I’ve always had strong feelings about the hierarchy of the months- June, July, September and December are obviously the best, and I’ve always considered the worst to be April and November…those rainy, shoulder season months. This was all before we moved to Paris and I discovered that January is absolutely, unequivocally THE WORST. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I definitely have a couple bones to pick with this month.
First of all, we’ve barely seen the sun since November. This wasn’t a huge problem in December because the city was beautiful and Christmas-y, but the only exciting thing going on in January have been the soldes (sales). Now, I like a good sale as much as the next girl (and honestly, the sales here are epic….why does anyone buy anything in December?), but over two weeks is a long time to be shopping. The weather has been rainy, grey and just simply uninspiring. I miss snow and all the activities that come with it SO MUCH.
Ok, the complaining portion of this post is over now. Despite the weather not being ideal and our normal activities (skiing/snowshoeing/traveling) being off the table, we have still managed to make the most of our month in Paris style–a mix of eating and culture and mucking around the Bois de Boulogne in the rain. Here are some of the excellent adventures we had this month.
New Years Day Brunch
Marc and I aren’t really party people, so New Years Eve came and went in quite a peaceful manner….though the old people upstairs were having a wild dance party! You know you’re lame when you’re home doing a puzzle on NYE and a 70 year old from upstairs comes down to apologize for the noise!!! Anyways, instead of a party to ring in 2018, we decided to start the year off right by hosting a few of our friends for an epic brunch.
Lunch at the Tour Eiffel
This one was courtesy of British Airways. Marc had a whole bunch of loyalty points that were about to expire, and we discovered that we could use them on ‘experiences’ around Paris. We are always too impatient to wait in the endless lines to go up the Tour Eiffel (and too cheap to pay the entrance fee!), so we thought the skip-the-line tower experience plus a three course lunch would be a good choice. Being January, the weather was grey….but we still had a great time. It’s cool to get a birds-eye perspective on the city, and it was really neat to look and see how many places we recognize now. All of our exploring has really paid off!
As for the lunch- it was at the restaurant on the first level, which is quite a bit less fancy than the Jules Verne, but still really nice inside. However, the experience left a little to be desired. It wasn’t bad per say, and the view was awesome, but it didn’t really meet our usual (high!) standards of French food. I guess we’ve just gotten spoiled, but it’s hard to enjoy a ‘fancy’ meal when the bar down the road from our apartment serves food ten times better. The whole experience was also SO un-French. We were served very very quickly after ordering and the wine, entrée, and dessert all arrived at the table at the same time! The whole meal only lasted about 40 minutes, which is fast food by normal French standards- and that time included 5 minutes of being harassed by the house photographer. It was fun and the food was still pretty good, but I was happy we hadn’t paid for it.
The day we went was Epiphany, which the French celebrate by eating Galette des Rois– a frangipane-filled pastry tart. There is always a fève (charm) hidden somewhere in the tart, and whoever finds it gets to be the roi or the reine. We picked one up and enjoyed it that evening. J’étais la reine!
One Hundred Thousand Muddy Walks
Siiiiiiiigh. I miss snow. Snow is clean.
Also, it rained so much that the river Seine is flooding. Look at the view from Marc’s office- the islands are disappearing! The water is still meant to rise until the end of the weekend, it’s pretty crazy.
Friday Date at the Louvre
This was one of the best days of the month. I had been having a pretty rough week and was quite disillusioned with a few things about living here- I’ve been struggling to get my immigration processed (a post for another time) and the whole experience has been frustrating and disheartening. Coupled with the terrible weather and lack of snow….I was feeling ready to pack some bags and hit the road. However Marc had suggested a Friday night date at the Louvre and it was just what I needed to fall in love with this city again. The Louvre stays open late on Wednesdays and Fridays, so we were able to go after Marc came back from work, spend an hour or so in the museum (we get in for free as Marc’s company is a partner), and then wander around the first arrondissement to find dinner.
We ended up trying a new restaurant that at first glance looked a bit on the pricey side for France, but we went anyways and ordered the cheapest things on the menu (fish and chips for Marc and a skirt steak for me) plus a pitcher of wine and it was AMAZING. All in all, the evening ended up costing about the same as if we went for pizza and beer in Switzerland….and we got to go to an amazing, world class museum, and eat STEAK and drink red wine. This is why I love Paris- there is always something to do and discover. It was something I needed to be reminded of this month, so this evening was perfection.
After loads of research, I finally figured out the best way to spend my Christmas money. I have wanted a nicer camera for some time- we are planning on going to Nepal at some point this year, and taking iPhone photos of Everest just isn’t going to cut it! I decided pretty early on that I wanted a mirrorless camera, as they are a perfect size and relatively easy to use…but they also offer the option to grow as a photographer while using them. In the end I got the Olympus OMD E-10 Mark II, and I was fortunate enough to get roughly 300 Euros off the asking price due to the fact that the camera I bought had been used as a display model. I hope I won’t live to regret the decision to cut costs with a used model, but so far everything works GREAT, it’s been so fun to use!
Well, January has been an interesting month- definitely not my favourite, but we have still had some great adventures. And neither the month nor the adventures are over just yet- tomorrow we are renting a car and heading North to Normandie for a couple of days. I am really looking forward to a change of scene and the chance to practice more with my new camera!
I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes. Until then,