So this weekend I celebrated my month anniversary in La Ville-Lumière rather fittingly with La Nuit Blanche. Time has really flown by – I cannot believe I have already been here for a month! That said, I already feel quite at home. Parisian life, like that in London, is fast paced and tiring, but I’m loving every minute of it. I think already being a city rat helped me a lot with settling in, as lots of things are no different to life in London. The metro etiquette is pretty much the same, and Parisians walk here with the same ‘don’t get in my way I’m extremely busy’ attitude as in London. There are not a lot of quintessentially English things I am missing at the moment, except for not being able to eat Quorn or watch Match of the Day!
The Nuit Blanche spirit was dampened a bit by the horrible weather – it actually rained non-stop the whole night, which meant that a lot of outdoor exhibitions had problems or were called off. I had rounded up a mix of people (Warwickers, Erasmus students and Frenchies) , and despite the rain we managed to have a good night. After braving some displays outside and failing to enter some inside (queues were at least an hour long!), we took refuge in a crêperie before heading to a few bars in Saint-Michel.
On Sunday Emma and I had our first taste of a true French market at Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad (19th arrondissement), where we enjoyed lots of free tasters! With delicacies from each région, there was a mouth-watering mix of delicious French cuisine – fromage, macrons, sandwiches raclettes, confiture, huitres, truffes (just to name a selection) and not forgetting escargots! Emma is insistent that I have to try one by the end of the year, though I think not! My argument is that this would definitely be breaking my vegetarianism. All the stall owners were so generous and were giving away sizeable tasters. Plus we even managed to nab ourselves a free glass of red wine! Each French region is so proud of their cuisine, which is something I don’t think we particularly have in England (as far as I know Fish and Chips are nationwide…) All the locals were so friendly and chatty, which resulted in us getting cornered by a Parisian OAP for about 40 minutes and then being caught in the middle of a rather heated debate about the protection of local produce against big supermarkets! One thing is for sure, the French definitely know how to eat well! Continuing my theme of French cuisine, my friend An-Ki and I have decided to try out the university canteen tomorrow lunchtime, let’s hope its vegetarian friendly!