The French may not fête [celebrate] Halloween, but we sure did.
My super sweet friend Jamie decided that since her host family was out of town on vacation she would throw a mini Halloween (or ’Alloween, as the French would say) party. An excellent cook, she made a full meal for the seven of us: garlic bread and homemade guacamole with chips for an appetizer; lemon chicken, ratatouille and salad for main course; and, finally, chocolate/toffee bars and some sort of apple-pie-like thing for dessert. It was all SO amazing!
For holiday spirit, Jamie placed Halloween-themed confetti on the table alongside handmade Halloween-y nametags (mine featured a pumpkin for the “A”). And of course, there were costumes, including a panda, a cop, a gypsy, “the American stereotype of a French woman,” a flapper (me!) and a lesbian cowgirl. Themed drinks with eyeball garnishes topped everything off.
It was so much fun to kick back and celebrate among friends; I’ve missed that.
Saturday was a bit of a change of pace. As rain drizzled down on Paris, my friend Hannah and I had fun showing our friend Nikki and two other Smithies, who were all visiting from Geneva where they are studying abroad on another Smith JYA program, around town. We had our hearts’ set on visiting the Catacombs (a perfect Halloween-type activity), but, unfortunately, they were closed for the jour férié [holiday] Toussaint. Instead, we opted for the perfect rainy-day activity: hot chocolate at the renowned (and touristy) Angelina’s, which I had yet to visit despite the raves of my camarades [classmates]. Realizing that the overly strong hot chocolate would be too much for me, I opted for overpriced – yet enormous and excellent – ice cream.
It had stopped raining by the time we were finished so we decided to visit Montmartre where we strolled until we found the Café Des Deux Moulins, made famous by Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie.
It was a pleasure to have visitors since it gave me an excuse to do some of the touristy things that I hadn’t done yet. Sure, they are overpriced and swarming with non-français, but they I have to do them at least once before I leave Paris.
My second overpriced, touristy experience of the day was definitely worth it. The five of us plus another Smithie on the Paris program decided to take a nighttime tour of the Seine on the famed Bateaux-Mouches [literally, Fly Boats]. It was a chilly but clear night, and the ride was, in all, an amazing experience. Once I was able to tune out the droning commentary which repeated in at least five different languages (we felt sorry for the East Asians…when the narration finally got around to their language, the boat was presumably long past the monument in question), I was able to take in a delightfully different view of the city where I live. Each monument or important building was stunningly illuminated for the night, and the tour gave the best view imaginable of each. As usual, pictures could hardly capture the experience.We topped the night off by discovering a cozy place where I ate what can only be described as French Indian Mexican food. The atmosphere of the tiny restaurant was incredibly charming and the service was friendly and welcoming. We even got free aperitifs and a free second pitcher of Kir (which we enjoyed as a digestif because our Geneva friends were dying to try it)!
I stayed in Sunday reading the entirety of a book that I had to finish for class today, but I found even the mundanity of school work a welcome and balanced addition to a perfect Parisian weekend.