Slept through breakfast again, which was surprising to me because the fold-out bed that I was sleeping on, (and had fallen over a number of times), was really not comfortable. My back, honestly, still hasn’t recovered from the damage it took. It’s all very well for Connor – having commandeered the double bed all for himself!
Anyway enough sniping – the little educational bit of our time in Paris was our excursion to one of Europe’s largest newspaper and magazine archives. But it is so famous that there is not one search result on Google that will remind me of what the damn place was called!
In a way, it is a cross between a museum and a shop – the artifacts are for sale. There are Vogue covers from ages past, including a special issue in 1997 released after the death of Princess Diana. There would have been publications surrounding some of my heroes: Marlon Brando, Charlie Chaplin and Charles Aznavour, but would you believe it – the owner had shipped them off to an event in the northwest of the capital. So no film stars for me. However, Dean and I did look through a magazine from 1967, in which we found pictures of a gorgeous cadillac.
It turns out I still haven’t learned about clothes-weather co-ordination, in that on another cold and windy, not to mention wet day, I wore a knitwear cardigan over a T-shirt. So here I am wearing something with loads of holes in it, without a hood, standing where it’s raining and gusty. Yes, I was uncomfortable.
After leaving the little archive in search of lunch, a few of us found a little boulangerie-patisserie. I managed to order virtually all in French a Panini Jambon (Ham Panini), which unbeknownst to me also had tomatoes in it. Raw tomatoes, to which I am normally averse. I was always taught that waste was a sin, however, and so I put up with it.
I’m going to skip the part where we went inside Notre Dame, during a service. I am never comfortable within churches, in spite of how beautiful the cathedral’s Rose Window is from the inside (see pictured).
After leaving, me, Rhiannon, Lina, Hannah and another of our friends Tamsin all tried to find somewhere to sit down for a hot drink. It was so cold we really needed it.
Crossing the bridges over the River Seine, one passes all manner of restaurants, brasseries and cafés. After nearly facing death on the bonnet of a car more than once in this capital, we thought we would go in Café Benjamin, because of its size and convenience. The prices were large in size and far from convenient, we found out. So on we went, and as we grew more desperate, a little nobody place such as that titled La Robe et la Palais seemed like a wonderful idea.
So in we went; we are taken over to a pair of tables and handed little menus. They had an offer – a hot drink and a dessert for €7, and that’s something we quite quickly decided on. They did sandwiches and the like, but also a small selection of desserts, one of which was the Tarte du Jour (tart of the day to English people), or a Mousse de Chocolat (see pictured).
The Tarte du Jour was that of the Morello cherry, a variety of cherry that is paler – almost green – in colour. Hot Chocolates and coffees were also on the cards, as we were absorbing the warmth.
I had bought a hoody at Disneyland the day before, and buying a new coat was on my mind that day, something I deliberated over before my Tarte des Morellos (see pictured) was presented to me. A well-browned slice of tart filled with these little pitted green cherries set in a custard, topped with a caramel sauce.
The Morellos were actually quite nice – more of a tart flavour than your ordinary red or black cherries. But this was complimented by the sweetness of the sauce and the lightness of the custard. As far as the pastry is concerned, I was reminded of the big flan cases my mother and grandmother used to buy and fill with tinned fruit cocktail – that was a favourite back in my childhood. And as for the hot chocolates, well they were made with water, rather than with milk as they should be, but I didn’t really expect that. It is a rare thing to find a place that makes a milk-based hot chocolate, sad to say.
After six in the evening, students can get into the very prestigious and famous art gallery the Louvre for free. I went to the Louvre the last time I was in Paris in 2006, having seen the wonders (I suppose) of Leonardo da Vinci’s La Gioconda – known to everyone else as the Mona Lisa (see pictured). A painting depicting a very miserable young woman, of which you are allowed to take pictures of, providing the flash is turned off.
The same applies to the Venus de Milo, a sculpture that Dean, Josh, Tom and I spent nearly three quarters of an hour trying to find – mainly in an attempt to fulfil one of Dean’s perverse ideas. You can imagine his disappointment when he found that the sculpture (see pictured) was three times his size, behind a barrier and surrounded by people.