Posted by: Flannery | February 18, 2011

Does anybody even look at these titles?

Hey everybody! Since Brad covered the post about our trip to London, I’m going to fill you in on what we’ve been doing in our own city! Last Wednesday evening, after we made dinner, we decided to venture out toward a Parisian monument staple–the Arc de Triomphe. We took the metro to a stop near-ish the Champs Elysées, and once we got oriented, started heading down that street toward the Arch. Since we weren’t hard core shopping (the Champs Elysées is one of the glitziest, hence one of the most expensive, shopping streets in Paris) we mostly amused ourselves with the window displays of all the big name stores, like Louis Vuitton and Cartier. Eventually we got to the end of the street where the Arc de Triomphe sits, and crossed the street to it. After some intense study of the little sign about prices, we decided that we could in fact go up to the top for free since we have French student ID cards! So we sort of fumbled with those at the ticket desk, and actually had to show the lady our TENNESSEE drivers licenses to verify our age, and we still got tickets for no charge!! Technically they’re only supposed to go to EU students I think, but apparently this lady wasn’t much of a stickler. Anway, so we got our tickets, hoofed it all the way up what felt like 2000 steps (I was dying) and finally made it to the top! It was freezing, but the views were unbelievable. Also since it’s not tourist season, there were only three or four other people up there, so it felt like we were on a private visit! Then we realized that it was only a few minutes before 9:00, and since the Eiffel Tower lights up all sparkly every hour on the hour, we waited in the cold for a few more minutes and got to see it light up from the top of the Arch! It was so beautiful and romantic, even though my ears/nose/fingers were numb from all the cold wind up there!! So that was very cool, and then we walked back to the metro to head home–but not before stopping in McDonald’s for a little dessert! Now before you all roll your eyes going “I can’t believe they’re in PARIS and they got dessert at MCDONALDS,” let me just tell you, it’s almost a completely different restaurant here. They have an entire separate display case for their pastries/macaroons/tartes/eclairs, and they all looked amazing! We got two hot chocolates and a little round chocolate tarte, and it was all quite delicious. So that was our first touristy night out in Paris!

Then we went to London over the weekend, where of course we were shamelessly touristy (like, taking pictures of our fish and chips, and getting all turned around on the Tube) and we had the best time!!!! One thing that really stuck out to me was how they phrase things so differently in British English. During the intermission of Wicked (during which I spent about 10 minutes thinking the show was completely over, but that’s another story haha) I went to go find the bathroom. The line was unbelievably long, almost out to the lobby, and I was so surprised that I said the lady in front of me “Oh wow is this the line for the bathroom?” and she said yes. And then almost every lady that came up behind me phrased it as “Oh lord, is this the queue for the ladies’?” And then our language differences became even more obvious when I answered the lady behind me “Yeah this is it!” And she said “Gosh, what is it about these places, they never seem to have enough LOOS!” It was awesome. She was so English, I half expected her to ask me if I wanted a Jammy Dodger and tell me she liked my fringe (hahahaha Maddie). Anyway, so London was fabulous and I LOVED Wicked, and we had an amazing time 🙂

Now that we’ve been back in Paris for a week, we’ve just been going to class and cooking a lot and making some plans to explore Paris more. I started to have some real cultural immersion when Brad took me grocery shopping on Monday. We went to a Carrefour right down the street from Brad’s apartment, and attempted to pack enough food for our American-sized appetites into a French-sized grocery basket (it got super heavy haha). It was actually pretty easy to find everything we needed, and so far we haven’t had much trouble finding things that we’re familiar with! You can still buy lunch meat, even though they only sell it in packages of like four slices. They also have chips and fruit and canned green beans and tortillas and all sorts of things! So we successfully planned and purchased enough food to make dinners for the week (one of those dinners was tacos, which was WILDLY successful, soooo good!!). The only main differences between a Parisian grocery and an American one are the size, both of the store itself and of the quantities of food you can buy there. I don’t think the concept of “family size” every made it across the pond, so we’re stuck buying normal sized containers of juice like once every five days lol. And the store itself is a lot smaller, but other than that it felt familiar like any other grocery store! But then there’s the bonus of having a huge bin filled with amazing cheeses, marked with a huge sign saying “2 euros,” which I don’t remember seeing the last time I was at Publix…at any rate, Parisian grocery shopping= huge success!!

On Wednesday night we decided to venture to our local movie theater to see Black Swan (it just opened here last week). That was quite an experience, because again, it was a lot smaller than our movie theaters in America. The lobby, that is. The line went out the door (even though it can’t have been more than 15 or 20 people long) and the concession area was TEENY. We discovered that the Parisians either bring their own food to the movies or they just don’t eat at the theater, because we seemed to be the only ones who bought popcorn. Another interesting thing–our popcorn had sugar on it! It tasted more like caramel corn than the movie popcorn at home, and it also tasted really fresh. Another discovery–the French apparently don’t do a lot of previews. You know how if you go to a theater at home, there will be little ads or trivia questions or commercials scrolling by on the screen until the real previews start? Well we just got a blank screen until about 5 minutes before the movie was supposed to begin, and then we saw an odd mix of French and American previews with French subtitles. And then the movie itself also had French subtitles, of course, because the sound was still the original English sound. I was thankful for that, because I didn’t want to pay for a movie and then hear some French woman talking while Natalie Portman’s mouth moved!

One more touristy thing that we did this week was go to Les Deux Magots for dessert (after making a frozen pizza from Monoprix at my apartment for dinner). That café is well-known because it was one of the hang outs of some ex-pat American writers like Hemingway. We got their amazing hot chocolate, which is literally just melted chocolate and milk, and we also got an apple tart thing with a teeny cup of ice cream on the side. It was fantastic!!

So those are pretty much the highlights of the last week. Also, I signed up for the rest of my classes. I’m in a grammar class that’s 10 hours a week (2 hours a day, with Monsieur Gautier), and I also signed up for three conférences, which are like lecture courses. The topics are Social and Cultural Geography of France, Poetry and Song (French ones of course), and also 20th Century French Theater! So those should be awesome, and then I’m also taking a phonetics course that’s 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, but that class doesn’t start until March 30th. And I think that’s pretty much it!

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P.S. I forgot to mention, that rose was from Brad for Valentine’s Day 🙂 And it’s sitting on the kitchen table in my apartment, in a wine bottle (appropriately, the wine was a rose wine haha) and it’s next to our fruit bowl full of tangerines! Shout out to Cara Beth haha, that was one of my first orders of business when I moved in, I was like “Okay ladies, we need a bowl to put fruit in” lol! Anyway, that really is all for now. Thanks for reading!

~Flan

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Responses

  1. loo.

  2. and yes I do read the titles

  3. 1 – I always look at the titles!
    2 – CHEESE
    3 – I only like lunch meat in 4 slice packs, so that seems lovely 😛

    • Hahaha brian, loo, yes!!
      And don’t even lie Em, you know you like a lot of meat.

      • You know me so well.


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