I am currently recovering from a massive gueule de bois (saying it in French does not make it any less horrific unfortunately) – though it given me time to catch up on my rather neglected blog entries. So, after two lovely weeks back in London, I’m back in Paris for 2013. It’s really started to hit me how fast this year is going, so my one resolution is to continue to make the most of it. With no lectures or exams for the whole of January (amazing, I know), I have planned several escapades outside of Paris (Madrid next week youhou!), as well as hoping to have a mini touristy spree here in the city. I had also vowed to revise my grammar, though that is not happening at the moment. In my defence, I am trying to learn twenty new words a day, which is far less strenuous then learning how to conjugate the imperfect subjunctive! Plus, my brain is generally worked hard throughout the day having to converse in another language in all types of situations – in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, when drunk, answering the door still drunk at 10h30 in the morning and when horrifically hung-over. (That’s part of my story about my night out yesterday evening, which I will come back to later on!)
When returning to Paris just over ten days ago, I was actually pretty worried that all my French had already escaped me after having been fully re-immersed into the English way of life. Having napped pretty much for the entire Eurostar journey, I awoke rather dazed and found myself propelled straight away back into la vie française. I was so thankful to have help this time with my suitcase at Gare du Nord – whilst I managed when leaving thumping my suitcase down all the metro stairs, I think I would failed to get it back up them upon my return. The fact that I had gone a bit crazy in the London sales didn’t help either! My French that Sunday evening was pretty appalling, which freaked me out slightly seeing as I was due to have an interview in French the Monday morning. Though, in typical French fashion, I found out after dragging myself out of bed the next day whilst checking my emails beforehand that I had been conveniently informed at one in the morning that it had been cancelled. Whilst slightly annoyed at the extremely late notice, I was relieved to have it postponed, as it gave me time for my French to come back to me. Later that week, I enjoyed my first taste of a galette des rois with my French relative who runs a business in Paris. Having been invited to two other events involving this cake, I was curious to know the story behind it and why it is especially eaten in January. I was told that galette des rois is associated in lots of European countries with the festival of Epiphany after the Christmas season. Hidden somewhere in the deliciously delectable almond puff pastry is a little ‘fève’, which is a little trinket of some kind – so caution is definitely necessary whilst eating! Whoever finds this becomes King or Queen for the day and gets the honour of wearing a paper crown. I was lucky enough have the fève in my slice, beginner’s luck I say! I was gutted to have to take my crown off when leaving for work, though I’m sure the kids I look after would have appreciated me turning up to pick them up like this!
I finally got to go ice-skating with Emma at Hôtel de Ville, which is gorgeously lit up at the moment for the occasion. For anyone wanting to hit the ice in Paris, the rink at Hôtel de Ville is open until 17th March. In comparison to the extortionate £12 I paid to go at the Natural History Museum is London, here the price is a mere 5 euros. Plus, going after the Christmas season meant that it was far less crowded, which meant you could actually skate without fearing of running over any children in the process. Though this did mean that I got a bit cocky and went a bit too fast, which resulted in me falling flat on my bum rather embarrassingly… I was gutted to lose ‘I never fall over when ice-skating title’! We were then entertained by the guys handing out and collecting the ice skates, who were offering Emma marriage proposals and nagging us about whether we had boyfriends (Ah, French men…) After having done some rather strenuous exercise (haha), we decided to treat ourselves to some falafel (we both have a bit of a fetish…) and headed to L’As Du Fallafel, a Middle Eastern restaurant located on Rue des Rosiers in Paris’s Jewish quartier. It is well-known for serving the best falafel in Paris, which is a title that I can definitely agree with. The sandwiches there are absolutely enormous, jammed packed with falafel, veg and hummus. Tackling them is definitely a messy business – whilst Emma opted for the more sensible option and used her fork to fish the generous filling out onto her plate, I dove straight in – which was not attractive to say the least! Serving extremely generous and deliciously fresh portions in a speedy manner, I would definitely recommend this to any veggie who may sometimes find food here a bit of a challenge. This is definitely somewhere I intend to return to! It’s certainly very popular – myself and Emma were lucky enough to get a seat inside, which was full, and the street was rammed with people queuing and waiting for a take-away.
January is a rather sad month for Erasmus students, as those who are only here for the first semester are due to leave. Whilst the first Sorbonne Apérismus had new Erasmus students to meet, it dawned on me that evening that I’m gutted to not have all my international friends here next term. In fact, as many Erasmus students haven come back from their home countries yet, I was pretty much the only one with all the Frenchies who are obviously here for the year. Earlier this week I already had to say goodbye to my German friend An-Ki, who left Paris after sitting her exams. In true French style, we spent her last night in Paris at my friend Anna’s with a few bottles of wine and girly chit-chat. Anna is also leaving this week (sniff sniff), so I will be two Erasmus buddies down. As I am often mistaken as being German here and we’ve decided that the English and Germans speak French with the most similar accent, I am often adopted as an honorary German when with these two! I will miss these two a lot – though we’re already planning their return to Paris in March for my birthday and a cheeky trip to Germany for me. Anna’s last night out in Paris yesterday evening was certainly memorable (or not in my case…) Starting the apéro at Anna’s, the four of us had nearly five bottles of wine to work our way through, which was done no problem. My English side definitely was on fine form, as I was told I had to finish the last bottle seeing as we know how to knock the drinks back. So we were already pretty jolly when arriving at the club (Duplex at the top of Champs-Elysées). Whilst I have paid a ridiculous price several times for entry clubbing here, Wednesday night is ladies night, which is free and includes a complementary drink with a flyer. I’m not entirely sure if this is a place to recommend, as due to several shots of tequila and god knows what else; my night is a bit hazy to say the least. Though I do remember managing to swindle two shots for the price of one from the barman, sporting German flags, playing poker and shooting shots served by topless men… So all in all, an entertaining night, though I definitely paid the price today! Hearing my door bell being rung continuously the next morning gave me a fright in my drunken state… I refused to answer the door for about 15 minutes, convinced that there was a crazy French murderer waiting to bash my head in with a baguette. That, of course, was not the case – it was Guillaume who had been rudely awoken by several drunken texts and my friends ringing him to say I was in quite a state (oops…)
So Erasmus life continues to be as amazing as ever – Warwick and final year is definitely deep in the back of my mind for now!
Hôtel de Ville icestaking : 5 euros, open until 17th March. Metro: Hôtel de Ville
L’As Du Fallafel: 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004, Paris. Metro : Saint-Paul, Pont Marie, Hôtel de Ville
Duplex club : 00002 Bis Avenue Foch 75116, Paris. Metro: Charles de Gaulle Étoile