Le Rêve Parisien
I feel as though right now I am living every girls dream. We have a cute little apartment in the heart of Paris and a month to do nothing but explore, taste, wander, spend, drink in and photograph this amazing city. I feel the expectation this brings weighing heavily on my shoulders and I will endeavor to make the most of this situation everyday for everyone back home.
We arrived in Paris on Monday evening, managed the metro and found our way to Bastille where our little apartment awaited us. Alejandro, a cool Mexican dude who owns the apartment with his wife showed us around and gave us the keys. As soon as he had left us to our little piece of Paris we did a little dance of joy. It’s a studio apartment and small is a key descriptive word! However, it is all we need, is newly renovated, clean, cosy and has wi-fi (or wiffy as the French say) so we’re pretty set. YEEEEEAAH we pulled our clothes out of our bags with glee, no more packing and unpacking for a whole month. Can’t believe we’re finally here.
First morning in Paris was a glorious one; we held true to a promise and went out for a breakfast of coffee and croissants at the boulangerie on our street. We now love this place, mostly because the lady tried very hard to communicate to Jono (who hadn’t yet memorized the French words for ‘creditcard fraud’ and ‘theft’) that his credit card isn’t safe because it doesn’t need a pin. Very sweet of her really and a hilarious conversation to be listening to. The croissants were so fresh and flaky and people were queuing out the door of the tiny little shop for their morning bread.
We left the bakery to stumble into an amazing street market selling fresh fruit and vegies, flowers, cheese, meat, books, and second hand clothes/junk…and it’s about 50m’s from our front door! With nothing but ‘see the Eiffel Tower’ planned for the rest of the day we decided we had time to walk the 7km’s across the city and along the River Seine. It was a long way but it was so sunny at one stage the skin on my arms actually met with the suns rays for the first time in 2 months. Crazy.
Jono’s first words at seeing the Eiffel Tower were, I kid you not, “is that it, I thought it would be bigger?” I could have clamped my hands over his mouth and I held my breath until I realized no one had heard. Phew. He actually now thinks it’s ‘pretty cool, especially cuz its so old’. We rested our weary feet and snoozed in the delicious sun until it was evening. We ducked home via metro this time and walked the 3kms north to Heidi and Carmen’s unit in the 11th arrondissement. Their apartment is lovely, big and bright and being on the 5th floor is a bum toner for sure. We had a great catch up dinner and many a laugh as always.
I was up and out to do the shopping at the market in the morning as I have decided I will do every day and having got all the fresh stuff I needed I ventured in to the butcher’s. I wanted lamb and I left with beef. How could this happen you might ask? Well, very easily in this city where really not that many people speak English and people like me forget the French word for ‘lamb’. I tried as much as I could until, seeing the poor mans blank expression, I gave up and apologizing asked if he spoke any English? Well, he knew the word for chicken and after declining chicken several times he assured me the young guy he had just dragged over spoke English (much to this kids horror). I asked for lamb and he said ‘what is a lamb?’ I said a baby sheep (?) and everyone laughed at me. I think I turned red and that was the point I decided beef would be fine. They eventually asked me if I was American and I said “no, I am Australian” which earned me many thumbs up and more laughter. They were super friendly and when I left I was pretty stoked I hadn’t, at any stage, resorted to bleating.
Jono went on a laundry mission to do some desperately needed washing. He googled a Laundromat close by and off he went kindly carrying both his and my washing while I went clothes shopping. He walked 2kms with all our clothes. After waiting for the washing to be done he was about to load the wet clothes into the dryers when the dryers all died! Feeling pretty peeved he trudged home, used the wifi to find another laundromat and then walked 3kms to this other place. He pretty much spent a whole day doing laundry and you know what the worst part is… we’ve since realized there’s one around the corner about 200m from the front door. Ouch.
Jono actually walked out the door of this laundry and ran into Carmen and Heidi who were walking by?! Very bizarre! The girls came back with Jono and we all had a coffee by the Bastille column.
Thursday morning in preparation for the picnic I had planned I went to the market and the Fromagerie (cheese shop). Here it is an all time fail if you buy any of the following from the supermarket and not their specialty store: cheese, bread, macaroons, baked goods, meat, fish and chocolate. The cheese lady was really nice, I asked her about a cheese I’d heard was good, comtè, and she told me about it, showed me the different pieces and selected the one she said was the best. It is a delicious cheese, quite mild and should be eaten aged between 18-30months.
I had planned a full picnic for Jono and bought some picnic gear in preparation for the many more we are going to be having. Now we’ve got a little kit of plastic plates etc and even a thermos. It was to be a surprise as to where it was so I led him on a stroll to the Jardin De Luxemburg. We bought a fresh baguette at a local bakery and approached the park. There seemed to be a lot of people eating in the street and there were police guarding the entrance. They wouldn’t let you in unless you let them look in your bags and people with food were being turned away. The cop saw our baguette and said ‘No, no, no! No picnic today’! What luck, we’d rocked up on the one day in never that you magically couldn’t eat there, equipped with every type of picnic food imaginable and empty stomachs. However, I guess it’s not really that bad when you can walk an extra 1km and be at the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries instead. It was a delish feast including coffee, strawberries and apple amazing cake from the patisserie for dessert. It’s probably still a little early in the picnicking season though as we got cold, as in hypothermic cold, pretty quickly.
That night we left the cosy confines of our apartment and went out for a night walk to the Notre Dame. The beautiful, massive old cathedral is on one of the two islands in the middle of Paris and the River Siene. It is very beautiful at night when the streets are quiet and soft lighting makes it shine.