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Alice’s au pair diary – week 13

My aren’t we so lucky…

Monday:

My working week commenced by what some might refer to as an endurance test. Between Monday morning and Wednesday midday I had crammed in 27 and a half hours of work. I fool you not! A room rejuvenation meant that my presence was required in the apartment in case the painters ran into any issues. Whilst I longed for a spot of fresh air every now and again, my vitamin D-deprived bones kept themselves entertained by ploughing on with a great deal of French work (and I even began to dabble in the dark arts of Italian!) Turns out I can be quite productive if I’m forced into it! My friends were most lovely by way of meeting me after work to sneak in a few hours of socialising which definitely brought me back to sanity! They truly are a fabulous bunch and we whiled away a couple of hours at Palais de Tokyo lazing about on the comfy Middle Eastern rugs and bean bags that cover the floor there. A cosy evening was rounded off with a walk home via the ol’ Eiffel Tower mid-nighttime-performance: oh my how she can sparkle that one!
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Tuesday:

Blessed with a couple hours of freedom before the house sitting commenced I made the most of the morn with a hearty run under the rays of the warm and rising summer sun. I had 3 hours to hurry in my weekly errands and so exercise, shopping and a dash of printing were performed with record speed and efficiency!
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The long house-bound afternoon was made up for by an adorable evening shift with the littlest of my two fellas. He was on top-cute form and seemed to be on a roll with making me chuckle and giggle … either that or my anticipated cabin fever finally caught up with me!! I feel most people though would find themselves with at least a smile on their face if their 8 year old host child stood nakey in the bathroom door frame wiggling and tapping their bootie singing the words “butter” and “honey” in an utterly French accent! It was a funny evening but I was grateful to be set free and to be, a mere 30 minutes later, sat with my good friends scoffing down homemade waffles and ice cream – I don’t know what I would do without them!
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Wednesday:

Finally, 22 hours of work ticked off, I was embarking upon my final 5 hour session before the bank holiday break began. It was lengthy yet wasn’t horrifically tedious as I occupied my time with some household chores. Needless to say I did dance my way out of the apartment doors at 2 pm and shimmed all the way to parc monceau where I met up with some pals. The scorching sunshine had magnetised a mass of people (young and old) to this, my favourite park. I oft liken Parc Monceau to that of something almost London-esque and thus naturally I feel wholly content in it’s presence! We sunbathed, ate ice cream (receiving a free pair of Magnum sunglasses for the privilege!) and wandered the hidden nooks and crannies of this lovely parks surrounds. When it was time to head away (due to a heat and sunshine overload) we opted to voyage home on the bus as opposed to the metro – and what a good choice indeed.

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We were treated to a cooler temperature and the opportunity to have your own personal ‘tour’ of the city as we whizzed passed sights such as the Arc de Triomphe and Trocadero. I recommend a bus journey every now and again for a change of scenery and a chance to see the many streets of this city (especially ideal too in this heat we’re currently having!) As the sun rolled in we fleeted a few more hours away in the evening warmth at Trocadero where we, amongst others (inclusive of a man armed with a beautiful acoustic guitar and a soulful voice) sat barefoot on the grass soaking up the atmosphere. We even managed to catch a performance of three comedy break dancers which had all of us spectators simply bursting at the seams with laughter.

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This, the first evening of our bank holiday adventure, ended with some homemade pizza and homemade ice cream mcflurrys – macdonalds eat your heart out!!
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Thursday:

Today may very well be up there with my favourite days of this experience so far. A ‘jour férié’, Parisians young and old found themselves blessed with a day of liberty which most kindly was showered in baking hot temperatures and bright sunshine as it happens! A big group of us stocked ourselves up with food supplies (and suncream!!!) and darted off in the direction of Versailles … apparently like the rest of this city’s population who crammed themselves onto the train alongside us. The smell of suncream, homemade sandwiches and enthusiasm filled the train as we trundled off! My friends and I, being the cheap skate au pairs we are, weren’t willing to pay for the cost of the ‘small Versailles’ garden and so went in search of the large area open to the general fellow frugal public. Alas, by complete and unintentional luck, we found ourselves entering an open gate that lead us into this exclusive small garden!
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We nervously had a little look around before heading to the much more exciting large grass area that was flooded with picnicking Parisians! It was here we filled our bellies only to then rattle the contents about moments later in sessions of ferocious and wonderful laughter! Everyone was dressed for the summer sun and the atmosphere was so bursting with joy that a smile was just a permanent fixture upon all of our faces! As the hours rolled on we were tempted to finally indulge our curiosity and head for the rowing boats on the lake here in the gardens. Never have I had so much fun and giggled as loudly whilst we, complete and utter rookies, cluelessly tried to navigate and control a fully sized rowing boat! Oh how we laughed!!!
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It was homeward then for some grub and chilling at one of our friends ‘host family free’ penthouse apartment – what on earth are these experiences we find ourselves getting into!
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Friday:

Another workless day (thank the heavens) saw a friend and myself trying out the Sandeman’s free tour of Paris. Having tried, and loved, this wonderful tour concept on our holiday to Madrid, we fancied giving it a go here. As we are often reminded, you should always have a go at being a tourist in your own city and we were delighted to spent 2 and a half hours engrossed in delightful history and good company with our wonderful guide and fellow tour-goers. I definitely recommend you try it out!
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Our wary feet were in need of immediate rest and so we found refuge in the jardin du Luxembourg which was simply overflowing with cheerful folk enjoying the scorcher of a day. We even spontaneously bumped into a philharmonic orchestra creating the most beautiful sounds from the bandstand in the corner of the park. We were treated to the likes of a Frozen mashup and a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s New York New York – big band style! We could’ve listened to them for hours on end as the sunset on the scene. An eclectic mix of ages and people were gathered around this orchestra all enjoying and appreciating the music and the moment and I truly longed to be nowhere else but there. My aren’t we so lucky.
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My truly special day finished with the opening night of the annual riverside terrace club ‘Wanderlust’ in the east of Paris. What a place indeed!! A beautiful setting with the coolest design of fairy lights and funky decor welcomes you immediately into this most sophisticated and hip nightlife spot. We alternated between dancing with and chatting to the friendly crowd present that just kept getting bigger and bigger as the night went on! We were sad to eventually flee the scene … mostly because now in the future, entrance to said terrace will cost €15! Why can’t every night be opening night!!
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Saturday:

We spent the day up in the lovely Belleville picnicking in the Parc there first of all before perusing it’s quirky and diverse streets. We popped into an organic food shop (what else would be expected of this BoBo place) to treat ourselves to some yummy banana chips before nipping into the cute coffee shop Cream. I adore the reasonable prices of this outskirts quarter of Paris – it’s wholly unique and a little bubble of Parisian contrast if you ever get tired of the ol’ Hausseman Belle Époque!
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An evening shift passed painlessly and almost enjoyable – dare I say it! My host child and I scoffed down pizza and challenged one another to a race in who could down their glasses of water the quickest. Ashamedly I was the defeated.
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When I was all finished up I met some friends at the grass area of Trocadero for a lovely evening of chatting, playing cards and drinking (inclusive of mini speeches and toasts to our time here together) The mass of people present cheered joyfully as the Eiffel Tower did her thing and sparkled away into the night (she’s such a show off sometimes that one!!) Up on the Trocadero platform a large group of people were Latino slow dancing under the stars – oh how blinkin’ cliche I know but Paris is truly like that of a film my friends! We nipped to our friends apartment to chat for a little bit before we had to head back to where had been sat that night in order to conduct a desperate man hunt for my friends key – by some stroke of intense luck we were successful!
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Sunday:

We were up early in order to make the most of our final day of the weekend, and this glorious sunshine (in anticipation of the storm weather predicted for next week). The southern grassland of Parc de Sceaux was calling us today for yet another sunny and relaxing picnic! This, a chateau’s environs, is arguably one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Paris with its vast yet intricate gardens of beautiful lake features, colourful floral gardens and busy open field full to the brim of families and groups picnicking, sunbathing, reading and playing sports. The sound of little ones running around having fun and people laughing about heaven knows what filled the air here and made for a most summer-esque scene; One which evoked much nostalgia for the classic British Summertime I know and love so well! Before we went to explore the gardens after our grub we even had a cheeky go on a slack line a group had set up for the day!
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Once back in the city I made the most of the last hours of sunshine by perusing the surroundings of the sunny Notre Dame and Ile de Saint Louis! I heard music, laughter and even managed to catch a performance of a roller skating clan on the bridge here! I couldn’t help but smile at the cliché scene of the sun reflecting Seine as girls in floaty summer dresses swanned past floatingly in the breeze as the sound of an accordion played away sweetly in the distance – it’s like living in a painting or movie! Whilst there I bumped into a Dutch friend of mine  who was with a couple of her close friends from home. We chatted and laughed for ages together before trotting off in the direction of Le Marais for a spot of bookshop browsing and strolling! They were lovely folk and it was a pleasant and spontaneous way to spent the late afternoon. I always giggle when I bump into people I know in this city – what are the odds of it happening!
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The wonderfully sunny and summery weekend alas had to at some point come to a cease and what better way to watch the sun set on all the merriment than by sitting riverside with your friends listening to music and relaxing. As the night drew in and the Eiffel Tower began to awake from her daytime slumber, coming to life for the night, we decided to pack it all up and head on home for some much needed recuperation in anticipation of the coming week of work.
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Bonne chance les filles!
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By Alice Warde :  Click here to see more posts!

 

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