Days 70-80: Christmas has truly hit

by Parismadridfun November. 27, 2014 1696 views

So, it’s been a fairly busy two weeks. I’ve done a lot and I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten some of it but never mind! Monday and Tuesday I had lectures, and may have done something in the evenings, but if I did they haven’t stuck in my mind so let’s just say they were chilled nights. Come Wednesday, excitement was ahead on opening night of The Hunger Games in the cinema, which I went to very eagerly with my Swiss friend and my York friend – great film…though not as good as the previous two and I’m imagining not as good as the final one will be…this one was more of a build-up really (but then again, that’s the case in the first half of that book anyhow).

Thursday, as usual was a day off, now known as “Thursday fun-day” to myself and my York friend. So, at her request, we went and visited the Catacombs…which I wasn’t sure about doing but agreed to anyway because you have to do these touristy things whilst you have the opportunity! They were…not really my cup of tea, walking amongst 6 million skeletons’ worth of bones wasn’t my favourite thing ever, but it was certainly an intriguing experience! After this, we decided that we should do something a bit more seasonal and cheerful so headed to the Christmas markets on the Champs-Elysees for the first time and had a nice relaxed wander around those, enjoying all the Christmas songs (which were of course in English) playing over our heads.

Friday, post-lectures, was intended to be touristy, but by the time we decided on anything most places were closed anyway, so my York friend and I ended up eating fajitas and watching La Vie en Rose, the first actual French film I’ve watched since being here!

Saturday was a big day out – we went to Versailles for the day! After lunch from an “Artisan” boulangerie with a French friend, we headed over to the palace and spent a good hour and a half wandering round exploring the beautiful interior. We hadn’t planned to do the gardens, as my friend was convinced it cost 7 euros, but somehow, it was free, so we then walked round those, in search of Marie-Antoinette’s farmhouse quarters for a good 2 hours before realising that we were, in fact, on the wrong side of the lake. Another 40 minutes to an hour later, we finally found said farm area and the nice man on the door who was just locking it up for the night let us in…before locking the door again behind us (the exit was elsewhere, we weren’t trapped!). We wandered slowly round the area, which was very pretty, at one point noticing some cute wild rabbits…which upon closer inspection turned out to not be rabbits at all (rats…we moved away quite quickly after that)! Once we’d finished in Marie Antoinette’s quarters we headed towards an exit in fear that we’d be locked in, as the gates close at 6 and it was 5 to! But we made it out alive (just, the guy was locking up the gates as we approached him at 5 past 6) and were home by quarter to 8. Great day out, for only the 4 euros we paid for lunch!

So, after our 6 hours’ worth of walking on Saturday, a lie in was necessary on Sunday, before heading back to the markets with the intention of actually doing some Christmas shopping…that didn’t happen as my friend is indecisive and I had no money!

Monday and Tuesday this week were once again lazy nights in, and on Wednesday I met with a (somewhat distant) family relation (second cousin once removed or something like that) who lives in Paris, working for a very high-end company, 15 years down the line from doing the exact same degree as me (gives me a bit of hope at least). It was a lovely chat, ranging from future job possibilities, to the family tree, to how she met her husband and ended up with bilingual children (not jealous at all, it’s not like she has a language students ideal life or anything…).

Today was finally Christmas shopping day, after a lovely coffee (well, gingerbread hot chocolate for me) with my Swiss friend down by St-Germain-des-Pres (pricey area in Paris). My York friend and I headed out the markets for a third time this afternoon and I actually managed to get the vast majority of my Christmas shopping done…score! After that, we headed over to an art and design museum which claimed to be open late on a Thursday…which it sort of was, but only 2 floors out of 9 and not even the whole floors…needless to say we only spent about half an hour there. As a round off to the night we decided to head back to Notre Dame for maybe the 5th or 6th time, but it was worth it…because the Christmas tree is pretty!

This weekend, heading to Normandy to stay with some family friends for the weekend…lots of French to be spoken!

Champs Elysees Christmas decoration

Palais de Versailles

A particularly autumny tree in the gardens at Versailles

Christmas Market Moose!

Christmas tree at Notre Dame

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