On Monday 15th, Christmas really started to kick in! In the evening Lauren and I went for a traditional french christmas dinner put on by our welcome group! Twas such fun, eating good food and wine, lots of christmas decorations and even some christmas songs in many different languages :p Definately got me out of my slump and into the christmas spirit.
That night Lauren stopped over and then Tuesday I had a few lessons during the day. Have to note that the students were striking tuesday morning and tried to not let me into the school! They had barricaded the entrances but luckily were letting teachers in still and all knew who I was so let me in eventually! In the evening Emma (friend from home) flew in and I went to get here from Charles du Gaulle (longwinded but got there in the end).
Wednesday was possibly the most magical day ever. I went to Disneyland Paris with Em, Lauren and the rest of the group of friends I’ve made here in Paris. Was such a good day despite the miserable whether. Twas so bizarre going back after 10 years; I have vague memories of going with the fam when I was 10 and it was wierd to think how little had changed there but how much had changed with me in that time. Everything was done up for christmas and I just revelled in the disney/christmas excitement of it all 😀
In the evening Em and I went round to Molly’s, who was having some christmas drinks before everyone headed home to the UK for christmas. She made the YUMMIEST mulled wine ever, and we had mince pies too. More christmas cheer!
On Thursday I supposedly had my last day of teaching.. but it didn’t exactly go to plan :s The day before alot of the other assistants had been told not to come into the school because the student strikes had got worse so I’d spoken to my responsable but she’d said to come in and see what the situation was first. So in I went only to find all the entrances completely blocked and students crowding and not letting anyone at all in. I hang around with some of the other teachers for about 2 hours and then we went off for a wander to pass the time until the students dispersed. One of the other teachers lives right next to this really old cafe where lots of films are often shot. That week, Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt were shooting their new film! The teacher who lived there was saying he saw Tarantino the day before! Was a tad exciting :p So we stopped there and watched all the 1940s cars and costumes for a while! So cool. P.s. I was very impressed with the students really. Even if what they were protesting about was a bit pointless this time, still to have any interest or passion for politics at that age was really cool to see.
Thursday evening we all went round to Lucy and Philly’s to watch Love Actually and do secret santa 🙂 We had a budget of £5 and didn’t know who we were buying for. I got a ‘christmas hamper’ from Lucy which was actually really cool! Lots of food for when I get back after the hols. Again, very chrismassy! It also made me very happy in realising how lucky I am to have made such a really good group of friends in Paris. Makes me really look forward to go back.
Friday was my first free day of the holidays! With Em here we had lots of touristy stuff to get done! We spent most of the day at la Defense looking round the christmas market and the shopping centre, doing some christmas shopping. In the evening we headed to champs elysees and walked from there down to the Louvre and mooched! We wanted to go to the ice skating outside Hotel de Ville which was supposed to be open from Friday, but when we got there we were told it didn’t open till the next day 🙁 Lauren came to meet us and we went and sat outside Notre Dame and saw the big christmas tree there, then headed back to mine to chill for Lauren’s last night in Paris. I actually got really sad when Lauren left, and like with Lucy and Philly’s, I realised what an awesome friend I’ve found in her. I miss her already!
On Saturday we headed up to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. We stopped off at the Haagen Dasz shop and I indulged in a big pot of ice cream! It felt so lovely and relaxing just strolling up the hill to the church munching on my ice cream, in no rush to do anything for once. Next we headed to the Eiffel Tower and then walked from there into the centre. We found the Theatr Hall shop I’d found earlier for Em with all the masquerade costumes and masks, which was awesome! We stopped for a meal in a restaurant near there, then headed to the ice skating again. This time however it was horrifically busy! So we decided to give it a miss 🙁 It’s supposed to be there until March so hopefully I’ll be able to go back with Lauren at some point! I did decide at this point that I really want to buy a pedometer; the amount of walking I do around Paris, especially when I have guests, is incredible!
Sunday morning we had a well needed sleep in. When we got up I made pancakes and scrambled eggs and tried to pack and tidy up the appartment before leaving the next morning. Later in the afternoon we headed out to Notre Dame to have a look around inside. Once it had turned dark we went over to the Opera Garnier and walked up to Galeries Lafayette to see it all lit up. Being 4 days before christmas, the whole area was INSANE! There were even police having to control the masses of cars and people. But it was a really beautiful evening and lovely to wander around. We headed back to my area and had a hot chocolate in one of the cafes before heading back to the apartment. A perfect last night.