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Another late bedtime in Paris, another blog post to write, and a million things to say, even though it’s only day six! I’m so relieved I made a decision to eventually turn this blog into a book, because I’d never be able to tell you all the things I want to tell you about Paris in just two blog posts a week!
Last time I wrote, I only made it as far as nine a.m. on my first day (proving how much I can’t stop talking about Paris!), so let me continue from there…
…After my taxi driver lazily watched me struggle to get my luggage to my building, I was quickly greeted by the landlord. He’s the son of the couple who owns the building, and as helpful and professional as a landlord could be. I could tell the apartment had been cleaned before I arrived, but I didn’t know the cleanliness was a sign of strict requirements. Like that time the landlord showed me the bathroom, looked me square in the eyes, and said in his rich French accent: “Please do not put any condoms in the toilet.” For accuracy’s sake, I need you to insert three seconds of awkward silence into your reading, starting now! After stating this all-important rule which I assumed was common knowledge amongst the human race, he went on to draw my attention to the sticker on the toilet lid. It’s like one of those red and white “non-smoking” signs, the only difference being that the cigarette is actually a cartoon version of a slightly-crumpled condom with little red dots inside, to represent…well…yeah.
Once the rules were clearly out in the open, the landlord left me to sleep, but AS IF I was going to sleep at nine a.m. on my very first day in Paris and my very first day in Europe? (Airport stopovers in 1996 and 2006 don’t count as visiting Europe)
I needed to explore!
With my apartment in the heart of the Latin Quarter, I started my journey on Boulevard Saint-Germain, knowing that famous cafés shrouded in literary ghosts were just minutes away. Before too long my eyes focused in on Paris’s two most famous cafés, “Les Deux Magots” and “Café de Flore.” Known for past customers like Hemingway and Jean-Paul Sartre, it was everything my nerdy self came to Paris to embrace. The people taking photos outside of a packed and noisy terrace though? Well that part I wasn’t too keen on. I will definitely visit both of those cafés on some other Paris day—when I haven’t been awake for twenty hours straight—but on this particular morning I turned on the nearest street and found myself at “Le Bonaparte.”
This was my first time ever speaking with a waiter in Paris.
And I was nervous.
Mostly I was nervous because his slicked-back hair, crisp white shirt and format black vest represented everything I’ve ever read about, when it comes to ultra-professional Parisian waiters who barely have the time of day for you. So nervous I was, that I didn’t even try to speak French (d’oh! Chickened out on my first attempt). Instead I meekly asked for a café creme in English, and he swiftly disappeared inside. This gave me a chance to enjoy the view, which is actually underrated, when compared to “Les Deux Magots.” The latter gives you a solid view for some people-watching right along the boulevard, whereas the former offers up a lovely view of a church, along with some nice greenery. The view and the sips of café creme were very relaxing, but the temporary shot of caffeine was no relief for the way my eyelids burned when I blinked. I was exhausted. And I still had to some grocery shopping!
Before I could begin with my grocery list, my stomach reminded my tired brain I was starving, so I stopped in at “Maison Pradier” to order a pain au chocolat. This wasn’t one of those romantic Parisian moments where I take slow bites and savour each flaky bit as the breeze softly blows in my hair. This was more like hardly eating on the plane, which meant I scarfed down the pain au chocolat in twenty seconds, as I power-walked down the street. I promise I’ll be more Parisian next time.
Onto the groceries!
One of the great things about Paris is the charming little shops for all your different needs (i.e. fromagerie, boulangerie, etc), but one of the realities of moving to Paris with empty cupboards and an empty fridge is that first you need to stock up on the basics! With that in mind my tired ass dragged its way to the nearest “Monoprix,” and what followed was “Ooh, I need that,” and then “Ooh, I need that too,” and “Ooh, I definitely need that.” It wasn’t extravagant items I was picking up one by one, but ordinary things like water, orange juice, bananas…in other words things that end up weighing a lot of tonnage! (or “poundage,” if I mean to be accurate, but tonnage sounds more dramatic)
Oh, and remember my burning eyelids? I was on twenty-one hours without any sleep by now, so did I actually realize that my basket was getting heavier and heavier? No. My impaired reflexes had no idea what was going on…until I hit the streets with a twenty-minute walk ahead of me. The twenty-minute walk went like this: walk fifty feet, stop, put down four bags, rub my hands which are in pain, rotate my wrists which are getting really sore, and repeat. For twenty minutes.
I don’t even know what I must’ve looked like to Parisians, to tourists, to the homeless. Ridiculous.
After a much-needed pit-stop home but zero motivation to unpack, I decided to go on a little stroll. Because it’s not like I was tired or anything. This walk turned into a three-hour adventure which involved getting lost about seven times within a ten-minute distance of my place; those confusing Latin Quarter streets!
By the time I made it back to my place, it was six p.m. and I’d been awake for twenty-seven hours. I wanted to see and do so much more, but unfortunately sleep overtook me.
For the next fourteen hours.
Today is/was my sixth day in Paris, and my schedule has taken the form of: wake up semi-late in the morning (or early if I’m doing a touristy thing), explore all day and have awesome encounters with pit-stops in-between (hooray for living in Central Paris!), and end up writing blog posts until two or three a.m.
Like I’m doing right now.
I guess I was always that nighttime writer gal, ever since those days of doing re-writes of “Last-Minute Love” at three a.m. with a can of Red Bull (madness!).
At the exact moment of typing this, I can tell you that so amazing things have happened in the last few days; I wish I could spill the beans on all of it right away! But that would take a lot of blog posts, and the next one isn’t ’til Sunday.
PS: if you want to see more pictures from my stay in Paris, you can check them out at my Facebook Author Page.
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It makes perfect sense that French spermatozoa look like little red dots. If only the landlord knew with whom he was dealing. Ahem.
So you’re writing TWO BOOKS at the same time?!?!? Good that you’re so able to PACE yourself!
Spilled beans … must they be counted too? Sorry, a little accountant humour there.
Haha, love account humor! For any sort of memoir that shapes out of this experience, I’m blogging freely and organically, but will warp/modify/add to the proceedings later when I eventually work at it in book form. Most importantly for me is writing that sequel to Last-Minute Love! The observation, the meeting locals (already in progress!), the inspiration, the making of notes, and eventually the first draft—can’t wait for that! :D
Thank you. I laughed when you said you chickened out and spoke English to the waiter because I would probably do the same, even though I would practice for hours exactly what I was going to say the first time I went to a French cafe or reastaurant!
I know, typical first day move eh? Now it’s day 8 and I always speak French when I go to the store, making progress! :)
A friend has just emailed me this page for the shits and giggles. It did not disappoint.
This is the most self-obsessed rubbish I’ve read in ages. Me Me Me Me Me Me Me and then I did this and then I did that and then … ME!
You’re thinking of turning this travel blog into a book? Jesus-H-fucking-christ. Once you get to know any Parisian personally they will rip you to shreds. Or otherwise you’ll stay as tourist the whole time.
I will be following this blog with baited breath.
Hi Toby, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!