I sure do love a good sense of community amongst utter strangers – especially in a city where cold demeanours and hostility are oft the order of the day…
This week kickstarted itself with a glorious bank holiday (or otherwise known as a ‘jour férié’ by the stripey t-shirt, baguette wielding French!) and so, encompassing the mood of such a day – we chilled! The sun reared it’s head most pleasantly and we arose hungry to scoff some hearty grub! A favourite of mine will always be Cafe Nuage (whom I relentlessly rave about I know!) but, as all au pairs will appreciate, frugality is the fruit of life over here and so, if you can pick up a deal like spending €4 for an hour of unlimited food, drinks, wifi AND comfy seating, don’t tell me you wouldn’t snatch at the opportunity! Conveniently close by is the glorious Pantheon (one of my favourite Parisian gems!) and so we couldn’t resist a cheeky pop in to sneak a peak at the tombs of the likes of the resting Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo. It was onward then to the Jardin des Tuileries for a pleasant rest of our weary legs on the infamously adorable green chairs that line the two fountains there. We chatted for a lengthy time about Paris, our homes and families back in England and our new lives at university that await us in a matter of mere months. We were even treated to a little performance by some adorable little ducklings in the fountains water that were loving the attention they were getting from their adorning spectators (who proceeded to shower them in tiny little edible bread pieces left, right and centre – oh how it helps to be cute sometimes!!!)
We were keen to optimise upon the sunny sky and warm temperature and so decided to stroll our way home along the riverside (taking in the bustling sights of the active les berges and the joyous folk upon the rosa bonheur sur Seine) before diverting off to finish the walk through the 7th and 15th arrondissment! It’s always so cool to, at this late stage in the game, discover completely unknown parts of Paris to yourself. It reminds you of how much of this city is still left at your disposal to explore and wander – a wonderful labyrinth of hidden nooks and crannies.
Tuesday was a pleasant day spent in pleasant company! A self proclaimed ‘cute street junkie’ I have spent a great deal of my time here in Paris hunting down these little hidden alleyways of prettiness that this city seems to be overflowing with! Today took us to the 14th arrondissement to visit the quaint little Rue des Thermopolyes. Words cannot quite describe just HOW cute this place was! Cobbled paving, coloured houses with ivy lined walls and an epidemic of colourful flowers and overgrown greenery made up this gorgeous rue! I have decided to reside here for sure one day (when all that money I’m entitled to from utter self entitlement rolls in!!) I was torn a few moments later however when we visited the beautiful road of Square Montsouris as i could very easily have pictured myself growing old with grandure in one of the very fancy yet quirky buildings you find there.
We trotted off then to Park Montsouris that was a few footsteps away in order to picnic under the sun and even sneak in a cheeky midday nap – oh the life of an au pair! Completely unintentionally when on the hunt for the RER station to take us home, we bumped into a glorious university grounds which we later discovered to be the ‘cité universitaire’. What a lovely building indeed! Be sure to check it out if you’re headed to uni this coming academic year and are in need of some varsity inspiration! Feeling most excited about our imminent adventure for when we return home, we skipped off to Starbuck to sip down a cold ice tea before the world shift beckoned!
I had been called in for an early start today of 8:30 as my host mother had to pop to the office. This was, whilst upon initial mention a most daunting task, in reality spending the whole morning with the little fella wasn’t that awful! We played many a game together (including doctors where I seemed to be a very incapable medic who failed every time to ‘fix’ my patient yet seemed to be notorious at making the corpse giggle despite it’s predicament!!!)
I was even treated to a book reading all about little boys and their body parts – lovely stuff, just what I wanted to learn about at 10 am on a Wednesday morning! We quickly shifted from that activity to singing our favourite songs of the moment before whacking the radio on to have a dance to some of these tunes! It was all in all not horrific and actually rather sweet!
I was blessed with a little break subsequently however that I spent in the lovely company of my friend and her host children before we dropped them off at their English lessons for an hour. It was most funny to accompany her bringing two excitable little ones (considerably younger than my two) across Paris on the metro where it was a lot more fun to be standing up and moving around than sitting and waiting for our stop! It was good fun nonetheless! We nipped off to Starbucks in the break to indulge in their ‘Frapuccino happy hour’ (or as we like to call it ‘Frappy hour’ < talk about a missed marketing opportunity!)
After a busy day of lunch and lengthy evening shifts, a much need night out was on the cards! We had met some French people on a night out the week previous and had organised to meet them tonight for a drink as a group. Their choice of a cavern like underground bar equipped with brilliant music and dancing in the Latin Quarter went down a real treat! We had a lovely evening of chatting and laughing in pleasant company (apart from some Australian man who vomited in the corner of the cave: a Thursday night, really!!?)
My friend and I kickstarted the day with a really hearty breakfast in order to fuel is up nicely! It was off to the East of the city to try out the tiny little joint of Boot Cafe for us! We have had this spot on our coffee shop list for yonks now and, given its intimacy of just two small tables (and thus exclusivity) it is a pure chance of luck as to whether you can pop in! Today was our lucky day! A gorgeous little spot with cute decor and a quirky vibe (given it used to be once an old boot makers shop it’s shape and size is certainly unique!)
We wandered the area subsequently and I bumped into a pair of adorable minion flip flops for my dispicable me obsessed 9 year old host child! I found his upcoming communion as excuse enough to buy them as nothing quite says ‘welcome to the Catholic Church’ apparently like little yellow fellas on shoes!
I was lucky enough to have a very short work shift today as everyone was off doing other things and so my au pair services were not required (phew!) and so a pal and I took to nearby Trocadero to spend the warm evening in a buzzing atmosphere and the pleasant company of the shining beast herself! Gotta love that ol’ lady Eiffel!
A few hours later a couple of our other friends joined us before we headed off to the riverside next to Favst to meet up with one of our new French friends and his friends! We had such a wonderfully funny and great evening chatting away to this friendly group of people and we felt so delighted with ourselves to have spent the entire night speaking exclusively French! It is always little things that remind us of how far we have come on this language journey: each and every single au pair should be proud of how much they have developed and should feel very accomplished! Compare yourself to how you were at the beginning and then pat yourself on the back!! I felt most proud to be chatting away and joking around in this second language. A few more of their friends joined us and then we all headed off to Nuba for the night to dance away the early hours on this swanky rooftop terrace.
When we finally fled the scene we were left with the ever tedious task of locating a night bus! The intricate system of interweaving lines and networks was finally trawled through and we commenced upon our route homeward. Though these buses are renowned for their weirdness and are thus often avoided by a number of people, we, and our fellow passengers, had a most pleasant ride in the company of a bus busker! I’ve never seen such a thing before but an American man armed with his guitar serenaded us nighttime warriors with his country music before concluding with a rendition of James Brown’s ‘I feel good’ (to which we all sang along and clapped too at regular intervals!) I sure do love a good sense of community amongst utter strangers – especially in a city where cold demeanours and hostility are oft the order of the day!
Today was rather a slow starter and a scorcher! When we finally got up we trotted off to Parc Monceau where we, there’s like the rest of Paris it seemed, spent the day relaxing and having a lovely time under the 25 degree heat! Sun lounging and giggling for hours: the way we do best. There w was even a cheeky antiques and modern Art fair there. I I space was unfortunately then called up for work and so had to flee the scene but when I had finished, I rejoined my friends (who had taken themselves off to my room) for an evening of pure hilarity and silliness – arguably one of my favourites of the whole Paris experience. We had fairy lights on, a lovely nighttime view of the city and the laughter was flowing freely. I do love all of my friends here.
Whilst in theory today was a bad day with multiple things going wrong, we still came out the other side most content and pleased. We had gotten up early to visit a museum which (due to the previous night being a sort of ‘open all hours’ museum event) was closed! We, being in the cute Latin quarter weren’t short of things to do subsequently and therefore, just a few metres down the road, we stumbled into a vintage book market that was so adorable and full of old classics bound in the days of a time before passed. I picked up a €2 edition of Les Miserables that I will treasure forever.
We then took to Bagelstein to fill ourselves up with some yummy lunch. It is at this point that you are probably asking what on earth could possibly be seen as unpleasant about this day, but it was the following antics that made it so! We had wanted to go to Victor Hugo’s house but were told that, due to a new exhibition there is was now only a paying entrance, we had then been ‘rejected’ from two cafes we tried to get into as (due to the rainy grim weather <what else on such a day!!) everyone else in Paris too was occupying space at these cafes! We did manage to find somewhere luckily but a few hours subsequently, just when we thought all was well with the day, my friend’s purse was stolen along with her key! This lead to a police station visit (of which customer service was certainly not a priority!!!) before we retreated to my room for a cosy evening meal and snack session to chill out after the day’s stresses.
Once we parted ways I then met some others friends to spend the rest of the evening/night in one of their studio apartments (that had a view of the Eiffel Tower – the lucky thing!!) We chilled, listened to lovely calm music and shared stories and pictures of our lives back in our three different home countries. We also chatted about the future and of how little we knew about it all but we were able to say with certainty that we would be devastated to leave our little Parisian bubble that we have hand crafted for the past 8 or so months. So much has happened and so much has changed throughout our time here but it is so special to have these memories with one another and we know that, whilst it will be bitterly sad to say goodbye to it all, we must look forward too to our new adventures. We should all be so proud of our little Parisian lives we have forged out here.