Today is my second day in Paris, and I am having a great time re-acquainting myself with the city!
Yesterday, after having slept past my alarm and gotten a full 10 hours of sleep (thanks to jet-lag) I was ready to get out and explore! I took the metro to see le Tour Eiffel (of course, I can’t not go see it!) and then walked around the area a bit until I met my friend Christina for lunch. I studied abroad with Christina in 2009, and she’s living here while attending school. I can’t wait to come to Paris periodically to visit her once I get all settled in Rouen!
After lunch, I met up with a fellow Rouen assistant Caroline for some ice cream at Le Berthillion, and we wandered around for a couple of hours and then headed to Saint-Lazare to get our cartes 12-25. A carte 12-25, indicating that one is under 26 years old, can get you train discounts for all trains within France. So, while it would normally cost €25-30 for a train from Paris to Rouen (or the other way around), it will only cost me anywhere from €7 to €12! Yay! While the card itself costs €49, it will more than pay for itself with a few round trips Rouen-Paris, as well as for farther destinations (Bordeaux? Alsace? I am open to recommendations J).
After this, we met up with yet another Rouen assistant and Caroline’s friend of a few years Adam, and their friend Celine (a France native). We had a café at a local…café, and then searched for a good restaurant for dinner. We chose one on Rue Mouffetard, where they served lots of raclette (melted cheese poured on any number of sides); it was a prix-fixe meal, which usually means you get entrée + plat + dessert (equivalent of appetizer + entrée + dessert) for a set price. Our meals were delicious and so rich and filling. I wish I had taken photos! I’ll have to remember for next time. We also shared a delicious bottle of rosé wine suggested to us by our Grecian waiter. We had ordered red, but he insisted that the rosé was wonderful. I usually don’t like pink wines, but it actually was quite good, and was a refreshing accompaniment to our otherwise heavy meals. That didn’t stop me from ordering crème brulée for my dessert option, though ;)
Today is my last day in Paris before I head to Rouen, and I have a lot of paperwork/preparing to do. I have to start looking for banks, as I have heard various pros and cons about all of them. I am also going to seriously start looking for apartments and emailing owners and possible roommates. I have decided to live in Rouen instead of Ebleuf, where I’ll actually be teaching, as it is a bigger city with more to offer. I feel like I might become bored in Elbeuf! What is more, when I mentioned Elbeuf to Celine, Caroline and Adam’s friend, she not so subtly implied that living there would be a regretful decision. Rouen it is!
This whole time, it has been in the back of my mind that in a couple weeks time, I’ll be teaching young French students! I have so much preparation and bureaucracy to deal with that I have not thought too much about what it will be like to be a young teacher (well, assistant) in a foreign country. I don’t want to speculate too much, as every classroom is different, so I will just have to wait and see! Either way, it will be an adventure.
I am also so interested to see how a smaller city differs from Paris. It has, for the most part, been my sole view of France and the French, which is like basing your idea of America and Americans off of New York City and it’s inhabitants!
I’ll try my best to keep you posted on my France adventures, although I’m not sure what my internet situation will be once I leave my Paris hostel. Hopefully it’s not too painful of a process!