Yesterday I took part in the Rallye des Sorbonnales, a competitive event between the different departments at the Sorbonne including a range of tasks designed to test our cultural, geographical, historical, musical and linguistic knowledge, as well as our physical limits! When signing up, I didn’t really know what to expect, as there’s nothing like this organized at Warwick as far as I know. On arrival I met fellow Langue Française teammates (a.k.a. Langue Française dream team) – French students Clara (x2 – a rather common French name!), Caroline, Cathy and a fellow Erasmus student Verena from Austria. The girls were all so lovely and we soon kindled a team spirit, with several memorable quotes coming out of the day – my favourites being « C’est pas vrai !?! » and «Une photo de ouf !» The activities were very entertaining and wide-ranging, from singing Petit Papa Noël to the tune of John Lennon’s Imagine, to being blindfolded and guided by the noise of a tambourine; from trying to guess recordings of different languages, to recreating a real life theatrical tableau! Another task was also to take a number of themed pictures, which lead to us harassing a man in a pink shirt for a photo and getting my team to do the Mo Bot pose! Throughout the day, I picked up on a number of phrases (I’m picking up more and more slang when with French friends) which I need to remember in order to achieve a true ‘Frenchness’. I have noticed that I now naturally use French swearwords and often say aie instead of ouch! After running frantically around complete our tasks dotted around Paris, all the participants gathered at Malesherbes for the verdict. Having already arranged to go to an Erasmus boat party on the Seine, I had to leave early so I could quickly get ready. I was so happy to get a text later from Caroline saying that we had come third, pretty impressive out of 15 teams! I’m so glad that I plucked up the courage to go by myself, it was a really fun day where I met some« filles super-gentilles». Plus, we were all lucky enough to get a goodie bag – including some essentials for the day (a kinder bueno, energy drink, water etc…), various Sorbonne souvenirs (a rain jacket I will now wear with pride, notebook, diary, pens) and best of all, a free ticket to the Sorbonnales night out next Friday + a free drink! I have been told by Verena that yet another goodie awaits me for coming third, which I’ll get sometime this week!
The afternoon had been pretty exhausting, however I had no time to even sit down when I got back to mine. After lots of running around in the rain, I had 45 minutes to transform myself for a boat party on the Seine. I then had to commute to the other side of Paris (16th arrondissement) to meet my friends at the cruise departure point. True to French organization, the evening was not off to the best of starts – we had to queue in the rain and be herded onto the rather small boat like cattle which caused some confusion. Upon entering, we sped off straight away to take full advantage of the included buffet (the standard pasta salad was nothing to get massively excited about, but as already shown earlier in this entry students like free stuff). The weather is really des temps de merde at the moment, but we still braved it and went out onto the deck to admire the sights along the Seine. I just have to mention here that every time I complain about the weather here, I get told: ‘But you’re English, its rains in England all the time!’ After that it was time for the fête to begin, which started off with some rather retro tunes – which Ralu and I boogied on down to (though I don’t think the others were massively impressed!), before moving on to some more current music which was more to everyone’s liking. As I said, the boat was far from spacious and the small dance floor filled up pretty quickly and had several drunks stumbling around harassing girls for a dance. The quality of the night did start to dip at around 1.30, so we made a hasty decision to attempt to get the last metro home.
From here on, the night did not go quite to plan. We missed our metro back to Nation by a split of a second, watching the doors slam shut and the carriages speed off into the night as hurrying up the escalators onto the platform. There was still a metro due going the other way to Charles de Gaulle, so we decided to wait for that and form a plan of action from there. After studying the night bus plan, we all had our routes home planned back to our different corners of Paris. Seeing as this was to be my first experience of Noctilien (Paris night bus service), I decided to take the bus to Chatêlet with Cristina and Caroline instead of waiting a few extra minutes to get a direct bus to Bastille. That was my first mistake. Chatêlet is massive and has about 20 different bus stops, and seeing what I thought was my bus, I quickly said my goodbyes and hopped straight on. It was going the wrong way of course. I ended up back at the very beginning, Charles de Gaulle. Once I had realised my error, I started getting cursing to myself, which was obviously noticed by the girl sitting next to me. People are always saying how offish and rude Parisians can be, but yet again this stereotype has been proven wrong for me. After telling my sob story to my neighbour, she insisted on giving me 5 euros so that I had enough money to get a taxi home. I was rather taken aback by this generosity; I wish I could contact the girl and thank her again. I arrived back to mine at 4am after a rather chaotic journey home and was thankful for my bed at last. Today has been rather lazy in contrast to the rest of the weekend, spent catching up on uni work and trying to tidy the place up a bit seeing as I have an influx of visitors arriving (my home friend Steph, fellow Warwick Frenchies Sarah and Vicky, then my Mum and her friend – eek!). I am definitely going to be a hotel these next two weeks, but I’m looking forward to it!