My monthly wrap-ups are for me to share more of my daily goings on — the little things that make up my life in Paris. For previous months, see here.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best month I’ve had in Paris.
My social life has finally reached a point where it rivals the life I had back in Asia (and is possibly even better); I’ve resumed French lessons and absolutely adore my new school; and just when I thought I’d hit a Paris food rut, I discovered a slew of new favorite restaurants.
It took over a year, but I can finally say I am outstandingly happy here.
As a Pennsylvanian, I know February 2 as Groundhog Day — but the French recognize it for something completely different (and far more tasty): Crêpes. To celebrate, I met up with Carin, Milsters, and Grace at Breizh Epicerie, which is located next to the well-known café and offers many of their artisanal butters, caramels, and other products for sale. I’m a fan of the smaller space, it’s more communal and relaxed.
(For the record, by the end of the day I had eaten seven crêpes.)
Mornings at the Louvre
Even though I’m not a museum person, I’ve now been to the Louvre so many times that I can hit the highlights in one hour — so I’ve started taking my non-museum-loving friends on early morning ‘tours’.
During one such morning with Carin, we noticed several painters had set up easels around the Italian wing. This artist in particular stepped aside to let me take a photo of his work, so I told him in French, “Your painting is very beautiful.”
In response, he leaned forward and said with a smile, “Vous êtes aussi jolie.“ Morning. made. (and I can now cross “be complimented by a French painter inside the Louvre” off the Bucket List of Things I Never Knew I Wanted to Happen.)
Cajun Beer Lunch
There’s this monthly pop-up beer lunch (three courses with three paired pints) that’s been going around Paris. Thanks to Emily and Diane I was clued into February’s, which took place in a tiny café near Gare de Lyon and was Cajun-themed in honor of Mardi Gras. There was even a soulful southern band fronted by a woman from Louisiana, which made the afternoon a winning combination of good friends, good beer, good food and good music.
Brooklyn Brewery launch party
Brooklyn Brewery celebrated its launch in Paris with a ridiculous event at the newly-opened Le Mary Celeste. How ridiculous? Free-flow pints and €1 oysters all night. At some point during the event I met the BB Brewmaster and one of the general managers, who then pulled out chocolate stouts and tabasco beer cocktails for me to try. If I wasn’t a fan of Brooklyn Brewery before, I certainly am now.
More photos (Le Mary Celeste is a great space, by the way) in Diane’s post here.
Married Girls’ Night
Even though I spent Valentine’s Day alone, I made up for it that weekend thanks a night in with Sam, Jackie, and Lindsey. As much as I love hanging with my single friends, it was nice to spend some time with the married ladies. Not to imply that being married is better or worse — our girls’ nights are just completely different. And involve many Pierre Hermé macarons.
Plus Sam has a Slingbox, so the night eventually devolved into us watching terrible American reality television on TLC and cat videos on YouTube.
Carte de sejour
After 14 months of very smooth sailing in Paris, this month I finally experienced that notorious beast of red tape, French bureaucracy. I ended up spending SEVEN HOURS sitting at the prefecture before getting my carte de sejour (residency card) approved…and two of those hours were because the staff went on lunch break. There was even some shouting involved, but long story short, I finally have French residency for the year — and now I finally understand why everyone complains about going to the prefecture.
Dim Sum and Lantern Festival
Since discovering La Chine Massena last month, Sunday dim sum brunches in Chinatown have now become a weekly tradition amongst our friends. But what I love even more than the food is the socializing aspect — every week it’s a different group of 6-12 people, and I’m so happy that all my friends are finally meeting each other (and of course my social circle expands through it too).
This past Sunday was Lantern Festival, and La Chine Massena even put on a special celebration — complete with a fake Buddha waving a French flag, loud Chinese drummers and five dancing dragons. It was quite a surprise, but everyone at our table (the only foreigners in the restaurant) loved it and agreed: best dim sum brunch ever.
The New Crew
Without question, the biggest contributor to my newfound happiness in Paris is the Google crew (not all of them are Googlers, but we all know each other through one Googler or another). Since meeting them, my weekends — and often weekdays — have never been dull: from one friend’s classy concert in an art gallery, to impromptu houseparties and dinners (where we dance like this), to another Googler’s farewell party that involved absinthe and crates of beer driven in from Belgium. They’re excellent company, not to mention incredibly warm and welcoming and some of the best friends I could ask for, in any city.
For your entertainment
Finally, a couple things I spotted this month that made me smile: First, while California’s banning foie gras, Paris fast food restaurants are putting it on burgers. Second, I’m not sure why (American restaurant) Breakfast in America is labeling Coca-Cola as Beaujolais du Texas – especially when Coke is from Georgia?
Other posts about February in Paris:
As excellent as February was, I’m incredibly excited for March: Mike is coming to visit, spring is clearly on its way, and I recently made a wildly impulsive travel booking that I can’t wait to fly out for in the second week of March (I’ll be gone for St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s not where you think).
How was your February?