one placement, I am super happy that I get to switch it up a bit post Christmas like all my dual-honours, two language buddies.

Anyway, I thought I’d touch base in hopes of sharing the whole process from conception, and ultimately throughout its fruition. Let’s leave it for now with the motto used by the city of Paris for centuries; FLUCTUAT NEC MERGITUR which relates to the idea that she has been “tossed by the waves but does not sink”.  And hell, as Paris is surrounded by cliché let’s also hope that whatever kind of waves Paris has got in store for me that I don’t bloody sink either.

P.S. I can see the Eiffel Tower from my bed!

IMG_7374