We stayed up until the first metro was ready to embrace us like a warm hug and carry us homeward…
Whilst Monday always arrives in the most resented of fashions, I’m always pleasantly surprised by how painlessly she passes. Today was no exception.
For no real occasion other than that a friend had stopped over for dinner, we were treated to a three course French extravaganza of a feast! We gorged upon luxurious fineries which made both my stomach and face smile with delight … though I was exposed to caviar for the first time in my life and I can confidently confirm that never again shall I enter into that domain of degustation and, in my opinion, despair! The good humour and laughter flowed as freely around the table and the sumptuous food down our hungry throats! There were English vocabulary test games, exchanging ‘rude’ words in as many languages as could be mustered up and stories of behaviour ‘bête’ at school over the years!
Once we were all quite literally full to the brim I was recruited for a spot of English homework help before we were all summoned to see the youngest chap who had dressed himself up as a ‘gangster’ and was proceeding to give a little performance of his new persona! Oh how we all laughed – kids can be so weird sometimes! They even insisted their 19 year old brother tried on some of their clothes for fun which was all very amusing! Funny how one man’s innocent ‘petit prince’ t-shirt is another man’s rather indecent crop-top!
The youngest fella and I even managed to squeeze in a little conversation about his dream house in the countryside that he had clearly thought long and hard about. I often feel a little for him when I see how enclosed he is but how eager he is to just run around and be a child! If I could transport some of the fields and gardens I grew up in, over to Paris for him I sure would!
I finished the lovely day anyways with a cosy sleepover with a Danish au pair pal where we whiled the night hours away evoking huge nostalgia on the old Apple Mac ‘photo booth’ application! We reminisced in pure fits of laughter as we were reminded of that cringey period in our lives – that appears to have been international!
A rather work intensive day (due to the dreaded lunch shifts I have been blessed with…) was broken up by a pleasant afternoon of tea drinking, chilling and chatting with a good friend of mine who lives down the road. Our gossiping centred around ways in which au pairs are exploited!!!! We’re all allowed to have a little moan and groan every now and again!
A lovely morn with my best friend from home passed as usual before I trundled back into the city in anticipation of my work shift! The time had arrived for a long overdue haircut for the youngest fella and so we made our way down the road to the chosen barbers. After the floppy lions mane of hair was tamed, the lovely hairdresser proposed the little guy take a lollipop to which he, of course, delighted in. It was only when we left that I noticed ‘one’ had been ‘mistaken’ for nine and my little host child was now waddling down the street laden down by a bouquet of chuppa chups lollipops! Kids will be kids!
The pleasant day was rounded off with a night out at La Mauri7 bar near Chateau d’Eau. Such a lively place simply bursting at the seams with young and sociable folk even midweek! Good prices, brilliant music and even a ‘baby-foot’ table are at your disposal to enjoy to your heart’s content!
After a big brunch to start the day I popped off for my routine lunch shift before joining my friends at the lovely Café Nuage near the Pantheon. I recommend most sincerely this place if you are rather tired of the anti-cafe hype and are in search of better quality food, drinks and service! Plus the building is second to none for coolness! I’m talking floor cushions, funky lights and quirky decor!
Alas work recalled us but after the tedium of the usual evening shift had passed, I joined a friend for her babysitting shift to keep her company and we had a lovely time just chilling and chatting into the early hours!
A friend and whipped up a big breaky for ourselves before heading off south of the river to nip into the exclusive yet renowned Bon Marché. Whilst the products are without a doubt off limits until one becomes a billionaire, it’s always good fun to laugh at the obscene prices you find in such shopping centres. Nobody needs a €125 hair band last time I checked!
Indulging in this lavish lifestyle of a swanky Parisian for the day, we took our imposter-selves off to the infamous Cafe de Flore! 8 months into this experience and we were yet to sample the ‘chocolat special’ everybody raves about from this place! I can certainly see why but I would be put off in the future by the €7 cost! Ah well, had to be done I suppose!
It was off then to visit the oldest library in France that’s hidden away within the Institut de France! La bibliothèque mazarine is a certain must see for all history and literature enthusiasts! I cannot explain the beauty and grandure of this chandelier lit and bookshelf lined room! We even saw a man sneak into a secret bookshelf door: so movie-esque and super cool.
Our overwhelmed-with-culture bodies decided to relax on my favourite riverside spot just at the tip of the ile Saint Louis. A bit of sunny recuperation is always the order of the day before an au pair shift begins.
It was the 19 year olds birthday and so dinner was a large indulgent banquet of Beef tartine (?) and chips followed by a homemade strawberry tart! This was all washed down with some super expensive and rich (or at least I was told this) red wine. It differed slightly from the €2.99 monoprix rosé that fits more to our usual au pair budget!
I freshened up quickly afterwards and joined my friends for a lovely cocktail at ‘le crocodile’. A quirky and cute little hidden place in the Latin quarter is without a doubt one of the best places I’ve been for a drink here in Paris…I perhaps might have been swayed by the little cheeky crocodile gummy sweet they pop into the bottom of your cocktail! We were in the mood for dancing afterwards and so headed to our trusty café Oz to boogie the night away (meeting some nice German girls on the way who joined us in there). The music was on point as ever and we jived upon tables, dance floors and even outside during our little ‘oxygen breaks’! It was during one of these that we got talking to a couple of French people who were super funny and friendly and the gang of 5 of us headed for a cup of coffee at 3:30 in the morning because what else would you do in Paris! We spent two hours laughing, chatting, face-swapping and even singing Rhianna’s ‘work work work’ just because! We stayed up until the first metro was ready to embrace us like a warm hug and carry us homeward.
A warm batch of homemade buns were prepared for breakfast by one of my friends with an empty apartment for the bank holiday weekend and so we fed our sleepy bodies right up on fresh doughy-ness! It was the off to the Musee de l’homme for a wonderful 2 and a bit hours of interesting engagement in science, history and general anthropology! This museum is the most interactive I’ve ever been to and is such great fun! You get to pull different tongues that poke from a giant wall in order to hear foreign languages, you can walk in the footsteps of a caveman and, our personal favourite, have your face morphed into that of a Neanderthal – goodness me they weren’t fortunate buggers in the old looks department!!!
I had a babysitting shift that however but it coincided with my favourite night of the year – Eurovision! Call me tacky but I love a good cheesy europop fest and this annual show certainly ticks the box! My host child popped in to ask what I was watching before he went to bed and he laughed himself silly at the act on the screen at that time before proceeded to march out of the kitchen chanting “allez la France” on repeat! When I finished up I headed to my friends house to watch the voting section of the show before two of our other friends joined us for a night of Eurovision reminiscing, dance-move copying and general hysterical laughing. We decided at 2 am that perhaps we had had our Eurovision fill for this year and so it was time for bed!
The day of our Australian friend’s 22nd birthday had arrived and so we celebrated with a hearty picnic by the Eiffel Tower with some delicious cake from Marks and Spencer’s (oh we are just too British sometimes!)
A few hours later (and with truly full stomachs) we all waddled off to the sunny notre dame area for a spot of Shakespeare and company quality time! We were treated to a lovely piano performance by a young man there that had us all entranced and truly peaceful, not a bad Sunday at all! We popped home afterwards for a little chill and spruce up before all heading out with some more gals to the east of the city for Wanderlust’s bank holiday special! We predrank by the river in what was truly one of the funniest sessions to date! The 9 of us had such fun ‘warming up’ if you will and we were so ready to boogie afterwards which we proceeded to do into the early hours! We met so many nice people and had a true blast engaging in dance circles and practising our French!
It took us a whopping 5 nightbuses to get home subsequently but it was worth it entirely for the fun we had! I will miss my Parisian memories so much but I count myself incredibly lucky to have been a part of these moments with these wonderful people I have found here. I will miss our little Paris most dearly.
By Alice Warde : Click here to see more posts!