Hello Ireland, this is your “Parisian” contingent calling. More bewildered, unstylish and pale than is usually envisioned when this citizenship is mentioned, but I’m the closest you’re going to get at this point – The others are on strike.
Despite being wholly outclassed in fashion by every man, woman and child – I need to learn how to layer – a serious lack of rashers, and an equally severe deficit in the French language department, I’ve settled quite nicely into my borrowed home. I moved, bags and baggage, to explore, to eat and, sometimes, to sleep. I’ve discovered, or more honestly, been directed towards interesting places off the worn tourist path. Naturally, my first instinct is to share these with everyone.
Firstly, I want you to close your eyes, and reminisce on sleepy-eyed, love-filled Sunday morning cuddles, or snoozing, pyjama clothed and slipper shod, in front of a crackling, December night fire.
Can you sense that warmth and security, the feeling that everything will be just wonderful, forever?
Translate this into a beverage, and you’ve just imagined drinking hot chocolate in Un Dimanche à Paris. Created from melted chocolate, cream, milk and a pinch of spice, this sumptuous cupful of joy and bear-hugs does not come cheap – €14.50 with a pastry, or €8 without – but it is an experience everyone should have at least once. Maybe twice, if you circle the city a few times, or lie to your hips. Watching human icepops battle cutting wind and swirling snow outside only increased my enjoyment, as I luxuriated deep in a sweet chocolate cocoon.
You’ve consumed an entire Easter egg haul in one cup, and as you stagger out onto the street, all you want is a pint to quench the thirst. On top of this, you’re craving a game of Uno. Do not fear; there is a bar which can satisfy both needs.
As you enter Dernier Bar Avant la Fin du Monde, you’re greeted by a life size R2D2 statue, and just inside the door, requested to deposit your weapons. This, along with the name, may have tipped you off that this is the nerdiest bar in France. All are welcome, aliens and robots alike; I even spied the Fourth Doctor ordering a snack.
With piles of board games, manga and sci-fi books, jealously guarded by a gremlin, and pints from €5.50 – cheap by Parisian standards – it is far too easy to pass a day playing games, watching Geek shows, and holding yourself back from the bespectacled vision in the Gryffindor scarf.
I couldn’t possibly give away all my secrets in one post. Tune in next time when I reveal the only place in Paris you’re allowed purchase books, and where you can get your steak with a side of metal.
Jean is a recent addition to Paris, and is still trying to figure out where the French keep the Chef Ketchup.