Believe it or not, it actually takes quite a lot of time to write a blog. Or rather, it takes a lot of time to write a good blog.
However, I’m a quantity over quality kind of girl, and I did promise myself to try and write a post each week, so I thought I better put some words on the screen anyway, just in case I forget what I’ve been up to. I’ve been having a great time at work, but I won’t write about my job just yet. I also have some great foodie posts coming up, but I’m going to save them for a later date. So, for want of a better idea, here are a few random lists to sum up my week. Because who doesn’t love a list?
Mine and Sophia’s (failed) cultural expeditions of the past week
Many of Paris’ best art galleries are open late on Thursday night, so we headed off to the 16th after work, with the intention of going to the Marmosset Monet museum. Unfortunately, it just happened to be closed for a 5-day renovation, so we were unable to get our culture fix and had to make do with going out for a drink and a delicious dinner instead. Not too bad!
On Saturday afternoon, we walked across the river to the Musée du Monde Arabe to see the Orient Express exhibition. We stopped off at Shakespeare and Company, a wonderful old English bookshop, where I fell in love with this edition of Proust’s À la Recherche du Temps Perdu and Sophia got excited about Sartre and Flaubert.
When we finally arrived at the museum, and saw the amazing old trains, we discovered that the exhibition was fully booked until 8.30pm. Another failed cultural expedition.
However, we then walked through the Jardin des Plantes and visited La Mosquée de Paris, a beautiful old mosque that has been converted into a tea room, restaurant, souk and hammam. We couldn’t quite understand why it is no longer being used for prayer, but we had a quick visit to the shop and a delicious mint tea.
We did finally get some culture in on Sunday morning, though! Last time I came to Paris I went to an amazing Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs on Rue Rivoli, and I have been desperate to go back to see the Dries van Noten exhibition since I’ve been in Paris. It was seriously interesting. The exhibition is titled ‘Inspirations’, and demonstrates all the many influences and inspirations behind the Dries collections over the past forty years. It not only showed the influence of other designers, film, art and even certain individuals on the designer’s creations, but also how his own collections still inspire him today. Clothes from the 70s and 80s were therefore placed next to more recent collections, in order to demonstrate the cyclical nature of fashion. We weren’t technically supposed to take photos – and the supervisor guy had a stern word with me at one point -, but I managed to sneak in a couple of low-quality snaps anyway.
Unfortunately, however, this successful streak did not last very long. We have heard so many great things about Franglish, an English-French social event which is supposedly a good way to make friends, so we decided to try it out on Sunday evening. Running rather late, we speed walked to the area near the Sorbonne – which is surprisingly hilly – in order to get to the bar where the event was being held. The bar was dead; our only potential friends were three nerdy looking guys, huddled around their beers. So we decided to quit while we were ahead, and wait to go on a busy weeknight. Fingers crossed we’ll make friends next time…
Where I’ve been drinking this week
Feeling like a sophisticated Parisian now that I’ve finally started my job, after-work drinks were an absolute must this week. After our disappointment at the Monet museum, Sophia and I found a little café/bar where we drank Kirs and discussed office life.
On Friday evening, to celebrate the end of the working week we met at the Café des Livres, a cute little café on Rue Saint Martin. I had a scrummy Cucumber Mojito; the perfect way to end my first week as a Parisian intern.
After dinner, a friend from Oxford came over for a glass of wine before we went out for drinks with some of my friends from the French course. We wandered up into the 11th to the Perchoir, a bar I’d been wanting to try ever since I heard about it a couple of weeks ago. We’d already been warned that we may not get in, and I was not feeling so hopeful when I saw the doormen and bulldog waiting to greet us, but we made it in the door and crammed into the tiny lift, heading up to the 7th floor. Turns out that the slightly dodgy exterior is all part of the cool vibe: Le Perchoir is the most incredible rooftop bar, with fantastic views of the whole city. We had some delicious cocktails, and I got to catch up with my friends from school and say goodbye before they headed back home on Saturday. I will definitely be going back there soon, while it’s still warm enough, and cannot wait to take my QM girls there when they come to visit!
What I’ve been eating this week
As I mentioned earlier, some more DeliciouslyEliza posts will be coming soon, but I just couldn’t stop myself from writing a blog post without mentioning some of my many meals.
My office is in Neuilly-sur-Seine, which is apparently the ‘Chelsea of Paris’, although there is a serious lack of good (cheap) places to go lunch. Not ideal. I have tried getting an Asian takeaway with my ‘colleagues’, as well as going to a local boulangerie and salad bar for a quick bite. The salad bar, Jour, was pretty great: you basically make your own salad out of a huge selection of toppings. However, my meagre ‘stagiaire’ wage will definitely not cover these extravagances, so I have decided that packed lunches are the way to go. To be continued…
On Thursday night; after our failed expedition to the Monet expedition and our compensatory Kirs, Sophia and I went out for the most delicious meal at Le Tournesol, a well-known Brasserie in the 16th. It was quite a spoiling meal, but definitely worth it – my carpaccio was an absolute winner.
A weekend in Paris with Sophia would not be complete without a girly brunch or two. On Saturday, we rustled up our own yummy avocado tartines (SO French), saving the main event for Sunday. After a lot of research and much indecision, we finally decided to try Claus, l’Épicerie du Petit Dejeuner, which was conveniently a five minute walk from Dries van Noten exhibition. We enjoyed some pretty scrummy eggs (although not quite as good as the Rose Bakery – I’m getting fussy!), delicious freshly squeezed juices, and perfectly frothy cappuccinos.
The cakes looked too good not to try, so we took two brownies home with us, which we ate for afternoon tea after a lovely walk in the Marais. Unlike the rest of Paris, which is completely dead on a Sunday, the 4th Arrondissement is always buzzing. Rue des Rosiers, the narrow street in the middle of the Marais which houses some great Jewish restaurants, was particularly busy. I can’t wait to go back there soon to revisit the famous L’As du Falafel.
As always, we have been getting busy in the kitchen. This week, our big excitement was cauliflower pizza, something I’ve been wanting to try for ages. It was pretty good, but I think I’ll wait until I’ve perfected the recipe before I share it. (Inspiration came from Madeleine Shaw and The Londoner, although we basically just improvised with what we had to hand). In preparation for a week of packed lunches, we made our first ratatouille last night, which was a huge success. Although we managed to set off the smoke alarm, I feel like we’re finally getting the hang of things in our little kitchen.
Various Views of Paris
I spent most of my time walking while I was doing my French course, and so had yet to properly experience the metro. My 15 minute commute is not wholly unpleasant, although I’m sure it will get a lot busier this week, now that the Rentrée is in full swing…I have managed to master reading my kindle while standing – very good for my balance -, and I’m hoping to work my way through Proust over the next few months. Maybe a bit optimistic, but we’ll see!
After dinner on Thursday night, we decided to shake things up a bit and get the bus home. It was a 15 minute journey along the Seine so we managed to take in a few sights along the way, including the Eiffel Tower, which conveniently started sparkling when we drove past at 11 o’clock.
On Saturday afternoon, I finally got to try out the Velib system, something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. I was pretty nervous about the reckless Parisian drivers (unsurprisingly, considering I’ve been hit by a bus before in Oxford, and Parisian drivers are a lot more rogue…), but we made it home alive. Now major velib fans, we rented them again on Sunday evening after our Franglish failure, cycling home in the sun and feeling very happy after a great week(end).
What I’ve been reading this week
I’m working in the journalism department at Ligne de Front, which means that I will get to research for a huge range of TV programmes over the next few months. My first two days were spent brainstorming for ideas for programmes on Up and Coming trends, so I got to read every news website and blog I could think of. Not bad for my first day at work!
We are currently preparing for a documentary on Great Apes, so I have spent a lot of time researching monkeys. Ask me anything about chimpanzees, I’m now an expert. And don’t get me started on the bonobo, my new favourite animal. Check out this video, so cute:
One of the many things that came out to Paris with me and my four massive suitcases was The Paris Gourmet, a present from my extremely thoughtful Mummy. A guide to the best restaurants, markets and coffee shops in Paris, this book has basically become my bible. So many places to try, but I don’t doubt that we’ll make a significant dent in this book over the next few months.
I’ve also spent a significant amount of time reading Paris blogs. Here are a few of my faves.
And Trish Deseine, the author of The Paris Gourmet
Having a colocataire who works at the Financial Times comes with its advantages. Sophia very kindly brought me home a copy of this weeks FT Weekend magazine, which just happens to be a foodie issue. There was a very interesting article on the language for food reviews:http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/82f41202-27f3-11e4-ae44-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Bh3uEgtv. Language and food, two of my favourite things!
A few of my favourite Parisian sights of the last week
The Bois de Boulogne
Notre-Dame on a busy Saturday morning
The sparkling Eiffel Tower, viewed from a bus. (Weirdly, this was by far the closest I’ve been to the Eiffel Tower since I’ve been out here!)
Saint Michel, viewed from a bike
Rue des Écoles, also viewed from a bike
Le Jardin des Plantes
Les Archives de Paris.
The amazing view from the top of the Perchoir
Square René-Viviani, a little garden just over the river, which contains the oldest tree in Paris.
The Tuileries. Always a nice place to run on a sunny Sunday morning.
That’s all for now, sorry if I bored you! x