This past weekend I was lucky enough to go to Paris with my friends Rebecca and Sally, for Rebecca’s birthday. We also met up our friend Francis, who is researching his PhD at the Sorbonne, and my brother’s girlfriend Kate, who is there working for the OECD currently.
We’d all been to Paris before so were there for the catching up rather than the sightseeing. This led us to buy some cheese (Comté and Bleu d’Auvergne), baguettes (the best I’ve ever tasted), and sweet treats (tartes and macarons) and head for the Bois de Boulogne for a picnic. Not before we were introduced to Frank’s landlady though, who interrogated us in French for at least half an hour! Bit of unintended practice there but I at least managed to follow most of the conversation and take part when prompted. If only I remembered half the French I learned at school.
Sunday was free museum day – on the first Sunday of the month all national museums are free. We wanted to go to the Petit Palais but it was shut due to it also being a public holiday. So we braved the crowds at the Louvre. Deliberately going nowhere near La Joconde, we discovered the crowds were bearable after all. I spent most of my time in Napoléon III’s apartments and looking at Renaissance objets d’art – in particular a lot of very finely carved ivory. All I could think about was the poor elephants.
Then it was back to London, an hour late due to some idiot leaving their luggage unattended at the Gare du Nord. Such a short trip, and it has really whet my appetite for more. I realise how much of Paris I still have to see.