Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dénouement de L'été Parisien

The weather in Paris has been embracing the final days of summer, holding onto that last gasp of temperate air before propelling forward into the potential doldrums of European winter... Winter... Something I can pseudo-tolerate through the holiday season after which I submit to anguish via its lamentable clutches. But in the meantime, I have found as much reason as possible to frolic in the fading glow of festivity as the fall proceeds to sweep in. I have a notion that we won't be seeing much of the fall, since the leaves have already turned and are carelessly detaching from the trees while the temperature remains in the mid-70's. (Sorry, I just can't go metric yet!) With the school year already fast underway, Parisians continue to cling to their weekends outdoors and I was much the same. On Saturday, I had a few students in the morning but since I was just finishing up my last feeble attempts at detox, I spent a lovely hour lounging in a nearby park and reading a book before heading home and relaxing in my abode for the evening. 

On Sunday, however, I made definitive plans to go picnicking in a more prominent park so that I could really feel the Parisian spirit while the weather remains fine. One of the larger parks in Paris is called Buttes Chaumont, which is in the northeastern area of the city. I went there once three years ago because I was told it was such a delightful spot, but was only able to stay for a brief time as it was one of my last minute stops before heading back to the U.S.! This time I wanted to at least spend more time there, though picnicking is certainly not synonymous with exploring. I met my two American friends, and a new French friend who I invited so he could practice his English skills plus he doesn't live too far from the park. The park has many steep hills, so we set up camp on a small peak overlooking the lower lanes and created our feast. It was a lovely evening of wine, cheese, and various nibbles. We did manage to speak in French for part of the time, a good workout for us Americans. I made my way home slightly more "pompette" than I had intended, but thrilled with the glimmering haze of summertime in my soul.

Monday brought back in some of the rains that one would normally expect from the autumn change, and while my evening plans were not what I would consider typically summer, I do think the hijinks are worth noting. I met some of my friends from the Sorbonne for drinks at a Scottish pub near Saint-Michel. It was a Monday night so we weren't expecting rowdy crowds and were mainly looking forward to a night of catching up. Another thing to note? Cocktails in Paris are almost ALWAYS expensive, so when there's a sign behind the bar for €5 whiskey sours it just seems like a good idea to roll with the punches. Circa our second cocktail, the Irish bartender came over and borderline pleaded with us to take part in the pub quiz they were going to hold since there weren't many people around to play. It was a music pub quiz, so we had to listen to songs and name artists or titles, etc. About halfway through the game, we realized that our knowledge of American pop culture was coming in quite handy since we collectively knew about 90% of the answers without breaking a sweat. In the end, we won by a landslide, but not without incurring the wrath of several French folk round the pub who felt we had an unfair advantage. I would like to suggest it was because we are awesome, not being we are American.

That being said, as we sipped our overly sweet and acidic pitcher of whiskey sours on the house, I was reminded of summer days gone by. Perhaps we are saying our final farewell to the idyllic weather for a time, but cheers to the seasons and many more to come.

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