A Travellerspoint blog

January 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good:

Me, Rachel and Molly are all booked up for an awesome South of France adventure. So I finish teaching on 22nd Feb, have the weekend here to do lesson planning etc then off to home/Bath for a week (Mon-Mon). Then the Wednesday after I get back we're off! 5 days, 4 nights and 24 hours on a train altogether but we'll get to see Carcassone, Avignon, Nice, Monacco, Montpellier and, I guess, all the countryside in between. I really really can't wait!

Also, have booked my ticket to go to the Balliol Ball! Woooooo!

The Bad:

Ha ha the film we saw last night, "La fille coupee en deux"...very "French" I guess (girl is torn between two men, one who is like 40 years older than her and another totally psycho playboy who ends up killing the old geezer) but absoultely awful. The tone of the film never seemed constant, the death scene was hilarious, one of the only major pieces of plot with true potential (the playboy killed his 3 year old brother) was only revealed right at the end and in a rubbish way, and then, just when you thought the pain (and boredom) was over there's this totally whack "art deco" thing where the girl's uncle (I think...) is suddenly a magician on stage literally cutting her in half.

Booooo!

The Ugly:

The pile of dishes in my kitchen. Need my attention. Now.

Posted by LHsugarsugar 02:02 Archived in France Comments (0)

PARIS!!!

Awesome.

sunny

Yup so this weekend was spent by Joe and I in Paris...it's his birthday today and he finished exams on Wednesday so it was a perfect excuse for me to plan a little trip for us! And, it was wicked! A bit of a flying visit really with quite a bit of travelling but the weather was beautiful (and is again today actually, dry, freshly cold and sunnnnnyyyyy!!!), we fitted so much in and just had a fantastic time together. I guess it wasn't entirely Joe's treat as I was very keen to get back to Paris soon anyway...I really haven't spent much time there, and none at all since I've been properly old enough to appreciate it. We were real tourists and managed to see all the big sights and stuff that we really wanted to but I kinda feel we still only scratched the surface of the city in many ways; will have to go back?!

So yeah I worked Friday morning and then headed to the station for my 13.15ish train to Limoges. Had a half hour wait at Limoges; the station is gorgeous, one of the nicest I've seen (stations are generally pretty crummy places to be no?!)...old and stuff but they've done it up nicely with glass walkways and stuff so thats kinda made me wanna visit the city there! Waiting for the TGV to Paris was funny, once we left Limoges it was 3 hours direct to Paris, and being a Friday afternoon there was a definite excited sense in the air that everyone knew they were hitting the big city (from the "provinces") for the weekend, I guess the weather helped too. The journey was fine (apart from the kindy sleazy French guys I ended up sat next to both ways); 3 hours is quite a long time but the TGVs are fairly decent inside (although look skanky from the outside!) and I had my magasines, books and DS.

Arrived at Paris Austerlitz at 18.10 and navigated to the metro to get to Gare du Nord and meet Joe. This journey was the only bad metro experience we had...it kept stopping and starting because of some "technical problem" so it took me ages to get there but eventually did. Somehow Joe and I managed to track each other down in the massive station....I swear he walked past me...we went up and out for some fresh air and then back down onto the metro and to Oberkampf station, our hotel was just near there. We stayed in a 2* hotel booked through hostelworld.com...it was fine, not amazing, but pretty cheap, friendly staff and a good location. We were in a random unnumbered room up a "dead-end" staircase in the attic; was a bit chilly but clean and we hardly spent any time there anyway!

Once we'd dumped off our stuff and everything we headed to Saint Michel...wandered around, soaked up the atmosphere and street entertainers and checked out Notre Dame (which still had its Christmas Tree up!). We then headed to a restaurant just across the Seine, took a table in the windown, had a yummy goats cheese salad and a pichet of vin.

Saturday morning we were up and out nice and early and headed straight for the Louvre (grabbing a croissant and coffee on the way...of course!). Had lots of fun in the Louvre, was way bigger than I'd imagined and we didn't really have time to see all we would have liked to, but checked out most of the French paintings, Napolean's appartments and I particularly liked a set of statues which were once all in one big park and are now beautifully displayed in this one room. We also checked out the main tourist attractions there; the original Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.

Then it was across the Seine to a little bistro for a delicious Quiche Lorraine (my French food of choice at the mo...may overtake confit de canard as my fave!), unfortuately they tried to rip us off but weren't prepared for my wicked French; that showed them! Next stop: Eiffel Tower! Queued for a bit, not too long, and headed all the way up to the 2nd and then 3rd (top!) floor. Spent a couple of hours up there altogether I think...had a waffle, enjoyed the lovely views etc.

Later we headed to Concorde for a view down the Champs Elysee to the Arc du Triomphe and, par hasard, hit it right on sunset which was great, just behind the eiffel tower. Like, really weird, there are cars all around you and yet it felt really really beautiful. Ah la ville de l'amour!

Then on to Montmartre. We got to the metro stop and all the locals were waiting for a lift up to ground level, but we were like "blow that! Why bother?! It can't be that far up". It was. A long way! And then we took *the* steps all the way up to the Sacre Coeur. This too was beautiful, all lit up and a random guy was doing an impromtuo concert on the steps. He was singing/speaking in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian and a crowd of maybe 100 people had gathered, all sat watching him (and the random drunken lady who was with him!). We were really were lucky with the weather, it was dark at like 7pm on a January evening but warm enough to sit there and enjoy the atmosphere and view for a good half an hour or so. Then we took the furnacular back down and found a really nice restaurant for a meal. I went for steak and chips; I rarely have steak but makes a nice change when out for a meal, and we had a yummy bottle of 2004 Beaujolais and sorbet for dessert....mmmmm....

Finished off the evening wandering through the Pigaille area, which is apparently famous for "caberet", although there were an awful lot of erotic shops. Saw the Moulin Rouge and had a drink. Headed back to the Hotel at about midnight.

Sunday morning was a bit of a stuggle getting up but we did and hit the cafe next to Hotel to share a Breakfast formule (orange juice and croissant for me, coffee and roll for Joe!). Then we went to Pere Lachaise cemetry (which is the largest in Paris and one of the most famous in the world)...had a nice wander around and saw, amongst many other Parisian rich and notables) the graves of Proust, Balzac, Delacroix, Jim Morrison, Heloise and Abelard and Oscar Wilde (an art-deco tomb which people have covered in kisses).

Then, sadly, it was time to begin our journeys home and now it i time for me to head to bed!

Check out the photos: http://oxford.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2187683&l=63f20&id=36807831

Posted by LHsugarsugar 12:03 Archived in France Comments (0)

Tippy toes

Hey hey!

Went dancing last night...well I watched a class to see if it would be a good level to join. I really enjoyed it and it totally made me miss dancing, probably one of my biggest (only?) regrets in life is not sticking with it when I was younger. However, the problem is, that its going to cost me about 50EUR a month for an hour a week, which, frankly, is just ridiculous and I'm not sure worth it really?

Just got 3 lessons to do and I will be off to PARIS BABBBBYYYYY! YEAH!

Photos and blog entry to come...

Posted by LHsugarsugar 23:02 Archived in France Comments (0)

You HAVE to read this:

If you are going to learn anything at all from my blog/if you are even vaguely interested in the French education system (or indeed "France"/"The French"), you HAVE to read this article:

http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=102&story_id=39769

Like totally explains why my children freak right out when I say they have the "droit" (the right) to say "I've got pink hair" as long as they say it in English/why they ask me a million and one questions about how many lines they should leave between the title and the list of words. Very interesting.

And if you can't be bothered to read it, at least take this: "But then my son bursts into tears when I inadvertently sign his school papers with a red pen after the teacher had specified a black or blue pen. What I am supposed to say at this point? "Well, son, my deepest apologies for my ignorance of the desired pen colour and I promise to always have a black or blue pen on hand for future occurrences so that the you and the teacher will know that I respect his authority." Or, will my son still turn out a functioning, happy member of French society if I do what I actually do: roll my eyes, sigh heavily, and loudly grumble, "For God's sake, who cares what colour the pen is? I signed it, didn't I?!"

Now, there are uptight teachers everywhere, of course, and lots of expat kids do just fine in the French school system. But ask any expat parent or, for that matter, any former French education minister: French teachers really do have a very specific idea of what is a "good student" or the "right way of doing things".

Posted by LHsugarsugar 11:46 Comments (0)

Musee du Perigord

sunny 9 °C

Had a tough day of teaching on Monday; have really run out of tactics with the CE2s and yeah was just hardgoing. Yesterday was better, most notably, S wasn't in my CE1/CE2 class and you just would not believe the difference that made; it was a ccompletely different class...incroyable...n'impor-te-quoi! Sun has been shining though which is nice, hope it stays that way for Paris this weekend which I am superexcited about and Joe finishes his exams today...YAY! Am feeling a bit dodgy today though-really hope I'm not getting the "gastro" which is going around. Last night was great; went to Molly's with Lynn and Lou (love that group of us, works really well-laughed so much), and we had the most amazing soup EVER and bread and salad. Mmmm...

Today I went to the Musee du Perigord with Katie, Molly and Lynn. Was pretty good, especially as it is free between 12 and 14h...awesome. The lady at the "acceuil" was sat in a sort of bubble thing, very amusing, and then there was "museum-y" stuff on one side and arty stuff on the other. Pretty random collection; mostly things which Perigordians have collected from the area and around the world and given to the museum, including a rather large collection of stuffed animals and lots of prehistoric stuff (which this region is famous for). But yeah defo worth a couple of hours wandering.

Posted by LHsugarsugar 05:57 Archived in France Comments (0)

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