Last of the Summer (wine)

One thing I hadn’t really considered before starting my internship was how precious the weekends are when you have a proper day job.

We spend all week planning what we are going to do: which museums to visit, where to eat, who to see. I don’t usually like planning things in advance – spontaneous decisions often proving much more fun -, but our two days of freedom are really so special that having a vague plan does help.

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During the week, I am way too tired to do anything very exciting in the evenings. And when the weekend finally rolls around, I am torn between wanting to go wild to make up for lost time, and wanting to see as much of the city as I can in the daytime (instead of lying in bed feeling hungover and sorry for myself).

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After a bit of trial and error (including a big Thursday evening a few weeks ago which caused me to spend a large part of the weekend in bed, ill), I am finally starting to get the hang of things. If I go out on a Friday, I more or less still have the whole weekend left to profit from Paris, and don’t feel like I’ve wasted any time at all.

Last weekend was pretty perfect.

Friday night came around and I was ready to party. This ‘partying’ consisted of drinks in Saint Michel (where we were served marshmallows in our mojitos), a quick boogie in a weird bar-cum-club-cum-gig venue, and an incredible night at Showcase (quite possibly the best night out ever). This club is underneath the Pont Alexandre III – and has therefore been dubbed the ‘new Bridge’ – and it is basically just super cool. No explanation required. We went again last Fridfay it’s that cool.

And then, for some reason, summer came back to Paris.

It was 25 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday and after two weeks of rain, I was ready to make the most of this unexpected heatwave.

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On Saturday, while Sophia had brunch with her dad, I took myself off into the Marais for a celebratory meal at Le Pain Quotidien (where I got laughed at by snotty French girls for eating chocolate spread with a spoon after I’d run out of bread…), a quick sunbathe at Les Archives Nationales and a solo trip to Musée de La Chasse et La Nature. (Review of this coming soon!)

Having coffee with a friend near the Tuileries in the afternoon, I genuinely felt like my shoulders were burning. It certainly did not feel like mid October!

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The Marais was looking pretty great.

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The summer sunshine was even stronger on Sunday, so we dug out our few remaining summer clothes, put on our trainers and set off on the long walk to the famous Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen. As it is the largest flea market in the world, a visit to Les Puces is exhausting enough, but we wanted to make the most of the great weather and thought we’d walk all the way there and make a trip out of it.

Coffee in one hand, pain au chocolat in the other, we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves by the time we finally approached the thousands of tents set up at Saint Ouen, just outside the periphérique around the city.

Once we’d pushed our way past the tacky watch shops, we found the entrance to the proper part of the market. Hundreds of little stalls and shops sell old paintings, furniture and jewellery, with the occasional place standing out amongst the masses.

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Our favourite shop was full of odd pieces of jewellery, multicoloured beads, miniature vintage perfume bottles, and random bits of plastic bric-a-brac and toys.

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This creepy albino cat was enjoying the sun as much as we were

I had intended to take loads of photos, but I got too carried away trying on jackets and imagining furnishing my future apartment, so I only came away with a few snaps. Soz!

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The market is great fun, but completely exhausting. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it half as much if the weather hadn’t been so fantastic – you don’t really mind getting lost in the crowds when you’re getting a sun tan!

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Looks like it was similarly sunny in Scotland!

So there you have it, a pretty perfect weekend in Paris.

Typically, this weekend has been completely different. Friday night completely floored me, and Saturday’s major activity was a trip to the closest Zara – not exactly exploring the city. It’s now Sunday evening, though, and I’ve just got back from a trip to La Cimitière de Montparnasse, where we visited the graves of Baudelaire, Sartre, De Beauvoir and Maupassant, so I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on too much culture!

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