Saturday, 2 October 2010

Premiers jours à Paris

Bonjour mes petits and welcome to my blog. I've decided to keep a blog about my year in Paris, partly as as record for myself, and partly as way to keep people informed about my goings-on without having to write the same thing over and over again in Facebook messages! I'll also be putting up lots of photos of my time here.

So what to say about my first few days? I arrived on Tuesday and came immediately to my apartment to meet my new flatmates. Three of us are English, but there is also a German girl to ensure the flat isn't entirely anglophone. I really like the flat, and I like my room, which has bright yellow walls and a wooden floor - I've painted this blog the same colour. 

Wednesday was spent waiting for a delivery, before heading out to explore the neighbourhood. In the evening I went to a bar in the 15ème to meet some other assistants, which was nice. There was a lot of swapping of similar information, but it's great to have made some contacts already. 

On Thursday, I went to my school for the first time. It's a lycée (ages 15-18) in the Marais, which is a very central district of Paris - my responsable (mentor). It's kind of like a Parisian Soho; very gay, very bohemian, with lots of boutiques, chic cafés and Haussmanian architecture. The day was somewhat nerve-racking, as it dawned on me for the first time that I will be spending my time with people 2 years younger than me, but I am more akin to a teacher than a student in that environment. Before applying for the Year Abroad, I was certain I wanted to teacher older and not younger students as I thought it would be more interesting. Perhaps it will, but at least in a primary school I'd be unlikely to be mistaken for a fellow student...

My responsable is really nice, and I spent the day observing lessons, with a couple of small tasks. Firstly I had to read out a list of English words to help the students with their pronunciation, and then later in the day Dominique decided to walk out of the room and tell the students "This is Eden. I want you to ask her some questions about why she's here", and then there followed a five second silence where the students all stared at me, and I at them, before I said loudly "So, who has a question?" and thankfully, a girl asked me one. The idea of me having any authority over those students is laughable. Being in a school environment reminded me of being back at secondary school myself, and how much I hated that, so I don't think that I will especially enjoy the job. However, I think I'd spend 12 hours a week (the hours I am doing) cleaning toilets for the chance to live in Paris, so I'm not complaining.

Let's see, yesterday I had a welcome day for all the assistants which was incredibly dull. Afterwards I had lunch with another student from Warwick, which was nice. I will never get bored of eating Croque Monsieurs in brasseries in the Latin Quater... EVER. Which is just as well because I paid over 10 euros for the privilege of lunch and coffee.

All the photos in this entry date from today, when I properly explored Vincennes. I had a lovely afternoon and the only thing I spoke to was a dog... I swear I get more solitary as I get older. But anyway, Vincennes is a town in its own right, but so near to Paris (literally just outside the ring road) that it feels to me like a suburb. It's most famous for the Bois de Vincennes (Vincennes wood) and the chateau, both of which are a 10 minute walk away. The Bois de Vincennes is perfect for cycling, as it has lots of pavement trails and it's entirely car-free. Here follows some photos of the neighbourhood:

One of my favourite things about the building where I live is the view from the rooftop. My friend Tiffany is living in a studio up there, and this is the view. 

  Next door to Tiffany lives Guy, who is 84. This is his balcony. Perhaps I shouldn't have taken this photo without his permission, but seeing as he doesn't use the Internet or speak English, I doubt he will find this blog.

 C'est moi. WIth the Eiffel tower just distinguishable in the background. It is seven miles away; the Ile de la Cité is 4 miles away.

Finally, here is my room, with Tiffany sitting on the bed.

Au revoir tout le monde. It's time for dinner and then I'm heading out to the Nuit Blanche!


  1. Guy's name is M. Baubon, but he said it sounded like Bonbon, so in my head he's M. Bonbon now.

    I love the photo of the coffee and Flaubert's Parrot, and I like the sound of your school's town. I'll have to go there. Also - I don't know why I'm saying this in public but it IS relevant - we should watch RENT, because that's Bohemian too. Even though it's in New York, which is not quite as historic.

  2. This sounds lovely.

    I imagine it must be quite comical to have students 2 years younger be in awe of you! I loved Le Marais when I live there -- there are lots of little indie shops and secretive little gems to be found. One of the well-known areas is around Rue Pavée and Rue des Rosiers, which is a typically Jewish quarter. If you want some delicious falafels and other delicacies, etc, go there! I wonder whether the Tour de Babel bookshop is still there, just on the angle with Rue Pavée.

  3. Hey E sounds like you enjoying it, glad you having a good time. Since you having men troubles best you stay away from Pigalle, every city has one, less seedy than ours i spose not that i know ours that well! Does have one redeeming quality "The Moulin Rouge". If you back in blighty for dads 50th c u then


  4. It was great to see you at the weekend and for us to have a tour of Paris and Vincennes. You are a great guide. The sights were wonderful and so was the food and wine! I think Le Marais is a beautiful area of Paris to work - hope your students remain on strike so you have lots of free time to explore. Looking forward to seeing you at Christmas xxx

  5. Hi Eden. Loving the blog :) I realised I won't be able to come out at Christmas because you're coming home for the two weeks I'm off but I thought I might go back with you and then we could spend my Birthday in Disney Land which would be awesome. Btw this is Bet... check this out.. How amazing is this song?? I WAS THERE!!! :D Hope you're having a nice time. Love Bethany xxx