One much delayed blog post later and we return to Paris, weighed down once again with alcohol, this time Le Quesnoy cider, and several tonnes of nougat. It being two weeks since these events happened I am finding it hard to visualise Paris from the dim and dreary London streets now at my window.
That evening we arrived back in Paris, we headed to the infamous Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. We awoke again the next day to a wonderful surprise; the Bastille Markets had made a reappearance for the weekend and provided us with Paella, tarts, organic apple juice, cheese and many other treats. After eating and spending far too much we headed to the artistic/red light district of Paris, Momartre. The Sacre Coeur loomed above us like something from an entirely different country, a distinct Asian feel to the architecture, while below us the infamous Moulin Rouge is a titillating glimpse at the true nature of the area. I managed to avoid being scammed this time round, albeit narrowly.
Later that day I was excited to meet up with my friend Alexa who I met three years ago on student exchange. Alexa has taken to the Paris fashion scene like a duck to water and suggested we meet at the very casually chic’ concept store MERCI (no overrated Collette). The store is a mix of library/ boutique/home wares store/cafe over six floors. After a very excited catch up session, complete with a lot of hugging and a few squeals, the three of us headed of vintage shopping. Via Paris’ falafel district. A row of competing falafel stores bartering with passers-by about who does the best Turkish food.
With the rain coming down in Little Turkey we headed back to our hostel to get changed for a night on the town. Alexa was taking us to a club with an insane Alice In Wonderland meets circus-on-acid-theme. As we paid the extortionate door charge we ran into a dwarf dressed as a smurf, I was ecstatic but also somewhat outraged, torn between taking photos and being offended on his behalf. This bar took opulence to a whole other level, costumed euro trash men swigged from oversized bottles of champagne, professional makeup artists replaced the usual bathroom attendants, providing makeovers outside the cubicles. One week since Fashion Week and the place was still teeming with models, immigrating from Sweden probably, they had taken over the place with their superhuman looks and wafer thin bodies.
Feeling short for the first time in my life, and grotesquely ugly compared to the ridiculously beautiful people everywhere, we watched as performer after performer took to the various stages podiums and balconies of the club. After the Smurf there was a pair of glorified gyrating strippers (one painted hand print on each ass cheek) some fire performers and after them a plus sized burlesque dancer covered in balloons which she popped one by one with a toothpick. Lucky (unlucky?) crowd members also had a shot at the popping action.
We returned to our hostel in the early hours of the morning to cries of “I’m covered in glitter” (me).
Sunday loomed and nothing was open so we headed to the Louvre to crane our necks over scores of tourists in the hopes of glimpsing the Mona Lisa. That night we made ourselves s a platter dinner of deli and market treats, dolomites, olives, cheese bread and questionable prawn dip. We attempted to open some cheese we picked up in Le Quesnoy which was a local delicacy. As we pulled the cheese out of its bag we were suddenly clear on what Norbert had been trying to warn us about in sign language – the cheese was stinky, very stinky. So stinky in fact we couldn’t get near enough to even cut it and try it, my hands reeked of the most revolting cheese for days afterwards, despite vigorous washing. Two weeks later I put on a dress I wore on -what shall now be known as – Stinky Cheese Day and I swear the smell still lingered.
We spent our last day Paris vintage shopping before our suitcases tackled us all the way to London. We arrived in London to a crowd of one (Mirjam) covered in suitcase- induced bruises and ready to begin our new lives.