Monday, October 13, 2008

The time I went to Paris three times in the space of one week and then got some free food

One of the benefits of living in one of the worst départements in France is that I'm only an hour away from Paris by train (unless you get on the ridiculous train that stops at a million tiny towns, then it takes an hour and a half. Normally I try to avoid those). I took advantage of that this week by going to Paris on Thursday, for the weekend, and will be heading back tomorrow on a field trip with V School (my new school) to the Musée d'Orsay. I like that it will be a free trip, because after this weekend my wallet is vide.

I had my first visitor from the US this weekend! My freshman year roommate scheduled a two day layover in Paris to visit with me, and we had a fabulous time. We stayed in Paris for the weekend and did absolutely nothing except eat and drink wine, but it was great. Saturday we walked up and down the Champs Elysees, and Sunday we really meant to get to the Louvre but somehow getting up at noon turned into getting to the museum at 5:30 when they were no longer letting people in. Oooops.

It was really funny watching my friend deal with facts of life in France. She couldn't get over how rude people in Paris were. I tried to explain to her that they are like New Yorkers and really sick of tourists, but since she's a New Yorker she didn't really agree with that analogy. She also couldn't get over their use of space, how they don't get out of your way but then walk right through you to get where ever they are going. Of course she also couldn't believe how small the hotel room was (and rooms in general), how everything has lardons or jambon in it, their weirdness about proper eating times, how they kept speaking French all the time (guess that can be pretty shocking for a non-francophone). It was funny to see all of it through the eyes of someone who's never dealt with it before.

My boulangère (baker) and I are best friends. She gave me a free little bread bun thing today. The reason I go to this particular boulangerie is because it's the best one in town, so now I'm dreaming of all the amazing free butter croissants and tartes framboises in my future. That actually won't happen, and I'll probably never get anything free again, but at least I can pretend that if I keep telling her every detail of my life she'll keep giving me free food. Fair trade off don't you think? She gets all the gossip about the weird American who lives in Picardie, and I get a little free food. I make so little as an assistant anyway that it's kind of like charity. She should write me off on her taxes next year.


Leesa said...

This is pretty funny, Mira!! You friend noticed the same thing I did about personal space while walking! It really did bug me a lot cuz I'm sooo used to wide open spaces (like in San Diego)... No, I like to bump into people on purpose just to piss 'em, off.. Just kidding!! I whack 'em with my big book bag!!! heheheheh... not kidding!!!

Zhu said...

Parisians are extremely rude, and French in general aren't into the daily chitchat routine that I have gotten used to in Canada.

Even for me, it's a culture shock when I go to France now.

It is fun to see other commenting on the culture of the country you live in.

Aine isn't too bad... I thought you were living in the 93! :D