It was such a typically Parisian moment as, in the true overly-cultured style of this city a harp was playing away sweetly in the distance – pure bliss…
And thus the drudgery commences! After a truly fabulous bank holiday weekend, I’m sure we all felt a spot of the blues when it was time to walk through the front doors of work and let reality get going once again. My day was made ever so slightly better by my kind little 9 year old sharing a portion of his Easter chocolate with me during ‘gouter’ before hiding a (large sized!!) Lindt bunny in my bag “just because”. What a good little egg indeed. I even got to sample some of the families fancy left over Laudrée desert from Easter Sunday! One of the most luxuriously indulgent things I’ve ever eaten (and will never be able to afford). If there was one way to cheer you up, sweet treats are surely the answer!
As always on Wednesday I find myself out in the suburbs visiting my best pal for a cheeky coffee and catch-up. Only today we switched the café scene for a little ride around in her car. We have been friends for a few years now and during the summer prior to backing our bags and heading to the big City we spent our time together roadtripping around. Today was, therefore, quite the blast from the past! There’s something weird about being here (with all its disorientations etc.) that make even the small things, such as being a passenger in a car, feel alien and make you all nostalgic!
After a pleasant morn it was back off into the city to sample out the goods on offer at ‘Fragments’ café in the East. As the torrential rain belted down relentlessly outside, it was most lovely to be all cosy and warm in this chilled out café that had an overwhelmingly pleasant smell of Chai in the air. Not a bad afternoon at all! Work of course reared its head naturally and so we left, ready to tackle the au pair life for a handful of hours again.
Wednesday often are awful for many au pairs; given the unique school hours, many find themselves working from as early as eight in the morning through to that very hour again in the evening! Therefore, treating yourself afterwards is imperative. I have heard this be done in the format of collapsing in front of a film, devouring some choccie or sipping back some wine with friends (I believe the nickname ‘wines-day’ is often used in this line of work!!) In order to treat my friends after their horrific shifts, we all trotted off to our local favourite café to play some good old cards and share a plate of yummy chips: Wednesday = done!
Today I was positively overflowing with excitement at the imminent arrival of my oldest friend from England. After living across the road from each other for our entire lives, it was quite the shock to the system when I moved to Paris and we were no longer a stone’s throw away. I view her as another sister given we grew up together and so I was most chuffed to have her come and stay with me for the weekend!
My host mother kindly set me free at 4:30 and allowed me to have the entire weekend off to make the most of my guest! Not wanting to waste a single second we darted off for the Arc de Triomphe (a must-do that is completely free for EU residents between 18-26 years old!) After clambering up the many stairs we marvelled at the beautiful view of the city that greeted us upon emerging from the stairwell. There is nothing more fabulous then your favourite city and your favourite people meeting one another.
Cheesy selfies and landscapes pics completed we headed back down to the metro station, idling our way along the Champs Elysee – everyone’s favourite street of hustle and bustle…
After a little freshen-up chez moi we began the voyage off to our dinner reservation. I had, on a whim, rang up a little place called ‘Le petit cler’ the night previous to see if this well recommended restaurant had any spaces for us and we were in luck! I snapped up the reservation and we found ourselves sat amidst the very (very) ‘Ratatouille’-esque scene at 8:30 the following night. Renowned for being part of the ‘Maison Boudon’ family of restaurants in this city (a collection of fine eateries specialising in classically French produce such as cheese from Marie-Anne Cantin and ice-cream from local legend Berthillon). We chomped down upon delicious steaks, sipped upon beautiful wine and even tucked into a cheeky and luxurious crème brulee (the best I’ve ever had!)
Full-bellied we waddled out of the lovely restaurant and onto the lively Rue Cler before journeying off to meet some of my friends over in Oberkampf. The evening concluded in good company, lively conversation and, of course, lovely cocktails. We even saw some funny switched up metro signs on our journey home (courtesy of the transport agency in Paris for ol’ April Fool’s Day – the French sure do love an opportunity for their infamous humour…)
We decided to rear our heads at the crack of dawn despite the late night previous in order to make the most of the day together. A quick pit stop off at the local ‘Aux Merveilleux’ shop saw us fueling up for the day upon the ‘finest brioche in Paris’ (and at three euro sixty it’s worth a try!) It was then off in the direction of Notre Dame to cross off this landmark finally! Despite seeing this beauty on countless occasions I have never actually been inside (talk about a plastic Parisian!) But alas, today, given my friend was here and that it was, in fact, my ‘seven month anniversary’ of moving here, we decided to do it. I have learnt that the infamous queue that is a prominent feature of the Notre Dame scene (that we routinely scoff at) is actually most deceptive as you fly through it very quickly indeed! Once inside this 8 century old beast, the sights are breathtakingly beautiful, as I’m sure everyone is aware!
Feeling culturally enriched we decided to pop off to Shakespeare and Company to immerse ourselves in some books (given my friend is a lover of all things literature!) before trotting off to the Pantheon to engage in some history. A quick pick-me-up of some bagels at the lunch joint ‘American Corner’ and we found ourselves sat in a lovely garden chomping down our goods whilst on-looking the Sorbonne – there could be worse ways to spend your Saturday!
The afternoon passed wonderfully with eclairs, an impromptu jazz concert (courtesy of some fabulous street performers) and a lengthy session (I’m talking two hours of so) in the glorious Cat Café in Bastille. We were in our element just completely surrounded by these fluffy and friendly felines so much so that we most-definitely overstayed our welcome. We had also been so distracted by cat cuddles that we had forgotten about dinner and so, en route for home, we picked up a pizza and ate it all snuggled up watching our favourite comedian on my laptop in my room: a true girly sleepover that was long overdue!
All fed it was time to be watered in the format of Sangria (of course!) and so off we popped to the lively yet sophisticated Odeon area for some of this sweet Spanish nectar in a bar that gives off most-Mediterranean vibes. Specialising in this fruity cocktail, I truly recommend this place for a nice evening spent in a Spanish-style cave/cavern sharing around a pitcher of this lovely liquor.
We began our final day together fueling up at the infamous anticafe (four euros for unlimited access to food and hot drinks uh yes please!) before waddling out like the chunky croissant lovers we are, only to stumble into the Paris Marathon…what juxtaposition and a half as the finest physiques in the city breezed past us (vibrating our tummy rolls along the way and making us feel most inadequate!) It didn’t take long however for us to get over our temporary identity crisis as the sun shone down and lured us into the Palais Royal gardens where children ran around cheerily, groups of people calmly swayed in and out of yoga poses and (crucially) every single chair around the central fountain was lazed upon by a lounging Frenchmen basking in Sunday relaxation. What a lovely summery sight indeed!
It wasn’t long before our wandering feet had as marching off along the river side (once again catching glimpse of the marathon only this time in all its glory with riverside bands and fans present to cheer the colourful (and very sweaty!!) troopers along).
We were Marais-bound for some much needed Place des Vosges chilling and, in true obligatory manner, an Amorino sweet treat. Today I opted for a delightful Speculoos and salted caramel milkshake; imma let you just drool in envy there for a moment! There is nothing more pleasant than a cold drink running through you whilst blazing warm sunshine gives you a toasty and all-encompassing hug. It was such a typically Parisian moment as, in the true overly-cultured style of this city a harp was playing away sweetly in the distance – pure bliss.
Alas it was time to bid a sorrowful farewell to my visiting chum who had the enticing reality of a few hours in Charles de Gaulle airport calling her despite the gloriously hot sunshine! I however made my way over to Montemartre to see a group of my friends for a little relax in the (ever so slightly overwhelming) heat! After the few days of torrential storm weather we’ve had here, this twenty degree paradise was much needed and truly earned! We all, rather red-faced, trotted off to the near-by Café Lomi which was wonderfully cool and refreshing with its ‘Homemade Citronnade’ that we all necked back rather thirstily! I must say, if you are looking for the café in this city with a bang-on music playlist then head over that way!
Naturally we’d built up quite a hunger by this point as the sun started to settle and evening approached and so we set our sights upon the well-recommended ‘Kashmir House’. Deliciously luxurious Indian food, the friendliest waiter you’ll ever meet and all at an unbelievably modest price – what isn’t to love! We even saw some marathon runners enjoying the goods here after their 42K endurance test! See, we have the diet regime of top-class athletes…
Anyway, onward onto the next week in this summer-bound city!