Well, I have certainly done a lot of things in the past 36 hours. Go to the Eiffel Tower, experienced my first rainy day, had my first class, went to Montmarte, saw the Sacre Coeur, had a french meal with a french person, practiced my french, and went to a marche (essentially a farmer’s market).
I’ll start with the first thing and work my way down the list. The first rainy day. Wasn’t I a creature of the swamp 6 days ago? Yes, I was. Apparently the weather changes quickly. But no Dad, it’s not because Paris is a desert. That factoid doesn’t apply here. It’s just Paris, and since it is Parisian, it does what it wants. In my french class, which is about 16 people or so, I’m the only Santa Cruzian. And there were maybe one or two Berkeley kids. So when it started raining, it was clear who the Norcal kids were. We know rain.
After class, we had our first field trip, where we went to Montmarte. Montmarte is a really adorable town, where lots of artists used to live (Picasso, several writers, and where the movie Amelie took place), the Sacre Coeur is here, and lots of history. I kept thinking on our tour how much my father and grandfather would have loved the tour because of all the history we were learning! Which made me reflect on the European History class that Julie and I took freshman year…Oh Professor Beecher, how much you judged me when I asked you to spell Napoleon…(I wanted him to spell a different name, but he didn’t hear me, so instead I looked like an idiot. Wow, what a surprise.) Montmarte is the highest hill in Paris and Sacre Coeur is the top. So once again, it was clear who the Norcal kids were (or maybe just the Santa Cruzians) as the walking and hills were not really a big deal. To get to Montmarte, we used the metro, which I finally think I understand. Although most of you know that I have a shitty sense of direction (hey, remember that time I tried to take a train to San Luis Obispo, but instead headed to Los Angeles?), the metro isn’t that hard to get a hang of.
This is a church in Montmarte that was built in the beginning of the 20th century, I believe 1904. It is art nouveau, with some gothic mixed in. It was originally built with the metal showing, but since that was not done at that time, they later put brick on, so that it would blend in more. Mother, aren’t you extremely proud that I retained that knowledge just for you?!
This is the Sacre Coeur, which has the heaviest bell. I believe 36,000 pounds, but I can’t remember exactly. One of the statues on the front is Joan of Arc.
This is a view from the top of Montmarte, unfortunately the picture turned out a bit blurrier than I had hoped.
And then evening rolled around and I was super psyched to go meet up with my first Parisian native! My best friend Emilie introduced me to many of her friends who now go to university in Paris, and so last night I met with Hugo (he is from the same town that Emilie’s grandparents are from). Hugo took me to this AMAZING restaurant, where I think if they would let me, I would just move in there. I could take up residence in a corner and just eat the left overs. I asked Hugo to surprise me and order whatever he thought we be good. I had duck stuffed with vegetables on top of potatoes in a savory brown sauce. Shiza Minelli, that stuff was DELISH. Our conversation was a mix of French and English, I told him that my Frenglish was going to be mostly present tense. Then came dessert…oh, yes. I ordered that one myself as I had my eye on the prize. I had a creamy panacotta with a kiwi/strawberry fruit glaze on top. I think I may have done the happy chair dance in public (Mom, I may have even done the excited clap, I don’t remember, I was in a dessert haze). Afterwards, we walked over to a small street lined with bars. It was so funny to be inside of one, as the music they play is all American techno-y music. But I suppose that’s the crowd they want to attract. I had a really great ginger beer and got in some good people watching. There aren’t too many blonds in Paris I have noticed…
This morning Diana and I went to our local marche, which runs Thursdays-Sundays. Right before we left, I had a moment of sadness as I realized I could not walk out the door in sweats…sad day. Poor Diana has had to listen to me tell her at least a thousand times about the purchase I am waiting to make. What purchase? The rolling cart-bag. It’s this fantastic thing that I suppose some people have in the States, but everyone has one here. It just makes life so convenient! No cloth bags, just shove yo stuff in a rolly bag. Take it on the metro, walk it down the street, use it as a shopping cart. The possibilities are endless. Christmas present anyone? So anyways, our marche pretty much kicks ass! Finally, I don’t feel extreme guilt over buying a single vegetable. And once again I practiced my french! Although there was one issue…the price for various vegetables are in kilos. I don’t exactly know how much that is. So when I got one kilo of mushrooms…well I paid for an entire mushroom patch. There are now no mushrooms left in the 12th arrondissement. Thankfully, Diana and I cook very similarly and like the same stuff, so we went splitsies on a lot of things. We then came back and cooked a humongous brunch for ourselves, which was fantastic.
Poor Paris, it won’t have any food left when I leave and it’s economy may go down the drain.