I am lucky enough to have Fridays off this semester, which means a three day week for me! I started celebrating my extended weekend with a catch up over crêpes with two of my French and History Warwick besties Emma and Mairead at Montmartre. (I also had a taste of the official ‘best baguette of 2011’* courtesy of Emma’s boyfriend Charles!) Situated on a large hill and home to the famous Sacré Cœur, this historic district in northern Paris is one of my favourite areas. Originally a village situated on the outskirts of the city, its bustling cobbled streets were once the hangout for many of great French artists and writers. Fortunately the area has retained much of its character and village-like charm. After passing Anvers metro there is a marked change in environment as we entered Paris’s red light district, with flashing neon lights, pimps hanging out of doorways, countless sex shops and the infamous Moulin Rouge. As Emma remarked: ‘Even the Monoprix sign somehow looks dirty here!’
My intentions to tackle my rather hefty pile of devoirs did not go quite to plan on Friday. After a quick gym session I met up with my French friend Sonia also at the Sorbonne (Paris III) and was introduced to some of her fellow classmates. The quest of getting my learning agreement signed for my Erasmus grant is still yet to have been achieved as I found out that, like the French department at Warwick, the Sorbonne international office clocks off early on a Friday afternoon for the weekend. As I had thought, my CAF application was not so smoothly sorted after all – I have been sent letters requesting various more forms (quel surpris!) I am also yet to have received to Imaginaire travel card (reduced travel for students), which I applied for nearly a month ago now! On the bright side, I have been offered a Christmas contract at Disneyland!
In the evening I was reunited with my Spanish friend Silvia who I met in Paris over three years ago when we were both here at a language school. Funnily enough, Silvia is also at the Sorbonne in her third year. Having lived here for almost four years, to me she is fluent and a true Parisian. I hope that this may one day be me! I have now discovered the best road for bars at Bastille, which is really lively on a Friday night. Plus, happy hour is from 17h to 21h (4 euros for a mojito – this price for a cocktail does not exist in London!)
Looking forward to going to La Nuit Blanche tonight with some of my new Erasmus friends. This is hotly-anticipated annual event celebrating art and culture in the city of light with countless museums, galleries and exhibitions opening their doors for free to hundreds of thousands of visitors. Looking at the programme which I picked up from the metro, they’ll be loads spectacles, edgy performances and all sorts taking place throughout Paris. Its name (‘all-nighter’ in English) is to be taken quite literally, with celebrations taking place non-stop from 18h this evening until 18h on Sunday! So I better get prepared and have another coffee, à bientôt!
*Au Levain d’Antan : 6, rue des Abbesses, Paris 75018
Metro : Abbesses
La Nuit Blanche : http://www.paris.fr/loisirs/nuits-blanches/nuit-blanche-2012/p10127