Saturday, 27 February 2016

Not Quite A Tourist

Whilst trying to concentrate entirely on my essay about morals in 19th century novels my mind has been wandering to the different problems that one comes across as an expat in Paris. Obviously most expats like myself tend to choose to remove themselves from their native shores in order to become more acquainted with other lands but that doesn’t mean we don’t love Blighty and less. In fact sometimes it makes us love it more.
I was taking a photo yesterday of the Arc de Triomphe in the classic tourist pose – standing in the middle of a crossing zooming in and marvelling at the architecture. I spied a few locals giving me quite bizarre looks and this set me off thinking. Obviously I don’t look like a tourist. You’ll see no bumbag or overcrammed rucksack on my person but all of my behaviours dictated that I wasn’t a true Parisian.

 I marvel at the beauty of the buildings. Looking up in awe at the magnificence of the matching awnings on the windows and how the sun glimmers on the gilding of Les Invalides are things that no Parisian would be caught dead doing. My aim when I first moved here was to become more native than the natives but the longer I live here I realise that actually I quite like the surprises each day of a new things to go and find and new places to explore. I like some parts of the Frenchness  - high quality chocolate eclairs and baguettes being available on every street do tend to help everyday life but there is no point in taking the extraordinary aspects of Paris for granted like you see so many locals doing. I think what I’m trying to say is – don’t just exist somewhere, experience it. 

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Paris Uncovered: Part Four

As Reading Week is upon me and the end of term draws ever nearer I’ve been looking into a few things to do in my newly acquired spare time. So while I go and explore many new things I thought I would let you know about some of my favourite places to go in the next three arrondissements I have to tackle in my quest to catalogue some of the finest places to eat, drink and be merry in Paris.
The 10th arrondissement has plenty of places to go out whether you just want a quiet drink or you’d prefer to dance the night away – it has it all. But there is one place by the canal in this oh so hipster neighbourhood that encompasses all of this as well as so much more. The place in question is Comptoir General. If you don’t mind having a walk through a decidedly dodgy looking gate and down a dark alley to what can only be described as a ghetto museum. With vintage clothes shopping during the day and rum-based cocktails in the evening it ticks all of the boxes for a thoroughly hipster paradise. I didn’t even mind that they played one of the World Cup matches one time that I was in there as it meant that they had a funky food stand serving up exciting delicacies.
The place I’m going to recommend is a recent discovery but it is one of my favourite places ever now. No hyperbole there at all.  East Mamma is an Italian restaurant serving classic Italian food in a fresh modern style. If you aren’t charmed by the staff or the gorgeous plates then you’ll have to try their signature cocktail. An instagrammer’s delight the d├ęcor is delightful and the food wholesome but make sure to get there early as I have been caught out there before now turning up too late and having to decide whether the hour and a half wait for a table is worth it. Hint: it definitely is.
An enigma zone for me I don’t know much about the 12th and extensive googling hasn’t helped me much. A fairly residential zone it is home to the French equivalent of the Treasury it does contain a few bars and restaurants but isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire. If anyone out there has any recommendations then please let me know.