So week three started with an unexpected day off. Once again my lack of attention meant that I had failed to process that due to a French bank holiday, my family would not actually be returning until Monday evening. So, after wasting my Sunday evening, Monday was spent in true bank holiday style; staying in, watching Gilmore Girls and defeating a mountain of laundry. I am still unaware as to why, when I work so little during the week, I spent bank holiday in lounge pants, ‘working’. Two wash loads, and three ironed and made beds later, my family returned.
With her Parisian escapades preceding her, I finally met Vanessa on the Tuesday. It was far too hot* to do much more than sit in a cocktail bar and watch passersby getting splashed by cars driving through a burst water main. Such a shame…
Wednesday attempted my first shopping trip in Paris, with varying levels of success. After my sandals met a tragic end the previous week, I could not cope without some open shoes in the belated summer heat. Shopping in a new country is always tricky because it’s a case of scouting out the equivalents to what you’re used to back home, something made all the more worse when you are searching for something specific which is going out of season. But 4 separate H&M’s later I emerged victorious, sandals in hand, with a vague sense for what french stores suit my style and are affordable. That evening I helped my host children sort through the previous years school books before the impending rentreé, where I found a photo of me in horse form (see below).
In a highbrow mood, and equipped with more appropriate footwear than my previous museum visit, friday began with a trip to the Louvre. Thankfully I headed straight to the Louvre after dropping my kids to their activities so did not need to stand in the heat waiting for the security check, and being 22 and an EU citizen (for the moment, Brexit grumble grumble) I walked straight for free, simply flashing my ID. Now I cannot deny taking the odd snap here and there, but I seem to be in the 3% minority of guests who do not shuffle around viewing the paintings through a phone screen (or worse not even bothering to look at works at all, just the bloody phone).
If you are aiming to view the Mona Lisa then, unlike me, it may be an idea to head there first thing. I very much underestimated the ‘Mona madness’ as I shall call it, and meandered my way there, looking at everything I passed. Potentially a mistake, for when I reached the Mona Lisa it was swarmed with tour groups pushing and shoving to get as close as they could to take their photo and leave. However after being knocked on the head in the head by the phones of several unaware (/inconsiderate) tourists, I finally saw the famous painting. By this point having seen enough of the Louvre for one morning, and specifically ruined many a person’s photo because I oddly I wanted to stand and look at the paintings, I hopped on the metro for a restful afternoon before the kids descended. Turns out the Louvre is even bigger than I thought, for on closer inspection of the map, I had only seen half of a single wing of the building.
Having finally descended from my museum etiquette soapbox, Saturday meant hitting Paris hard. Following Vanessa’s lead, we met for drinks outside Notre Dame where we watched a fire juggling street performer (three times over for Vanessa to put her number in his hat along with her euro), before heading Saint Michel for my first taste of the Parisian bar scene. After trekking what felt like half of Paris, we arrived at some more typically French bars, before calling it a night. This was also my first taste of Parisian transport after dark. With all public transport bar the less than reliable night buses shutting down early until around 5am, we lasted about 20 minutes on the steps of the metro before we gave in and summoned my first uber. At this point I would like to acknowledge having followed Christian’s uber rules, and told those in the car nothing about myself, I did however fall asleep so I can’t be certain it was a complete success.
Sunday saw some host family bonding as we explored the forest by our house, which I enjoyed with surprising vigor considering. Weekend activities with my family are obviously completely optional, but with so much free time in the week to do as I please, I like to be an Aupair who involves herself in family life also. Getting stuck in really helps you to feel a part of the family dynamic and local life, while also being a great chance to improve your language skills.
And so ended another week in beautiful Paris.
Week 3 in numbers:
- 1 spirit animal discovered.
- 1 museum.
- 1 unexpected day off.
- 1 new friend.
- 1 Uber ride.
- 12 episodes of Gilmore Girls (better).
- 1.5 pages of Harry Potter read since last week (worse, but I did plough through an English book…).
- 100’s of tourist photos ruined at the Lourve.
- 3756 shops scoured for replacement sandals.
*at this point I was unaware of the impending canicule…