Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, May 31, 2010

This post is for all the ladies out there - what's your take on heart-shaped jewelry? Do you love it? Hate it? Just find it cheesy?

I myself am somewhere between hating it and finding it incredibly cheesy. I don't remember what TV show we were watching the other night (maybe The Office??), but one of the main female characters said something about how all women secretly hate heart-shaped jewelry. And I was like "Amen Sistah!"

C turned to me in surprise and said "What??", and I was like "I'm pretty sure most women can't stand heart-shaped jewelry, but that they wear it because men keep giving it as a present. Damn jewelry stores & their OTT marketing campaigns". And then he got all red and was quiet for a bit....and now I'm wondering if that's not what he got me (or was planning on getting me) for my upcoming birthday.


But that got me thinking - how would I react if he gave me something heart-shaped? Fab gave me a heart-shaped watch when he moved back to France and I promptly turned around and returned it for one I liked better. He was a bit hurt at the time, and I realize now I probably should've just sucked it up and worn it. But now it's ten years down the road- have I changed? Would I wear it if C gave it to me? I'm still not sure. He's into very simple things, so I guess there isn't much chance of him buying something super ostentatious or in-your-face. But either way, given my recent gaffe, I guess I'll probably never know!

Labels: ,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Yay or nay?

The other night I went out for a few drinks with friends. Nature called, as it often does when one is drinking, and I went downstairs to use the facilities. I sat down, looked ahead, and an ad by Upskin caught my eye. They were offering a 19 month rental of an automatic Smart car for the promotional price of 99€* per month.

What's the catch? Your Smart car will be covered in ads:There is no down payment and no hidden costs (so they say) - everything, including maintenance, is included. You just need to bring the car to a specified location once a month so that they can change the ads. And once your 19 months are up, you bring it back and they'll give you a new one if you decide to renew.

What do y'all think about this? Would you drive a car covered in ads if it meant you could get it at a cheaper price?

*The normal price is 159€ per month (or 189€ per month including insurance).


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Put your finger in my bottom

Ha, bet that got your attention!

The phrase is referencing a guide book that Carla Bruni once promoted on a show called "Eurotrash" back in the 90's. The French government has been doing everything it can to get the videos removed so they're no longer available on YouTube or DailyMotion, but you can read more about it and watch a shorter version of the clip here.

That Carla's quite the saucy gal!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Nature Capitale

After spending most of last week inside for work, I decided that I absolutely had to get out and about this weekend. Part of my plan included taking Sophie up on her invite to check out the Champs Elysée on Sunday. The lovely Sarah of Misplaced Texan also joined us.

Regarding the event, entitled Nature Capitale, I'd heard two story lines - the first being that starting Saturday and running through Monday, they were supposed to be turning the Champs into one big garden in an effort to highlight environmental issues (by covering the street with grass, trees and other flora).

"Supposed to" being the key words.

I should've taken it as a sign when I found out things were running horrible behind. Several friends of mine tried to visit the Champs Saturday and absolutely nothing was in place. By the time we got there Sunday, everything had been installed, minus the most important thing- the GRASS. So much for all of their posters in the metro showing people picnicking - instead, the ground was covered in wood chips and there were guards everywhere making sure no one sat on anything.

The second byline I'd heard said the Champs would be turned into a farm in order to highlight the struggles of being a farmer in France. Sure, there were a few pigs and other random farm animals, but just as it looked nothing like a park, it also looked nothing like a farm. Second FAIL of the day. Add in the hot temps and the hoards of people, and it just wasn't worth it.

The worst part was that the event wasn't even the slightest bit informational. There were a couple of panneaux here and there, but basically it was just a crowd of people walking through boxes of prairie grass. All three of us were left feeling underwhelmingly blasé about the whole event, and we decided to go hang out in the Tuilieries instead (which proved to be a much interesting exercise: studying the behaviors of a "Parisian in his natural habitat").

How about the rest of you? Did anyone else go? If so, what did you think? Was it really the innovative project everyone's been raving about, or did you find it to be as much of a flop as we did?


Monday, May 17, 2010

This past weekend, C & I drove up north to attend his cousin's wedding. I was filled with a bit of trepidation - my previous wedding experiences in Bretagne having been less than a piece of cake. But C's family was absolutely wonderful - nobody stared at me, and for once it was nice to have people be curious to meet me because I was C's girlfriend, and not because I was The Foreigner. Half of the people there didn't even know I was American, and the ones that did spared me from having to answer all the typical questions over and over again, ie "How long have you been here? Why did you come? Are you a student? Etc." In short, I felt like a normal person instead of the foreign outsider. What a frickin' nice change that was. And I'm even more grateful after hearing about a few friends' recent experiences, including Vivi over at Dispatches from France.

I was also happily surprised to see how well-behaved all the children on his side of the family acted. It really was a joy to watch how the children and the parents interacted, from the babies on up to the teenagers. They had such respect for one another and it was obvious they were all close. It was the kind of experience that can actually make one consider starting a family. But those thoughts were quickly quashed by the grooms family. Their children were little hellions, constantly popping balloons, making noise and running amuck. But then again, his side of the family also set off about 100 firecrackers outside the church AND they brought in their country line dance group as a "surprise". They ended up performing for over two hours, which delayed everything, including the meal. We didn't end up eating the cake until almost 3am! It was crazy. We left around 4am, but the party was still going strong. After a short night's sleep, it was time to wake up and head back to Paris. C's brother drove, and I'm sorry to say that the slow driving and incapability to follow a GPS appears to be a family trait. Our 2 hour and 15 minute trip took 4 hours. FOUR HOURS PEOPLE. And we didn't even run into traffic on the way back. How is that even possible? This definitely rules out any future roadtrips with C's least until I magically learn how to drive a stick shift!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Resto reviews

C and I have been doing some exploring in my neighborhood lately, and it's allowed us to discover a few good (and inexpensive!) new restaurants. The first one is Parnasse 138 - not surprisingly found at 138 blvd Montparnasse. I came across it the other day while walking home from the cinema, and was surprised by their menu offering entrée+plat+dessert for 14.90€. That's a pretty normal price for bistro fare en province, but is pretty rare for Paris (especially in the 6th). You had the choice of seven or eight different things for each course, which I found pretty surprising. And the service was fast, the portions generous and the wine list decent - what more can you ask for from a small Parisian bistro?

The second place I wanted to mention was a tiny Chinese restaurant near les Gobelins - I'm not sure of the name, but it's at 65 blvd Saint Marcel (right next to the Champion). C's SIL is Chinese and she read about it on a "chinese in paris" sort of forum. And true to form, we were the only non-Chinese speakers in there. The food was fabulous - unlike any Chinese food I've had in the States or in France. I choose the semi-spicy aubergine dish, but the SIL took the lead and ordered us all kinds of dishes, some of which I'm not even sure were on the menu. We ended up with various kinds of ravioli, noodles, several cooked veggies that I'd never seen before and another dish with a sesame (peanut?) sauce that was to die for. The prices were also very reasonable here - most main dishes cost around 6 or 7 € (without rice). Tip: The dining area is minuscule, so reserve in advance or show up early if you want a spot! Also, take a few minutes to watch the video screen out front - it shows them making their homemade pasta the traditional way.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I made it back from freezing Finland safely and am now in Bretagne, where the weather is even worse. (Big surprise there, right?) But seriously Mother Nature, it's May - I shouldn't be needing my winter coat!Finland was awesome - I am so happy Easy Jet started up this new route. 90€ roundtrip is much easier to swallow than 250-300€. I can't believe it's been ten years since we lived there though - I was just a baby back then.
Miss Leyla and I had a good time visiting our old favorite haunts and reliving some memories, even though it was a bit of a shock to realize we didn't have the (alcohol) stamina we had back then. Another surprise for me was that Helsinki was also not as architecturally impressive as I remembered - but then again, I suppose living in Paris has skewed my idea of building beauty.I also have to say that the weekend was tinged with a bit of sadness. So much of my time there is associated with my dad's passing, and being there made it seem like it was just yesterday. Ten years down the road, I realize just how lucky I was to have found such a good group of friends - we were all just children really, but yet they were always there for me and helped me take my mind of things. Most of all, I'm glad I've been able to keep in touch with Leyla - she and her family have been a great source of support for me over the years, and have always taken me in when times were tough.People talk a lot about how when you live abroad, you often become friends with other foreigners out of circumstance. Which was originally true in our case, but since then it's evolved into a great friendship - one that I hope will continue for many years to come.So cheers Miss Leyla, there's no one else I would've rather gone to Finland with!

Labels: ,