At the luggage carousel, my worst fear almost came true… I waited patiently for my bag when the sign “fin des baggages” lit up on the screen. Long story short my bag was so heavy that I reasoned it had been flagged for an overage charge because it weighed as much as a small elephant. Lo and behold it had only missed the carousel and was brought inside shortly thereafter.
Now I had to figure out how to contact our ride and greatly missed friend Yannou le Meur and Floris Yvinou. Flo arrived with a sign branding “Drewdles and Sue- MY TRIGGAS IN PARIS” with the “A” being in the shape of le Tour Eiffel. This was the start of a great week. We left Charles de Gaulle and rode into the French abyss.
Everything was foreign to me. Even though I have visited France before, I was going to have the most adventure packed and unique experience then I could have ever had with my parents. We were greeted in Soisy, by la famille Yvinou and we enjoyed escargot and raclette, a French dish where you melt fromage and pour it over prochuttio and potatoes. Absolutely delicious. After we headed into Paris for the birthday party of Lucréce Rico, a fellow Parisian Ole Miss Rebel. I really missed her. We met up with Yann and Pam, ma salope, and all was well with lots and lots of fun.
The food here is just fantastic, and I am already in love. We ended the first night at the Eiffel Tower where we were accompanied by seven or eight hommes who were skating around the marbled floor of different plazas directly in front of the Eiffel Tower. That was particularly interesting to me because in the U.S., that would never fly. Even though they were just cruising with one of the most beautiful landmarks in the background, they would have been prosecuted by the long youknowwhat of the law. Paris is full of cameras, especially in the metro, and I guess that is just as efficient as more police but quite honestly, it forces you to keep your guard up and protect yourself with the absence of police.
Another notable difference between the U.S. and France is the presence of the Communist party in local politics. We passed a Communist Party of France office in Malakoff, a suburb of Paris which is coincidentally is governed by a Communist mayor (not sure of the correct title). I have noticed a lot of posters by the Socialist Party of France that read, “CHEZ NOUS” (translation: our home) with a woman with her face painted like the tricolore, the French flag- an obvious target at the rising immigration problem in France.
I am still enamored by the advertisements, culture, television, and behaviors of French people. They are so interesting and peculiar. I have noticed that each group of friends has a different vocabulary and they speak hella fast. Putain. We attended a podcast recording party for ESG, Flo’s university. It was awesome. Lots of French slang and poppycock among different leaders of different extracurricular activities.
Late one night, Flo drove us to the highest point of Soisy in a very eerie cemetery overlooking the entire Parisian skyline. Absolutely stunning and eye-opening. I’m really in a whole different and strange place. I love it.
On Saturday, Yann picked us up and drove us to his suburb for crêpes salées et sucrés, prepared by his family. His parents are so cool and his sister, brother and his girlfriend were so sweet. The Le Meurs live in an awesome maison on a roof on an apartment building in a suburb called Malakoff. Susan and I ate with the Le Meurs three or four times. Absolutely delicious. I know it is a stereotype but crêpes really are a staple around here, and its deliciousness is unmistakeable and evident in every bite. With Yann, Susan and I went to the Champs Élysées and Montmarte, to experience the most marvelous view of Paris. Saturday night’s activities consisted of purchasing beaucoup de biere et vodka and heading to the swanky 8eme arrondissement for a birthday party where I met some really beautiful Parisian girls. The party was wild and we we were introduced to shooters with different flavored sirop- genius!
Earlier today, Flo’s parents cooked foie gras and rabbit. I tried a very expensive French cognac but I was not a big fan of its strong and sharp taste. The day was perfect and the ending made it better- le SUPER BOWL! Lots and lots of laughs and foolishness for Susan and I along with Flo and his friends, Tarik (aka Tak) and J.E. We ate lots of pizza and a whole gallette (king cake) but drank more Belgian blonde beer. By far, J.E. gets the awesomeness award for being crazy and spilling two beers and getting crème friche allllll over his pants- all in under a minute. The rest of us just laughed up a storm and cheered for the underdog, the San Francisco 49ers!
Today is departure day. Heed, ho Angers. We navigated through the Parisian transportation system by bus, high speed train and metro before we met up with Yann at Gare Montparness to say our goodbyes and hop aboard the hyperspeed TGV à Angers. I grabbed the best sandwich ever at La Boulangerie Paul- a Camembert and lettuce baguette (paired best with a French Fanta- le meilleure Fanta dans le monde).
Drew Carter is a junior International Studies major at the Croft Institute, University of Mississippi. Currently, he is spending the Spring 2013 semester studying in France and traveling in Europe. He will be blogging about his experiences throughout the semester.
Follow Drew Carter at http://explorationeurope.tumblr.com/