The time I got to be a tourist (et c’était merveilleux)

Bonjour bonjour bonjour,

This blog post is going to be pretty light on the reason I’m actually here (eg studying for my degree/learning how to be French).  Instead, if you’d like an insight into the fabulous time I’ve had pretending to be a tourist with some of my favourite people over the past few weeks, keep reading!

Paris is still very cold but I think spring is on its way.  I’ve only been outside without thermal leggings once since coming back in January, and I quickly realised my mistake.  But it’s almost March (time is going too fast!) so hopefully I’ll soon be able to retire the thermals!

The last time I posted an update I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of Hannah and Louise.  I’m lucky to spend time with Hannah when we’re back from uni, but it had been about a year and a half since either of us had seen our favourite Dane, and almost three years since we’d last all been together!

We had a fab time exploring Montmartre- I’ve actually only been once since I moved here and I must go back more often.  It’s so pretty!  You get a fantastic view of Paris too.  The weekend we were there was actually L’Ecosse à Montmartre and so the streets were adorned with saltires.  We even saw a pipe band!

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Here we are at the I Love You Wall.  The monument is of course dedicated to love, and it says ‘I love you’ 311 times in 250 languages.DSCN1121

We finished our Montmartre visit with a very tasty creperie lunch which I highly recommend, called Creperie Broceliande.  A savoury crepe, a sweet crepe and a glass of cider or apple juice for 10.80- that’s very good value in Paris!

The following day we climbed up Notre-Dame.  The weather was a bit misty, but I’m sure that never stopped Quasimodo…

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We had a very busy weekend and packed as much as we could in.  I’m hoping a more frequent reunion trip with these two wonderful ladies is on the cards for the future!

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After Hannah and Louise left I had an uneventful week of uni.  With Babylangues, Benjamin was a bit better than he had been.  We made a very elaborate Valentine’s card for his mum with lots of cut outs and pop outs.  It’s school holidays in Paris at the moment so this is the second week I’ve had off from Babylangues and I’m enjoying the break!

Craig then visited for a week, which was just fab.  This was the third time Craig has visited me here but there’s just so much to do in Paris that we were still busy being tourists!  I managed to tick a few more things off my Paris List too!

On Valentine’s Day we went to see Paris Saint Germain play Caen (after a rainy walk along the Seine via Notre Dame and the bridge with all the locks- I was hoping to witness a few proposals, what with Paris being the most romantic city, I didn’t spot any but I did see some enormous bouquets of roses!).  The PSG match was very different to watching Rangers play at Ibrox- as my dad pointed out, there were goals!  It was great not to be so emotionally involved either, which Craig (a very dedicated Hearts fan) summed up when he said ‘You know, I’ve never actually just enjoyed a game of football before.’

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Totally wished I had a flag to wave too

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We were definitely in the vocal end which was a linguistically enlightening experience if ever there was one!  Also, you could see the Eiffel Tower from where we were sitting…I just love Paris!

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The following day we had a different cultural experience visiting the Palace of Versailles.  It’s free for EU citizens under 26 (including the audio guide tour) so it’s definitely worth a visit!  It was so grand and opulent and I loved learning about the history of the building and the people who lived there, and about all the various purposes it has served since the French Revolution forced the monarchy to move.  Apparently one of the reasons the court moved to Versailles was because they felt the Louvre was too grand…if that’s true, I would have loved to see what the Louvre used to look like inside!

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In the Hall of Mirrors

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We also visited the Opera Palais Garnier, totally worth a visit.  You can do a self guided tour if you like, but we opted for a guided tour which I felt was worth the extra cost.  The guide, a lovely Italian woman, was brilliantly enthusiastic.  The tour moved quickly and afterwards we could retrace our steps and take all the photos we liked.  In the end we ended up spending almost three hours there!  I’m a big Phantom of the Opera fan so to see the building which inspired the story was pretty exciting for me- the chandelier, the Phantom’s box!

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This is the ceiling in the auditorium- it replaced the original in 1964 and caused a lot of controversy! And just look at the chandelier…
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Box number five. The plaque on the door reads ‘Loge du fantôme de l’opéra’.

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The building has its own fascinating story too.  It was built for Napoleon III in an architectural style which was so unique at the time it would be known as ‘Napoleon III style’.  It took fourteen years to complete, by which point Napoleon III was dead and the Third Republic weren’t so keen to be reminded of the past.  Charles Garnier, the architect, was the only person to pay for a ticket to the grand opening.  He was socially exiled from Paris and spent the rest of his life in the south of France, where he went on to design the Monte-Carlo Casino and the Nice Observatory, so he didn’t do too badly, but still, poor Monsieur Garnier!

I should add that before we visited the opera house we went to the Lindt shop for a browse since we had a bit of time to spare before our tour.  You’re always offered a free sample and I just can’t walk past without one- when I’m back in Edinburgh I won’t have that wonderful opportunity!  Anyway, we left having bought two of each of the all of the different lindor truffles.  And we spent Craig’s last evening in Paris sampling them all.  This was the best purchase decision I have made since…

…The time I bought my Disneyland annual passport!  Craig and I also managed to squeeze in a day at the happiest place in France!

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In other news, Katherine and I have started a new tradition: Cake Friday!

Prior to Craig’s arrival we went to Jacques Genin for these delicious pastries…

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And last week we tried a chocolatier, Jean Paul Hevin, along with our lovely Babylangues pal Chloe.  This was actually while poor Craig was waiting in Charles de Gaulle for his delayed-by-four-and-a-half hours flight.  Felt a tiny bit guilty!

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I had a swirl of raspberry coulis in my chocolat chaud and it was the best addition to hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted- try it!

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This week is a reading week at Diderot, but it’s optional by department and apparently optional by teacher beyond that, so I’m still in classes two days in the middle of the week.  With our Monday free, we went along to the Mundolingua Museum hidden near Saint Sulpice with Chloe and Erin.  For anyone who still isn’t sure what linguistics is or why I’m pursuing a degree in it, this is where you need to go!  The museum itself was tiny but crammed full of information and exhibits.

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We spent a good three and a half hours there and only covered the bottom floor!  I learned about the origins of language, relationships between world languages, writing systems, codes, and much much more.  Highly recommended to all!

Next up in my adventures is a trip to Amsterdam this weekend!  I’m really excited- if you have any any tips, send them my way.

À bientôt!

Lisa x


2 thoughts on “The time I got to be a tourist (et c’était merveilleux)

  1. Love your blog, Lisa! Hilarious that they do a L’Ecosse à Montmartre :)) We pretend that the most important part of a year abroad is language skills but I’ve also particularly enjoyed gawking at the buildings and eating the food… have loads of fun in Amsterdam and look forward to reading about it 😀

    Like

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