Tadah. I’m here. Thank you fairy godmother. I finally made it to the City of Luurve. After lugging 2 humungous suitcases across Landaaan town, along with a laptop and handbag (I went on the tube with them FYI…think I get a few brownie points for that) and then squeezing the guts out of them to fit them into the Eurostar baggage compartment, I think I’ve successfully prepared myself for women’s weightlifting at the next Olympics.
I proceeded to make huffing noises to reflect how heavy my bags were – just so they knew. I then got in the queue for a taxi. Only to get into one with a man wearing a wifebeater. He was practically a French Danny Zuko but without the charm…and the thick streaks of hair gel were almost tangible in his neatly combed hair. I had written the address of the flat on a piece of paper and proceeded to read it out to him in my best French accent. It was only then that I realised how I sound SO much better in my head than I do in real life. So I gave up and handed him the piece of paper, only for him to stare at it quizzically for the next few minutes as if I’d given him the address for an urban brothel. A taxi driver who has no idea where he’s going – that’s a great start. Unfortunately there was nothing to drown out the tasteless French music playing on the radio but when he started talking to me, all I could think to respond with was “I’m an English student, and yes it’s my first time in Paris”. He probably just asked if the temperature was OK. But I didn’t give a monkeys.
First thoughts: Paris is amazing. Yes, it is as beautiful as people say it is. And yes, there are practically no road markings and cars seem to drive in zig-zag lines, ignoring all traffic lights. It was like being in an Xbox game, only I had no control over the driver. At one point in traffic I saw a woman petting her husky in a glamorous Parisian restaurant. I just hope she wasn’t feeding it foie gras. The roof of the taxi was clear glass so I spent almost the entirety of the journey staring up at the gorgeous flats and shops with their overhanging shrubs and intricately designed balconies. And then we waltzed past a billboard of Julia Roberts. Oh, she is a pretty woman.
So we’re driving along and then I realise something: I’m practically next-door neighbours with Prada. I mean, seriously. I’m used to living next to goats, not Prada! Definitely a sort of country bumpkin to city slicker type thing going on here. I’m still learning though; currently wearing brown leather boots and I look like I’m about to ride a pony. Definitely need some fashion advice from Prada before I leave the house.
Just perfect. And I even get a double bed which means plenty of sprawling. Only thing I’m going to miss (apart from all my friends) is an ensuite. But living with a family is definitely the way forward, so ensuite or not, I made the right decision. The mother who owns the apartment is incredibly lovely and she has a 19 year old son and 17 year old daughter who also live there and they’re equally charming. I’ve already been invited out tonight for a drink with the son and his friends but I politely declined, in favour of a more relaxed evening unpacking and an earlyish night’s sleep. Next time I will most certainly be throwing on my dancing shoes however.
I thought this would be the worst day of my life, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. My French is a little patchy and the pocket dictionary I brought with me dates back to 1974 so I’m foreseeing a bit of old-school French for the time-being, but all in all I am very content. Paris - I'm impressed.
Watch this space.