It’s Vomitimes day again. And what better place to celebrate it than the City of Lurrrve. The city where Passionate Displays of Affection unfold all around you (“MAIS ANTOINE! ARRETE! JE T’AIME!”). The city where he’ll love you a little. Then a lot. Then passionately. Then madly. Then not at all. Where else will you see straight men kissing each other hello in business meetings? Where else will you receive late night texts like this:
“Je n’ai pas envie que tu disparaisses. J’ai envie de passer plus de temps dans tes bras. Je vais encore rever de toi.” Ah… ze French, so romantique.
But when it comes to the ritual of kissing, there’s a bit of a grey area. Last summer I attended a picnic (one of several hundred) where I had to kiss 21 strangers hello. I spoke to 4 of them and then before leaving had to walk around a circle of grass stained bodies and “faire la bise” with all 21 of them again. And still make the last metro. Last week a male client greeted me with a firm handshake and then we parted with kisses. So when the electrician arrived the other day, I shook his hand but then sent him on his way with a firm “mwah! mwah!” on each cheek. He looked at me with a strange excitement in his eyes that was uncomfortable for both of us. Does the rule not apply to tradesmen?
I’ll leave you with the sultry Gainsbourg-and-Bardot-esque vocals of French duo, The Lovers.
Having had a French gym membership, I’m used to women prancing around naked, rubbing lotion into every inch of their bodies while chatting to me about their husbands. So it didn’t faze me last night when eight comediennes parodying 1970’s Parisian cabaret, put on a camp extravaganza of bare bottoms, bejewelled boobies, spectacular costumes and offbeat, funny as hell ‘Second City’ type sketches.
I was fazed, however, by two things. Is Simone Hérault, the voice of the SNCF, really answering the audience’s questions? And has my girl-date really just been dragged up on stage? Is she really about to take part in the entire show against her will, bare legs, feather head-dresses and all? Oh jeez, she is…
Check this out. And go see it for yourself. “La Sublime Revanche” @ Vingtième Théâtre, 20eme. Showing until Jan 22nd.
Paris is for drunks. Why else would wine be cheaper than Coke?
Sometimes, after spending an evening at La Perle (the Marais haute spot where John Galliano made drunken little bitch faces) it’s only natural to want to continue the night in the company of other drunks.
Well thank heavens for Le Connétable, the inconspicuous, rustic little after hours bar where the curtains are drawn and the party continues ‘til dawn. When La Perle closes its doors at 2am, Le Connétable inherits a peculiar mix of red-faced old men, young models, tortured artists and hot Guillaume Canet look-alikes. But most importantly, they’re all drunks. You’ll find nice drunks, mean drunks, over talkative drunks and quiet, moody drunks making love to you with their eyes.
Last week I had a laugh with an Australian drunk, an argument with a handsome French drunk, an involuntary waltz with a 60-year old drunk and I became BEST FRIENDS with a Scandinavian girl whose name I can’t remember. Ingrid (placeholder name) if you’re reading this, we must do it again!
Admittedly, the next day is never easy. But it’s nothing that a croque-monsieur can’t fix.
[Note: It has a cozy candlelit restaurant upstairs that serves a superb 3-course menu for 21 euros. Not a bad idea to eat there while you wait for the other drunks to arrive]
Le Connétable, 55 rue des Archives, 3éme
We all know that the best way to lose weight is to starve yourself and exercise like a maniac. So why is it that Parisians can eat rounds of Camembert larger than their heads, never step foot in a gym and still manage to fit neatly into one single metro seat? Now, it is true that they cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients, don’t overdo portion size and take time to savour every bite. And you certainly won’t see them sitting on their butts circling a multi story car park for half an hour. But even so. I call bullshit.
The real answer is…STAIRS. Beautiful, old, windy, timeless, I-can’t-possibly-have-another-floor-still-to-go stairs. In a city where real estate is nuts and an elevator comes with a big price tag, it’s not uncommon to trudge 106 stairs up to the charming shoe box you call home. And God help you if you have suitcases. That’s after attacking endless flights of stairs in the metro. And for some, there’s a stepladder still to climb to get to bed! Putain! That’s a lot of stairs, and two very skinny legs. And you know what? It’s worth every torn ligament. I’m massaging mine now with cocoa butter.
…become goats? In my intro post, I referred to an odd fellow that rides around the Marais on a bicycle pretending to be a goat. Well, yesterday I got a call from my good friend Thomas Chase, French interiors extraordinaire, who lives a couple of streets over on Rue Charlot. “Mel!” he says, “I got ‘im!”
“Got who?” I say. “Him! The goat guy!” to which we start laughing like excited kids. So, courtesy of Thomas’ excellently timed iPhone footage, we present to you – the goat guy. Is he just an exhibitionist? Or has he been drinking too much of that South African plonk ‘Goats do Roam’?
I was shopping at Printemps today and needed a oui-oui. To my horror, the only option was “Point WC”, a luxury restroom with a menu of pipi options that includes 1.50€ to sit on a designer toilet seat and 2€ for the “ultimate in hygiene.”
After I’d finished laughing and ordered my luxury pee from the menu, I was escorted to a cubicle. It goes without saying that I was ready for a rather special experience – the scent of fresh lavender, some light Mozart, maybe a water feature. At the very least an automatic flush.
Not so. Just an averagely clean, no-frills toilet. The French aren’t known for their posh, sanitary loos so maybe a bit of Jif is considered a gimmick. On the way out, I stopped by the adjoining boutique where one can buy Eiffel Tower bog roll, a designer toilet brush or pay 7, 850 € to have your WC kitted out Marie Antoinette style.
From now on I’ll be PBP-ing (peeing before Printemps).
It’s Sunday lunchtime, you’re travelling 8 stops on a semi-crowded metro, en route to introduce more visitors to the charms of the Sacré-Coeur and its tourist-clogged steps. You’re tired, your head is still full of champagne cocktails. You’d rather be in bed, but you’re doing it for the team. After all, it’s not like some nutbag is going to get on the train and perform a loud puppet show in your ear.
I once saw a T-shirt that said, “no-one gives a shit about your blog.” It made me chuckle. Let’s face it, anyone with a keyboard and an opinion can start one of these things. The guy that just delivered your pizza may have a blog. The lady who got in the 10 items or less queue yesterday with clearly more than that may have a blog. Justin Beiber’s love child may one day have a blog. So why not chronicle the exuberant highs and devastating lows of life in Paris?
I live in the notorious labyrinth of le Gai Marais, the postcard-perfect 3rd. I could write about designer boutiques, hole-in-the-wall bars, handsome men in tight jeans or the lunatic that rides around on a bicycle pretending to be a goat. He’s something else. Or I could just post pictures of camembert. Don’t pretend you won’t try and eat them.