Jour Noir, Nuit Blanche

Sheila and I got up around 10 today to have breakfast. I got a chance to Skype my big sister, and my mom this morning, which is always nice. Noah always seems to get excited about the idea of coming to France and pooping wherever he wants… Sheila and I got ready and left the house shortly before one to meet up with Suzannah to grab lunch at a Mexican place in the 2nd arrondissement. We found her, and we went looking for the restaurant… and we found it… but it was boarded up! Luckily, we’d passed by a place that advertised both sushi and pho (vietnamese noodle soup), which sounded really good since it had started raining. Soup isn’t Sheila’s favorite thing in the world, but since she’s trying to fend off a cold, something like pho is a good idea, so that’s where we ate. For only 7,50 euro, we got a HUGE bowl of pho with meatballs and beef and all of the fixings, and Suzannah got four brochettes (think tiny shih-kebabs) of her choice, miso soup, salad, and rice for about the same price. The staff was really friendly, and they picked on me a little. I ordered my bowl of pho by pointing at it and saying “pho pour moi, s’il vous plait” and the man behind the counter said “pho pour toi, et pour moi aussi?” (pho for you, and for me too?) I picked right back and said “si vous voulais, mais oui!” (If you want, of course!) I forget the exact name of this place, but it was near the Monoprix right by the metro entrance/exit for Reaumur-Sebastopol (lignes 3 & 4), so I want to say it was Blvd. Sebastopol, but I can’t be sure. After lunch, we stopped by the Monoprix to do a little shopping. Monoprix is the closest thing I can find to a Target in France, you can get clothes, pharmacy stuff, and sometimes food all in the same place. I bought a couple long-sleeved shirts (one white, one grey since I’d brought one in black) and a pair of cotton-wool blend tights for when the weather gets colder. Sheila and I headed home after that.

It was still raining when we were walking home, and I wasn’t wearing my rain boots. There’s a decent-sized “dip” where there’s a ramp in the sidewalk down to a crosswalk right by our house. I wouldn’t have thought much of it if I had been wearing my rain boots, but I was in my flats today… So I walked up to the giant puddle that had formed in this dip, looked at it, and walked back the way we’d come a little bit, which completely confused Sheila… Why did I go back? I need a running start to jump over the puddle! So she’s staring at me, and then I turned around and started barreling down the sidewalk toward the crosswalk, and I leapt over the puddle, missing it entirely, and a car appeared out of nowhere (swear to god, cars don’t go anywhere near that crosswalk when we have a “don’t walk” light, but when we have a “safe to cross” light, they’re ALL OVER), and nearly hit me. It was already slowing down, so if it had actually struck me, it wouldn’t have done much more than knocked me back into the puddle (all of that running and jumping for nothing) and given me a nice bruise on my hip. So I scurried across the crosswalk, and Sheila’s trying to act like she has no idea who this crazy girl on the other side of the street is…

We rested up for a while to prep ourselves for Nuit Blanche. I did some research and managed to figure out that most of the exhibits and extra things were happening around Hôtel de Ville, and when we got in touch with Sharon (friend from our university that’s here with a different program), she suggested that we get dinner in the Bastille area since it’s usually not too expensive, and it wasn’t far from Hôtel de Ville. We decided that we’d all meet up at the Bastille metro stop at 8 PM. Sheila and I met up with Kyle near his house and walked to his metro stop since Bastille is on line one (as well as lines five and eight), and we headed over. We were the first ones there, then Joan and Stéphane showed up, and Sharon and her friend Caitlin were a little late, but it wasn’t all that big of a deal. We ended up eating at Le Monde des Grillades (4 rue de Lappe, 75011 Paris, 11th arrondissement) which is an authentic French restaurant. The food took quite a while to get to us, but it was well worth it. Joan, Stéphane and I split a bottle of Côtes du Rhône (it’s a red wine) between us, which got… interesting. The wine was very good. Most wines are around… 12% alcohol content. This one was 14%. Not like the extra 2% was going to do much… but we were drinking on completely empty stomachs, and we had pretty much finished the wine by the time our food actually came, so we were all pretty pompette. I didn’t necessarily do anything of note, but I was incredibly talkative, and from what I can gather, I was very funny. We all knew I wasn’t as drunk as I could be simply because I wasn’t asking for a notebook to write everything down in (meaning I thought I was in a brown/black out if I was doing such a thing). The food was DELICIOUS. I had duck breast in a honey sauce with potatoes and green beans, which is a very traditional dish, and it was one of the best dishes I’ve had here. My purse was a little hard to get to… and I was drunk… so I forgot to take a picture. That meal was about 13,50 (very reasonable for a delicious duck dish), and about 6,00 for my share of the wine, which is really cheap when you take into account how long we stayed, and how good the food was. I would definitely eat there again if I had the chance.

We left around 10:30, and headed over to the Hôtel de Ville area. Sharon showed us a bar she liked on the way, so we’ll have to come back another night to check it out. There were random tents set up for the “expositions” with different things you could do, but there were giant lines for everything, even to just go into the museums. Stéphane got his hands on a program of sorts, so we tried going over toward Notre Dame since there was supposedly something of interest over there. Some of the restaurants and shops that wouldn’t normally be open were, which is different. You could go inside Notre Dame and the line seemed to be moving quickly, so we did. I hadn’t been inside Notre Dame since I’d been in Paris yet, and I definitely hadn’t seen it at night yet, so I figured it was an interesting idea. There was a movie playing inside! It was an informative one about the church itself, bien sûr, but it was still interesting. We went back over to Hôtel de Ville after standing in Notre Dame for a few minutes, then we went to Centre Pompidou, which was completely new for me. There was another church in the area that was doing something really creepy, so we went in for a minute, and came right back out. We thought about going into Centre Pompidou, which none of us had done yet, but the line to do that was huge, so we decided we’d had enough of Nuit Blanche and we all headed home. Frankly, it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be. I thought it was nice that you could go into the museums all night, but I’m not a night person, so that’s not appealing to me. I’d rather go on an off day when no one really goes to the museums anyway… like a Wednesday or something… The expositions we saw weren’t as big as I thought they’d be, but then again, we didn’t go to all that many places… Sheila and I got home at about 1:30, and went straight to bed. I took one single picture all night…

Notre Dame at night!

Je fais toujours bien le premier vers: mais j’ai peine à faire les autres. Molière: Les Précieuses Ridicules.

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