Paris Travel Blog› entry 16 of 48 › view all entries
Bon soir everyone!
Haven't updated in forever so figured it's about time. I've been back in Paris since Thursday night, having spent the previous 2 nights in Saint-Malo which is a NW coastal town in the Bretagne region of France. I'll backfill entries for that and my last visit to Paris momentarily. This entry will cover Thursday night through tonight, April 8.
After my rainy first day in France, the weather has been nothing short of amazing - warm but not too hot with sunshine practically past 9 pm every night. Erica, a college friend studying in Dublin, flew into town for the long weekend on Friday morning, and we've had lovely times doing uber-touristy things like taking the lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower (freaking long lines and the second floor view is pretty much the same as if you go all the way to the top - would never do the wait again but guess it's nice we can say we went all the way up) and eating dinner on the Champs-Elysées. The dinner was quite delicious and one of many nights of culinary excess we had; between the two of us we shared 2 appetizers, 2 main plates, a bottle of wine, and 4 desserts heehee.
We also visited the Fountainebleau Chateau an hour outside of Paris and relaxed for several hours along the garden lakes. Nighttimes we spent drinking wine and stuffing ourselves silly or hanging out in the Latin Quarter. One night we visited a piano bar where the vocalist played her kazoo with great feeling. Sacré Coeur also made it on our agenda, and there we admired the church, sang along to a street performer's rendition of I Will Survive, and ate freshly roasted chestnuts from a paper bag. As a pleasant surprise, we had the best crèpes ever at this lady's mini-shop near the Montparnasse train station - perfectly crispy along the edges and tasty beyond belief.
Because it was just the two of us, we really had the chance to talk and catch up on everything that's been going on in the past few years since college. Here I'd like to pause and send a shout-out to Miss Elizabeth Yoon, as you were sorely missed and oft-spoken of these past couple days. It was nice having the company while Erica was here, though it definitely confirmed that you meet more new people while traveling alone than with others. I guess that's pretty much common sense, but somehow it seems easier for people to welcome you into their lives if you're traveling on your own.
For example, my absolute favorite time in Paris thus far has been my Thursday night return. I stayed in a small room off the Odéon metro as relatives were visiting at my friend's mom's place. While heading out to dinner, I passed by a corner bar where some exciting musical happenings seemed to be taking place, and the blackboard outside stated a jazz quartet was playing that night. I made a note of it in my head and returned after a scrumptiously light dinner of Parisian-style Japanese food, which (not surprisingly) tasted a whole lot like other Japanese food. I hadn't realized how much I missed rice until then.
The quartet consisted of a trumpet player, a saxophonist, string bass and drums. By the time I arrived, they were in full swing and the energy of the place and their sound was just incredible. It was a marked difference from the last show I'd seen, where I paid 19 Euros to watch a group who took themselves soooo seriously and were no fun at all, though they did have some nice moments. The drummer wore a black turtleneck and wire-rimmed glasses and made lots of funny faces when she played, and the saxophonist sounded really dry and reedy, in a (to me) unpleasant way. Admittedly the rest of the audience liked it so maybe it just wasn't my flava.
K anyway, back to Thursday night. I really really enjoyed the show, and while I was watching the performance a guy and girl who were sitting nearby invited me to sit with them 'cause they saw I was alone. Turned out the girl took piano lessons from the band's saxophonist and works as a legal advisor in some financial firm. The dude just got back from a year working sales(?) in India and was entertaining thoughts of opening his own restaurant. They left before the show ended to catch the last Metro back to their places, and I stayed to finish my beer.
After sitting for a bit on my own, the saxophone player came over to say hi and introduce himself 'cause he said they'd noticed how much I was enjoying the show. He asked if I wanted to meet the rest of the band, and I ended up hanging out with them until the bar closed several hours later. They were all quite young, roughly in their mid-20s or so, and I also met a couple of their girlfriends who were musicians in their own right. They have such exciting lives, traveling all over the world to play in various bands or teaching and playing random gigs when they're back in Paris. The trumpet player was my absolute favorite with his skinny face and dark eyebrows and talent and stuff, and he could even speak some Chinese because he'd taken it for several semesters in college! Interestingly, he had met DJ Premier and Guru in some random Estonian hotel lobby, where he had recently been on tour.
I practiced a bit of my French with them but they, like most other people I've met here, could easily communicate in English. Then again, the subset of people I can really talk to would have to be English-speaking anyway. The other neat thing about the night was some kid from New York was there, a friend of a friend of the band's, and he'd brought his trombone to Paris with thoughts of jamming with some Parisian folks. He said he'd played it earlier that day on some street corner and made himself 13 Euros in the space of a few hours! He was awesome, especially after he got over his seeming initial tentativeness, and I completely admired his courage for getting up there and doing his thing. Though I have no way to tell, the trumpet dude said he had excellent technique. They were very nice.
So yes . . . all in all, a very wonderful last week, and I will post more about Saint-Malo and my last trip in Paris at a later time, as I am now quite tired and need to figure out where I'm going tomorrow hehee. K bye!