So my last weekend free to enjoy in Paris before I go home for Christmas (next weekend the parents are going on holiday the grandparents and I are looking after the girls) and what a success. Romain's graduation ceremony on Friday evening meant that I had to babysit the girls. But they came back, with various members of the family to celebrate so I got to join in a little bit. And wow they know how to do things properly here. We celebrated with Champagne, Caviar and Vodka. But the best of the best. K was given the caviar and vodka as a present by some clients and we looked it up and the little 250g of cavair costs €600. Crikes. I didn't think I'd like it, I know I love fish, but fish eggs seem like a totally different kettle of fish (!) Anyway, I was wrong. It was delicious. Really good.
Oh and the caviar is resting in some snow from th garden to keep it cool. Oh so practical.
Even the vodka didn't make me gag. The difference between Petrossian (the brand) and the 50p shots they used to serve at the Jailhouse was incredible. I'm developing expensive tastes. I also attempted to make some orange and cinnamon biscuits from my sister's blog
but mine unfortunately didn't turn out as beautiful as hers.
On Saturday I had lunch with the family friends my mum and I stayed with when we arrived. And we spoke mostly in French! Well I tried to, a lot of it wasn't correct but I managed to get my point across most of the time. By the end I resorted to English though, it's tiring speaking another language especially when you're not very good at it. After lunch they took me to the Musée Marmotten for the rival Monet exhibition which houses the painting which gave its name to the Impressionist Movement Impression soleil levant.
This little thumbnail doesn't do it justice. It's so beautiful and the lighting effect of it is brilliant. The lighting is what Monet became known for - he focuses on the light of an image, creating an impression, and atmosphere. The way the paintings were displayed obviously emphasised this aspect of his work and they did it so well. There were 136 pieces of Monet's artwork at the Musée and the rival exhibition at the Grand Palais has over 200. Can you believe that one person could have produced so much art in one lifetime!
In the evening I joined Lydia and her 2 friends who had come to visit for dinner at a restaurant in Montmatre called Le Progress. It's a really nice bar/restaurant with a good atmosphere. Very cosy and a good menu. We spent about 3 hours there, getting more and more vocal and debating the finer points of feminism. One of Lydia's friends is a staunch feminist and was so interesting to talk to, myself having never been particularly interested in feminism. I finished the night feeling more intelligent and wisened (is that a word?) by all the articulate comments flying around. By the time we'd finished debating the metro had closed so we couldn't move onto a club and instead found a bar round the corner. Which was dire. The sleaziest men and terrible music where the DJ thought it would be a good idea to just stop a song every now and then, but not for dramatic effect, like to make everybody sing along, as he did it in songs with no words. Just because he was crap. I can't remember the name of it otherwise I'd tell you to warn you never to go.
The next day we went for lunch/breakfast at Le Comptoir General on the Canal Saint Martin. It was a really nice cafe where you could a breakfast for 7 euros and go back and back to top up your plate full of yummy bread, and drinks. I think it is an eco-friendly place, it certainly had that atmosphere. Very rare for Paris. It felt more like being back in Bristol. So I loved it. In the back room, there was a small brocante where Emily managed to find 2 amazing pairs of really good quality shoes for 5 euros.
Romain's parents are now here to stay for the next few weeks and it is always a delight having them here, they're so kind and really patient with me and my French. They really help me too so in the next week or so I should have plenty more opportunities to speak French before I come for the holidays and lose it all.