Rendez-vous's of Paris
Trip Start Mar 07, 2005
20Trip End Aug 14, 2005
'La derniere six mois' I said to the new group of French friends I had made, I was living here in Paris for six whole months. It was strange now to be truly enjoying Paris, the places, and even meeting new people finally; that it was now the time I was to depart for the next adventure.
At the same weekend my last of many visitors, had decided to not join us for the fun night out in Bastille, which was definitely their lost. The Bastille, wow, how come I had not been out here in six whole months? It was alive and it felt like Paris youth springing from the cobbled small roads. Eating Cuban cuisine in the historic Bastille where the days of the prisoners, would be eating bread and water. I felt satisfaction to know the people with me, my very good friend Guilane, French but somehow not quite French. Two colleagues from work, since the topic of conversation during dinner turned to how hard it is to find a mate in Paris, we then moved onto how different nationalities were in bed; it was such a heated and fun chat.
The night before I had finally gave into the six months of e-mails; my manager had subscribed me to and surcame to give it a shot. Jardins de bagatelle. I had gone there in the planting season from spring to summer flowers; most of the beds lay empty. Irises were weeping, but the mauves, yellows, white flowers stood tall and swayed in the breeze. Meeting a French friend, and his two other friends, I found myself on a initiation to another side of Paris I had missed out on. The doorman looked cold and arrogantly at us, maybe it was we were 3 men and a lady or was it that we just were not hip enough? Luckily one guy had printed my e-mail out and it was our entry to go inside the red brick house that guarded the entrance to the gardens. We were early by Paris standards 23:00 and we were some of the first to enter. Virgins to this Paris soirée...we walked around not quite knowing what to do or where to go.
I felt compelled to explain I didn't know it would be like this...and well whatever. Luckily the three French men I was with, were not arrogant, or peeved at all and sat and enjoyed the evening. We chatted about anything and everything, occasionally stopping to translate to Raymond, who did not speak English. As the night went on and Raymond drank more, his English became fluent.
Laurent was for me a French gentleman. He lived in Versaille, a refined district outside of Paris, good enough for queens and kings! I knew his girlfriend, and was lucky that he was such a kind man to meet with me. I had setup a cremaillere chez moi, he being the only person with Guilane who turned up. I remember very well he had also bought with him another good friend I must acquaint myself with, a wonderful red wine, from a chateau region where he was born. This wine I can still remember its taste. Divine.
By midnight I had drank a few of the 'gratuit' drink on offer, made of orange cointreau, campiri and squeezed lemon. It must have been two am when we realised we were tired, but talking so much together, we had not even noticed the time pass by.
We said goodbye, Raymond insisting in Paris or where he comes from they kiss cheeks four times, I knew it was a fib, oh I was still laughing. I promised to text my new French friends to invite them out to Bastille the next night.
The next morning I felt the 'gratuit' drinks hit me, hitting me hard in my head and making me less able to function. With my visitors in town, I was set to drink as much caffeine rich tea as possible before being the tour guide come translator for the day. As I got ready I remember vividly a dream I had. A funny and handsome man, with a great smile walking me around the Jardins du bagatelle. I remembered it was Tom Cruise, but why I had dreamt about Tom Cruise? I still do not know to this day!
The day turned to night and I set out for Bastille to rue de lappe. A street that I had not discovered before. Later after our meal. My two nouveau friends from the night before joined us, with them four more of their friends. I was excited to see them again. A French expression sprung to one of the French guys' mind, it's like a 'Spanish hotel' auberge espagnol...I was confused, we had been talking about Barcelona, he was going there next week and I had been. This Spanish hotel idiom was from a French film, which I need to get a copy of. The idiom was similar I guess to the one I found myself enriched in living in Istanbul, 'anything can happen at anytime'. With that, I need to google this Spanish hotel film. In addition Raymond had asked me if I knew the French group called Louise Attaque...I had blanked but said I would check them out. Without thinking when I had the French Music hits on TV, a song I remembered very well from the summer I worked in the French Alps as a chambermaid, 1998, the same summer France beat Brazil in an amazing world cup final. 'de temps en temps' catchy and well it was Louise Attaque, finally I had felt and lived more moments of Paris and French people this weekend than all of the six mois in Paris. With little time left here, I was set to enjoy more moments like this; to live for today or it can be gone forever.
So I was set to see and do all I could in my few days left in Paris, I was charged to go find a good vantage point to watch the spectacle of the tour de france close past the Louvre to the Charles de Gaulle etoile. This was Paris.
"L'auberge espagnole" (the Spanish hotel) is not only the house in Barcelona where the Erasmus students live their adventures in the movie; in French, it also means "a place where everybody brings something of its own and share it with the others".