Seeing as I’m pretty busy with lectures and work during the week, most of my socialising is done at night in Paris. On Monday evening my German friend Anna (who lives in my quartier) and I decided to explore our local bar scene at Belleville, a lively, burgeoning artist quartier with an array of different cultures. I have later found out that it was also the birthplace of the famous French singer Edith Piaf, who is said to have been born under a lamp on a neighbourhood thoroughfare. In contrast to the student scene in London, Monday nights are pretty tame in Paris, but happy hour is a brilliant way of treating yourself to a cocktail here (we paid only 4 euros!) Whilst browsing the menu, we saw some new concoctions we had never heard of before, and decided to try one (which I now cannot remember the name of, but it had lychee juice in it which was rather unusual!) I haven’t been the best at keeping in touch properly with friends since crossing the channel, so it was rather nice on Tuesday night to have a phone call with my fellow Warwick Frenchie Sarah as well as a skype date with Vicky. As they’re both at uni too at Grenoble and Dijon, there’s a lot of things to compare and chat about! I was pretty surprised to hear how much English they both say they’re speaking, something which I completely avoid here.
Wednesday was a pretty packed day – I had lunch again in the canteen with An-Ki during our break between classes at Clignancourt. After work I went straight on to the second Apérismus, a regular social organised for Paris IV students. The bar, Le Tribar, was at Bastille on the Rue de lappe, a narrow cobbled street full of bars and restaurants. On busy evenings, drinkers end up spilling out of the bars onto the streets which gives the place a buzzing atmosphere. It’s great that these events are so frequent, especially for us Erasmus students who want to make some French friends. Myself and my Erasmus friends Isa, An-Ki and Kangha found ourselves amongst a group of really nice French students, who gave us some advice on French music. A lot of French music is pretty naff and cheesy, though I have now expanded my list from Cœur de Pirate , Daft Punk and MC Solaar (often featured in my six form French lessons for a laugh), and have discovered bands such Noir Désir and the Anglophone named Marshmallow. The organisers had reserved the basement for us all, which quickly filled and warmed up – it may have actually rivalled the original sweatbox of Leamington Spa, the one and only Smack!
I had a rather quiet end to the week – I went to another atelier de conversation on the Thursday and had a glass of wine at Anna’s before going to Gobelins to watch the new Astérix and Obélix film. By chance we ended up seeing it in 3D which was pretty entertaining. The cinema here is one thing that is by far cheaper than in London – students can pay as little as 4 euros during the week! Though seeing as we’d come on a Friday and to watch a 3D film, it cost us 7 euros, which is still considerably cheaper than seeing a standard film back home for me. Along with Tintin, Astérix and Obélix is the most beloved comic book franchise here in France, with its bandes dessinées still attracting a large readership. Whilst the comic book craze has died out considerably in England, it’s still going strong in France and Belgium thanks to such classics. With the title «Au service de Sa Majesté» (‘God Save the Queen’), I knew I was in for an evening of spoofs of us Brits. At the beginning I was in stitches over the Breton accent, which was so well done by an entirely French cast. The film was pretty over-the-top at times and the accent gags were over used, though overall it was an enjoyable watch and easy enough to follow for a non-native speaker. I was also gutted not to see more of Dogmatix, who did not appear in the film much at all. However, it did feature two French film heavyweights Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, who are always a joy to watch on screen.