Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bowling & Cake

Last weekend I went bowling! Which means two things...amazing footwear...


And beer!


After which we were suitably hungry (bowling is clearly hard work) so we went to the delicious French culinary experience that is McDonalds!


Check THIS thing out! You can choose your order on these little computers and just wait for your number to be called! Very much enjoyed these novel little machines and hope you guys in the UK get to enjoy them soon yourselves!

The next day I went to a lovely little tea party organised by the Paris Brit Meet-up group. It was amazingly tasty...though they need to make sure they brew their tea long enough...us Brits are picky! The cakes were immensely enjoyable though...






Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wagg

Friday night and I decided to have my first night out clubbing at Wagg. Now, no decent club gets interesting before midnight so I stopped by my favourite English pub in Paris, The Bombardier, for happy hour.


I'll talk about the Bomb another time because it really is awesome, but for the purposes of this post, we had some fun having a pre-partying, happy-hour cuba libre (though the place has some good English ales apparently...) and, after a few drinks, Mareike and I headed off to the club.


The club was pretty cool, all cellar-esque, and they had a man playing a sax on the dance floor and a woman singing once or twice.


The company was great but unfortunately, I think we came on a bad night because the music was pretty dull. We stayed an hour or so before we got bored.


But the girls assure me that the music's normally better so I'll probably give it a second chance at some point...and report back.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Beginner's Guide

France is very close to the UK, and, as such I don't think a lot of people really expect a huge culture difference. Well, I'm just going to cover a few things that I think people should be aware of before they step off the Eurostar into the fantastic city of Paris.


1. Parisians are rude. This is only because we are SO used to the super polite people of the UK. I know it's not the same for everyone but I know manners were hammered into me from a young age and as such I do apologise when someone bumps into me. It's just nice!

But in belle Paris do not expect any man to give up his seat on the metro, do not expect anyone to offer to help you with a bag. No one will hold a door open for you and if they do, either recognise that this is a rarity and be thankful, recognise that this person is probably a tourist...or beware some flirtatious activity. Which leads me to number two...

2. Ladies - French men, I have found, can be very direct. Many a time I have been asked by strangers to go for a coffee or if they can join me when I'm found reading a book. You will attract attention if you wear revealing clothes...you'll attract attention if you wear casual clothes as well so just be aware of that fact. Don't let it bother you, they think they're being flattering, and to be honest, I've found it a lovely little ego boost!

Creating a stir on the metro
3. The metro. This is not the tube. There a few things you need to be aware of. It's the easiest way to get around - that's for sure, but if you're planning a metro journey, try to keep the fewest number of changes possible - the walks between metro lines are epic. Also, the metro is very old at this point, and whilst you may find yourself on the shiny new trains, you will undoubtedly find yourself more often in run down stations and on run down trains. Just get over it - it'll get you to where you need to go. Also, most of the time the doors don't open automatically as they do in London - look for the button or handle, or let someone go ahead (Lord knows they won't queue politely behind you anyway). Beware of shoving. The metro gets crowded and these people want on. They have no sense of personal space. Like I said before, get over it and hold your bag close. Also - it's likely that you'll come across a beggar or performer on the train. These are often quite funny, barely annoying, and either way they're harmless. It's a good idea to download a metro map onto your phone before you leave!


4. Pickpockets are still an issue in Paris and I'm sad to say I've been with people since I got here who have had things stolen or nearly had things stolen. Don't leave phones on the tables (this is quite rude in France anyway) as they may get lifted by people pretending to beg. On another table nuisance, if rose sellers come by, shake your head, say 'non, merci' and carry on your conversation. Fastest way to get rid of them.



5. Crossing a road. Obviously beware that the cars come from the other direction here but also please note that they do not have the same regard for pedestrians as they do back home. If you're at a zebra crossing and the green man says you can walk - just be careful, because the cars don't always care.

And now some basics:

Parlez-vous anglais? parlay voo on glay? Do you speak English?
Je ne comprends pas. je ne com pron pah. I don't understand.
Ou sont les toilettes? oo sonn lay twa lett? Where are the toilets? (you can add a s'il vous plait)
Ou est le metro/la musée/rue...  oo ey le metro/la mews ey/roo Where is the metro station/the museum/road (add street name).

And most importantly!

Je voudrais une baguette!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Film Review: Brothers


How did this number slip below the radar? I admit, I found it because I was going through a bit of a Natalie Portman phase (going through - I'm totally still in love with her), and I saw this on her imdb list. A movie with Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal? I want to get involved with this.

So I bought the DVD about a year ago now, and finally got round to watching it and absolutely adored it! I was totally involved in it. It's not got a huge story line so if you're someone who can't stand a 'slow' film - give it a miss. It's mainly about the characters.

I don't want to say too much about what it's about but Tobey Maguire plays Captain Sam Cahill who goes to the war in Afghanistan, Natalie Portman is his wife, Jake Gyllenhaal is his brother (oooh, now the title makes sense) recently released from prison.

I have to say I really enjoyed the storyline, and the performances are amazing. Recommended.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Parisian Sun!

Highs of 34 in Paris today and I made the most of it by going to my friend Alicia's mother's house for a delicious BBQ, many many French cakes and many more good times!




Very sunburnt now and very full! Lovely day!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Visit from Ben: Day Four

I was trying to think what to write about since all I remember is being very hungover and tired!


But Ben reminded me that actually - it was pretty eventful journey home! After McDonalds in Marseilles (sue us - we needed it) we headed to the airport where, upon check in, Ben spotted Eric Cantona. Now, I didn't recognise him - but here he is:


He's a big guy... Following our celebrity spot we were then asked to leave the terminal to go back to the main airport section... the police with dogs hinted to us there was probably a bomb scare or some such event. On our way back through security Ben was treated to the French people's system, or lack there of, of queuing. Honestly, sometimes I miss the overly polite people of England...

Anyway, one coach, one bus, one plane, another bus and a metro and we were HOME! An hour later we headed to the Eurostar to drop Ben off to catch a train...but not before we grabbed another yummy baguette!

One of those crazy long weekends that doesn't feel like a holiday because you do so much but it was awesome! Enjoyed being your plus one, Ben - I've got some weddings next year so hopefully I'll be able to return the favour!

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Visit from Ben: Day Three

 The day of the wedding Ben and I decided to take it easy - starting with a good long lie-in and then an easy wander around Carpentras to see the sights!



 Carpentras is the definition of quaint - it's really cute, but Ben and I got a little bored of wandering around our little area (we'd done enough sight seeing for one weekend) so decided to buy some lunch and chill out for a bit before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.



 We got to the wedding place nice and early.


Ben wore this gorgeous suit.


And I wore a cute little promod number.


What can I say? We looked good. We were ready to...well, enjoy the wedding first, but then really enjoy celebrating the bride and grooms love by drinking and dancing!


The wedding took place in the grounds of the chateau du martinet and it was absolutely gorgeous. The priest was pretty funny, the string quartet were phenomenal and the ceremony was beautiful.


They definitely picked a good day for it!


 Gorgeous bridesmaid's dresses!


And suddenly they're husband and wife!


Everyone proceeded to the chateau for the champagne reception...which was amazing...though went on long enough that we were a little smashed by the time it came round to dinner.


Delicious dinner, hilarious speeches and several bottles of wine and champagne empty on our table...the night took off...





Suffice to say, Ben had to put me to bed...well, there's always one at every wedding isn't there?!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Visit from Ben: Day Two

Up bright and early to catch a plane to Marseilles...Ben is not a morning person...


But - a nap on the plane and after getting briefly lost, no one's fault...we found the lovely side of Marseille!


We were good and hungry by the time we reached vieux port, since we had been walking for quite a while at this point (I want to reinforce it was no one's fault) so we decided to treat ourselves to what looked like a very nice restaurant...and so proceeded a very indulgent meal...




Pichets - rosé for me, rouge for Ben.


Tomato and mozarella salad for me...pesto was involved...it was dreamy...


I don't think we ever fully worked out what it was that Ben had...but underneath this crusty pastry was baked chèvre...I tried a bit and it was yum! Or, as the French say, miam!


Benjamin had the sesame encrusted salmon as a main...


And I had pork...and oh my god...if this pork were a man, I'd marry it. And have delicious pork babies - it was incredible. I was very audible with my eating.


Ben's dessert...


My dessert...


After this meal we decided to walk around and do some exploring of the good side of Marseille...it was crazy windy though!


Strong enough to knock over a scooter!


We didn't have oodles of time, which was fine by us since there wasn't too much to see in Marseilles really - well, not that we were aware of! We didn't really do our research and kind of assumed there'd be a beach of some kind...so we headed off to meet our ride to Carpentras...taking a few pics on our way back to the station.