Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Paris from a different angle

Today was my last day in Paris. In the end we didn't go to Giverny to see Monet's garden. Veronique had things to do and I had seen a few gardens during my stay here so I headed to the Marais, one of the oldest areas of Paris and really lovely.

As I walked to the Metro I felt rather 'full' as it hit me that today's experience may well become commonplace later this year. I also thought about Laura. What would she think, how would she feel about me living in France. We've talked about it many times but now that it might really happen did that change things at all? I had received an email this morning asking me to get in contact with the French Embassy in Wellington to get the process underway to obtain a work visa. There is no contract at this stage but there is a proposal underway.

It's rather intimidating to contemplate starting all over again in a new country so very far from NZ. It's not as if I can pop home for a visit very often. I haven't come to grips with the logistics required in an international move or the cost. If anyone has experience of this and useful tips let me know.

There's still the language barrier which is not to be underestimated. Yes my french is workable but it's inadequate. I'm going to have to really discipline myself to improve as fast as possible. Thank goodness the new job would require me to work in English most of the time.

For the next few days I will concentrate on having a holiday without the constant effort to study or find work.

I made a start on that with my visit to the Marais district. I love it! It's so quintessentially Paris: beautiful shops, beautiful buildings and streets, lots of brasseries with charming staff. To be more specific, I was amazed by all the little art galleries, the music shops, the antiquities shops, the food (incredible quality and reasonably priced if you're french), the bustle, the buildings and parks. Things are more well-maintained, well heeled but not pretentious, lots to see and explore. I still didn't have the time and energy to visit The Louvre or Musee D'Orsay but I guess that may be a lot easier in the future.

I discovered a little treasure- Musee Carnavalet which has collections of art and other items which show the history of Paris from paleolithic times to just after the French Revolution. There are collections of artisans' shop signs, remains of boats 4000 years old, personal items of Bonaparte, the infamous red bonnets of the revolutionaires, swords, busts, furniture and lots and lots of paintings. I spent 2 hours there and would recommend it.

Once again I was walking a lot and my body was screaming for mercy so I hopped on a Batobus. Forget the large and expensive bateaux mouche. Hop on and off a batobus for less money and no touristy commentaries, and no pushing and shoving. It was civilised, relaxing (if you're not a crazy woman with a camera in the stern)and you travel the Seine with great views of tourist spots along the way. No walking, just cruising. The thing with this transport is that if you want to you can hop on and off any time you want to throughout the day. I didn't because I was just too busy. I'll do it again one day.

I got off at the Jardin des Plants and walked the rest of the way to Veronique's. It's quite a walk but I stopped off at a Carrefour supermarket on the way to get some bread and fruit for my dinner. I didn't need much as I'd had a substantial salad for lunch. They charge for plastic carry bags and you have to weigh your own fruit and veges. Another point, be prepared to pay to use public toilets. They usually have attendants keeping things in order and clean but it costs around 30-40 cents.

Once again I seemed to attract some unexpected attention. A young Italian artist named Yanni, with a cigarette and a cane tried to pick me up. After a little light-hearted banter he admitted his game but still wanted to have a drink with me. I find that using my blog as an excuse to get back home is very effective. They don't expect that and it seems like I'm in earnest (well I am). Others may have said yes and had an adventure but I can't see the point and I've big things on my mind demanding attention so there's no room at present for messing around with guys.

Lots of photos again- too many to show. Marais and shots from the boat.


Defogger said...

Unexpected attention. Sensible people find you attractive because you are. And scam artists who prey on single tourists will as well. All fun stories. And congratulations for finding the opening that may enable you to fulfil your dreams. I imagine your face was glowing with excitement to a point that blind men would recognise your attractiveness.

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