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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Paris on Bastille Day. [20060718|09:51]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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We arrived on the Eurostar at around noon and went from the Gare du Nord into Saint-Denis, which is the sort of place that, when you climb into a taxi at 4:30 in the morning, the driver looks at you and says, "You want to go where?!", an immigrant community consisting mostly of persons of North African descent. It's the sort of place where you'll see more Algeria football shirts than France football shirts, and it's also where our new friends live in their flat full of tiny and beautiful things.

We flopped into the proffered chairs with relief. Our hosts fed us quiche and tomatoes and flat pancakes, along with kir and coffee.

After they left to go on their own holiday, I crept around the flat with my camera, delighting in the surprising symmetry of the overflowing shelves.

I looked up near the spiral staircase to find a little man staring at me, the handiwork of one of the children.

He frightened me so badly I had to run off to the Basilique de Saint-Denis and look through the 12th century stained glass windows for a while to calm myself.

Once I recovered, we went to eat beautiful LeNotre pastries outside the bakery and watch the gendarmerie walking restlessly around their shiny armored vans, smoking cigarettes and looking infinitely bored.

We walked to the base of the Eiffel Tower in the baking late afternoon sun... (I cheated a little with the timeline here, but in my opinion, the structure is a lot more attractive when it's lit up at night.)

...where we met The Queen our Birthday Girl...

...and her boyfriend, who showed us what happens when a Texan tries to impersonate a Frenchman.

Our Queen was briefly molested by passing Brazilians before her lackeys chased them off.

Once darkness fell, it was time to watch tentacle monsters being born in the sky while listening to a medley of Mozart.

Finally, we made our drunken way to the sort of nightclub where the cover charge is 20 Euro for a man and none for a woman and danced for the rest of the night.


[User Picture]From: impix
2006-07-18 09:32 (UTC)
gorgeous pictures, i love the chair...its so french looking!
makes me happy. i love it.

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-07-21 07:51 (UTC)
It was so comfortable, too. The whole flat was lovely. I feel a bit bad; we're going to host them in August and I don't think ours measures up!
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[User Picture]From: foreverdirt
2006-07-18 10:11 (UTC)
I love the little man. Just looking at him makes me grin.

Looks like you had a wonderful time - I'm glad.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-07-21 07:54 (UTC)
There's something very French about him. I think it might be the nose.

Thank you. Me too. I think the Birthday Queen was mightily pleased.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-07-21 07:56 (UTC)
Aw. Maybe you can finagle some international travels for work?
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From: enzeru
2006-07-18 11:10 (UTC)
Oh, it all sounds delightful. France is definitely winning as a honeymoon destination.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-07-21 07:59 (UTC)
Sorry to be pragmatic at you, but it really depends on how much money you want to spend. France uses the euro, Paris is quite expensive and the exchange rate with the dollar is pretty unfavorable right now. You may wish to consider some of the EU and EU candidate countries that haven't adopted the euro yet and are still a bargain for travelers. They're also quite beautiful - take, for instance, the Czech Republic and Croatia.
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From: enzeru
2006-07-21 08:49 (UTC)
Oh, pragmatism is welcome, actually--compared to our spontaneous ceremony performed by a friend in the park, we can afford to splurge on the honeymoon, but neither of us have been out of the country aside from each of us having one day trip to Canada and Mexico respectively, so we're rather clueless about selection. We'd be willing to buy a phrasebook for anywhere we go, but being equipped with meager Spanish-speaking skills means somewhere with a Romance language base and/or a large English speaking portion would be easiest. So we were narrowing down from England, Finland, France and Italy, originally. It'll also depend on what time of year we can manage to get away for two weeks...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-07-21 09:03 (UTC)
I wouldn't worry too much about language concerns, to be honest. The English often don't even attempt to speak anything other than English when visiting other European countries. While this is not particularly endearing of them, it does illustrate the point that nearly everyone you encounter in Western and Central Europe will be able to speak at least a little bit of English. With maps, drawings, and some appropriate gesturing, you can usually get directions, acquire food, and check into a hotel with no trouble. Also, if you at least address them politely in their own language, they will be far more willing to help you with their broken English than they would if you just barged up and said, "Excuse me mate, how do I get to the Hilton?" :-P
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From: enzeru
2006-07-21 08:52 (UTC)
Oh, and Spain was in the running too, seeing as how American public school saw fit to prepare us for interacting with the influx of immigrants from Mexico by teaching us Castilian Spanish. ;p
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[User Picture]From: taische
2006-07-18 13:27 (UTC)

pretty light

There's so much to like about these- warming spaces (if you put a gun to my head, I'd have to pick the first shot as my favorite), chocolate & raspberries, clay zombie, cute queen, pretty glass, a French guy with a silly moustache (who is admittedly missing his beret), worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster... whole universes have been made with far less.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-07-21 08:12 (UTC)
The flat was a small universe. I could have spent weeks there and not seen everything in their collections of paintings and books and photos.

I miss the little French universe already. I'm glad I have photos of it to supplement the images in my head.
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From: tdj
2006-07-19 06:40 (UTC)
The little man?

Still staring at you.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-07-21 08:07 (UTC)
Down his nose, even. Haughty!
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